Activists and legal experts are criticizing President Obama’s remarks in Brussels on Wednesday on war and international law. Among other things, Obama claimed: “But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future.”
MATT HOWARD, mattwhoward at ivaw.org
Howard is communications director for Iraq Veterans Against the War, which just helped organize the People’s Hearing on the Lasting Impact of the Iraq War on Wednesday night in Washington D.C., moderated by Phil Donahue. See righttoheal.org for video of the event and other materials. Howard can also connect media to other participants in the event.
See from Commondreams.org: “Anger, Disbelief as Obama Defends U.S. Invasion of Iraq” and “#RightToHeal: 11 Years On, Bearing Witness to Iraq War’s Lasting Harm,” which quotes several participants in Wednesday’s event, including Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist (see New York Times story: “Environmental Poisoning’ of Iraq Is Claimed“), Kristi Casteel, mother of IVAW member Joshua Casteel, Rebekah Lampman, IVAW member who spoke about sexual assault and Yanar Mohammed, president and co-founder of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, who addressed how the U.S. invasion fostered sectarian war and other issues. Mohammed recently appeared on the program “Democracy Now!”
JOHN QUIGLEY, Quigley.2 at osu.edu
Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley dealt with conflicts between Ukraine and Russia arising from the breakup of the USSR on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He recently wrote the piece “Finding a Way Forward for Crimea,” for the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law.
He said today: “Mr. Obama is failing to focus on what is appropriate as a status for Crimea, which is the center of the present conflict. He is not giving weight to the fact that the population of Crimea considers Crimea to be part of Russia historically, and that it saw no reason why Crimea should be part of Ukraine once the USSR broke up. He challenges Mr. Putin’s point that the population of Crimea was under threat. Whether that is so or not, one still has to consider the right of self-determination of the people of Crimea.”
FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. His books include Foundations of World Order (Duke University Press: 1999). He said today: “In March 2003 the United States launched an illegal and criminal war of aggression against Iraq based on false pretexts, a Nuremberg Crime against Peace. The United States destroyed Iraq as a functioning state and effectively carved-up Iraq de facto into three mini-statelets that are at war with each other today, killing an estimated 1.4 million Iraqis in the process. Suicide bombings in Iraq continue to be a fact of everyday life. By comparison, the Russian annexation of Crimea was almost bloodless.”