Here's my response:
Thank you for your thoughtful question.
The Nuremberg War Crime Principles, which we used to prosecute the Nazis, and the UN Charter, which we helped draft and whole-heartedly supported after World War II forbid wars of aggression. While Bush went to the UN about the inspectors issue, he did not seek Security Council approval to invade Iraq, which made the war illegal according to Kofi Annan.
Oddly, we are very selective about when we like the UN. When they are helping us beat up on Saddam, they are good. When they say anything about how Israel treats Palestinians as many resolutions have, we ignore them
Bush knew Saddam was not a threat to us, and went as far as to use the uranium from Niger claim which he knew was false. Even before the war, intelligence professionals in the CIA, Pentagon, and Defense Department were complaining that the White House was pressuring them to make their reports more alarmist than the facts warranted.
In the case of the Pentagon, the administration went as far as to open a separate “Office of Special Plans” that had no intel professionals or separate streams of information, yet produced reports that exaggerated or contradicted military intel. This intel was them presented to Congress and the American people as factual.
A more slippery lie Bush told was creating the impression that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. 70% of Americans believed this but when Bush was asked about it directly, he was forced to admit on at least three different occasions that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, including the 2004 presidential debate.
Those lies had serious consequences: we will end up spend half a trillion dollars on the this war, have lost over 3,000 troops, with tens of thousands more injured, and over 600,000 Iraqis are dead according to the Lancet, the leading medical journal in Britain. Saddam killed about 100,000 people over the ten years before the invasion.
Even if Saddam had the dreaded WMD, or a nuclear weapon in particular, CIA director George Tenet was forced to admit to the Senate that Saddam would have been unlikely to use them on us unless we were literally about to overthrow him. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2312369.stm
He would be even less likely to give them to terrorist since once he did, he would have no control over how they were used. Saddam may have been evil, but he was not stupid. He probably knew how to count, and we have 10,000 nukes, a handful of which would exterminate everyone in Iraq in minutes. Saddam may have been evil, but he was not stupid. He even asked our ambassador to Iraq what our opinion was before we invaded Kuwait.
The actual intelligence was irrelevant to Bush anyway. In the minutes of his planning the war with Tony Blair, it was made clear that the trips to the UN, and demands for inspectors were simply efforts to “wrong-foot” Saddam and provide the appearance of justification rather than real diplomatic efforts. They went as far as to say “the facts were being fixed around the policy.”
Before the war even started, the Bush administration drew up a plan to privatize and sell off everything in the country, especially the oil. GOP strategist Grover Norquist proudly admits on camera authoring part of it and some oil executives have admitted their role in the war planning.
The privatization of natural resources and government services under Paul Bremer violates Article 55 of the Hague Convention, and the Bush administration themselves were concerned that their restructuring of Iraq’s oil industry to our oil companies liking would be prosecutable under this article.
Whether the current government of Iraq is truly independent and sovereign is debatable since Bush vetoed their first choice for prime minister, and exerted heavy pressure on the drafting of the Constitution and the current Hydrocarbon Law.
Iraqis who know about the Hydrocarbon Law don’t like it.
If we restructure their oil industry to benefit our oil companies, is that going to make people in Iraq and the rest of the Arab World like us more or less? If the war in Iraq has something to do with the War on Terror, it seems odd to do something that will make terrorism MORE likely.
As far as our general treatment of Iraqis, every part of article 147 of the Geneva Convention has been broken except for biological experiments and forcing Iraqis to serve us militarily. While less known than the Abu Ghraib torture, when we were rounding up Saddam’s generals, kidnapped one’s family to flush him out.
Veterans like John McCain have said that mistreating Iraqis makes it even more likely that if our soldiers are taken prisoner, they will be mistreated.
The Army has a simple standard for whether the war crime of torture has occurred in their interrogation manual: if the same action was done to US troops, would you consider it illegal?
I’ve attached some of the relevant portions of international law. As Americans, we should be concerned when our government lies to us about the reasons they started a war, particularly when they exploited our feelings of vulnerability after 9/11.
(end of message)
SOURCES ON INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIME LAWS:
The Geneva Convention of 1949 (IV) we've broken almost every section of article 147, and Bush has personally broken article 148.
Art. 147. Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or
property protected by the present Convention: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or willfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.
The Hague Convention of 1907 (IV) see articles 47, 53, 55
Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.
The privatization of natural resources and government services under Paul Bremer violates this article of the Hague Convention, and the Bush administration themselves were concerned that their restructuring of Iraq’s oil industry to our oil companies liking would be prosecutable under this article. Whether the current government of Iraq is truly independent and sovereign is debatable since Bush vetoed their first choice for prime minister, and exerted heavy pressure on the drafting of the Constitution and the current Hydrocarbon Law.
Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928
The High Contracting Parties solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.
The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
(b) War Crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation of slave labor or for any other purpose of the civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.
Article 2, paragraph 4
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.
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.
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