Wars on Terrorism and Iraq: Human Rights, Unilateralism, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Wars on Terrorism and Iraq: Human Rights, Unilateralism, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Wars on Terrorism and Iraq: Human Rights, Unilateralism, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Wars on Terrorism and Iraq: Human Rights, Unilateralism, and U.S. Foreign Policy


'If I had the power to do so, I would make this book compulsory reading for all who exercise political power in our world today! Instead, I will keep my fingers crossed that it will be read by as many members of Congress and of the current US administration as possible, and by a wide cross-section of policy analysts, diplomats, academics and human rights defenders.' - Mary Robinson, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Wars on Terrorism and Iraq provides a timely and critical analysis of the impact of the wars on terrorism and Iraq on human rights particularly internationally, as well as related tensions between unilateralism and multilateralism in US foreign policy. The distinguished contributors examine the consequences for international relations and world order of the traditional standard bearer for human rights and democracy (the United States) appearing not to be championing the rule of law and negotiated conflict resolution. The authors also suggest effective policies to promote greater fulfilment of human rights in order to achieve peaceful accord within nations, and stability internationally.


I write this Foreword in the sad aftermath of the tragic bombing of United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, 2003. It took the life of my friend and successor as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and of at least 22 others, mainly U.N. colleagues. Among those killed was another friend, Arthur Helton, Senior Fellow for Refugee Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, who had told me only a week earlier that he was going to Iraq to meet Sergio and assess the refugee situation there.

Will their deaths be the wake-up call that leads to a significant reconfiguration of the U.N. presence on the ground, with broad international military and police support for the establishment of basic human security throughout Iraq? This is an essential precondition for building a peaceful, stable, and—hopefully—democratic country. It is vital to change the current perception of "occupying forces, " which can be manipulated by those determined to sabotage any efforts at rebuilding the infrastructure and services of that country.

By the time this book is published we may know if out of this bleak moment came the inspiration, energy, and political will to strengthen the U.N.'s mandate and fully internationalize the military presence in its support. The essays in this remarkable book, written from different perspectives and drawing on a wide range of scholarly and practical expertise, make a powerful case for such a multilateral approach. The work is remarkable precisely because the contributors address with honesty and integrity the deeply difficult nexus among human rights standards, the war on terror, the insecurity in Iraq in the aftermath of the war, and U.S. attitudes toward multilateralism.

Another truly unusual feature of these essays—which attests to the quality of the overall direction by Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering—is that the work was planned many months before the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001, and had to adapt as a work in progress to events that literally changed our world. The initial task, that of appreciating U.S. power in relation to international normative standards, was gradually subsumed into a vastly more complex task. It successfully assesses the war on terrorism, including the war in Afghanistan and its aftermath. It also probes the subsequent regime change brought about by the military invasion of Iraq by coalition forces, along

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