The Divine Right to Death & Destruction

A world in fear of the president's unrestrained power

By Patricia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez
Published on LatinoLA: March 21, 2003

The Divine Right to Death & Destruction

The United States, England and Spain: the nucleus of the "coalition of the willing." They're the nations whose leaders convened in the Azores -- fresh from being soundly rebuffed by the world's community of nations in the quest to disarm Iraq through war as opposed to peaceful means. These are the same three nations that have continually colonized more nations worldwide since 1492. And now they were proclaiming that the world had a final day of diplomacy. It's not that peace was getting a one-day reprieve; instead, the world had 24 hours to line up behind President Bush.

Yet in less than 24 hours, the three nations -- acting as though they had actually won the U.N. vote -- withdrew the impending U.N. resolution on Iraq, kicked out the U.N.'s weapons inspectors and decided to plunge the world into this century's first "pre-emptive war."

Oddly, the joint declaration was directed at the United Nations, as opposed to Iraq, and its message was utterly arrogant: War is peace, and the resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict must also first go through Baghdad. That type of arrogance is typical of an imperial mentality and is associated with attitudes from previous centuries. The three leaders spoke matter-of-factly, as though they were entitled to wage war. The arrogance was bad enough, but that they staged a "we're giving diplomacy one last chance" summit to make their joint declaration was surreal, and was almost instantly betrayed by the facts.

That they've been referring to their nations as being separate from the United Nations is additionally disconcerting: Those who agree with President Bush are "us," and those who disagree are irrelevant and are "them," including the vast majority of the world's nations.

After withdrawing the resolution, the three nations were backpedaling about why they already had the legal authority to wage war. In other words, the inspections had been nothing but a six-month charade to allow the troops to get ready. Besides, any aggressor nation can find or create a law to justify military action.

Pre-emptive war is not new. Actually, it probably is the original idea of war, going back thousands of years. Another name for it is genocidal war of conquest, which is how these powers created colonial empires and when most of the world's nations were subjected to hundreds of years of extreme colonial violence and subjugation. Amazingly, some pro-war proponents argue that because Sept. 11 happened in the United States, other nations are not capable of comprehending such violence.

To the chagrin of President Bush, France threatened to use its veto, so the administration has childishly blamed it for losing big at the U.N., ignoring that three-fourths of the world's nations are also opposed to this war. Still, the president claims to be acting on behalf of the "just demands of the world." The United States is lucky to count on its colonial partners and a few smaller nations. Yet, interestingly, popular opinion in virtually all those allied nations is overwhelmingly anti-war, which puts into question the meaning of democracy.

Even in the United States, the public was deeply divided at the time of the Azores proclamation, with a majority still objecting to unilateral war. With that said, on what authority did the president decide to wage war?

The power to prosecute this war comes from the president's own "sovereign authority to protect the national security of the nation." Little wonder the world balks.

First, to the world, he does not have the moral authority of a duly elected leader. Second, the notion that the national security of the world's most powerful nation is being threatened by a poorly armed tin-pot dictator is at best laughable. (We're using the world's most destructive weapons because they might one day use theirs?) Third, the world fears the president's unrestrained power, checked only by his own wisdom. It fears that once unleashed, the primitive urge for pre-emptive wars, which will bring about unthinkable death and destruction, will never again be contained. Also unleashed most likely will be a fury of anti-American terror worldwide.

Truthfully, as in the colonial era, it is divine authority that is actually being invoked. It's an odd time to seek it, especially when the vast majority of the world's religious, moral and spiritual leaders have said no to this unnecessary war.

As bombs began dropping on Baghdad, the president announced that the "work of peace" had begun.


About Patricia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez:
Gonzales & Rodriguez can be reached at 817-929-3805 or

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