Michał Karzyński

Victory Celebration

If you are incapable of feeling at least a tiny amount of joy, at watching ordinary Iraqis celebrate this you are lost to the ideological Left; if you incapable of feeling badly that we had to use force in the first place, you are ideologically lost to the Right.
– Jon Stewart

It’s already beginning, even though the war is not over…

Yesterday, the American/British army marched into Baghdad, where they met thousands of people, happy to greet them. Happy that, the war was over quickly and happy that the long reign of Saddam had finally come to an end.
The people, who were undoubtedly suppressed came out to topple the symbol of Hussain’s power — a huge statue of the man they were freed from.

Those pictures circled the globe, they were seen by billions of people and will be remembered for a long time. The reactions to them were different in various regions. Whereas the Western world breathed a sigh of relief and cheered, the Arab world was also relieved but less enthusiastic. To them it was a crushing display of American power and a realization that they have lost another piece of control over their region.

This war is over, but of course the big conflict, the one between our two civilizations is not yet behind us. We now have one foot in the ants’ nest. We know that we can’t stand there very long, but we’re hoping that the very presence of American power will be enough to stabilize the region. Are we overly optimistic?

We shall see. The problem with history being the judge is that history is always written in retrospect and usually by the victors. If all goes well, it will be easy to say that the war was justified, but that’s a very, very dangerous statement.

This war is only justified in retrospect, but any decision about a similar conflict will have to be made without it. The future holds many important decisions for us too. Do we attack Iran, Syria, North Korea? Will a typical Hollywood ‘happy end’ of this story make it easier for us to justify ‘pre-emptive’ (euphemism for unprovoked) military action in the future?

I would be afraid of such a conclusion, so we have to remember, that despite all possible ‘good’ (as in ‘good’ marketing) results of the war thay may be, it WAS NOT justified.

To justify something means “to show or prove it to be just, right, or reasonable”. This was not done before the war. The reasons given for attacking Saddam were:
a) he has weapons of mass destruction
b) he has links to al-Quaida
c) he harbors terrorists

They turned out to be meritless, Saddam allowed the weapon inspections to resume, there was no smoking gun, Iraq didn’t attack anyone… So what was the justification? That he could do it?

Well yes, it’s true he could have done horrible things, but so could any other world leader. In status potenti everyone who bears power could be “evil” (a word Bush really likes), but we cannot attack or judge people for things they have not done. I hope everybody remembers that at the basis of American law, there is the statement: everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty.
That sentence defines American civic liberties and the way the legal system there operates. These liberties and the rule of law are the very things Americans are claiming to be defending, so I really hope they do not forget them themselves.

It is a very dangerous game they are playing, when they try to avoid the rule of law internationally and reinterpret (or even rewrite) their own constitution. I hope that after this victory, they will not get carried away.