October 01, 2004

Global Test


In the last night's presidential debate, Senator Kerry criticized President Bush's decision to invade Iraq for not passing a "global test." Kerry stressed the need for more international assistance in Iraq, stating repeatedly that we're suffering 90% of the casualties and shouldering 90% financial burden. However, Charles Johnson quoted a relevant Financial Times article from earlier this week: No French or German turn on Iraq:

French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.

Mr Kerry, who has attacked President George W. Bush for failing to broaden the US-led alliance in Iraq, has pledged to improve relations with European allies and increase international military assistance in Iraq.

“I cannot imagine that there will be any change in our decision not to send troops, whoever becomes president,” Gert Weisskirchen, member of parliament and foreign policy expert for Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party, said in an interview. [...]

Michel Barnier, the French foreign minister, said last week that France, which has tense relations with interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, had no plans to send troops "either now or later."

In the debate, Bush responded appropriately to Kerry's "global test" comment:

"I'm not exactly sure what you mean, 'passes the global test,' you take pre-emptive action if you pass a global test. My attitude is you take pre-emptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure."

UPDATE I: From AP: Bush: Kerry would let France control US military. (Via Little Green Footballs)

"The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France," Bush told supporters a day after Kerry said the United States ought to pass a "global test" before launching a preemptive war.

Kerry spokesman David Wade accused the president of taking Kerry's words out of context and brushed off the attack as a desperate ploy, saying: "They want to run against a straw man. Instead, they have to run against John Kerry."

"Out of context"? In the context of his "pass the global test" comment, Kerry said that in using the preemptive strike option, a president not only has to make sure his countrymen understand why, but he also has to "prove to the world that [he] did it for legitimate reasons." The obvious implication of this is that if a president can't satisfactorily "prove to the world that [he] did it for legitimate reasons," then he doesn't have a right to use preemptive force. Kerry's use of "legitimate reasons" is very broad and, I think, intentionally vague, but it's clear that he considers our sovereign right to launch a war of self-defense somehow subject to whether or not "the world" (whatever that means) approves of our evidence, motives and goals. If that's not making the use of troops to defend America "subject to a veto by countries like France," I don't know what is.

Speaking of France, reader Barry Rab directed us to this New York Post op-ed by Amire Taheri, in which he writes:

Add to this the recent bizarre phrase from French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The head of the Figaro press group went to see him about the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq; Raffarin assured him they would soon be freed, reportedly saying, "The Iraqi insurgents are our best allies."

In plain language, this means that, in the struggle in Iraq, Raffarin does not see France on the side of its NATO allies -- the U.S., Britain, Italy and Denmark among others -- but on the side of the "insurgents."

UPDATE II -- MORE C&F NEWS: We're proud to announce that this cartoon is slated to appear in the Sunday edition of The Detroit News-Free Press, which is America's 10th largest Sunday paper with a circulation of over 700,000 -- by far a record for us. The cartoon will appear along side comments by other bloggers from The Detroit News Weblog. Our thanks to George Bullard for his efforts.

UPDATE III -- EVEN MORE: Investor's Business Daily will also run this cartoon in their weekend edition -- the Monday Special (available Saturday morning). With a circulation of 200,000, the total printed copies of the cartoon will now be over 900,000.

UPDATE IV: The topic of preemptive force is continued in our next cartoon.

UPDATE V: The Downeast Coastal Press, a rural weekly in Maine, will also run the cartoon.

UPDATE VI -- October 6: From The Washington Times: Kerry says Franco-German troops unlikely.

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry conceded yesterday that he probably will not be able to convince France and Germany to contribute troops to Iraq if he is elected president. The Massachusetts senator has made broadening the coalition trying to stabilize Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign, but at a town hall meeting yesterday, he said he knows other countries won't trade their soldiers' lives for those of U.S. troops.

UPDATE VII: The real Global Test? The Washington Times reports: U.N. panel to frame guidelines on legality of pre-emptive strike. (Via Little Green Footballs)

Members of an international panel studying United Nations' operations say the group hopes to lay down clear rules declaring when it is legal for a nation to use pre-emptive military force in its own defense.

The issue grows out of the international controversy over the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq without a final U.N. Security Council resolution explicitly authorizing the war, said panel member Gareth Evans, a former foreign minister of Australia.

"I expect the panel to be giving close consideration to what those rules are and how they should be applied and whether an effort should be made to identify generally agreed criteria for the legitimate use of force, whatever the context," Mr. Evans said during a recent appearance at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

He made his remarks before last week's presidential debate in which Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry's call for a "global test" on when pre-emptive action is justified became a campaign issue.

Posted by Forkum at October 1, 2004 02:01 AM