Just when you think you can devote more attention to long-term peacebuilding projects, an international emergency erupts that calls for urgent action against a war. This time Peace Magazine had focused on questions of reconciliation and the availability of programs in conflict management in Canada, but just before we could go to press the U.S. started bombing Iraq. There was little time to mobilize effective protests or even to develop a fresh analysis of the Iraq situation for this issue of the magazine. And then it was over as quickly as it began and as usual the issue dropped out of the public discourse.
If violence were a good solution to problems, surely the Iraq problem would have been resolved long ago. To be sure, there are reasons for concern about Saddam Hussein's weapons program and his bellicose ways. However, the short-term solution by bombing has not worked and indeed will make it impossible for weapons inspectors to continue the surveillance in defence of which this recent military action was taken. But this self-defeating attack did not harm the dictator Saddam himself, but instead the wretched Iraqi people, who are themselves his victims.
The real solution to Iraq's problem is to bring democracy and a rule of law to that country through international law. The new international criminal court, when it functions optimally, will offer protection to the Iraqi people and other victims of dictatorship by putting war criminals such as Saddam Hussein on trial. One might expect, then, that the U.S. Government would take the lead in promoting this genuinely promising long-term project. Not so! The U.S. Is one of the most vigorous opponents of the ICC, openly acknowledging that it does not want its own leaders and soldiers to be held to the same standards of conduct that the world is demanding of everyone else. Still, we must recognize that this long-term peace work is the most promising way. With that in mind, we offer in this issue several articles about reconciliation and the quest for peace and justice in such places as Cuba and Kosovo.