Destroying World Order: U.S. Imperialism in the Middle East Before and After
September 11 by Francis A. Boyle; Clarity Press, 2004; 191 pages
Anybody who bothers to think about it knows the current war on Iraq is about oil, or even more fundamentally, power. In the modern world oil and power are practically one. This book examines how the attacks of September 11, ominously like the Reichstag Fire in Weimar Germany as Francis Boyle himself notes, are often the pretext the United States uses to justify its Machiavellian power plays in the Middle East and Central Asia, areas of extreme strategic importance. He questions how U.S. Intelligence could have failed to stop those attacks given much evidence of their imminence. War upon Iraq, and Afghanistan before it, is another part of what Boyle argues a premeditated plan to dominate the world’s oil and natural gas resources, and thus the world’s economy.
Boyle notes the tremendous logistics involved in moving hundreds of thousands of troops and tons of equipment to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He says this would have required years of preparation, including planning and war games, rather than the merely prompt reaction to September 11 that history supposedly records. This study is not a speculative ride on the carpet of conspiracy theory, however. Boyle, a respected expert in international law and colleague of Ramsey Clark, rather builds his case on and draws his fiery conclusions totally on the basis of international law.
“From the perspective of international legal history,” writes Boyle, “it is Bush Jr. and Blair who constitute the real ‘axis of evil’ along the lines of Hitler and Mussolini. In this regard, Article 6 of the 1945 Nuremberg Charter provides in relevant part as follows:
The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:
Crimes against peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing; [...]
Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.
Bush, Blair, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Rice, Powell & Co. are so obviously guilty of this crime in the current attack on Iraq. Does this mean we shall soon see them in the docket at the Hague?
Refreshingly, Boyle finds nothing at all of merit in American imperialism, no trace of sentimentality for flag or country in an imperialism whose genesis he draws to “gangs of European robbers, marauders, and freebooters governed by leaders with social compacts (e.g., William Bradford and the Mayflower Compact).” He draws parallels between U.S. intervention most recently into Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and next perhaps North Korea, Iran, and/or Syria, with Nazi aggression in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland leading to WWII. He posits that just as the U.S. theft of the Spanish colonial empire at the turn of the twentieth century made war with Japan inevitable, “so too, today’s theft of a hydrocarbon empire from the Muslim states…will someday make the Third World War inevitable. The purpose of this book is to explain what happened and why – and what can be done to stop this oncoming Third World War.”
There is strong evidence that Jimmy Carter encouraged Iraq to invade Iran in 1980 for purely selfish political motives. Administrations as far back as Nixon’s, says Boyle, have exercised “divide et impera,” a divide and conquer policy, toward the countries of the Persian Gulf, especially Iran and Iraq, to facility the theft of oil. At the height of cynicism, although not surprising for the capitalist masters, it was left to Clinton to dub this policy “dual containment,” that is each side killing off the other.
The U.S. maintained a façade of neutrality in the Iran-Iraq war but that neutrality was unacceptable under standards of international law, says Boyle, because Iraq was the aggressor. Moreover, beneath the veneer of U.S. neutrality, the United States covertly supported Iraq because of the demise of the U.S.-backed and brutal Shah Pahlavi and rise of Khomeini and Islamic fundamentalism in Iran. It was in this period too that Israel started playing a greater role as the U.S.’s Middle East cop.
Boyle says troops in the first Gulf War were required by Bush Sr. to receive an experimental vaccine, a “violation of the Nuremberg Code on Medical Experimentation,” because “the Reagan/Bush Sr. administration had knowingly authorized numerous shipments of weapons-specific biological agents to Iraq in wanton violation of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, obviously in the hope and expectation that Saddam Hussein would develop and use biological weapons against Iran.” Boyle also claims Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s infamous statement on 60 Minutes that the deaths of more than half-a-million Iraqi children due to U.S. sanctions was “worth it” proof of genocidal intent, a crime against humanity.
Boyle describes the frightening lengths to which the United States is willing to flex its military muscle. For example War Secretary Dick Cheney refused to rule out use of nuclear weapons in the first Gulf War. No value of humanity, conscience, reason or decency is allowed to obtrude upon the powerlust of what Boyle describes as the University of Chicago, Straussian, pro-Isreal, Machiavellian/Nietzschean Neo-Cons, Fundies, Feddies, and Con-Artists in the Bush Jr. League Administration; nor the Clinton, and Bush Sr. administrations before it. Boyle’s writing alternatively flashes indictments with lightning and rage, other times it is necessarily very scholarly and lawyerly, with much technical language. It is always compelling, and free of attacks not supported by evidence. He builds his case slowly and inexorably. It is precisely because he builds his case on international law, into which he takes long, edifying detours, informing the reader of its evolution, custom, and development that his arguments are so irrefutable. Boyle’s legal mastery of the material is peppered throughout with anecdotes, observations and descriptions of how the noble democratic foreign policy apparatus really works:
We are witnessing another medieval Crusade by the White, European, Christian colonial powers against the 1.2 billion Muslims of the world organized into about 58 countries, most of whom are or are regarded as People of Color in the racist European mindset, and who happen to legally own the massive oil and natural gas resources…the West so desperately craves…The Muslim world has recently witnessed widespread extermination of Muslim Peoples by Western Crusaders and their surrogates in Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and now Afghanistan…
Boyle notes that power is often tripped up by its arrogance and hubris, especially when it lets its guard down as Paul Wolfowitz did in the January 9, 2002 edition of the New York Times:
We’re looking at a transformation of our deterrence posture from an almost exclusive emphasis on offensive nuclear forces to a force that includes defenses as well as offenses, that includes conventional strike capabilities as well as nuclear strike capabilities, and includes a much reduced level of nuclear strike capability. [Boyle’s italics]
As Boyle notes here and elsewhere with regard to many similar policies and crimes of the United States government: “That statement could be taken to the International Court of Justice and filed against the United States government as an Admission against Interest.” It is for these reasons that Bush Jr. has been so adamant to exempt the United States and its agents from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
The foreword to Destroying World Order serves as an opening statement of sorts, rightfully savaging a long history of U.S. foreign policy, whether Democrat or Republican, as gangsterism. Then Boyle methodically presents his case.
He proves an indictment against the Bush Sr. administration in the 1991 Gulf War of “the Three Nuremberg offenses: Crimes against Peace… Against Humanity; and War Crimes…[and] wantonly violating the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare of 1907; the Declaration of London on Sea Warfare of 1909; the Hague Draft Rules of Aerial Warfare of 1923; the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949…the international crime of genocide…and most heinously of all…perpetrating a Nuremberg Crime against their own troops when they forced them to take experimental biological weapons vaccines without their informed consent.”
The kettle begins to simmer with a summary of Boyle’s defense in the court martial of Captain Dr. Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, who, by the letter of the law, deserted the Army when she refused to administer experimental vaccines at the onset of the Gulf War of 1991. Doing so would have been a Nuremberg war crime, for which following orders is not a defense.
Boyle includes here also the actual petition he submitted to the United Nations in 1991 charging President Bush Sr., “like unto a pirate…the enemy of all humankind,” and U.S. authorities with genocide against the children of Iraq.
The chapter Boyle devotes to “Humanitarian Intervention Versus International Law” finds that:
[U]nder international law, “humanitarian intervention” is a joke and a fraud that has been repeatedly manipulated and abused by a small number of very powerful countries in the North in order to justify wanton military aggression against…weak countries of the South…for political, economic, strategic, and military reasons that have absolutely nothing at all to do with considerations of humanity and humanitarianism. History teaches that powerful states do not use military force for reasons of humanity…the NATO Alliance constitutes the greatest collection of genocidal states ever assembled in the entire history of the world!
The appropriate response to the terrorism of September 11, Boyle asserts, would have been to treat it as a criminal act under terms of international law. But the Bush Administration consciously wanted to respond militarily. According to Boyle this was part of a premeditated plan to extend U.S. power and influence throughout Central Asia and the Middle East oil-producing regions. Leading up to the attack on Afghanistan, Bush summarily refused several entirely reasonable points of negotiation by the Taliban, including turning bin Laden over to a neutral international court of justice.
By the penultimate chapter Boyle has made a very persuasive case, and the legal indictments of U.S. genocide, war crimes, wars of aggression, and violations of international law, rightfully pronounce the current Bush Administration and their forebears a gang of thugs, robbers, and murderers:
The government of the United States of America commenced the 19th century by stealing a western empire from the American Indians and then ethnically cleansing them – “manifest destiny.” The American government started the 20th century by stealing a colonial empire from Spain and then conducting a near genocidal war against the Filipino people – ‘a place in the sun.’ The U.S. government opened the 21st century by trying to steal a hydrocarbon empire from the Muslim states and peoples of Eurasia – ‘a war against international terrorism.’ But this latest transgression could very well prove to be the definitive step of ‘imperial overstretch’ that will break the back of the American Empire both abroad and at home.
The possibility is very good news indeed.
The final chapter, an alarm and a coda, forebodingly questions the imminence of World War III.
In its relentless lust for oil and gas around the world, says Boyle, “the United States power elite is now in the process of destroying the entirety of the international legal order that had been established by a predecessor elitist generation running the United States government in the aftermath of and in reaction to the genocidal horrors of the Second World War. Most particularly and especially, this includes, among other things, the United Nations Charter, as well as the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles, all of which had heretofore been the bedrock upon which the entirety of the post-World War II international legal order rested.”
Boyle’s readership may have been better served if he toned down the legalistic rhetoric a tad and aimed his prose more at the Everyman. He should have defined several obscure foreign phrases that served as a distraction. Because the book is a collection of essays written over several years it is not as seamless as it might have been. It would be unfair to ask his intellect to stoop to make the hieroglyphics of his endnotes more decipherable. All in all minor flaws next to truth and the justified fiery indictments of the warmongers in the Bush Jr. Administration, the heirs to the American imperial military juggernaut, and their forebears..
One last cite of Boyle’s for good measure, as he himself closes out the book, for a taste of the slashing delight of his truth, and a call to action:
In international legal terms, the Bush Jr. administration should be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, due to its formulation and undertakings of war policies which are legally akin to those perpetrated by the Nazi regime in pre-World War II Germany. As a consequence, American citizens possess the basic right under international law and the United States domestic law, including our own Constitution, to engage in acts of nonviolent civil resistance in order to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by U.S. government officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism.
This same right of civil resistance extends pari passu [at an equal rate] to all citizens of the world community of states. Everyone around the world has both the right and the duty under international law to resist ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by the Bush Jr. administration and its foreign accomplices by all nonviolent means possible. If it is not so restrained, the Bush Jr. administration could very well precipitate a Third World War.
Tracy McLellan is a freelance writer and activist living in the Chicagoland area. You may reach him at tracymacL@yahoo.com.
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