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Friday, June 11, 2004

US War Crimes

The Center for Economic and Social Rights (PDF):

The Bush Administration is committing war crimes and other serious violations of international law in Iraq as a matter of routine policy. Beyond the now-infamous examples of torture, rape, and murder at Abu Ghraib prison, the United States has ignored international law governing military occupation and violated the full range of Iraqis’ national and human rights—economic, social, civil and political rights.

The systematic nature of these violations provides compelling evidence of a policy that is rotten at its core and requires fundamental change. The occupation of Iraq is not leading to greater respect for rights and democracy, as promised by the Bush Administration, but rather entrenching a climate of lawlessness and feeding an increasing spiral of violent conflict that will not end until the occupation ends and underlying issues of justice are addressed. The question is: how long will it take, and how many lives will be lost, before Iraqis are able to exercise genuine self-determination and control their own destiny? This report by the Center for Economic and Social Rights documents ten categories of U.S. violations:

1. Failure to Allow Self-Determination.
2. Failure to Provide Public Order and Safety.
3. Unlawful Attacks.
4. Unlawful Detention and Torture.
5. Collective Punishment.
6. Failure to Ensure Vital Services.
7. Failure to Protect the Rights to Health and Life.
8. Failure to Protect the Rights to Food and Education.
9. Failure to Protect the Right to Work.
10. Fundamentally Changing the Economy.

This report is grounded in the assumption that the U.S. is not above the law, but rather should be bound and limited by law. Such limitation would have profound implications for Bush Administration policies in Iraq. International law forbids imperialism in any guise; forbids unilateral aggression in the guise of “pre-emptive” war; forbids military occupation in the guise of providing security; forbids hand-picking political leaders in the guise of promoting democracy; forbids economic pillage in the guise of reconstruction; forbids extraterritorial impunity for war crimes in the guise of establishing rule of law; and forbids criminalizing resistance in the guise of fighting terrorism. In essence, the entire thrust of U.S. policy in Iraq stands in contradiction to the post-World War II legal order and particularly the legal framework governing occupation.

While the U.S. is clearly obligated to comply with occupation law, the primary conclusion to be drawn is that the occupation itself is the root cause of ongoing war crimes and rights violations documented in this report. The violations will not end until the occupation ends and Iraqis are allowed to exercise genuine self-determination. Justice will not be done until all war criminals—U.S. as well as Iraqi—are put in the dock and held to account, and the U.S. pays reparations for the devastation inflicted on Iraqi society by its unlawful policies and practices. These must be the primary demands of the international  community—governments, multilateral institutions, civil society actors, social movements, and people of conscience everywhere.

The report demands that the US stop the violations, end the occupation, establish accountability and pay reparations.  I make the same demands, though none of this is going to happen under the Bush Regime.  Sadly, I don't believe President Kerry will do any better in this regard.


June 11, 2004 in Conscience | Permalink


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I hope you were proclaiming just as loud when Saddam was conducting his own batch of war crimes.

Posted by: Joshua | Jun 11, 2004 8:53:35 PM

Were you when we were arming him? Were you when we ignored his genocide of the Kurds? Were you when we encouraged the Shia to rise up against him without providing them support?

Were you steadfast in your support of Clinton when he stopped Serbian ethnic cleansing? Were you beating the drum of war when the tragedy in Rwanda was taking place? Were you this gung-ho about illegal preventive warfare when the North Koreans were starving their people?

It is my government doing this. My goddamned tax dollars have gone to support this fucking criminal endeavor. I can't believe that you can type what you typed apparently without the slightest sense of guilt: that because Saddam was evil, we can't call our own rulers on their evil.

This is the United States of America, for Christ's sake! We. Are. Better. Than. This. Supposed to be, anyway.

Talk to me about moral relativism when we stop acting like criminals.

Posted by: NTodd | Jun 11, 2004 9:09:23 PM

The war crimes being committed in the name of the United States by Mr. Bush and his top officials, both civilian and military, can only be atoned by them serving hard prison time.

The first poster places the United States on the same playing field as Saddam's Iraq. I for one think that it is derogatory, insulting, and a perversion first to the founders of this nation and second to the ideals that are embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The criminal intent of Mr. Bush and his subordinates in the treatment of prisoners and the nonsensical term "enemy combatants" is shown by the recently surfaced memos by the White House legal consul Alberto Gonzales, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Defense. The chronology of the memos show that there was intent to commit acts that are defined as war crimes under Geneva Conventions at least 18 months before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke open. The intent of the memos define the scope and methodology of evading both U.S. laws and military J.A.G. protocols, bypassing the Internation Convention on Torture, and the binding Geneva Convention under Article Six of the U.S. Constitution.

Mr. Bush and his administration is criminal in intent and action. The rule of law must prevail as understood and implemented by the Constitution of the United States of America and Mr. Bush has sworn to uphold and defend. However, the clear and unambiguous intent and actions by Mr. Bush, with the support of his administration, has shown that "high crimes and misdemeanors" has been committed against the Constitution.

Your Congressional representative must look, beyond party and partisanship, at their sworn oath not to a president but to the Constitution. Congressional action must be taken in order to preserve the Constitution from the unchecked grab for power by Mr. Bush which is a direct threat to the Constitution.

Posted by: ken | Jun 13, 2004 11:20:36 PM

What my point was: the worlds stands by while people are murdered all over the world. The U.N. is useless yet we should listen to the rules of conduct they lay down? I don't believe it's a good idea to create an even bigger beauracracy that can tie up matters for an even longer period of time before they are dealt with. We think that the U.S. should bow to the world "laws" yet at the same time we are completely content to sit back and see these same laws protect crazy people who act according to no known logic. It's foolish to think that we can logically deal with an illogical party. It's even crazier to think that we can accomplish anything on a global stage when every country is only looking out for its own good.

Posted by: Joshua | Jun 14, 2004 8:59:10 PM

We think that the U.S. should bow to the world "laws" yet at the same time we are completely content to sit back and see these same laws protect crazy people who act according to no known logic.

Yes, because we're better than the bad guys. I am not going to stand by while my government commits evil in my name.

It's foolish to think that we can logically deal with an illogical party.

You've certainly demonstrated that.

Posted by: NTodd | Jun 16, 2004 8:28:26 AM

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