U.S. already bombing Iraq
Jenny Brown
November/December 2002

You'd have to be a fairly persistent news hound to know it, but U.S. warplanes have been sporadically bombing Iraq for months. The latest U.S. airstrikes we know about occurred on Friday, November 15.

According to the Associated Press, the Nov. 15 bombing of an 'Iraqi air defense site' was "in retaliation" for Iraq firing on "U.S. and British warplanes patrolling a no-fly zone" that same day But in the same article, the Associated Press notes that the "coalition" (U.S. and British) forces bombed two 'surface to air missile sites near Tallil' the previous Sunday. (Gainesville Sun, Nov. 16, p. 4A, "Planes fired on in Iraqi airspace.")

And in a further Orwellian twist, the AP reported, the U.S. has not yet decided whether to raise the fact that Iraq fired on the U.S. planes in the UN as a 'material breach' of the recent UN resolution on weapons inspections in Iraq. If it were found to be a material breach, according to the U.S. view, it could be used as "justification for U.S.-led military action to topple Saddam's government."

When weapons inspectors were withdrawn in 1998, it was for their own safety as the U.S. was about to launch airstrikes against Iraq.

This raises several questions.

Once weapons inspectors enter Iraq, will they risk being bombed by U.S. and British forces? They could conceivably be inspecting facilities against which the U.S. has been directing air strikes for the past several months.

Under what UN resolution is the U.S. currently attacking Iraq? The main compromise on the UN resolution made by the U.S. was that the U.S. couldn't attack unless the UN debated it separately and passed another resolution.

If you bomb my country from the air, how is it aggression if I shoot at your plane? Isn't that the definition of self-defense?

Why haven't US airstrikes against Iraq been front-page news?

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