US Double Standards. (Comment)

By Zunes, Stephen | The Nation, October 28, 2002 | Go to article overview

US Double Standards. (Comment)


Zunes, Stephen, The Nation


The effort by the Bush Administration and Congress to portray the planned invasion of Iraq as simply an effort to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions reaches a new low in double standards. A survey of the nearly 1,500 resolutions passed by the Security Council, the fifteen-member enforcement arm of the UN in which the United States and the four other permanent members wield veto power, reveals more than ninety resolutions currently violated by countries other than Iraq. The vast majority of these violations are by governments closely allied to the United States. Not only have the Bush Administration and its Congressional allies not suggested invading these countries; the United States has blocked sanctions and other means of enforcing them, and even provides the military and economic aid that helps make ongoing violations possible.

For example, in 1975, after Morocco's invasion of Western Sahara and Indonesia's invasion of East Timor, the Security Council passed a series of resolutions demanding immediate withdrawal. However, then-US ambassador to the UN Daniel Patrick Moynihan bragged that "the Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. The task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success." East Timor finally won its freedom in 1999. Moroccan forces still occupy Western Sahara. Meanwhile, Turkey remains in violation of Security Council Resolution 353 and more than a score of resolutions calling for its withdrawal from northern Cyprus, which Turkey, a NATO ally, invaded in 1974.

The most extensive violator of Security Council resolutions is Israel. Israel's refusal to respond positively to the formal acceptance this past March by the Arab League of the land-for-peace formula put forward in Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 arguably puts Israel in violation of these resolutions, long seen as the basis for Middle East peace. More clearly, Israel has defied Resolutions 267, 271 and 298, which demand that it rescind its annexation of greater East Jerusalem, as well as dozens of other resolutions insisting that Israel cease its violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, such as deportations, demolition of homes, collective punishment and seizure of private property. Unlike some of the hypocritical and meanspirited resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly, like the now-rescinded 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism, these Security Council resolutions are well grounded in international law and were passed with US support or abstention. …

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