new revelations in Bob Woodward’s book,
Plan of Attack, provide further evidence to convict President George W.
Bush of war crimes.
As one of the 49 original signers of the UN Charter, the United States committed itself to the ideals and practices of the norms of international law. Only two U.S. senators voted against the treaty, which includes Article 2(4) that specifically prohibits “…the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independent of any state….” In a September 23, 2003 speech to the United Nations, President Bush noted that both the UN Charter and American founding documents “recognize a moral law that stands above men and nations, which must be defended and enforced by men and nations.” Following World War II, just such action was taken at the Nuremberg trials and American, British, French and Soviet jurists established Article VI of the Nuremberg Charter, which legally defines “Crimes Against Peace.”
To commit a crime against peace, one must engage in “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties . . . or participation in a common plan or conspiracy . . . to wage an aggressive war.” Bush is guilty on all these counts. The most damning evidence coming not from the liberal left, but in a series of well-documented books providing revelations by people in his own administration or party. Now, with Woodward’s work, the President is condemned with his own words.
Author Ron Susskind’s book about former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, The Price of Loyalty, reveals that from the very beginning of the Bush administration, the President was plotting and conspiring to wage aggressive war against Iraq. In Against All Enemies, Bush’s counter-terrorism expert, Richard Clarke, not only confirmed O’Neill’s account of the Bush administration’s obsession with attacking Iraq, yet also shows us an insider’s view on the illegal planning, preparation and initiation of the war through the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. President Nixon’s strategist, Kevin Phillips, documents four generations of war profiteering and deception by the Bush/Walker clan in American Dynasty.
Finally, in the latest blockbuster, Pulitzer Prize-winning Watergate reporter Bob Woodward outlines Bush’s illegal attack plan. Woodward establishes that five days after 9/11, the President was secretly scheming to go after, not bin Laden –- the man responsible for the 9/11 attack –- but rather bin Laden’s arch enemy Saddam Hussein. Specifically, 72 days after 9/11, Bush gave Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld the orders to draw up the secret war plans. Once enacted, these plans made George W. Bush a war criminal, just like the Nazi generals at Nuremberg.
Bush, supported by the mainstream corporate media, has hidden behind the semantics of “pre-emption.” Under international law, a pre-emptive strike is allowed when a nation is preparing for an imminent attack. Bush would be hard pressed before any tribunal, short of a Texas kangaroo court, to establish that the Iraqi military was an imminent threat to the U.S. Iraq was a defeated, heavily impoverished nation, under economic sanctions and restricted by U.S.-enforced no-fly zones in both its north and south.
The so-called “Bush doctrine” is in reality an echo of the illegal Nazi doctrine of “preventive” war, which asserted that any country that may pose a future non-specific threat can be attacked and occupied. This is not “higher moral law,” rather it is a repugnant Nazi doctrine last heard when Germany attacked Poland prior to World War II.
Add to the mounting evidence against Bush’s criminality the fact that his key advisors are the likes of Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, who have been publicly waging a campaign to attack Iraq since the end of the first Gulf War in 1991. A quick visit to the Project for a New American Century website (www.newamericancentury.org) establishes their blatant disregard for both the UN Charter and Nuremberg principles. Their neocon or vulcan ideology draws in part from renegade Trotskyist Max Shachtman’s belief that authoritarian regimes are incapable of reform. Thus, they adopt the rhetoric of human rights hawks – painting any conflict as a clash between “freedom and tyranny” – to resurrect discredited Nazi war doctrines. Even the ever-cautious Columbus Dispatch recently editorialized that Bush is a “militant unilateralist” and attributes the President’s rhetoric and worldview to the “Vulcans.”
Woodward’s book reads, as do Clarke’s and Susskind’s, as another lengthy prosecutory indictment against the Bush administration. Bush’s only defense against such blatant illegality is to find the real or imagined, or more likely recently planted, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. For the last two months the Mehr News Agency from Tehran, Iran has reported allegations that the U.S. and British governments have been unloading weapons of mass destruction into southern Iraq. The news service claims that these weapons are dismantled Soviet-era nuclear material and weapons. Reuters reported these allegations as well. The President’s recent comments that he hasn’t given up on finding weapons of mass destruction, sound eerily familiar to his refrain in Florida on Election Eve, when he was asked if he was going to concede the election when exit polls showed him losing. He told the media that his brother Jeb’s political forces on the ground were indicating different results. What are Bush's forces on the ground in Iraq doing now, particularly his private contractor friends?
For a President who took us into war under an illegal Nazi doctrine and sold it to the American people based on cooked intelligence information, would it not be the next step to simply plant the evidence he needs amidst the chaos of a disintegrating Iraq? With the illusion of Iraqi sovereignty fading and potential disaster looming with a premature turnover, Bush's re-election bid may be based on his hitting another "trifecta": "capturing" Osama bin Laden, "trying" Saddam Hussein, and "finding" weapons of mass destruction. The recent alarmist talk about another terrorist attack prior to the election should be cause for great concern for an administration that conveniently ignored the overwhelming evidence of the Al Qaeda attack.
News services worldwide must stop the madness of George the Lesser, who was as ill-prepared to accept dynastic succession as the infamous Ethelred the Unready. Historians of the British monarchy suggest that the term “Unready” should be read as the archaic British term “redeless” meaning “without counsel.” Thus, Ethelred, like George the Lesser, made mistakes by impulsively pursuing action without wise counsel. Thankfully, the wisest of Bush's former counsels are warning the people this election year. The people of the United States need to hear their warnings and constitute an international People’s Tribunal to try President Bush for the war crimes he is committing.
Bob Fitrakis is a Political Science Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department at Columbus State Community College, and author of The Idea of Democratic Socialism in America and the Decline of the Socialist Party (Garland Publishers 1993). He is the editor of The Free Press, where this article first appeared (www.freepress.org).
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