Tags: Stephen Harper, Canada, Bush Doctrine, United Nations, foreign policy, canada government, security council, thomas walkom
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(Roger’s note: This article describes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s taking the Canadian government into the world of the Bush Doctrine. Unfortunately, this will be irreversible [at least in the short run]. The reason for this is that the only possible successor to the Harper government is a Liberal government led by Michael Ignatieff, who is no less hawkish or slavishly beholden to US foreign policy than is Harper. We have seen in the US, the transition for the Bush government to the fraudulent Obama has not changed its foreign policy one iota . An NDP government in Canada is perhaps the only possible means of altering the course of Canadian foreign policy, but that would take a minor miracle to happen.)
By Thomas Walkom National Affairs Columnist, Toronto Star, October 13, 2010
Free beer and maple syrup aren’t enough. By denying Canada a seat on the United Nations Security Council, the rest of the world has served notice that – in its view – this country’s foreign policy is bankrupt.
That’s not because the 192 other nations that make up the UN General Assembly particularly dislike Canada. They don’t.
But clearly, a vast majority prefer the Canada they thought they knew, a Canada that strove to defuse international tensions by focusing not just on who was right or wrong but on what was fair and reasonable.
In that sense, Tuesday’s vote was the world’s response to Prime Minister Stephen Harper – a great, big raspberry for the man who has attempted to introduce what he calls a new morality into the realm of Canadian foreign affairs.
The theory of this new morality was outlined by Harper in a 2003 magazine article.
Writing at a time when many thought George W. Bush’s Iraq War defensible, Harper excoriated Canada’s then-Liberal government for not taking part in that conflict – a reluctance that he said stemmed from the “moral relativism, moral neutrality and moral equivalency” of the left.
A truly conservative government, he pledged, would sweep away this “moral nihilism” and base its foreign policy on rock-ribbed values.
Once in office, Harper attempted to do just that. His stubborn defence of Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen imprisoned in China, threatened trade relations with Beijing. But the prime minister held firm, vowing that Canada’s foreign policy would note be governed by “the almighty dollar.”
This repudiation of dollar diplomacy didn’t last long. Under business pressure, Harper soon moved to improve relations with China’s dictators. These days, the prime minister rarely mentions Celil’s name.
But the so-called new morality lived on in a different form, focusing less on abstract principles like human rights, and more on choosing sides.
In this view of the world, there are few grey areas. If Colombia’s government is fighting terrorists, then it is right – no matter how vicious its own death squads.
If Israel is fighting suicide bombers, then its actions – however dubious in terms of international law – are justified.
With Harper, Canada’s more measured approach to the Middle East came to an abrupt end. Under the new morality, Israel was right, period.
Harper lauded both its 2006 incursion into Lebanon and its later attack on Gaza. When a Canadian soldier on duty as a UN observer in Lebanon was targeted and killed by Israeli forces, the prime minister made little fuss.
In the new, Conservative moral universe, Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener was merely collateral damage in an apocalyptic battle between good and evil
Indeed, the Harper government’s new morality applied to the UN itself. To those looking for certainty in foreign affairs, the UN – an organization based on compromise – is by definition corrupt, a haven of moral relativists.
Last year, Harper showed his disdain for the world body by skipping out of a meeting of the UN General Assembly to attend a photo op at an Oakville doughnut shop.
This year Canada cut off its aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (which works in Hamas-controlled Gaza and is deemed suspect by Israel), channeling it instead to the anti-Hamas Palestinian Authority.
Belatedly, when he recognized the political embarrassment he could suffer from failing to win a security council seat, Harper switched his approach. He spoke of his respect for the world body. He lobbied the leaders of small countries.
In New York, Canadian diplomats reportedly tried to woo their counterparts with cases of free beer and maple syrup.
But it was too late. The world had seen enough of Canada’s new, I’m-right-you’re-wrong approach to foreign affairs. And it decided it preferred us the way we used to be.
The ‘Obama Doctrine’: Kill, Don’t Detain April 12, 2010Posted by rogerhollander in War, War on Terror.
Tags: Anwar al-Awlaki, asim qureshi, Bush Doctrine, civilian casualties, drone, drone missiles, extrajudicial killings, Guantanamo, human rights, International law, military commissions, obama doctrine, pakistan, pre-emptive war, predator drone, presidential assassination, roger hollander, targeted assassination, unmanned missiles
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(Roger’s Note: Bush and Obama define the entire world as a battlefield in the “war on terror.” Since the rules of war say that the enemy has no rights (Bush said adios to the Geneva Conventions and Obama, the law professor, has dittoed it), you shoot to kill and ask questions later. Hence, unmanned drone missiles, and watch out if you’re throwing a big wedding party in rural Pakistan. Hence, if the president/CIA believes that an American citizen has gone over to the enemy, the latter has sacrificed any rights he might have had. Individual terrorists used to be hunted down using police methods. Now, terrorism is viewed as an organized global army and the rules of war apply.
The obvious solution to the geometric growth of terrorists would be to address the root cause: US imperial military and commercial expansion (and, to a large extent, uncritical support of the Israeli government). But, since the president and Congress are for all intents and purposes owned by the military-industrial complex, this sane option is effectively off the table.
What we are left with is permanent war (the more we attack terrorism militarily, the more it grows, the more it needs to be attacked, and on and on). Conclusion: militarized corporate America, with the government, media and education system becoming more integrated with this Behemoth on a daily basis, is the deeper root. This is what needs to be addressed.)
by Asim Qureshi
George Bush left a big problem in the shape of Guantánamo. The solution? Don’t capture bad guys, assassinate by drone
In 2001, Charles Krauthammer first coined the phrase “Bush Doctrine”, which would later become associated most significantly with the legal anomaly known as pre-emptive strike. Understanding the doctrine with hindsight could lead to a further understanding of the legacy that the former administration left – the choice to place concerns of national security over even the most entrenched norms of due process and the rule of law. It is, indeed, this doctrine that united people across the world in their condemnation of Guantánamo Bay.
The ambitious desire to close Guantánamo hailed the coming of a new era, a feeling implicitly recognised by the Nobel peace prize that President Obama received. Unfortunately, what we witnessed was a false dawn. The lawyers for the Guantánamo detainees with whom I am in touch in the US speak of their dismay as they prepare for Obama to do the one thing they never expected – to send the detainees back to the military commissions – a decision that will lose Obama all support he once had within the human rights community.
Worse still, a completely new trend has emerged that, in many ways, is more dangerous than the trends under Bush. Extrajudicial killings and targeted assassinations will soon become the main point of contention that Obama’s administration will need to justify. Although Bush was known for his support for such policies, the extensive use of drones under Obama have taken the death count well beyond anything that has been seen before.
Harold Koh, the legal adviser to the US state department, explained the justifications behind unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) when addressing the American Society of International Law’s annual meeting on 25 March 2010:
“[I]t is the considered view of this administration … that targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war … As recent events have shown, al-Qaida has not abandoned its intent to attack the United States, and indeed continues to attack us. Thus, in this ongoing armed conflict, the United States has the authority under international law, and the responsibility to its citizens, to use force, including lethal force, to defend itself, including by targeting persons such as high-level al Qaeda leaders who are planning attacks … [T]his administration has carefully reviewed the rules governing targeting operations to ensure that these operations are conducted consistently with law of war principles … “[S]ome have argued that the use of lethal force against specific individuals fails to provide adequate process and thus constitutes unlawful extrajudicial killing. But a state that is engaged in armed conflict or in legitimate self-defense is not required to provide targets with legal process before the state may use lethal force. Our procedures and practices for identifying lawful targets are extremely robust, and advanced technologies have helped to make our targeting even more precise. In my experience, the principles of distinction and proportionality that the United States applies are not just recited at meeting. They are implemented rigorously throughout the planning and execution of lethal operations to ensure that such operations are conducted in accordance with all applicable law.”
The legal justifications put forward by Koh are reminiscent of the arguments that were used by John Yoo and others in their bid to lend legitimacy to unlawful practices such as rendition, arbitrary detention and torture. The main cause for concern from Koh’s statements is the implication that protective jurisdiction to which the US feels it is entitled in order to carry out operations anywhere in the world still continues under Obama. The laws of war do not allow for the targeting of individuals outside of the conflict zone, and yet we now find that extrajudicial killings are taking place in countries as far apart as Yemen, the Horn of Africa and Pakistan. From a legal and moral perspective, the rationale provided by the State Department is bankrupt and only reinforces the stereotype that the US has very little concern for its own principles.
Despite the legalities of what is being conducted, the actuality of extrajudicial killings, especially through UAVs is frightening. The recent revelations by WikiLeaks on the killing of civilians by US Apache helicopters in Iraq has strongly highlighted the opportunities for misuse surrounding targeting from the air. In the Iraq case, there were soldiers who were supposed to be using the equipment to identify so-called combatants, and yet they still managed to catastrophically target the wrong people. This situation is made even worse in the case of UAVs, where the operators are far removed from the reality of the conflict and rely on digital images to see what is taking place on the ground.
Conservative estimates from thinktanks such as the New American Foundation claim that civilian causalities from drone attacks are around one in three, although this figure is disputed by the Pakistani authorities. According to Pakistani official statistics, every month an average of 58 civilians were killed during 2009. Of the 44 Predator drone attacks that year, only five targets were correctly identified; the result was over 700 civilian casualties.
Regardless of the figures used, the case that extrajudicial killings are justified is extremely weak, and the number of civilian casualties is far too high to justify their continued use.
A further twist to the Obama Doctrine is the breaking of a taboo that the Bush administration balked at – the concept of treating US citizens outside of the US constitutional process. During the Bush era, the treatment of detainees such as John Walker Lindh, Yasser Hamdi and Jose Padilla showed reluctance by officials to treat their own nationals in the way it had all those of other nationalities (by, for instance, sending them to Guantánamo Bay and other secret prisons). The policy of discrimination reserved for US citizens showed that there was a line the US was not willing to cross.
At least, today, we can strike discrimination off the list of grievances against the current president. The National Security Council of the US has now given specific permission to the CIA to target certain US citizens as part of counter-terrorism operations. Specifically, Anwar al-Awlaki has been singled out for such treatment, as it has been claimed that he was directly involved in the planning of the Major Hasan Nidal killings and the Christmas Day bomber attacks. Indeed, it is claims such as this that bring the entire concept of targeted assassinations into question. The US would like us to believe that we should simply trust that they have the relevant evidence and information to justify such a killing, without bringing the individual to account before a court.
The assumption that trust should be extended to a government that has involved itself in innumerable unlawful and unconscionable practices since the start of the war on terror is too much to ask. Whatever goodwill the US government had after 9/11 was destroyed by the way in which it prosecuted its wars. Further, the hope that came with the election of Barack Obama has faded as his policies have indicated nothing more than a reconfiguration of the basic tenet of the Bush Doctrine – that the US’s national security interests supersede any consideration of due process or the rule of law. The only difference – witness the rising civilian body count from drone attacks – being that Obama’s doctrine is even more deadly.
© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited
Tags: Bush Doctrine, civilian casualties, drone missiles, jeremy scahill, Obama, obama's war, Osama bin laden, pakistan, pakistan covert war, pakistan drone, pakistan mercenaries, pakistan sovereignty, pakistan war, permanent war, roger hollander, Taliban, undeclared war, us aid pakistan, us embassy pakistan
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In a new interview, Obama said he has “no intention” of sending US troops into Pakistan. But US troops are already in the country and US drones attack Pakistan regularly.
by Jeremy Scahill
Three days after his inauguration, on January 23, 2009, President Barack Obama ordered US predator drones to attack sites inside of Pakistan, reportedly killing 15 people. It was the first documented attack ordered by the new US Commander in Chief inside of Pakistan. Since that first Obama-authorized attack, the US has regularly bombed Pakistan, killing scores of civilians. The New York Times reported that the attacks were clear evidence Obama “is continuing, and in some cases extending, Bush administration policy.” In the first 99 days of 2009, more than 150 people were reportedly killed in these drone attacks. The most recent documented attack was reportedly last Thursday in Waziristan. Since 2006, the US drone strikes have killed 687 people (as of April). That amounts to about 38 deaths a month just from drone attacks.
The use of these attack drones by Obama should not come as a surprise to anyone who followed his presidential campaign closely. As a candidate, Obama made clear that Pakistan’s sovereignty was subservient to US interests, saying he would attack with or without the approval of the Pakistani government. Obama said if the US had “actionable intelligence” that “high value” targets were in Pakistan, the US would attack. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, echoed those sentiments on the campaign trail and “did not rule out U.S. attacks inside Pakistan, citing the missile attacks her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, ordered against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998. ‘If we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured,’ she said.”
Last weekend, Obama granted his first extended interview with a Pakistani media outlet, the newspaper Dawn:
Responding to a question about drone attacks inside Pakistan’s tribal zone, Mr Obama said he did not comment on specific operations.‘But I will tell you that we have no intention of sending US troops into Pakistan. Pakistan and its military are dealing with their security issues.’
There are a number of issues raised by this brief response offered by Obama. First, the only difference between using these attack drones and using actual US soldiers on the ground is that the soldiers are living beings. These drones sanitize war and reduce the US death toll while still unleashing military hell disproportionately on civilians. The bottom line is that the use of drones inside the borders of Pakistan amounts to the same violation of sovereignty that would result from sending US soldiers inside the country. Obama defended the attacks in the Dawn interview, saying:
“Our primary goal is to be a partner and a friend to Pakistan and to allow Pakistan to thrive on its own terms, respecting its own traditions, respecting its own culture. We simply want to make sure that our common enemies, which are extremists who would kill innocent civilians, that that kind of activity is stopped, and we believe that it has to be stopped whether it’s in the United States or in Pakistan or anywhere in the world.”
Despite Obama’s comments about respecting Pakistan “on its own terms,” this is how Reuters recently described the arrangement between Pakistan and the US regarding drone attacks:
U.S. ally Pakistan objects to the U.S. missile strikes, saying they violate its sovereignty and undermine efforts to deal with militancy because they inflame public anger and bolster support for the militants.Washington says the missile strikes are carried out under an agreement with Islamabad that allows Pakistani leaders to publicly criticise the attacks. Pakistan denies any such agreement.
Pakistan is now the biggest recipient of US aid with the House of Representatives recently approving a tripling of money to Pakistan to about $1.5 billion a year for five years. Moreover, US special forces are already operating inside of Pakistan, along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Baluchistan. According to the Wall Street Journal, US Special Forces are:
training Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force responsible for battling the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, who cross freely between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the officials said. The U.S. trainers aren’t meant to fight alongside the Pakistanis or accompany them into battle, in part because there will be so few Special Forces personnel in the two training camps.A senior American military officer said he hoped Islamabad would gradually allow the U.S. to expand its training footprint inside Pakistan’s borders.
In February, The New York Times reported that US forces are also engaged in other activities inside of Pakistan:
American Special Operations troops based in Afghanistan have also carried out a number of operations into Pakistan’s tribal areas since early September, when a commando raid that killed a number of militants was publicly condemned by Pakistani officials. According to a senior American military official, the commando missions since September have been primarily to gather intelligence.
It is clear-and has been for a long time- that the Obama administration is radically expanding the US war in Afghanistan deeply into Pakistan. Whether it is through US military trainers (that’s what they were called in Vietnam too), drone attacks or commando raids inside the country, the US is militarily entrenched in Pakistan. It makes Obama’s comment that “[W]e have no intention of sending US troops into Pakistan” simply unbelievable.
For a sense of how significant US operations are and will continue to be for years and years to come, just look at the US plan to build an almost $1 billion massive US “embassy” in Islamabad, which is reportedly modeled after the imperial city they call a US embassy in Baghdad. As we know very clearly from Iraq, such a complex will result in an immediate surge in the deployment of US soldiers, mercenaries and other contractors.
© 2009 Jeremy Scahill
Tags: Bush Doctrine, cia, douglas lute, International law, Obama, pakistan, pakistan civilian casualties, pakistan escalation, pakistan missile strikes, peace, Petraeus, roger hollander, special operations commandos, Taliban, war
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Roger Hollander, March 17, 2009, www.rogerhollander.wordpress.com
An article in today’s New York Times ( http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/18/world/asia/18terror.html?_r=1&hp) states that “President Obama and his national security advisers are considering expanding the American covert war in Pakistan far beyond the unruly tribal areas to strike at a different center of Taliban power in Baluchistan, where top Taliban leaders are orchestrating attacks into southern Afghanistan.”
The article cites “senior administration officials” who divulge that two high level reports that have been forwarded to White House call for “broadening the target area to reach the Taliban and other insurgent groups to a major sanctuary in and around the city of Quetta.”
Apparently the reports were generated by “groups led by both Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of American forces in the region, and Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, a top White House official on Afghanistan.” The Times article adds that “many of Mr. Obama’s advisers are also urging him to sustain orders issued last summer by President George W. Bush to continue Predator drone attacks against a wider range of targets in the tribal areas, and to conduct cross-border ground actions, using C.I.A. and Special Operations commandos.”
Almost as an afterthought, the article mentions that “Pakistan complains that the strikes violate its sovereignty.” In previous reporting on U.S. Missile strikes into Pakistan, which since Obama was inaugurated have claimed dozens of civilian lives, it has been suggested that the Pakistani government’s complaints are for home comsumption only and that it secretly is in support of the U.S. raids. This reminds one of the disgusting old argument that the rape victim really enjoyed it.
Just as Congress and the mainstream media slept while the Bush Administration trampled the U.S. Constitution and committed blatant war crimes, no one seems to be outraged that the new Administration is openly violating the most fundamental tenet of international law with unprovoked attacks on a sovereign nation.
Many of us who voted for Obama based upon his committment to reverse the Bush Doctrine have been more than disappointed with his hawkish appointments, his defense of the “state secrets privilege,” his tacit support of the Israeli massacre in Gaza, and his non-withdrawal withdrawal speech on Iraq. However, none of these compare with his barely noted incursions into Pakistan. For Bush, the bogus “war on terror” knew no limits. To see Obama further expanding military operations into a third country and to see him doing it without public debate or Congressional approval tells us that change we could believe in has turned out to be nothing more than the kind of cheap rhetoric that, ironically, his hawkish opponents (first Clinton, then McCain) warned against.
Barack Obama: International Outlaw? January 30, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in About Barack Obama, About War, Barack Obama.
Tags: Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, Bush Doctrine, child casualties, civil rights movement, civilian casualties, commander-in-chief, International law, Iraq, martin luther king, nationa security strategy, national sovereignty, obama outlaw, Obama war criminal, pakistan, pakistan missiles, preventive war, Robert Gates, roger hollander, War Crimes
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Have we become so inured to the United States government willy-nilly violating international law that it hardly registers in the mainstream media when the new “change” president continues in the same tradition?
Of all the disappointments and mis-appointments (Gates and Clinton, Sumers and Rubin) Barack Obama has laid on his most progressive followers, none compares with his continuing to send missiles into Pakistan.
The most fundamental principle of international law is that no nation has the right to unilaterally attack another unless first attacked. In his notorious National Security Strategy document of 2002, George W. Bush introduced what has become know as the Bush Doctrine, which includes the notion that the United States reserves the right to engage in “preventive” war. This euphemism for international outlawry is used to justify the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Then, by declaring a phony “war on terrorism,” Bush in effect created a justification for the United States to attack anyone at any time.
In the context of international legal vacuum (no court with the authority or wherewithal to prosecute a criminal government) and a “might makes right” U.S. foreign policy, the United States military can pretty much get away with whatever its Commander-in-Chief decides to do.
Barack Obama was elected by the American people precisely to cease and desist from such unlawful practices as torture, spying on its own people, holding prisoners indefinitely without charges, and unprovoked attacks on sovereign nations.
Sadly, he authorized missile attacks on Pakistan on January 23 (BBC) and January 26 (Reuters) in which as many as 22 were killed, including at least three children (according to reports).
According to the Reuters report of January 27, Obama’s Secretary of Defence, the Bush holdover Robert Gates stated, “Both President Bush and President Obama have made clear that we will go after al Qaeda wherever al Qaeda is and we will continue to pursue that.”
Along with Obama’s stated intention to escalate the War in Afghanistan, this bodes ill for the kind of change he led us to expect. One speculates that Obama may feel he needs to show the hawks and his military commanders that he has sufficient macho to fulfill the role of Commander in Chief. Much has been made of the historic antecedent to the election of the country’s first African-American president, the Civil Right Movement and in particular Dr. King. What we should remember is that Dr. King faced angry racist police in the South and their vicious dogs; he spent time in their jails; whereas Barack Obama rose to the presidency through making inspirational speeches and raising millions of campaign dollars. What he has yet to show us is that he is a man of courage.
It is tragic that he has not had the guts from the beginning to face down the hawks in his own party much less the militaristic Republicans. It is not too late. We know he can talk the talk. We need to see him walk the walk.
(For more on the Pakistan attack, read Amy Goodman’s interview on Democracynow!
To Support and Defend: A Message to US Senators and Representatives January 23, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Criminal Justice, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Iraq and Afghanistan, Torture, War.
Tags: Alberto Gonzales, Bush Doctrine, congress, constitution, criminal charges, david addington, Dick Cheney, geneva conventions, George Bush, government oath, habeas corpus, illegal wire tapping, john kerry, oath of office, phillip butler, preemptivie war, roger hollander, rumsfeld, torture, vietnam pow, william haynes
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23 January 2009. www.truthout.org
by: Phillip Butler, Ph.D., t r u t h o u t | Perspective
“I, Phillip Neal Butler, having been appointed a Midshipman in the United States Navy, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.” (Oath of Office, July 1, 1957.)
Upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1961, I had the honor of repeating this oath to be commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy. I served 20 years as an active duty commissioned officer. During that time, I became a naval aviator, flew combat in Vietnam, was downed over North Vietnam on April 20, 1965, and became a prisoner of war. I was repatriated on February 12, 1973, having served 2,855 days and nights as a POW – just short of eight years. The Vietnamese were not signatories to any international treaties on treatment of prisoners. They pronounced us “criminals” and freely used torture, harassment, malnutrition, isolation, lack of medical care, and other degradations during our captivity. I was tortured dozens of times during my captivity. But I often thought of our Constitution and the higher purpose we served – a purpose that helped me resist beyond what I thought I’d ever be capable of. Ironically, we POWs often reminded each other “that our country would never stoop to torture and the low level of treatment we were experiencing at the hands of our captors.”
This Oath of Office, the same one sworn to by all officers, government officials, presidential cabinet members, senators and representatives of our nation, has had a powerful effect on me. It has given me an over-arching purpose in life: to serve the greatest and most influential legal document ever written. The only different oath is specified for the president of the United States in Constitution Article II, Section 1 (8.) It mandates that he or she will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”
So, what in the world has happened during the past eight years of the George W. Bush administration? The only defensible answer is that he and his subordinates have trampled our precious Constitution and the rule of law into the ground, while our elected members of Congress have stood idly and complicitly by. Our highest elected officials have utterly failed in their duty of greatest responsibility.
During these years, we have seen gross attempts to institutionalize torture. Our Constitution, Article VI, (2), commonly known as the “Supremacy” clause, clearly states that treaties made shall become “the supreme law of the land,” thus elevating them to the level of constitutional law.
The Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, ratified in 1949, states in Article 17, “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.” This and numerous other ratified treaties clearly stipulate that “prisoners” is an inclusive term that is not limited to any nation’s uniformed combatants.
Other gross Bush administration crimes, in addition to authorizing torture, of general and constitutional law include: 1) the use of “signing statements” to illegally refrain from complying with laws, 2) authorization of the illegal suspension of Habeas Corpus, 3) authorization of wire tapping and other intrusive methods to illegally spy on American citizens, 4) unilateral declaration and pre-emptive conduct of war in violation of US Constitution Article I, Section 8 (11).
These violations of our Constitution and rule of law have resulted in reducing our nation to the level of international pariah. Our beacon of liberty and justice no longer shines throughout the world. We no longer set the example for other nations to follow. We no longer stand on a firm foundation. We have lost our national, moral gyro.
I despair when I think of the personal sacrifices made by so many in US wars and conflicts since 1776. If our forefathers were here to see, they would surely be angry and disappointed. And I think they would issue a clarion call for redress and setting an example for the world by punishing those who are guilty. The only way our nation can right itself is for Congress to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes.
I, therefore, call on my elected representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives to bring criminal charges against President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, legal counsel William J. Haynes, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former legal counsel David Addington, and potentially other high officials and uniformed officers. There is no other option if you are to carry out your responsibilities. Citizens of the United States and of the world are watching you. Do your duty. Support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Note: This article was written for and at the request of Sen. John Kerry, to use as leverage with his Senate colleagues.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND PASS THE AMMUNITION December 13, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in About Barack Obama, About George Bush, About War, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tags: Afghanistan, ammunition, Bush, Bush Doctrine, christ, christmas, ferlinghetti, foreign policy, hawks, insanity, Iraq, jesus, Obama, peace, permanent war, pre-emptive war, roger hollander, targeted assassination, war, war on drugs, war on terrorism
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(“C’est La Guerre,” Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1988)
War on Drugs, War on Terrorism, Pre-emptive War,
Targeted Assassination, the Bush Doctrine:
“Well, maybe not such a quick withdrawal from Iraq
“Send more to kill and die in Afghanistan.”
PEACE ON EARTH GOOD WILL
“Remember Pearl Harbor!” December 7, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in George W. Bush, Iraq and Afghanistan, Political Commentary.
Tags: 1941, Add new tag, Bush, Bush Doctrine, december 7, foreign policy, germany, infamy, Iraq, Iraq war, japan, japanese, john lamperti, military aggression, national security strategy, nuclear weapons, pakistan, pearl harbor, pre-emptive war, preeemption, preventive war, roger hollander, roosevelt, surprise attacl, Syria, war criminals, world war II
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Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. (Photo: National Archive and Records Administration)
Sunday 07 December 2008
by: John Lamperti, t r u t h o u t | Perspective, www.truthout.org
“Pre-emptive” war, then and now.
The name Pearl Harbor resonates in American history; it is synonymous with the U.S. entry into World War II. It stands for tragedy – and for treachery. On December 7, 1941, Japanese carrier-based aircraft attacked United States naval and air forces in the Hawaiian Islands, and scored a major victory. Over 2,300 U.S. military personnel lost their lives – almost half of them when the battleship Arizona was blown up and sunk by bombs and torpedoes. The U. S. Pacific fleet was devastated. The next day President Franklin Roosevelt called for a declaration of war, and described December 7, 1941, and the Japanese attack as “a date which will live in infamy.”
But why, exactly, was the Pearl Harbor attack “infamous”? The Japanese planes attacked strictly military targets and there were relatively few civilian casualties. The battle was a terrible blow for the American forces, which were taken completely by surprise. But a surprise attack is not infamous in wartime; every military commander would like to attack by surprise if possible. Nor did the bitter facts of U.S. defeat and heavy losses make the raid criminal. President Roosevelt used the word “infamy” because the raid was an act of military aggression. Until that moment Japan and the United States were not at war, although their conflicting interests had been threatening to boil over. The attack turned a dispute into a war; Pearl Harbor was a crime because the Japanese struck first.
Sixty years after Pearl Harbor, the administration of G. W. Bush has made “preemption” an official part of U.S. policy. According to this so-called “Bush Doctrine,” the United States claims the right to use military force whenever it determines that its security or economic interests may be threatened by another nation in the future. The Bush National Security Strategy of 2002 states that “The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction – and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.” In other words, if it is to our advantage, we will strike first – begin a war – when we see a potential threat.
That is exactly what the Japanese did in 1941, when the United States posed a huge threat to their leaders’ conception of Japan’s national interests. With bases reaching across the Pacific, the U.S. Navy, in particular, was potentially a major obstacle to Japanese expansion in China and Southeast Asia. Moreover, the United States had imposed an embargo on oil and steel shipments to Japan, a nation that depended on imports and had oil reserves sufficient for only about two years. By November 1941, negotiations to resolve or defuse these issues had stalled. Japanese military planners, by then in control of their country’s government, saw armed conflict with the United States as inevitable, and disabling U.S. naval power in the Pacific seemed essential for achieving their goals. They judged that a high-risk, high-gain surprise attack would give Japan its best chance for success. That is, they chose preemption.
After the war, the United States and its allies did not accept Japanese or German claims that their preemptive acts had been legitimate. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson was the chief allied prosecutor of major Axis war criminals. In August 1945 Jackson wrote: “We must make it clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it… Our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.” During the next few years, officials and military officers of both Germany and Japan were tried and convicted for planning and carrying out aggression by their countries’ armed forces. There was no exception for “preemptive war,” although some of the accused tried to use that concept in their defense. The Bush administration’s doctrine thus represents a reversal of long-standing principles of international law, principles that the United States has championed in the past.
In the years since 2002, far from reconsidering its doctrine of preemption, the Bush administration has reaffirmed and extended it. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, for example, was supposed to preempt the use by that nation of “weapons of mass destruction,” weapons which did not exist and could not in any case have threatened U.S. security. Moreover, the administration’s policy now specifically includes the possible use of nuclear weapons. The new (2005) nuclear doctrine identifies four conditions in which preemptive use of nuclear weapons could occur, including “An adversary intending to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S., multinational, or allies’ forces or civilian populations.” The preamble states: “The US does not make positive statements defining the circumstances under which it would use nuclear weapons.” This “calculated ambiguity” is said to “reinforce deterrence”; it is a sort of “mad dog” strategy meant to induce fear of our dangerous unpredictability. Such threats are both dangerous and immoral. Instead, there should be absolute clarity that this country will never attack another with nuclear weapons; starting a nuclear war would be an act that would truly “live in infamy.” A declared U.S. “no first use” policy is long overdue, as part of a genuine campaign for world-wide abolition.
The Bush administration has also broadened the scope of non-nuclear preemption, calling its policy an “expansive new definition of self-defense.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other officials recently cited this doctrine to justify attacks such as the October 26 raid inside Syria and others inside Pakistan. The policy, they said, permits strikes on “militant targets” in a sovereign nation without its consent when that nation does not act on its own as the U.S. wishes.
If these standards are applied to the Japan of 1941, the Pearl Harbor attack can no longer be seen as criminal; certainly George W. Bush and his associates are in no position to condemn it. For the rest of us, December 7, 1941 will remain a “day of infamy” as the war crimes tribunals concluded and as virtually all Americans have believed ever since. And if Japan’s attack on that day was infamous, the policy of preemption must be condemned as well. Preemptive war was not legitimate for the Japanese in 1941, and it is not legitimate for the United States today.
Any policy that plans for “preemptive” or “preventive” war to promote national interests must be considered criminal, for the same reasons as was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It is an urgent challenge for incoming U.S. President Barack Obama to repudiate the Bush Doctrine and correct this dangerous situation. The United States must once again “renounce and condemn” any policy of preemptive war.
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 In addition to the Arizona, the battleship Oklahoma was lost, three others were sunk or beached but later salvaged, and three more were damaged. In all, 18 ships were sunk or seriously damaged, 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, and 158 other planes were damaged. The Japanese lost 29 planes in the raid. (From Walter Lord, Day of Infamy, first edition 1957.)
 68 civilians were killed and 35 others wounded. There were some 40 explosions in the city of Honolulu, but all except one were caused by U.S. antiaircraft fire. (Lord, page 212.)
 The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, White House document, September 17, 2002, page. 19. Available on the web.
 Department of State Bulletin, June 10, 1945.
 Nazi leaders claimed, for example, that the 1940 German invasion of neutral Denmark and Norway was preemption, needed to “protect” them from an imminent British attack and occupation.
 The introduction of this terminology may have been intended to blur the distinction between chemical and biological weapons, which Iraq could conceivably have possessed in 2003 (although it in fact did not), and true weapons of mass destruction, i.e. nuclear weapons, which it could not have possessed.
 JP 3-12: Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations. Cited by Hans M. Kristensen in Arms Control Today, September 2005.
 Thom Shanker, “Gates Gives Rationale for Expanded Deterrence,” New York Times, October 28, 2008.
John Lamperti is a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Dartmouth College. He is the author of several books on the theory of probability and on random processes. Since 1985 one of his main interests has been Central America and what the United States has been doing there. He is the author of “Enrique Alvarez Cordova: Life of a Salvadoran Revolutionary and Gentleman“(MacFarland, 2006).