Volume 96, Issue 99
Friday, April 4, 2003

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Western debates legality of war

By Nicole D'Cruz
Gazette Staff

As the war in Iraq rages on, so does national and global debate. Yesterday, Western played host to a forum discussing the war's ongoing implications.

"Canada, the United Nations and the war in Iraq," a forum hosted by Western's Muslim Students' Association, invited Western law professor Michael Lynk and education professor Rebecca Coulter to share their views on the Iraqi war.

The United States government has told citizens that Iraq is an international threat, but Lynk points out that, "no arms [have been] found [in Iraq] and there is no concrete evidence that Iraq has threatened to attack its neighbours.

"I do believe oil is an important issue," Lynk added. "The United States is growing dependent on imported oil and Iraqi oil is plentiful and cheap to produce."

While America can attempt to use humanitarian intervention as an argument for war, it has not been a focus, Lynk explained.

"[If the U.S. claims humanitarian intervention is their motive], then the U.S. is compelled to discuss Rwanda, the Balkans and Sudan and their lack of action," he added.

"Iraq is not in a position to pose a military threat to the U.S.," Coulter said. While Coulter said she wouldn't deny Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, she posed the question, "Why is war on the people of Iraq necessary for war on a tyrant?"

From a humanitarian standpoint, Coulter paralleled the costs of the war to the costs of providing healthcare, education and aid to nations less fortunate than us.

"Canadians have a responsibility to support peace," she stated.

While Canada's governing Liberal party claims the nation is taking an independent stand against war, Coulter said the nation's hands are far from clean, adding Canadians are in fact involved with the war in many facets.

Canadian political leaders, including Ontario Premier Ernie Eves, have discussed supporting America for economic reasons, she explained. "If Americans are our only friends, for the sake of money, should we condone an unjust war?" she asked.

"[We have a] responsibility to care for the people of Iraq, and for all of humanity. It is the moral thing to do."

Brendan Harrison, a second-year social science student, said he thought the forum was a good stimulus for debate. "What we need is [commentary] like this in the mainstream media, not just on campus," he added.

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