Dear editor:

So Michael Miner [Hot Type, January 6] thinks that the issue of the moment isn’t how we got into the Iraq war but rather “how it’s been run.” Perhaps he also believes that the real question for the Nixon administration wasn’t who conceived of and approved the Watergate break-in, but instead why the burglars did such a poor job of taping the hotel door locks open, and how better training and equipment could have resulted in a more successful outcome. Allow me to differ.

According to the United Nations charter, which the United States basically wrote, self-defense is the only legitimate justification for war. Men were hanged at Nuremberg for believing and acting otherwise. The key judicial issue at the time was the aggressive nature of Nazi “foreign policy,” not the competence of its execution.

Because no remotely plausible case can be made at this point for self-defense, the “suprisingly balanced” Tribune editorialists reach for rationalizations that can relieve their own gnawing sense of complicity in the grandest, grimmest hoax of our time. The Trib talks about Iraqi “democracy” without mentioning that it has come at the cost of national sovereignty, autonomy, and even identity as the country comes apart at the seams. The Trib writers support the quest for “victory” in a land rendered ungovernable by the very fact of our presence and poisoned by our depleted uranium weapons–the only WMD that will ever be found in Iraq. And the editorials reproduce the amnesiac media buildup to the war by celebrating the ouster of Saddam without acknowledging our government’s long and deep history of support for his brutal dictatorship when it suited its perceived strategic needs.

Once again we have destroyed a nation in order to “save” it, thus “protecting” ourselves against a threat not to the safety of Americans, but to the aspirations of Empire. Crimes have been committed, and hundreds of thousands of human beings are dead, while unborn generations of Iraqis–and Americans–face a blighted future.

In the face of the lies and violence, the contempt for law and public opinion behind the Iraqi war, I am disappointed that Miner does not seem to understand why it’s so urgent that we get to the bottom of this matter and make those responsible–including the Democrats and the corporate media–pay for their active abuses and passive neglect. If we do not, it will mean the end of the concept of democratic accountability and the advent of another theory of government that apparently was not defeated in 1945 or in 1991.

Hugh Iglarsh