August 28, 2008

A Choice of War Criminals

From Al Gore's speech tonight:
We can carry Barack Obama's message of hope and change to every family in America. And pledge that we will be there for him, not only in the heat of this election but in the aftermath as we put his agenda to work for our country.

We can tell Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats, exactly why our nation so badly needs a change from the approach of Bush, Cheney and McCain.

After they wrecked our economy, it is time for a change.

After they abandoned the search for the terrorists who attacked us and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us, it's time for a change.
One of the Democrats' already standard slogans in this campaign is that we've been fighting "the wrong war" -- "the right war" supposedly being the one in Afghanistan (and possibly Pakistan). Although the line has become common, I don't recall hearing the point expressed in exactly the way Gore said it. Perhaps others have said it that way, and I missed it.

As I heard that phrase this evening -- "and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us" -- I froze for several seconds. I couldn't believe Gore had said it, or that I had heard it. I doubt that even one commentator will say a word about it. If you hear or read any remarks about it, please let me know. I will be extraordinarily surprised. I similarly doubt that more than one or two bloggers will note Gore's comment. Chris Floyd doesn't count. Zeroing in on the meaning of such remarks is one of his many specialties, and bless him for it, two thousand times over.

Here is Al Gore, former Vice President, speaking just a short time before Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. Given what we have read about the control exerted at "Obama's Convention," we can assume Gore's speech met with the approval of Obama and/or Obama's designated staff. Consider the line again: "and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us."

Iraq did not attack us. Therefore, the United States was not acting in self-defense. The invasion of Iraq was an act of aggression. Thus, the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq constitute an ongoing war crime, indeed a huge, horrifying series of ongoing war crimes. The war crimes continue today, and will continue tomorrow.

Those people who have been paying attention, and who understood that the propaganda spewed forth by the U.S. government and our subservient media was a series of remarkably unsubtle and frequently blatant lies, realized this would be the case before the invasion in March 2003. But the U.S. government and our subservient media deny it to this day. If they go so far as to admit that the war was a mistake (which many still will not), they insist it was an "honest mistake," one based on "bad intelligence." But that's a lie, and it relies on a profound misunderstanding of the role of intelligence in decisions of policy. At worst, politicians and most of those in the media will say only that the invasion of Iraq was a "blunder," perhaps a terrible one, but still only a "blunder."

But Al Gore said we invaded "a nation that did not attack us." The United States committed a monstrous war crime. That's what Gore's statement means. Do not expect anyone to acknowledge that is what it means.

Consider the Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal:
Principle VI

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

1. Crimes against peace:
1. Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
2. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
2. War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of 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.
3. Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman 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.

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law.
All of these provisions apply to the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq. And always remember that the U.S. invasion and occupation unleashed a genocide.

So which individuals are guilty of the commission of crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity? Certainly all the major officials of the Bush administration during the period of the planning and implementation of the invasion of Iraq and during the subsequent occupation. Gore refers to "they," dishonestly attempting to place all responsibility with the Republicans. The facts and the historical record will not support flimsy strategems of this kind. So add to the list of criminals all those in Congress who voted for the Iraq AUMF, as well as all those who voted to fund the war and the continuing occupation. With regard to the Bush administration and Congress during the relevant time period, I think the list of those who are not guilty would be very short, indeed. To my knowledge, that list would include only Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. (If there are one or two others, my apologies. But there are certainly not more than a few others.)

And who is one of the people who has repeatedly voted to fund the occupation of Iraq? That's right: Barack Obama. Obama, the Democratic nominee for President, is guilty of crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Al Gore told you that, and he is entirely correct.

Yet the meaning of Gore's statement will go completely unremarked. You may wonder why that is. This is why:
If you have ever wondered how a serial murderer -- a murderer who is sane and fully aware of the acts he has committed -- can remain steadfastly convinced of his own moral superiority and show not even the slightest glimmer of remorse, you should not wonder any longer.

The United States government is such a murderer. It conducts its murders in full view of the entire world. It even boasts of them. ...

We are a nation that has voluntarily renounced all its most crucial values, and all its founding principles. We can appeal all we want to "American exceptionalism," but any "exceptionalism" that remains ours is that of a mass murderer without a soul, and without a conscience. We have destroyed the most basic foundation of liberty -- and the nature and meaning of our act has already, in less than a couple of weeks, almost entirely vanished from public discussion. It is useless to appeal to any "American" sense of morality: we have none. It does not matter how immense the pile of corpses grows: we will not surrender or even question our delusion that we are right, and that nothing we do can be profoundly, unforgivably wrong.


No moral principle legitimizes our invasion and occupation of Iraq, just as it will not justify an attack on Iran. Therefore, when the first person was killed in Iraq as the result of our actions, the immorality was complete. The crime had been committed, and no amends could ever suffice or would even be possible. That many additional tens or hundreds of thousands of people have subsequently been killed or injured does not add to the original immorality with regard to first principles. It increases its scope, which is an additional and terrible horror -- but the principle is not altered in the smallest degree.


Iraq did not attack us. Iraq did not threaten us. Our leaders knew it. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq were blatant, indefensible acts of aggression. Therefore, when the very first Iraqi was killed as the result of our actions, we had committed an act that was gravely immoral, and entirely unforgivable.
Tonight, Al Gore told us all that he agrees.

The crimes of those Republicans who supported these actions are unspeakable and eternally unforgivable. Yet the crimes of the Democrats who supported the same actions are still worse. The Democrats insist that they think the invasion and occupation of Iraq were wrong, yet they have continued to fund it, even though it has been within their power to defund it entirely for over a year and a half -- and, of equal and even greater significance in one sense, the Democrats absolutely refuse to hold even one person responsible.

But how can they hold anyone responsible? They would have to hold themselves responsible as well:
[T]he Democrats are not going to impeach any of these criminals, barring events entirely unforeseeable at present. And they will not for one overwhelmingly significant and determinative reason: always with regard to the underlying principles, and frequently with regard to the specifics, the Democrats are implicated in every single crime with which they would charge the members of the administration. The Republicans' crimes are their crimes.
I wrote that just over a year ago.

But no one will ever be held to account for the crimes committed by the United States, for the United States makes the rules and is their sole enforcer:
[T]o acknowledge the millions murdered by the U.S. government and our policy of aggressive military intervention across the globe would subject our own actions to the kinds of judgments that only the United States is entitled to make, and only about the actions of others. The United States is uniquely exempt from the standards we apply to everyone else; thus runs the catechism at the church of our inherent national superiority.
Not a single individual will ever be held responsible for the crimes of the United States, crimes which continue as I write this. Nancy Pelosi has said so:
After blocking any serious investigation or impeachment hearings on crimes committed by President Bush, Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally addressed the allegations of presidential crimes on that forum of deep intellectual and legal thought: the television show The View. She agreed to answer a question from Joy Behar, who will have to suffice as a substitute for Peter Rodino. In a perfectly bizarre moment, Pelosi stated that there is simply no evidence of any crime committed by the President despite the findings of the International Red Cross, various international groups, and a legion of constitutional experts. It seems that America has now had its impeachment hearing before the august body of Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
And Barack Obama has said so:
Obama, a Harvard law school graduate and former lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said impeachment should not be used as a standard political tool.

"I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president's authority," he said.

"I believe if we began impeachment proceedings we will be engulfed in more of the politics that has made Washington dysfunction," he added. "We would once again, rather than attending to the people's business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, non-stop circus."
We have witnessed an ongoing series of monstrous war crimes, a genocide, countless lives destroyed forever -- but to hold even one person responsible would be to engage in "a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, non-stop circus."

In his speech tonight, Barack Obama said not a word about holding anyone responsible for these crimes. But as noted above, how could he? He would have to hold himself responsible, too. Besides, if Obama is elected President, it will be time for "unity," and time "to move on." Accountability? Justice? Forget it.

And that brings us precisely here:
You desperately need to understand this: the next President of the United States, no matter who it is, will enter office knowing that he or she can systematically and regularly authorize torture, order mass murder, direct the United States military to engage in one campaign of criminal conquest and genocide after another, oversee uncountable acts of inhumanity and barbarity -- and he or she will never be challenged or called to account in any manner whatsoever. It may have taken the Bush administration two terms to bring us to the point where such evils are committed and even boasted about in broad daylight, while almost no one even notices -- but this will be where the next President starts.

And for this monstrous, unforgivable fact, you can thank the Democrats and those who whore themselves for the Democrats' success in our disgustingly meaningless elections.
If you vote for the candidate of one of the two major parties, this is your choice: John McCain, war criminal -- or Barack Obama, war criminal.

In view of all this, are people still going to seriously tell me -- are they going to seriously tell me -- that it is crucial to vote for Obama, because McCain is a crazy old man? Why exactly? Are they going to tell me it is critical for Obama to be the next President so that he can systematically and regularly authorize torture, order mass murder, direct the United States military to engage in one campaign of criminal conquest and genocide after another, oversee uncountable acts of inhumanity and barbarity -- and never be challenged or called to account in any manner whatsoever? But, they will whine, Obama would never do that. They may hope he will not, and I hope they are right -- although the prospects are alarming in the extreme -- but he will have the power to do all of it.

There is only so much I can stomach, and there are limits to what I will support. I will not vote for a war criminal, especially a war criminal who has insulated himself from all accountability for his own acts. Barring unexpected developments, I refuse to vote for either of these men. They are both vile, cynical, lying, ignoble, contemptible, sickening human beings. I therefore intend to follow a very different course.

But one of these men will be the next President. May God have pity on us, and may God have pity on the world.