Ruses for War

JOHN QUIGLEY, Quigley.2@osu.edu

Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley recently wrote a piece scrutinizing the legal justifications for an attack on Syria: “John Quigley on Intervention.”

He is author of the book The Ruses for War: American Interventionism Since World War II. In addition to the false claims being used to drive the U.S. to war in Iraq, he cites numerous other examples of the U.S. government making such claims:

  • In 1998, the U.S. government told the UN Security Council that it had launched missiles against Khartoum, Sudan, because VX nerve gas was being produced at a factory there. In fact, no nerve gas was being produced there, as later acknowledged by administration officials.
  • In 1993, after it launched missiles at the headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence service in Baghdad, the U.S. government told the Council that the circuitry found in a Renault (vehicle) at the Iraq-Kuwait border was of a type that linked it to the Iraqi intelligence service, and that the Renault was part of a plot to assassinate George Bush, who was then visiting Kuwait. As later analysis showed, the circuitry was not of a type that showed a connection to the Iraqi intelligence service.
  • In 1964, it told the Council that U.S. vessels had been attacked by Vietnamese vessels in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. This information was based on reports from U.S. vessels that the vessels’ commander soon said were in error. Nonetheless, the State Department used the information before the Council and relied on it as a major rationale for a military buildup in Vietnam.
  • In 1954, when the elected government of Guatemala was overthrown militarily by Guatemalan military officers, the U.S. was charged before the Council with organizing the coup. It denied to the Council any involvement. In fact it organized the coup.
  • On three occasions, it told the Council it was invading other states because U.S. nationals were in danger there: Dominican Republic 1965, Grenada 1983, Panama 1989. In none of these instances were U.S. nationals in danger.