Wash. Times Rewrites History To Suggest Bush Had UN Support For Iraq Invasion


Following Sean Hannity's lead, The Washington Times falsely suggested that the United Nations supported President Bush's invasion of Iraq. In fact, the U.N. Security Council did not back Bush's invasion of Iraq, and then-Secretary General Kofi Annan suggested the invasion was "illegal."

Hannity, Wash. Times Suggests UN Supported Bush's Invasion Of Iraq

Wash. Times Suggests Bush Had U.N. "Mandate" For Iraq Invasion. In a March 31 editorial, The Washington Times compared President Obama's actions in Libya to Bush's invasion of Iraq and stated that Obama's "United Nations mandate" regarding Libya "is much weaker than that enjoyed by his predecessor and of questionable legality." From the Times editorial:

Mr. Obama's motive - trying to dislodge an authoritarian regime in the name of the Libyan people - are solidly within the neoconservative framework. Aside from programs to develop weapons of mass destruction - and Mr. Gadhafi's were substantial - the fundamental belief in universal human liberty is at the root of the classic neocon foreign policy approach. When the White House talks about supporting the "legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people," the word "Libyan" could be replaced with "Iraqi" and we'd be right back in 2002.


The problem is that as a novice neocon, Mr. Obama has made some rookie mistakes. His "coalition of the willing" is smaller than the ones assembled by President George W. Bush; in fact, he has the weakest international support for any combined kinetic operation since the end of World War II. His United Nations mandate is much weaker than that enjoyed by his predecessor and of questionable legality. Mr. Obama's leadership style - imploring other countries to get involved so he can hastily bow out - leaves much to be desired. Agreeing to arm and train the rebels before anyone outside of Libya knows exactly who they are is sloppy. Not seeking congressional buy-in was politically unwise. On top of all this, the odds of Mr. Obama having a "Phase IV" post-conflict reconstruction plan for Libya ready to go are exactly zero. [The Washington Times, 3/31/11]

Hannity Previously Suggested That U.N. Supported Bush's Iraq Invasion. Discussing Obama's actions in Libya on the March 29 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity suggested that Bush received U.N. backing for his Iraq invasion. From Hannity:

HANNITY: Didn't George Bush go to the United Nations? Didn't George -- Weren't there how many resolutions before George Bush decided to act? You know, didn't George Bush talk about the humanitarian toll and the death and the brutality of Saddam Hussein? Then what's the difference here? [Fox News' Hannity, 3/29/11]

In Fact, UN Did Not Support Bush's Invasion Of Iraq

U.N. Security Council Did Not Back Bush's Iraq Invasion; Annan Suggested Invasion Was "Illegal." From a September 2004 BBC report:

The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter.

He said the decision to take action in Iraq should have been made by the Security Council, not unilaterally.


"I hope we do not see another Iraq-type operation for a long time - without UN approval and much broader support from the international community," [Annan] added.

He said he believed there should have been a second UN resolution following Iraq's failure to comply over weapons inspections.

And it should have been up to the Security Council to approve or determine the consequences, he added.

When pressed on whether he viewed the invasion of Iraq as illegal, he said: "Yes, if you wish. I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal." [BBC, 9/16/04]

Juan Cole: "The Action In Libya Was Authorized By The United Nations Security Council...Iraq Was Not." Noting the "differences between George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the current United Nations action in Libya," Juan Cole, the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, wrote:

The action in Libya was authorized by the United Nations Security Council. That in Iraq was not. By the UN Charter, military action after 1945 should either come as self-defense or with UNSC authorization. Most countries in the world are signatories to the charter and bound by its provisions. [Juan Cole, 3/22/11]

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, International Conflicts
United Nations, Libya
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.