Thursday, November 06, 2003

Germany Questions Legality of Iraq War: "[German Defence Minister] Struck said that forming so-called 'coalitions of the willing,' such as the one created by Washington ahead of the invasion of Iraq, jeopardized NATO solidarity. In an unexpected swipe at the leading NATO country, Struck said it would be more politically astute for the United States to act multilaterally and in tune with other NATO partners.

"Ad hoc relationships, he said, could not replace the long-standing alliance, but they would reduce NATO to the role of a military 'toolbox' for the United States to use at its whim. The German defense minister stressed that the alliance's principle of consensus was not simply a nuisance that could be overlooked whenever one of the members felt inclined to go their own way. 'NATO must not be seen as a servant implementing the decisions made in Washington,' Struck went on to say. 'Anybody who wants a strong NATO must prevent this from happening.'

"Struck addressed German concerns over the Bush administration's new doctrine of preemptive military action to curb potential security threats before they fully materialize. 'Preventive (military) action requires unambiguous intelligence,' he said. 'The weapons of mass destruction which cannot be found in Iraq have shown how thin the ice can be when one embarks on a war of self-defense on the basis of supposedly clear proof of an imminent threat.'

"Therefore, Struck said he saw reason enough to question the legality of the war, which Washington and London justified by arguing that Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction posed a threat to peace in the region and world. 'One can ask the question whether what the United States did in Iraq was legitimate under international law,' he said."

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