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13 April 2007

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Dale Krause

Re Wolfowitz: Strong words but justified, both on the part of the FT and yourself.

confusedponderer

I agree on Wolfie being a war criminal by the Nuremberg standards. The US had no basis in international law for invading Iraq. The Iraq war was a war of agression initiated by the US. Period. Everyone who sais otherwise is either on opium, or a hack making a brazen case contra legem (the Gonzo/Yoo school).

So I can't help feel glee, even though him being held accountable for his war crimes would be more fitting. The legality of the war in Iraq is too inconvenient a topic -- the US leadership, guilty after Nuremberg standards? Let's rather go to something completely different.... It illustrates the state of politics in the US today -- if Wolfowitz falls, he falls not for his sins and crimes, but for his follies.

I remember someone saying, can't remember who it was: "You'll never meet a poor neoconservative."

They're entitled all these goodies, just ask them. The way Wolfowitz enriched his g/f, or put his buddies in top positions at the world bank, is just the Beltway SOP. The seeming normality and banality of the affair is IMO the true scandal.

rick

Le pauvre, pauvre Wolfie...You gin up all kinds of lies to start a disaster of a war, you give you girlfriend a raise that is more than the $46,326 median income of Americans without getting it approved by the board, you throw the world bank into chaos and tick off the entire career staff...and suddenly you are a bad guy.

Life is so unfair...

tequila

Par for the course that he does not have the honor to resign once his hand was caught in the cookie jar, instead fobbing it off on the "board".

I guess he and Ms. Riza will have to do their featherbedding at AEI in the near future.

Guam guy

Col. Lang,

War criminal indeed. One of the most depressing aspects of the Neocon's "splendid little war" in Iraq is the liklihood that the war criminals responsible for it will escape any personal consequences for their role in the debacle. I agree that hanging, not firing, is the appropriate punishment for Wolfie.

Pudentilla

Powerful people have been using the privileges of power to enrich their friends since the sun rose over the first polis.

But black folks and women having the political and economic power to insist that they, not aging white guys, get to define what they find insulting - that might be a first.

By now, only the most confirmed of kook-aid drinkers could pretend to be surprised by the news that a GWB appointee is corrupt. The only unsettling news in Wolfie's story is that he apparently can get dates. But I guess the aphrodisiac of power works even for Wolfie.

Charles

'Of course, the MSM is much more interested in the moral drama of Imusgate, but, what can one say about that? pl"

The Emperor fiddles, bread and circuses all around.

It is discouraging how many of these Wolfitzian elites are simultaneously such petty and gigantic criminals when opportunity knocks - and look at the sumptuous plunder available to them.

Much scarier is the sociopath's adeptness combined with a narcissistic sense of exceptionalism. Pile on a bit of religious mania for a truly dangerous, shameless and relentless creature that knows no social, civil or moral bounds.

This is the cream, no, pond scum, of American democracy, now busily plundering and dismantling it - and any other bits of the planet they, their sycophants or surrogates can reach.

Yet they rule, turning an Imus or a Wolfowitz over to the the mob when volume, exposure, or market share require. Never a question as to how did this get to be so, our rulers think they own the place, free to dispense it as they please but god forbid some kid fileshares or a man stands and fights for his family or honour or injustice - sue him or kill him in the name of Truth, Justice and The American Way. This quiet deference, impotence, in the face of alternately blustering and "Aw, gee shucks, I shouldda known better" entitlement, never mind criminal malfeasance. After initial lies all around, yet!

Then there's shameful, shameless powerful regime that criminalizes human vice - that is, sin and human nature - the wars against drugs, gays, prostitution, whilst gambling somehow becomes a social revenue source, that
corrupt and degrade our guardians while eroding our liberty and security further still. It is criminal!

The sad part is that the donkey end of the Money Party is just about as compromised and dysfunctional as the elephant end, with a demonstrated superfluity cretins, criminals, cowards and mountebanks to go around.

And securely dug in, too, from Haliburton, to the plethora of vigorous religious hucksters to the DOJ example. This cycle the pendulum just might not be allowed to swing back, follow the laws of physics, nature and man. The anger of people like Pat is encouraging, though.

I exhort all of us to take these discussions from here to our friends and neighbours, especially the non-voting ones, or influential ones, or naively ignorant ones, whatever our positions, with a view to a little more engagement, scrutiny, consideration, modest personal actions. A fervour got whipped up to a tipping point about second had smoke and drunk driving, no reason it can't be done against other powerful interests or intractable problems. Unless it isn't.

Now, I gotta go - Jeopardy is coming on!

mt

"The president has full confidence in Paul Wolfowitz," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told a news briefing. "We expect him to remain as World Bank president." (4/13/07)

Amazing.

David E. Solomon

Colonel Lang,

Of course he is a war criminal, but what about Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perl, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and the other myriad fools?

Isn't the kind of behavior these individuals indulged in just the sort of thing for which the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague was created to punish?

Matthew

Imus is a lose shingle; Wolfie is a rotten foundation. Which one would a homeowner rather talk about?

pbrownlee

Future historians will be puzzled as to how such a lamentable work of the Creator (and also his dismally awkward, slack-jawed, shameless, criminally irresponsible and invincibly ignorant co-conspirators) got anywhere near the levers of power.

Posterity may perhaps have a clearer line on cui bono -- probably the rich-out-sight crowd (again) with wonder white bread, "reality" circuses and credit card bills for everyone else and with an unfortunate few also risking decades of damaged existence or a body bag.

Dunno if there are many Wonketters around here but try this:

http://wonkette.com/politics/jeb-bush/everything-in-country-to-be-named-after-reagan-bush-252168.php

Everything in Country to be Named After Reagan, Bush

Florida politics, you continue to do the nation proud.

* Step one: the University of Florida Senate declines to give Jeb Bush an honorary degree.
* Step two: “a Republican-controlled House council decided this morning to make the university name its entire college of education after the former governor.”

You laugh now, but once your kid’s application to the Neil Bush School of Business Administration is rejected, you’ll wish you’d had a little more respect.

Cold War Zoomie

I don't think he's a war criminal. Read Joint House Resolution 114. Everything this administration said is in there from WMD to liberation, to regime change, to UN resolutions. Congress gave the go-ahead with an overwhelming majority. Regardless of how we feel about this administration, H.J.Res.114 gave it the get-go and we the people backed them up all the way with an overwhelming majority. I'm no lawyer, but the language is pretty clear in the Resolution - our invasion looks pretty darn legal to me.

Hunker down. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hjres114.pdf

Montag

It's like nailing Al Capone for tax evasion.

Leila A.

I don't know about war criminal, but how about - is he a gentleman?

Do any of these so-called conservative Republican men in power live by any code of honor you know of?
Wolfie and his nepotism with mistress. Cheney shooting his friend in the face, and cursing out a Senator on the floor of the Senate (with an Anglo-Saxonism better reserved for the steam room of a battleship); oh yes, and the whole lot of them evading the draft.

Under what code of honor is it acceptable to use the word "whore" in public, before an audience of millions? What kind of gentleman would call college sportswomen whores? And what sort of gentleman would defend that sort of language?

Just asking. I was raised an ornery feminist so I am no expert on being a proper lady, but there's something about this bunch that disgusts me. They make me long for old fashioned American values like honor, respect, and decency.

True conservatives must be ashamed of this crowd. And the President is the leader of the pack - rude, boorish, crude and a draft-dodging, posturing coward.

War crimes - well, Col. Lang, if you say so, then I'm hoping: Next Year in the Hague!

confusedponderer

CWZ,
Res. 1441 didn't give the US the right to invade. International law, unless you're a defeated nation, is made by consensus. It is important to keep that in mind.

Saddam's Iraq wasn threatened with 'grave consequences' in Res. 1441. Now an invasion is a grave consequence, but there are no implicit powers under international law.

The only substantial difference between the US draft and Res. 1441 is that the latter stops short from sanctioning automatic military action if Iraq were to fail to cooperate. That shows the intent of the UNSC: That war as the automatic consequence of alleged noncompliance was not explicitly stated as a consequence in 1441 because it wasn't wanted. That's why the US provision on that was negotiated out of the resolution. It meant the UNSC wanted to have a last say on it.
It is also telling that the US didn't get a specific resolution mandating the use of force, in fact, iirc several US attempts to get one were refused, and never made it into the UNSC. Had the US view been shared by the international comnsensus they would have got such a resolution, be it only as a clarification.

But the US administration has a supernatural ability to see a justification for war where others don't. The wording of 1441 is so vague on that particular point that it allowed the United States to interpret it as it pleases. Don't be fooled. The US position on 1441 is just spin on it.
It's a little bit like the rapist's view: That woman looked at me, that means she clearly wanted to have sex.

confusedponderer

PS: CWZ,
the Joint House Resolution 114 is pointless under international law.

Francis Egan

Dear Col. Lang:
After reading the FT searing editorial demanding Wolfie's resignation I opened to WSJ to see their view on the matter. They simply couldn't see what the fuss was about. Two "respected" business journals with totally different takes. What am I missing?
Best regards,
Francis Egan

confusedponderer

PPS: CWZ,
that is to say that in Nuremberg the Nazis weren't tried for noncompliance with the Führerprinciple -- or in other words, domestic law.

If you have a domestic law that makes legal what is war of agression, or while we're at it, torture, under international law -- it is still illegal because international law overrides domestic law.

Of course, international law only has that effect as far as it is ratified and transformed into national law - but as far as the UN Charter is concerned that certainly is the case. The US have transformed the UN Charter into national law.

We can argue about wether US constitutional law is of higher rank than international law, but not in the case of a ratified international treaty and a later national law.
It is not acceptable that a nation engages itself to something under international law, only to enact a later national law to allow what they're not allowed under international law. For that reason the national law is considered irrelevant for the question of legality under international law.

I find the idea quite daring that a unilateral act such as a joint resolution of the US senate and House of Representatives should have any effect under international law.

Arun

Of course, the MSM is much more interested in the moral drama of Imusgate, but, what can one say about that?

The celebrity of Imus or the enablement of Bush/Rove spring from the same electorate.

E.g., note the sequence

1. Rutgers team makes the news for reaching the NCAA finals, and not for the numerous scandalous reasons normally accompanying sports teams these days.

2. Don Imus makes derogatory remark sparking public uproar. Note: the Rutgers team does not participate in the uproar.

3. Don Imus fans' flood Rutgers team with hate mail. Don Imus's wife has to appeal to fans to cease and desist.

There is the whole poisonous audience out there - you think they have the discernment to figure out which politician is bad for the country?

You all are assuming that America's troubles begin at the top. IMO, you are wrong. They begin at the bottom.

arbogast

He's a war criminal.

And he holds dual nationality.

So, he's guilty of war crimes and treason.

Frankly, there was nothing comparable to Wolfowitz in Nazi Germany. How many of the Nazi elite were dual nationals?

And the yen carry trade just keeps on giving and giving.

I'm going to quote John of Gaunt in full. Just substitute "USA" for England in your mind.

Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!

apostrophe

Cold War Zoomie,
So, the US Congress OK'ed the war?
That means the rest of the world just has to go along with it as "just and legal"?
Since when does the US Congress define what is or isn't legal for the rest of the world?
Arrogance!

Clifford Kiracofe

The Col. justly calls a spade a spade. This newest affair raises a number of issues. Not only should Wolfie go, but so should his gaggle of Neocon groupies he brought along.

Neocon psychology embodies the twisted and elitist Nietzschean notion that they are "Beyond Good and Evil" so they are god-like and, as "Supermen," can do just what they please. We can expect corruption and betrayal of the public trust, large or small, from their ranks.

With respect to the World Bank: the WB with the IMF were created in the wake of WWII as mechanisms to ensure international financial stability and to promote economic development. This original intent was not dissimilar to the intent behind the Marshall Plan to promote stability and economic reconstruction in Europe so as to avert any totalitarian ideologies from gaining a foothold again. So just what is Wolfie's mission at the World Bank??? To further corrupt its originally intended purpose? To turn it into an instrument of Neocon global economic policy?

The Financial Times (London) raised pertinent issues back in 2005 about Wolfie and his team of Neocon groupies like Ms. Robin Cleveland, a former influential aide to US Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and later a top-level Bush43:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7335486/
Steve Clemon's is right on target per Wolfie and Robin in his:
http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001196.php

As the FT reported in 2005:
"....While Ms. Cleveland has been credited with helping President George W. Bush push through massive budgets to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, she was also deeply involved in the planning for post-war reconstruction in Iraq....."

Those concerned about this affair and its implications should also be looking ahead to "predict the network" in the next Administration and Congress. There are considerable Neocon cadres out and about that must be taken down enventually...for the internal and external security of the Republic. Even before Iran-Contra, for example, the FBI and other US counterintelligence elements (including reportedly DOD)had been investigating some of the Neocons....

arbogast

It's worth noting also that President Bush is accusing Democrats of giving aid and comfort to the enemy: treason.

That's where we stand. Those who wish to turn the policy of the United States toward withdrawal from Iraq are guilty of treason. That's the position of the President of the United States.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

It seems to me that certain government organs in the United States were taken over by individuals and cliques that did not bring to their positions the dispassion & cold analytical understanding required for the performance of their duties in those positions.

Clearly, the Office of the Secretary of Defense was one such organ.

I have two questions:

1- Was that inevitable?
2- Can that be prevented in the future?

jonst

PL wrote, >>>And now this over educated and deceptively mild mannered nitwit has literally and figuratively screwed himself out of a job<<<

That is some sentence! I'm still smiling (ruefully, given the subject matter)because of it.

MT,

I would argue that at this point it would be "amazing" if Bush did not support the guy.

FB Ali

I don't know which is worse: his preaching honesty and good governance while enriching his girlfriend, or his assumption that, having gone through the motions of apologising, there's no reason why he can't stay on.

What is it that makes such behaviour so common among neocon bigwigs and leaders of the religious right? Probably that massive sense of entitlement they have which replaces the feelings of honesty, integrity and consistency that afflict common folk.

I can't imagine how people can remain in the same room as these persons - the stench should be overpowering!

Leigh

Ask the Bellagio in Las Vegas about Wolfowitz.

How smart is it to have an honest-to-goodness gambler in charge of the World Bank.

jon

By the standards of Nuremberg, the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter, Wolfowitz could most certainly be charged with multiple crimes. So could many others who brought us to, and have perpetuated, this aggressive war of choice and conquest.

The Hague could become a very busy place.

Will this happen? Perhaps. But justice can move slowly and erratically.

Nuremberg and the UN Charter represent a tremendous advance in international law, and states continue to have interests that run counter to those laws.

The UN helpfully clouded the issue with a mealy justification after the fact resolution recognizing the occupation of Iraq. They then compounded that by releasing the Oil-for-Food funds they had been administering, other embragoed Iraqi state acccounts, and established a UN mission (briefly) on Iraqi soil.

That of course does not repeal previously adopted international law.

It will be a better day when powerful states voluntarily constrain themselves to the precepts of international law. Our nation's actions have brought us no honor and dubious material benefits out of what the Soviets would have termed 'adventurism'. All of us who acquiesed or stood by while this occurred bears a measure of responsibility for the crimes committed and the harms inflicted. The sooner we put an end to the offense and make ammends the better.

This is most certainly one of the 'foreign entanglements' that Washington warned us about. In this case the transcendent scorn for the rule of law can be seen throughout the behavior and actions of the administration. As if they could never be brought to any acount. This has been compounded by idiocy, lack of attention, and sloppiness. What might have been simply deplorable and illegal has become catastrophic. These actions will damage our nation for generations with nearly incalculable effects to the treasury, international prestige and national standing, economic investment, miltary and strategic ramifications, and our national soul.

This unnecessary war, which was supposed to upend all of our lingering Vietnam War reticence, has proceeded like Vietnam on crack. I'm not sure that there is a single failed concept or action from that war that was trotted out and dolled up in the past 4 years.

And now that we can't put Iraq back together again, comes the cry to widen the war to Iran, and maybe Syria for good measure. In Vietnam, at least we had the good sense not to widen the war to China and the USSR, and were content to pick on Laos and Cambodia. Unlike those countries and Iraq, Iran actually has a functional military, it has command and control of the economy. And if we attack, it will have the full suport of the poulation.

Should we do that, after what we have countenanced previously, the world will never forgive us.

Cold War Zoomie

All-

I am in no position to argue legal points. Congress gave Bush the go-ahead, citing a whole litany of US law and UN resolutions as justification. He took it. The majority of the US population backed him all the way. Wolfowitz was part of Bush's team.

I fully understand that the law is the absolute minimum standard of behavior. Being legal does not make it right, ethical or moral. Being justified does not make it smart. And I am definitely not defending this administration's decision to invade, regardless of whether every legal hurdle was cleared or not.

But comparing Wolfowitz to Nazi Germany and Nuremburg is ridiculous. Bush did not burn down the Capitol and declare himself "The Leader." Yes, there are some similarities between these knuckleheads and Hitler’s rise to power but we could fill an entire book about the huge differences.

Rather, this is what happens when an electorate is not paying attention. Our electorate is in a sorry state of affairs - we could fill another book about all those problems.

Fact is, Bush et al had an opportunity. They took it when "We the People" handed it to them. And we, as a society, will have to learn the hard way that we cannot float through life totally disengaged from politics and what happens in this cesspool called Washington, DC. Well - that cesspool two miles down the road just past Crisfield's seafood.

Hmmm...Crisfield's...yum, yum.

Will

Now it has been said in stark black and white terms. This indeed is "Sic Semper Tyrannis." Chris Matthews "Tweetie Bird" (as he is affectionately called as firedoglake.com) has skirted around the edges of calling it "waging aggressive war" with all the ramifications that characterization entails.

It doesn't stop with Wolfie. There are a lot more than him involved including the "Shooter" and the W.

Lucius Junius Brutus's spirit is honored.

confusedponderer

jon,
I think back to the famous case Nicaragua v. United States from 1986 at the International Court of Justice, incidentally also in the Hague. When the US were about to be sentenced, they withdrew from it's jurisdiction in the case (ain't national sovereignty handy?). The judges however, found the case important enough to provide their ruling on the merits. A highly recommended read.

Nobody was ever punished for the US aggression toward Nicaragua. I doubt that it will be much different for Wolfie's crimes.

For that to change, the US public must accept (1) that use of military force is not a legitimate expression of national will, and (2) that the war in Iraq was illegal. Both will be hard to sell especially to the US right. Don't forget that Saddam was evil and deserved it. In significant parts the discussion in the US is that shallow. Just watch tv.

As for The Hague in particular, I have not forgotten Jesse Helms thunderous flatulations in opposition to the ICC. In the case any US soldier is arrested or tried in The Hague, his American Service members Protection Act (ASPA) mandates the invasion of Holland, means, authorizes the President to use "all means necessary" to liberate Americans or allies held by the international tribunal (hence its European nickname, "The Hague Invasion Act").

If the US doesn't punish US war crimes, somebody else will. That's what the ICC is there for. In fact, US service members might be better off in The Hague than in Ft. Leavenworth. Among other things, they would not face the death penalty.

ASPA is a slap in the face to the many allies that have spent years struggling to construct a legitimate vehicle for combating the most vicious war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. ASPA not only prohibits all US cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC), it suspends military assistance to any non-NATO member (except certain allies like Israel, Japan and Egypt) that joins the court, rejects participation in any UN peacekeeping operations unless the Security Council exempts American soldiers from prosecution by the court.

And then there is pride, and the American Exceptionalism. America, the unique well of virtue, that force of good, can't possibly be held to the same standard as the Nazis.

W. Patrick Lang

CWZ

The German parliament approved Hitler's actions and declarations of war, annexations, etc.

So what? Keitel and Jodl et al were condemned by an international tribunal made up of the victors in a war in which Germany was utterly defeated and occupied.

Is that going to happen here? Of course not. I would be among the last ditch defenders of this country.

That does not change the moral terpitude and criminality of the sponsors and advocates of the war in Iraq. Surely, you do not accept the "three card monte" and Kabuki drama of our manipulation of the UN in the pre-war days and months.

We Americans should deal with these people ourselves. Nobody else will do so. Let us not let "K Street," the "Vendu" MSM, and the party apparatchiks destroy Mr. Jefferson's republic.

Us old folks grew up in a better country than this has become. pl

Cold War Zoomie

Col Lang,

I view the Reichstag Fire Decree (1933) as the point at which Hitler was able to really start the ball rolling in his favor. If my memory serves me right, he was then able to consolidate power in parliament and basically rule as a one party state. (On a side note, we have officially entered the land of "Godwin's Law" and I think this will be my last post on this topic.)

The Bush Admin consolidated power by using spin, secrecy, and some pretty dubious methods, but they have not once and for all suspended civil liberties anywhere to the extent as Herr Shicklgruber and his gang. But that doesn't mean they aren't trying.

I'm not that much younger than you are - 43 - and I feel the same way about our country. We'll work it out. Only problem is, some sort of pain and suffering by the middle and lower classes is usually required to turn this ship around.

Cheers.....

Will

Lucius Junius Brutus feigned being slow witted hence the moniker "Brutus" to dull the caution of the last Roman king said to be an Etruscan but actually a Hellene, one Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. L.J. Brutus helped expel this king and founded the Roman republic. One of his descendants was one of the assassins of Julius Caesar. Et tu Brute!

L.J.B. is reputed to have instituted a Republican oath. I cannot find a translator program to do it justice. I appeal to the classical scholars of this board.

"In T. Livii, Vol I, Lib II, Cap 1, A.J. Valpy, Londini (1828), p. 352 there is the following Latin version:

"Omnium primum avidum novae libertatis populum, ne postmodum flecti precibus aut donis regiis posset, jurejurando adegit, neminem Romae passuros regnare. (h) …
(h) Compulit ad decernendum addito juramento, fore ut non permitterent quenquam in posterum Romae regem esse."

The Oath of Brutus, whether factual or legendary, had a profound impact on the ancient Romans. Lucius Junius Brutus is quite prominent in English literature, and he was quite popular among British and American Whigs. "

from the wiki article

We find ourselves in similar straits. Our repu

Clifford Kiracofe

This affair raises more issues at every passing moment. This is good.

1.On the economic and financial front, given the very shaky situation in today's international financial situation, what goes on at the IMF and World Bank has real significance. Therefore the Financial Times (London), which called for The Decider to push Wolfie out the door:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0df59e26-e9f3-11db-91c7-000b5df10621.html
The Wall Street Journal, whose editorial page is a Neocon rag and has been for decades, is irrelevant in today's international situation. London has displaced New York as the leading financial center and smart money gives weight to the Financial Times and Economist. Personally, I keep an eye on the reports of the Bank for International Settlements:
http://www.bis.org/

2.In essence, under the US Constitution, Congress is vested with the power to DECLARE war and finance it. The President executes the will of Congress and CONDUCTS the war. Congress DECLARED war in WWII but not Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq War. It can be well argued that Congress abandoned its constitutional rights and responsibilities in the "War Powers" area.

3.Under international law, a war of aggression (a "preventive" war) is illegal. A country is lawfully entitled to take measures to respond to immediate threats but the Iraq War was launched as a "preventive war". Recall Gen. Powell's pointing out that it was for "regime change" purposes and that had been legislated on by Congress during the Clinton Administration.

4.Congress rubber stamped the premeditated and preventive Bush Iraq War. There were no serious hearings in Congress to challenge the Administration's war plans. Some Senators and Congressmen did register dissent but about 3/4 of the Senate and House voted on a resolution (of dubious constitutionality in my view) to allow the President TO DECIDE whether to undertake a preventive war. Congress failed in its oversight role and failed to protect its Constitutional role to declare war or not. Hence, it is as much at fault as is the President.

During the run up to the war, I spoke with a very well-informed former US Senator in the first week of September 2002. Expressing my concerns about the real possibility of war, he said: "We ARE going to war." When I then said this would be a disaster, he said, "Yes indeed, but we ARE going to war."

5.Some law enforcement professionals believe there are serious counterintelligence issues with respect to a number of Neocons and these relate to a small foreign power located we can imagine where. I reviewed some of these matters with colleagues as a Senate staffer back during the Iran-Contra investigations and the mess around that Neocon induced policy. [same players as today by the way] The Steve Bryen Case, the Pollard Affair, and the Franklin-AIPAC case are all symptomatic. My understanding, from well informed persons, has been that many such cases have arisen over the years but, for instance, from the Nixon era forward the White House has terminated many such the investigations and avoided prosecutions owing to so-called "national security concerns" (read a certain Lobby).

walrus

Wolfowitz suffers from Narcissistic personality disorder. He has a sense of entitlement a mile high, and a total inability to empathise with anyone. That is why he can send people to war, or give a lover a pay rise, and still sleep well at night. He simply doesn't understand what the fuss is all about.

P.S. As Head of the world bank, and a Likudnik, I guess not many muslim countries will get much help from this source.

confusedponderer

CWZ,
there is nothing wrong about comparing as opposed to equaling.

The standards set by Nuremberg, such as that war of agression is a war crime, are universally accepted and applicable.

In the absence of a legitimate casus belli, like self defense, the US attack was a war of agression. Wolfowitz successfully pressed for and participated in the war on Iraq and thus is a war criminal.

Of course that doesn't get anywhere near industrialised genocide, but pretty close to, say, invading Poland under a pretext, and killing a lot of people.

Matthew

All:

When does a country start calling it's wars of choice a "crime"? Only when they start losing? Someone must have some historical examples to share.

jang

Imus had crowed about his a.m. ratings vs CNN's morning show just days before he coughed up his viciously cruel Macaca comment, and the MSM was merciless in its blazing coverage.

The Rutger's team of girls and their coach, unexpectedly thrust into the media spotlight, glowed with grace and goodness quite apart from their epic accomplishment as a team. The contrast between these special girls and and the hurt they indured from Imus's thoughtless slur was stunning and infuriating.

But Imus was constant in his support of the soldiers of this land and loud in his criticisms of a government willing to offer the insultingly low 12 thousand dollars (I think it was) paid to the families of deceased soldiers. "My child is worth more than that,isn't your's?"
He nagged his viewers until 10 million dollars was raised for the Fallen Heroes Hospital because they deserved a top-flight facility for rehabilitation.
As for the Dr. insensitive enough to be jogging around Walter Reed Hospital instead of checking up on the severely injured soldiers within the infamous O.P. wards, Imus's scorn knew no bounds especially when the physician blamed the soldiers for vermin infestion because they left food in their rooms. He actually explained one day that rats or vermin got in through holes in the exterior walls, in case we didn't understand.

His references to BushCo were nearly always refreshingly insulting and he called Dick Cheney- Pork ChopButt.

I shall, perhaps politically incorrectly, miss his a.m. presence.

James Pratt

In what I think is the second worst record of public disinformation on Iraq, then Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz in 2002 fed the Senate Armed Services Committee the same hogwash that Ahmad Chalabi had fed him earlier, despite the warnings of the CIA and Chalabi's record as a convicted embezzler. The worst record is everything Vice President Cheney has said about Iraq since 2001.

arbogast

Just in case you think the Japanese have the best interests of the United States at heart:

Japanese Finance Minister Koji Omi:

"Personally I know him very well. I rate his work as World Bank president highly. There are various news reports and I don't know about the details, so I would like to decline to comment on that. But I think he's doing a very good job."

People in the United States had better get used to the fact that the people of the other nations of the world are extremely willing to let us make fools of ourselves, send our troops on a fool's mission, gut our economy, and fall down dead.

As Colonel Lang said, we must take care of this problem ourselves.

rick

"Rather, this is what happens when an electorate is not paying attention. Our electorate is in a sorry state of affairs - we could fill another book about all those problems."

Bravo Zoomie, bravo. It's like you found my letters and read each one out loud.

I always say that you don't get mad at an alligator for being an alligator, but you also don't put your hand near its mouth because, you know, it's an alligator.
BushCo. were about as clearly and obviously alligators as they could be, and after they manuvered into power the first time and lied this country into a disaster of a war, when presented with the chance to pull our arm out, this country fell all over itself to put its head in their mouth.

The administration is bad, but the electrorate has had the power to stop it and has chosen not to. Even now, most of the disapproval is about how things turned out, rather than having done it in the first place.

Bravo Zoomie.

Clifford Kiracofe

Babak, you observed:
"It seems to me that certain government organs in the United States were taken over by individuals and cliques...."

The issue is considerably deeper than a recent (post WWII) clique of policy types called Neocons swarming around Commentary Magazine and later US Senator "Scoop" Jackson (D-WA) among others.

Consider the following institutional machinery:
Bnai Brith (est. 1843 in New York City)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B'nai_Brith
[for an overview see, Emmanuel Ratier, Mysteres et Secrets du B'Nai B'rith. La plus importante organisation juive internationale (Paris: FACTA, 1993).

Anti-Defamation League (est. 1913 New York City)
http://www.adl.org/

American Jewish Committee (est. 1906 New York City)
http://www.ajc.org/site/c.ijITI2PHKoG/b.685761/k.CB97/Home.htm

Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (est. New York City circa 1956...Suez and all that)
http://www.conferenceofpresidents.org/

Consider further a despatch of the British Ambassador at Washington (Sir Cecil Spring Rice)to Balfour dated January 19th, 1917:

"....The mysterious relations between the White House and Germany and certain Jewish German financiers are the subject of very common comment. The explanation probably is that as there is a feud between the President and the Christian bankers of Wall Street, the Government is obliged to have recourse to the Israelitish enemies of the New York Philistines..."
[Stephen Gwynn ed., The Letters and Friendships of of Sir Cecil Spring Rice. A Record (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin CO., 1929), Vol. II, p. 373.] For context consult, Stephen Birmingham, Our Crowd. The Great Jewish Families of New York (New York: Harper and Row, 1967). The genealogical tables are useful.

On the last point, you might broaden the analysis out to include the UK. So, for example, see Chaim Bermant, The Cousinhood. A Vivid Account of the English-Jewish Aristocracy Cohens-Rothschilds-Goldsmids-Montefiores-Samuels-Sassoons (New York: The Macmillan Company,1971).

The US President mentioned by Spring Rice was the Neocon hero, Woodrow Wilson, a delusional and unbalanced man. Not a lot has changed over the past century. Inevitable? Apparently.


D.Witt

After reading the FT searing editorial demanding Wolfie's resignation I opened to WSJ to see their view on the matter. They simply couldn't see what the fuss was about. Two "respected" business journals with totally different takes. What am I missing?
Best regards,
Francis Egan

Hi, Francis, here's what you are missing: The Wall Street Journal has an excellent reputation for its reportage, however, this is very different than its editorial content, which is run with an extreme neocon agenda by Paul Gigot:

Paul Gigot is the editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, a position he's held since September 17, 2001. In this capacity, he is responsible for the newspaper's editorials, op-ed articles and Leisure & Arts criticism and also directs the editorial pages of the Journal's Asian and European editions and the OpinionJournal.com Web site.
He is also the host of the weekly half-hour news program, the Journal Editorial Report, on the Fox News Channel.

Gigot is an ideological cross of William Kristol and Fred Hiatt--which easily explains the reflexive defense of the neocon agenda. Research into the WSJ op-ed's columns about the Iraq war, Scootergate, Presidential wiretapping, the US Attorney scandal and now the Wolfowitz scandal would confirm this assertion.

//

Regarding Wolfowitz, isn't it ironic that his defenders are using his purported 'fight against corruption' as his defense--as if signing off on his girlfriends illegal raise without any oversight was anything but textbook corruption?

Charles

Cold War Zoomie: You live in a Republic where it is law that ANYBODY, citizen or not, may be designated by POTUS alone exercising a discretion so legally unfettered as to make the Marquis de Sade blush, and detained indefinitely until it is seen fit to "try" them before a military tribunal that supplies the investigators, prosecutors, defense and fact finder, with no habeus corpus, as that other great bulwark of your democracy, the Supremes, has recently settled.

You have no civil "rights". Your constituiton has been defied, ignored and suspended by your executive and congress, ratified in the last presidential(hopefully not THE last) election. You merely exist in a state of non-detention at the sufferance of POTUS, (with the connivance of your "legislators")which he has not seen fit to withdraw from YOU.

When they finally came to knock at my door. . . .

mtj

I think the only thing that has got the MSM interested in this latest Wolfiebacle is that it involves Wolfie's girlfriend.

I'm waiting for it to hit the National Enquirer, maybe then it will get the electorate's attention.

Clifford Kiracofe

Keeping Wolfie in the larger US policy context, an informed Brit perspective:

"A shadowy Pentagon unit -- the Office of Special Plans, headed by Douglas Feith, former U.S. Under Secretary of Defence for Policy -- deliberately fabricated intelligence linking Saddam Hussein’s regime to al-Qaida in order to incite the United States to make war on Iraq.
....Together with his boss, Paul Wolfowitz, then Deputy Defence Secretary, Douglas Feith was one of an influential group of pro-Israeli neo-conservatives in the Bush administration who exploited the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the U.S. to campaign and intrigue for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein....Clearly, in pressing for war, they were primarily concerned to enhance Israel’s security by smashing a major Arab state, thereby removing any potential threat to Israel from the east. As they schemed to transform the region with America’s military power, they dreamed of defeating all of Israel’s enemies -- Arab nationalists, Islamic radicals and Palestinian militants -- at a single stroke. Overthrowing Saddam was to be only the first step in a thorough transformation of the region to the advantage of both Israel and the United States....Israel has a long history of seeking to destabilise its neighbours in the belief that a weak and divided Arab world is to its advantage...."
http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=1233

As an aside, when the so-called Atta lunch in Prague story was floated (first by a retired Israeli general as I seem to recall), I raised the issue with an old friend in Europe with good contacts in the Czech security services. He told me his Czech contacts said that a certain lunch was monitored, and the principles were photographed, but Atta was not one of them and was not there. A Czech politician, for self-serving reasons, in public garbled the story giving a false impression that Atta was there.

Sybelia

http://www.libertyforum.org/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=news_crime&Number=295335210&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=21&part=

It has been reported that during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, Israeli military officers and diplomats had virtual carte-blanche access to Feith’s offices and those of his boss Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. (Both were investigated earlier in their careers on suspicion of passing secrets to Israel—Feith in 1982, Wolfowitz in 1978.) Former Office of Special Plans employees report that analysts working for Feith who were not uncritically supportive of the U.S.-Israel relationship were weeded out. A Feith associate, analyst Lawrence Franklin, is now serving a 13-year prison term for passing classified information to Israeli Embassy officials.......

Hmmm, US military are calling homosexuals immoral. .... I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way." Then, General Pace, as an officer who has simply been following orders with regard to the war in Iraq, you have a lot of explaining to do.

confusedponderer

Sybelia,
don't read too much into it. I don't think that the neo-cons are tools for Israel or Israeli spies. They are in a different league.

That the neo-cons were outraged that Israel didn't attack Syria too last summer suggests to me that they are using each other for mutual advantage, which not neccessarily equals the respective benefit of their countries. It also shows that neither side is taking orders from the other.

As philosopher kings they feel entitled to share information with the Israelis whenever they see fit, trifles, like secrecy legislation or laws anyway be damned.

Positioned well in the executive branch they again have the opportunity to follow the Iran-Contra model, because only sidelining oversight allows them to live out their insanity to the fullest. Nobody in his right mind, knowing of what they do, would give them a green light. That sais something bad about Cheney, not to mention Bush.

They probably like the Israelis because from all the people in the world only the Israeli right is nearly as crazy as the neo-cons. They're soul mates.

Much like a hardcore militarists like Elliot Abrams for instance sees Cuban or Nicaraguan Communists, just like nowadays the Palestinians, Syrians or Iran, as not much more than vermin that must not be talked to, so see right wing Israeli militarists the Arabs I presume.

The mess in Iraq is what Bush got for handing the attack dogs the leash.

International Criminal Law Student

To PL and all,

Let's set the record straight on war crimes and aggression. Contrary to popular belief, the Nuremberg Tribunal's ONLY (or at least its heavily primary) jurisdiction was over war crimes and the crime of "aggressive war". Genocide didn't become law until the 1948 Convention, and crimes against humanity only came in through the war crimes connection. (Persecution of the Jews only came in by being parlayed into "political prisoner" persecution. The Holocaust as such was never addressed by a court until the 1961 Eichmann trial. The Porrajmos - the Nazis' genocide of 4/5 of Europe's Roma - has still never been really addressed.)

Aggressive war as a Nuremberg crime - and the conspiracy to commit it as a crime before the Allied Control Council - was only there because it's what pissed off the victors the most. The Nuremberg Tribunal did not establish an international precedent, but was bounded by the four corners of its Charter.

Now fast forward 50 years to the next international tribunals - Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Sierra Leone - and aggression doesn't really fit. The nature of conflict and atrocity has moved on beyond its earlier conception as something that happens between sovereign nations.

Now we get the ICC. Unlike the 1990s tribunals, the ICC is established by multinational treaty, not by the UN Security Council. This means that the Rome Statute is very much shaped by nation-states' sovereignty concerns, and this time everyone's on board, including the US during the negotiations, not just the winners to some conflict. And what do you think turns up missing? If you said "aggressive war", you're right. (Or rather, the Statute provides jurisdiction over "aggressive war", but only if the parties agree on a definition, and amendments can only happen in 2009 or later, and 7/8 of the 100+ parties have to agree.)

So let's be straight about calling Wolfie a war criminal for starting an aggressive war. While it's technically illegal under international law (see the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, which has obviously been given little bite), there's no crime. Yes, there should be. Yes, Wolfowitz and Kissinger and all of these bozos should be tried and left to rot in prison. But for now, a "criminal" for instigating a war? Unfortunately, I don't think so. Colonel, you and your readers would do well to argue more from justifiable outrage and less from dim legal principles ("Hague"? "Geneva"? these regulate jus in bello, not jus ad bellum) that don't exist at present.

W. Patrick Lang

ICLS

"Jodl was accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war-crimes; and crimes against humanity"

Wikipedia article on Colonel General Alfred Jodl.

Jodl was convicted and hanged. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

Some bio on Wolfie's girlfriend, although still lack a maiden name, date and place of birth, etc.:
"Last September we reported, "Shaha Aliriza, who has managed to antagonize every office in Washington, DC in which she has been specially assigned by her boyfriend and boss [Wolfowitz], is now serving as a World Bank liaison in South America, according to World Bank sources. Aliriza is divorced from Bulent Aliriza, a Turkish Cypriot who she met at the London School of Economics. Wolfowitz is legally separated from his wife, Clare Selgin. After taking over at the World Bank, Wolfowitz met Aliriza, then the acting manager for the Bank's External Relations and Outreach for the Middle East and North Africa Region. After complaints by employees about Wolfowitz's conflict of interest with an employee, Aliriza was transferred to a joint World Bank/US Agency for International Development (USAID) multinational investment project. After similar complaints, Wolfowitz transferred his friend to South America duties. World Bank sources report that although the Tunis-born Aliriza grew up in Saudi Arabia and is a British citizen, she has Tunisian Jewish roots. Aliriza honed her neo-conservative credentials as a veteran of Ronald Reagan's National Endowment for Democracy and she has been pressuring Wolfowitz to use his position to help 'democratize' the Middle East."
From Wayne Madsen Report,
http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/

Clifford Kiracofe

Dear ICLStudent, you might want to brush up some before any exams unless your professors are Neocons or Neocon groupies in which case you are fine. There are lots of them (well, "Straussians") lurking around in Philosophy Departments, Political Science Departments and Law faculties. See, for example,
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/lawindex.htm

But you do raise an interesting issue, namely the concept of international law the Neocons have. Although there has been considerable analysis of it in academic circles, briefly we can note the work of the Neocon and Neocon groupie lawyers surrounding the Vice President, say David Addington as a major example.
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/060529/29addington.htm
As they don't believe in international law, anything goes for them including "preventive war." It is a "Hobbesian World", after all they say.

Of course, the core concepts of this perspective on international law have modern roots in the work of Carl Schmitt, the foremost Nazi legal theoretician. Schmitt was Leo Strauss's professor and patron.
Strauss, a Neocon guru, was one vector of Schmitt's concepts into the US. Some say this type of legal thought permeates the influential Federalist Society.
http://www.fed-soc.org/
For Schmitt see the overview at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Schmitt

Some argue the Neocon types, including the lawyers of the Bush Administration, have fashioned "W" into Schmitt's model for a dictator. But we can also consider the influence on Neocons of Weber's concept of the "charismatic leader": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charismatic_authority
And for the Christian Zionists, I would imagine W is full of celestial charisma....

confusedponderer

ICLS,
to be more accurate, how does sound violation of Art. 2 IV UNC for you?

Ius ad bellum is currently dominated by Articles 2 IV and 51 UNC. These are the principal changes the Charter made in preexisting international law, which had accepted as legal each state's sovereign right to declare war at will. Article 2 IV UNC prohibits the international use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. The US agreed to that by ratifying the UNC. That proposition is now generally considered to be ius cogens, binding on all states.

Self-defense after Art. 51 UNC as a justification is ruled out for the US in case of Iraq. And given the history of UNSC resolution 1441 I cannot read a war mandate for the US after Art. 42 UNC out of it.

The UN blessing after the fact does little to change that, it simply stated the obvious when it found that, no doubt, the US occupy Iraq.

And there we are.

I am perfectly well aware of the dissatisfying situation in this case. The US in the UNSC is in a position of relative invulnerability. That reflects the reality of power in international law. The US have also not agreed to the jurisdiction of any international court in such matters, and I have little doubt that domestically, in a new found spirit of bipartisanship on the issue, the US will do nothing to try these goons.

It becomes interesting when we start pondering about universal jurisdiction.

In the context of torture the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia stated in Prosecutor v. Furundžija that there is a jus cogens for the prohibition against torture. It went on that "the torturer has become, like the pirate and the slave trader before him, hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind." They determined universal jurisdiction for such crimes.

If I were Wolfie I would consider to be careful when traveling abroad when my mandate at the World Bank runs out. Same for the rest of the crew. Remember Pinochet. This story is only beginning.

D.Witt

How about an indictment under the RICO act?

Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. The Organized Crime Control Act (U.S., 1970) defines organized crime as "The unlawful activities of ... a highly organized, disciplined association...".

...The act of engaging in criminal activity as a structured group is referred to in the United States as racketeering. In the U.S., organized crime is often prosecuted federally under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Statute (18 U.S.C. Part I Chapter 96 §§ 1961-1968).

Organized crime, however defined, is characterized by a few basic qualities including durability over time, diversified interests, hierarchical structure, capital accumulation, reinvestment, access to political protection and the use of violence to protect interests.
...
In order for a criminal organization to prosper, some degree of support is required from the society in which it lives. Thus, it is often necessary to corrupt some of its respected members, most commonly achieved through bribery, blackmail, and the establishment of symbiotic relationships with legitimate businesses. Judicial and police officers and legislators are especially targeted for control by organized crime via bribes, threats, or a combination.
...
Lacking much of the paperwork that is common to legitimate organizations, criminal organizations can usually evolve and reorganize much more quickly when the need arises. They are quick to capitalize on newly-opened markets, and quick to rebuild themselves under another guise when caught by authorities.
Globalization occurs in crime as much as it does in business. Criminal organizations easily cross boundaries between countries.
...
The concept of the criminal organization came into being during the Nuremberg Trials. Several public sector organizations of Nazi Germany such as the SS and Gestapo were judged to be criminal organizations, while other organizations such as the German Army High Command [dubious — see talk page] were indicted but acquitted of charges.[citation needed]
This conception of criminal organizations was, and continues to be, controversial, and has not been used in human rights law since the trials at Nuremberg.
...
In addition to what is considered traditional organized crime involving direct crimes of fraud swindles, scams, racketeering and other RICO predicate acts motivated for the accumulation of monetary gain, there is also non-traditional organized crime which is engaged in for political or ideological gain or acceptance. Such crime groups are often labeled terrorist organizations and include such groups as Al Qaeda.

source: Wikipedia
//

The problem with this approach, of course, is that RICO charges are brought by US Attorneys...which may add another dimension to the evolving USA scandal under Abu Gonzalez!

Babak Makkinejad

All:

I think we can all agree that International Law is not really "Law". It is mostly what tribal societies would have called "Custom". As such, adherence to it is neither mandatory nor obligatory - "I'll follow it if suits me & my purposes for now".

Col. Lang:

There is no difference between "conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war-crimes; and crimes against humanity"

and

"conspiracy to commit crimes against Islam; planning, initiating and waging War against God & his Apostle, of fitna; and Corruption on Earth (mufsid fi al arz)"


International Criminal Law Student

PL re Jodl: Right. The Allied Control Council had jurisdiction over conspiracy to commit crimes against peace. No subsequent body has had that jurisdiction.

Clifford Kiracofe re neocon academia: I don't really understand your point, but I think you're accusing me of being some sort of neocon academic, or at least fogged by neocon professors. How does this follow? I and my Intl Law/Criminal Law professors have all been Bush critics committed to the international rule of law. I'm not trying to absolve Wolfowitz or argue that he SHOULD be immune from prosecution (again, I think he should rot in prison); I'm trying to clarify the fact that, UNFORTUNATELY, "the war crime of aggression" doesn't exist as a legal term at present.

confusedponderer: Actually, there's a lot of disagreement about whether the UN Charter bans war or leaves it on the table as a "dispute resolution method of last resort." Even if it bans it (as I'd like to believe), it only affects the responsibility of states, which would be hashed out in an ICJ suit that would be fraught with political and evidentiary difficulties. (Remember when Nicaragua tried this against the US?) The outlet for individual criminal liability under international law is the ICC, and it's a dead letter. I like jus cogens norms as much as the next guy, but you've got an uphill battle if you're gonna try to convince international jurists that a "crime of aggression" already exists despite the ICC definitional-amendment requirement.

confusedponderer

ICLS,
"there's a lot of disagreement about whether the UN Charter bans war or leaves it on the table as a "dispute resolution method of last resort."

You gotta be kidding. What disagreement? You will be hard pressed to find this view outside of the anglo-saxon realm.

The sovereignty of nations and the invulnerability of this sovereignty is the cornerstone of international law. There is no right choose war as a legitimate foreign policy tool.
The ban on use of force except in narrowly defined exceptions is absolute. That is the fundamental change to pre-existing law.

Internationally the view you presented represents a minority opinion primarily held by US right-wing scholars seeking a legal vessel to allow for hegemonic policies, along the lines of the imperial German 'Politik der freien Hand'* of the early 20th century.

You're in the essence telling me not only that after 1945 nothing changed, but that it is 1914.

*'politics of the free hand', quite fitting for an enterprising hegemon.

Clifford Kiracofe

Law student: You may wish to review more carefully the initial list of references I provided as background. I would suggest consideration of the following scholarly article as representative on the issue of "preventive war" that I noted. The professor teaches at the Institute for Public Law, Freiburg:

Murswiek, Dietrich, "The American Strategy of Preemptive War and International Law" (March 2003). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=397601 or DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.397601

Abstract:
The article analyzes the American war on Iraq in its context with the U.S. National Security Strategy and its possible consequences for the development of public international law. The attack on Iraq without U.N. consent is illegal. A mandate for military actions against Iraq cannot be derived from existing Security Council resolutions. Unilateral use of military force can only be justified by self-defence. Anticipatory self-defense is only allowed, if the government can prove that a threat of an armed attack is imminent and leaves no choice of other means than military self-defense and no time to apply to the Security Council. In the present Iraq crisis the U.S. government cannot meet these criteria. By claiming a right to preemptive action, the U.S. government is pushing a change in public international law. If other States don't object a beginning practice of preemptive war, there could emerge a new rule of public international law that allows preemptive wars. Such a rule would leave it within the subjective discretion of each individual State to decide, whether another State is to be qualified as a "rogue State", poses a threat to international peace and can legally be attacked. Nobody wants a new rule to become law, which would allow nearly every State to wage war against a lot of other States. Actually, the U.S. claims the right to preemptive action exclusively for itself. If the U.S. is successful in promoting this exclusive right to preemptive self-defense, then the fundamental principle of sovereign equality of States will be overthrown.


Keywords: preemptive war, preemptive action, preemptive self-defense, Iraq, war on Iraq, prohibition of the use of force, self-defense, Security Council Resolution 1441, sovereign equality of States

I concur with the Professor and his colleagues around the world, including the US, who have written from a similar position.

confusedponderer

ICLS,
PS: I got riled up because of that argument you mentioned. In defense I would probably be required to make such an argument. As an impartial counsel I would firmly disagree, as I feel I would be obliged to. I firmly believe that there is a path in law that leads to whoredom and damnation.

* I concede that as Nicaragua showed the US would have to agree to the jurisdiction of the ICJ first. That they won't do.
* Same for the ICC.
* With US veto power we can forget about the issue brought before the UNSC.
* Leaves universal jurisdiction after which everyone can try 'hostis humani generis. That however, is coupled with probable US pressure and depende on how much US pressure the country is willing to endure for that end. Not too much I guess.

That a good example for how power and legality are interwoven in international law. The US did get away with aggression in the case of Nicaragua, probably will in case of Iraq. Saddam's Iraq did not when he invaded Kuwait. Nicaragua is a tragedy because the Nicaraguans played the case straight by the rules of law and lost to the US who did not. Sad.

Considering realities of US power the only fix for that is domestic.

ICLS

confusedponderer: Sorry, I was confusing Art. 2(3) and Art. 2(4). You're right that 2(4) purports to ban international violence. The ambiguity is in its relation to 2(3), which either requires or merely provides for peaceful dispute resolution. (FYI, I studied this under an eminent Israeli professor, and one who has been deeply involved in promoting the international rule of law and peaceful dispute resolution at that. Hardly an int-law-skeptical US rightwinger.) As a practical matter, though, I maintain that this "illegality" isn't worth much if there's no mechanism for imposing sanctions. That's where the ICJ and ICC are supposed to come in, but see all my points above about how (UNFORTUNATELY) there's no crime of aggression as yet, because no nation-state wants to take the war option off the table (AND HOW I WISH THEY WOULD).

confusedponderer

ICLS,
I agree that without teeth illegality seems pointless. But as far as ius cogens in particular is concerned it's about a moral judgement. I think the Jogoslavia tribunal put it quite well when they referred to torturers as hostis humani generis. Keep that picture in mind.

So far the price for illegality is a political one -- paid in perception abroad. And it is not cheap.

Among with alienating longtime allies and damaging relations, it increases the risk of acts of terror against the US. Bin Laden makes a correct point when he refers to the agression of the US against Iraq. So how are polls going for US standing atm? That's the price not the perps but the entire population of the US is paying.

When nation states act, the privileges of impunity are only for the rulers, the risks and ultimately the repsonsibility is collective. Insofar, there should be a genuine interest in America to prevent these loonies from completely FUBARing America.

For all practical purposes, seeing them discredited and unappointable and unelectable would serve the purpose perfectly well, even if it falls way short of an adequate punishment for the crimes they committed. That however would require a public verdict of them. But I am in doubt if that can happen when IMO America does not seem to have collectively grasped that America really did do much wrong.

What else can one conclude from the US public occupying themselves with Rosie vs. Trump, or Edward's haircut, or that allegedly Ms. Plame sent her hubby Wilson on a 'taxpayer junket' to Niger (which is utterly preposterous) instead of adressing the point that America started an illegal war and killed beople by the tens-of-thousands, or that the Bush crew has unchecked and unballanced been merrily deconstructing the constitutional form of government. That is not an Rs vs Ds thing.

Clifford Kiracofe

Nice piece in Salon by Sydney Blumenthal on Wolfie's "Girlfriend Problem":
http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2007/04/19/wolfowitz/?source=whitelist

"....the inspector general of the Defense Department should be ordered to investigate how Shaha Ali Riza was issued a Pentagon security clearance. And the inspector general of the State Department should investigate who ordered Riza's building pass and whether there was a Pentagon credentials transmittal letter...."
According to this article, "Wolfowitz's girlfriend, Shaha Ali Riza, is a Libyan, raised in Saudi Arabia, educated at Oxford, who now has British citizenship."

Clifford Kiracofe

"The independent agency charged with assessing the effectiveness of the World Bank has issued a searing indictment of Paul Wolfowitz’s leadership, warning that the situation at the bank risks causing “irreparable harm to worldwide efforts in poverty reduction and sustainable development”. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7c2481a8-f0f3-11db-838b-000b5df10621.html

"To the Editor of the Financial Times,
For the good of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz should resign..."
Full Text at:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/ef67a7e6-f0d3-11db-838b-000b5df10621.html


Cornfed

The Special Court for Sierra Leone has taken a somewhat novel approach to the problem - joint criminal enterprise and conspiracy. It's worth a closer look for those so inclined.

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June 2019

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