In May 2002 we got the "Bush Doctrine" of pre-emptive self defence against rogue states with weapons of mass destruction. Latterly the additional justification of liberating the Iraqi people from the oppression of Saddam Hussein has been thrown into the mix but, when we examine the most recent reasons given for supporting war on Iraq we discover that we're back to dealing with a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction - more precisely, stocks of chemical and biological agents and the missiles to deliver them. In his 2003 State of the Union Address, George Bush put it this way:
The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm. America will not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country, and our friends and our allies. The United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on February the 5th to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraqi's legal -- Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its attempt to hide those weapons from inspectors, and its links to terrorist groups.
We will consult. But let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.
In an interview with Kerry O'Brien on the 7.30 report, John Howard put it this way:
If Iraq gets away with this, if Iraq stares us all down, she will certainly not abandon her weapons then, she'd build on them and potentially use them and worst still other countries, other rogue states, will be emboldened to do exactly the same thing.
And in this article in the Wall Street Journal, Tony Blair and others put it this way:
The Iraqi regime and its weapons of mass destruction represent a clear threat to world security. This danger has been explicitly recognized by the U.N. All of us are bound by Security Council Resolution 1441, which was adopted unanimously. We Europeans have since reiterated our backing for Resolution 1441, our wish to pursue the U.N. route, and our support for the Security Council at the Prague NATO Summit and the Copenhagen European Council.
In doing so, we sent a clear, firm and unequivocal message that we would rid the world of the danger posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. We must remain united in insisting that his regime be disarmed.