United Nations and the Iraqi War
On November 8, 2002, the United Nations Security Council passed a unanimous resolution calling on Iraq to disarm or face “serious consequences.” United Nations arms inspectors were sent back to Iraq. On December 7, 2002, Iran submitted to the United Nations a lengthy declaration stating that it had no weapons that had been banned. In mid-January, United Nations inspectors discovered undeclared empty chemical warheads. During January, President Bush received a letter signed by 130 members of the House of Representatives, urging him to “let the inspectors work.” By this time, nearly 200,000 United States troops were in the Middle East region. On January 28, 2003, the president delivered his State of the Union address and stated that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from Africa, even though he already had the intelligence that Iraq had not done so. By February, United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix indicated that there was some progress with Iraq's compliance. Later that month, the United States, Britain, and Spain submitted a proposed resolution to the United Nations Security Council that authorization for war was necessary. Germany, Russia, and France opposed the resolution. By March 14, 2003, the council had only four out of the necessary nine votes to support military action.
On February 15, 2003, “The World Says No to War” protest took place, with massive peace demonstrations around the world. It was the largest coordinated day of protest in world history, with more than 600 cities participating. In Rome alone nearly 3 million people protested, which is noted in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest antiwar rally in history.
On March 19, 2003, President Bush declared war on Iraq without a United Nations Mandate, as he said he would in his State of the Union address on January 28, and Operation Iraqi Freedom was commenced. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld addressed concerns about the war, saying, “What will follow will not be a repeat of any other conflict. It will be of a force and a scope and a scale that has been beyond what we have seen before.” Unfortunately, Secretary Rumsfeld's prediction of a swift and efficient victory in Iraq has not come to be, as the Iraq War has gone on longer than our involvement in World War II.