A closer look at the Bush record -- from
the war in Iraq to the war on the environment
take the exit ramp off the Bush presidency in November?
Colin Powell's Legend
Colin Powell's sterling reputation in Washington hides his life-long role
as water-carrier for conservative ideologues.
Recounting the controversial presidential campaign
Is the national media a danger to democracy?
The Clinton Scandals
The story behind President Clinton's impeachment
Pinochet & Other Characters
The Dark Side of Rev. Moon
Rev. Sun Myung Moon and American politics
Contra drug stories uncovered
How the American historical record has been tainted by lies and cover-ups
The October Surprise
The 1980 October Surprise scandal exposed
From free trade to the Kosovo crisis
Other Investigative Stories
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Iran, Bush & Nuremberg
May 15, 2006
Editor's Note: What has been
perhaps most mind-boggling about George W. Bush's presidency is its
consistent inconsistency on the application of law, both at home and
abroad. Bush demands respect for the law from U.S. citizens and lectures
foreign countries on the need to abide by international norms, while
simultaneously flouting the rules when they apply to him or his
For instance, Vice President
Dick Cheney upbraided Russia for its use of economic power -- i.e.
control of energy -- to coerce a neighbor, but Bush goes even beyond
economic power, to include military might, to force countries to do what
Bush wants, with the unprovoked invasion of Iraq the most notable
example, followed now by the implicit threat of an attack against Iran.
All the while, the mainstream American news media acts as if
nothing's amiss, that it's entirely normal for the United States to
attack nations that are perceived as somehow presenting a theoretical
future threat to U.S. interests -- and for Bush self-righteously to
adopt contradictory positions for other countries. In this guest essay,
Peter Dyer reminds us that there have been rules and principles set
through time that prohibit violence except in immediate self-defense:
There is an
old and cynical maxim: “The more people one kills, the less likely one
is to be punished.”
One of the most pernicious consequences of the
invasion of Iraq is that in the United States it is now apparently
accepted virtually without challenge that aggressive war is a legitimate
tool of American foreign policy.
I have seen nothing in the mainstream American
media discussion of the pros and cons of a “preemptive” assault on Iran
by the United States which deals with the possibility that this may be
illegal or even morally wrong. So far this is simply not part of the
We Americans are afflicted with historical, legal
and moral amnesia. It used to be that most of us thought it was wrong to
invade a country which had neither harmed us nor was imminently ready to
harm us. There is a solid legal and moral foundation for this belief.
Crucial to this foundation are:
Article VI of the U.S. Constitution: “This
Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in
pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under
the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the
Chapter 1, Articles 3 and 4 of the United Nations
Charter: a treaty which the U.S. not only signed but had a major role in
bringing to life: “All Members shall settle their international disputes
by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and
security, and justice, are not endangered. All Members shall refrain in
their international relations from the threat or use of force against
the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in
any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
This language was incorporated into the Nuclear Non
Proliferation Treaty which the U.S. also signed and had a major role in
bringing to life.
The Nuremberg Charter,
Section II Article 6: “The
following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the
jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual
responsibility: (a) Crimes Against Peace: namely, planning, preparation,
initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of
In 1946, the United Nations General Assembly
unanimously adopted Resolution 95 (1), affirming “the principles of
International Law recognized by the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal
and the judgment of the Tribunal.”
The Bible: Exodus Chapter 20, Verse 13: “Thou shalt
Unfortunately, it couldn’t be more clear that those
people who are responsible for the war in Iraq, and who are now
calculating the cost/benefits analysis of an American attack on Iran,
leaving “all options on the table”, are operating on the premise that
they are allowed to start killing other people any time they want.
And it couldn’t be more clear that they are wrong.
It boils down to two fundamentals: 1) Nobody is above the law and 2)
Thou shalt not kill.
The calls for impeachment of President Bush and
other architects of the war of aggression in Iraq are growing. What we
really need to do though, in my opinion, is to arrest them and put them
on trial for this crime.
Again, from the Nuremberg Charter, Section II,
Article 7: “The official position of defendants, whether as Heads of
State or responsible officials in Government Departments, shall not be
considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating
In November of 1945 in his opening statement at the
first Nuremberg trial, chief American prosecutor U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Robert Jackson said: “We must never forget that the record on
which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history
will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is
to put it to our own lips as well.”
The men and women in the Bush administration are
not possessed of any unusual innate or acquired characteristics or
privileges which render them above the law. To the contrary, they are
public servants and we hired them to preserve, protect and defend the
And while many Americans may have difficulty
visualizing these people under arrest and on trial, the legacy of the
Sixth Commandment, of Nuremberg, of the U.N. Charter and of the U.S.
Constitution is clear.
Peter Dyer is a machinist who moved with his wife from California to
New Zealand in 2004. (This essay was originally published in the Winters
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