Justifications for the US-Iraq 2003 war: "preemption" or "preemptive war"

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The US built its case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq on the basis that it was a preemptive strike in the face of the imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction. Since the United Nations did not sanction the war, the repeated suggestions that the war was "preemptive" were simply propagandistic attempts to justify the war and to suggest that it was legal. For a proper understanding of the misapplication of the term "preventive war" when referring to the US-Iraq 2003 war, Prof. Chomsky has a succint explanation:

The grand strategy authorises the US to carry out preventive war: preventive, not pre-emptive. Whatever the justifications for pre-emptive war might be, they do not hold for preventive war, particularly as that concept is interpreted by its current enthusiasts: the use of military force to eliminate an invented or imagined threat, so that even the term "preventive" is too charitable. Preventive war is, very simply, the supreme crime that was condemned at Nuremberg.
—Noam Chomsky, "Preventive War 'The Supreme Crime': Iraq: invasion that will live in infamy", August, 11, 2003.

SourceWatch Resources

External links

The 2001 John C. "Yoo Memo"

Preemptive War Against Iraq

Future Preemptive Actions

  • David Morgan, Pentagon Weighs Contentious Peacekeeping Plans, Reuters, December 5, 2003.
  • US Plans Spring Offensive in Pakistan, Reuters, January 28, 2004: "The U.S. military is making plans for an offensive that would reach inside Pakistan in coming months to try to destroy operations of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday. ... The newspaper, in a report from Washington citing military sources, said the plans involved thousands of U.S. troops, some of them already in neighboring Afghanistan. ... The Pakistani government denied to Reuters that it would allow such an operation and the Pentagon declined to confirm that such a plan was being worked on."