Wednesday, December 27, 2006

On Trying, Convicting and Sentencing War Criminals

Quelle différence!

Whoever would think we are splitting hairs?

The first principle of the Nuremberg trials was to hold nations accountable for crimes against peace. From the start, this constituted a problem with trying Saddam for genocide and war crimes in the aftermath of Bush and Cheney's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

It was the United States that committed aggression by invading Iraq based on false premises and promises, thereby violating that same Nuremberg principle. The Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq was conducted without a mandate and in violation of international law.

So here is a summary of Saddam's criminal record:

On July 16, 1979: Takes over as president from al-Bakr; launches purge of Baath.

On Sept. 22, 1980: Sends army into Iran, setting off eight-year war.
Well, that's pretty quick (430 days) after becoming commander in chief. Bush took almost twice time (787) after becoming president to launch his preemptive UULUIUOI on 20-Mar-03.

If Bush and Cheney have their way, by responding to the Iraqi
insurgency with a surge of their own, our currently violent occupation of Iraq is well on its way of being prolonged eight years or longer.

Back to reviewing Saddam's record:
March 28, 1988: Uses chemical weapons against Kurdish town of Halabja, killing estimated 5,000 civilians.
That's pretty Bad... So, how many civilian deaths is Bush's UULUIUOI responsible for? 600,000? Back to Saddam's record:
Aug. 2, 1990: Invades Kuwait, leading to war with U.S.-led coalition which liberates Kuwait the following February.
Okay, okay! Saddam beats Bush, 2-1, as far as launching unprovoked wars of aggression. That's a clear cut distinction. Off with his head!

As for Bush, History will - at best - let him plead guilty to a lesser charge.

Martyrdom for Moslems and forgiveness for Christians...

26 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Vigilante said...

Here, I'm hacking into an old discussion with Recidivist in Sozadee
in order to preserve and distill what I believe to have been
a memorable exchange on The Trial of Saddam Hussein.

12/27/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Vigilante, Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon set the precedence for all future presidents so inclined toward criminality, monarchism, unaccountability, and rampant 'signing statements'.

12/27/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Recidivist said...

Good job on this post but it's no ways complete without Cheney's likeness being included.

12/27/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great post Vigilante. Even with the "surge" of troops though my best guess is that we will be out of Iraq by 2009.

12/27/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Dubya and Dick show" in the Iraqi theatre is definitely coming to an end. The both main characters would dearly like to linger much longer to realize their expected, artistic triumph. Unfortunately for them, half the audience has already hit the pavement outside the theatre and before the already closing curtains obstruct the view of the stage, the grand finale with the full staff is about to take place. Between the snarling lips of Big Dick comes a growl: "Damn these people who do not understand the importance to stay till the end!"

12/27/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saddam is still the leader there. I suggest we turn him lose , and apologize to Iraq and the world.
Next apologize for the hundreds of thousands of deaths we have caused , and the horrible suffering we have caused.
Also apologize to the soldiers families for the deaths that have occurred for no reason other than to further the interests of big money.
Lots of blood on Bush`s hands.

12/27/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf said...

You're right Skip Sievert. Saddam is the only answer. And time is even running out. You gotta set him loose in the next 30 days or the lights go out on his tunnel, too.

12/27/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saddam will soon swing at the end of a rope. How do I know it, you might ask? Well, there hardly is more immoral, stupid and counter productive deed that this administration could lend their enthusiastic support for. So, that is why the hangging of Saddam is the foregone conclusion.

12/27/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

This one's for you, Emily! I have never thought of Ford in this light, but you certainly make a strong point. Taylor Marsh, in Huffington Post, agrees with you:

. . . .I'm a Democrat, but the first vote I ever cast was for Richard M. Nixon. My political show begins with that vote. It's also the reason I can say, without apologizing, that I wanted President Nixon punished for what he did to this country, our soldiers and to the first generation of 18 year old voters, myself included, and why I will never forgive Gerald R. Ford's betrayal of my trust. That betrayal, which was built on Nixon's, haunts American politics to this day through the villains of Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld, regardless of his resignation. We still haven't cleansed ourselves of these ruthless, dishonest and anti-American, anti democratic brutes. Ford's pardon of Richard M. Nixon is one overriding reason why.

. . . . I have only one memory, which colors all others. He is the man who pardoned Richard M. Nixon, and sent this country down a path of denial, obfuscation and political fantasy. Nixon's pardon was supposed to be for the good of the country. I can tell you, after watching every second of the Watergate hearings, I surely didn't feel like it did anyone any good, except of course the politicians who cover for one another and try to keep reality from We the People.

. . . . I will never believe that Nixon paid enough for his. The man should have been impeached.

. . . .The standard set by Ford remains. Republicans get a pass. Democrats get held to a standard Nixon did not. I'm one of the people against impeaching Mr. Bush, with the caveat that we must follow the investigations to come wherever they may lead. But it does raise the question: If Clinton got impeached, and Nixon got pardoned by Ford, what is fitting for Mr. Bush? The scales have not been set right since Ford's actions robbed this country of a just and much needed trial.

. . . .President Gerald R. Ford robbed us all of that justice. It follows us still.

. . . .all Mr. Ford's pardon did was prove to men coming up next, like Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush, that the president is above the law and in an orbit all his own.

. . . . former President Ford made a decision that taught a generation something antithetical to the American way. He taught my generation and the ones before mine that if you were powerful enough you could get away with anything.

. . . .If you don't believe me, just take a look at what Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have wrought in Iraq. Mr. Bush is part of the legacy left behind by Gerald R. Ford's pardoning of Richard M. Nixon.

I associate completely with the two of you.

12/27/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So long as Bush is the heart and soul of the problem, solutions are deceptively simple... and horribly wrong.

The Invasion and later Occupation of Iraq did not occur in a vacuum. Nor was Bush (or Cheney... or Rumsfeld) alone in his determination to Invade Iraq and topple Saddam. Fully 90% of the US population and 90% of the elected representatives in our government supported the invasion.

There was the violation of 17 UN resolutions, blustering by Saddam, denial of weapons inspections, oil for food corruption, fears in Europe and much more going on in the background.

Hindsight is 20/20. Today most American's and most Members of Congress now agree the Invasion was a mistake and the Occupation is a disaster.

But none of this happened in a research laboratory with carefully controlled environmental and social restraints.

I, for one, feel you give Bush much too much credit. He lacks the depth, the intelligence and the shear power of pursuasion to be another Machiavelli.

Impeach him if you wish. Or put him, Cheney and CO. on trial.

But the entire country had damn well better look in a mirror as we place blame for this disaster.

the Wizard........

12/27/2006 07:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One can't argue convincingly against the reasoning by wizard. There really is a marked unwillingness by the Americans to honestly examine themselves. The conviniently purifying and easy way out is to saddle everything on the narrow shoulders of President Cuckles. This is exactly that has taken place on the progressive blogs and I have been on the receiving end of their wrath by suggesting something along the lines wizard says here.

Convinient, easy and only partially true.

12/27/2006 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

Excuse me, Pekka and Wizard. Can it be that both of you are saying that both Saddam and Bush went the three wars mentioned above with the enthusiastic agreement of the majority of their subjects? Is that what you are saying?

12/27/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Gerald R. Ford justified his “Compleat, Full, and Absolute” pardon of Nixon by stating that Americans could not wait for 365 days to pass before the Wheels of Justice could begin to turn and Richard Nixon could be held to account for his many crimes against our Beloved Nation and its Citizens.

Clearly, Ford had no confidence in our nation’s long cherished ideal that No Person, not even a President of the United States of America, is above the law. So, he pardoned his friend Nixon. By so doing, Ford established two principles which have altered our country’s political life forever:

1. Americans are children who are incapable of hearing difficult and/or painful truths, but must be coddled, pacified and distracted (as in: “Trade Center Towers Destroyed: Go Shop, America.”).
2. Presidents can do nothing for which they can be held accountable, for they are ABOVE and BEYOND the reach of any and all of our laws.

Thanks to Gerald R. Ford, no Republican President has been or shall be held to account. (Democratic Presidents are impeached for the heinous crime against all Americans of being bad husbands and dissembling about said peccadilloes under oath.) Republican Presidents are answerable to NO ONE.

12/27/2006 09:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coop, to make a long story short; I am just accusing many of you, progressives, forgeting your collective enthusiasm or at least your ear piercing silence to get even and slash blindly out somebody in the aftermath of 9/11.

I remember how this mindset scared the crap out of us outsiders. Now, with the hindsigt and less than satisfactory results in Iraq, so many of you have climbed on board of the peace train and leaving the dear leader on the station platform all alone. Of course, there are many of you, just like my buddy Vigil, that had the right picture of it all a long time ago but at one point his views were considered as unpatriotic by most of you regardless of the party affiliations.

Through out the recorded history, the losing leaders have blamed their people about the things that went wrong but this is the case with the other way around too. Not to accept any wider responsibility, than just narrowly puting the onus on an handfull of men in Washington, looks awfully lot like what the most people with the quilty conscience do - pointing the accusing finger out to someone else.

I like Emily...a lot!

12/28/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Edgar Newt said...

Pekka, I consider myself progressive. I, along with many others -- not the least of which, Vigil -- spoke out loudly and consistently about the error of picking an unjustified fight in Iraq prior to our invasion. While certainly many "leaders" were complicit AND silent, many were not. In the leadership category, Feingold comes to mind.

That truth and deliberation become the first casualties in moments of mob-mentality should not come as a anyone who cares to examine our past -- both recent and not-so-recent.

I am of two minds when it comes to Ford. A man of intelligence and thoughfulness, he stepped into the shoes of Agnew. Ascended to the Presidency as the result of power run amok. As an unelected President of his people (he was, after all, appointed VP), he found himself faced with a distrustful country, a failing war on poverty, a failing war in Vietnam, and a brewing war at home.

I cannot say that his decision to pardon Nixon was wrong. Nor can I say it was right. It simply happened.

I think Emily is mostly correct about Presidents not being held accountable. But perhaps it goes beyond just Republicans. Absent a smoking tape or a moist dress -- physical evidence that even those most skilled in the art of spin and deception cannot twist into more convenient conclusions -- Presidents will not be held accountable.

Iran Contra lacked a key email, document or tape. Whitewater lacked, well....everything. And Spygate also lacks documentary evidence -- at least until somebody thinks to actually read the Bill of Rights and ponder the necessity of the FISA statutes. [Come on Feingold, wear your reading glasses...].

I don't think that it is Republican Presidents that have gotten off easy. I think its just that Conservatives are better and promoting and prosecuting scandals (notice I did not say 'investigations').

12/28/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Well said, all of the above.

Edgar, what's more to the point is Iraq-gate. The Downing Street Memo was the smoking gun, but we still need the final ballistics from the Senate Committee on Intelligence report (long delayed through two elections by the Weimar Republicans).

As for President Ford, much can be forgiven as he has spoken from beyond the grave to condemn Bush and Cheney for their un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

12/28/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger Edgar Newt said...

I don't think I share your forgiveness streak, Vigilante. Yes, in private, Ford spoke against the Iraq War. In PRIVATE.

It is one thing to speak up in dinner parties and during pillow talk. It is quite something else to offer your truthful opinion in public, to the people you governed, to the people that look to you for advice, expertise and insight.

It is one thing to speak the truth in public. Absent that, remaining silent might also be permissible in some circumstances. But to advocate or support a position antithetical to your true beliefs; to your true opinion of the decision/justification for the war is wrong. Pure and simple. You sacrifice your honor, your integrity, your leadership.

Speaking his "true opinion" in an embargoed interview to be played only after his death suggest that Ford valued decorum over honor, niceties over soldiers, loyalty to party over patriotism. It seems counter to your advocacy over these past few years.

It also rings somewhat hollow -- much like Rummy's ass-covering memo in the days before he was shown the door.

I am proud that I was against the war before we invaded. I am saddened that there were not enough of us who believe that and who spoke out. This war has been -- and is being -- prosecuted in my name. In yours. In ours. And it pains me to know end that people who had access to a large soapbox stayed silent. I will not give them a free pass now, simply because of their passing or their failing health.

As a citizen, I have a civic duty to speak up. To join the conversation. To participate in our governance. It seems reasonable to me that a former president, former leader in congress, elder statesman, and public figure Jerry Ford had no less a duty. I would argue his duty is/was greater.

12/29/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Yes, yes, yes Edgar, you have so busted me.

Here is this sidebar from of Nevada Thunder's Administrator:

"where the hell has this been. I mean, he kept his mouth shut during the 04 elections, kept it shut the whole last part of his life. It’s just disappointing, that someone like a former President, who strongly disagreed with the war, was so quiet when his country really needed him. But then again, he pardoned Nixon, so maybe it’s not that shocking. Another politician, being a good soldier for his party, instead of his country . . ."

which I was going to post when I discovered I had already been busted for gratuitous generosity.

12/29/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Back to Ford's presidential pardon of Nixon, Bob Wooward in today's Los Angeles Times says it was personal loyality to Nixon that led to the pardon.

"But the tapes, documents and two recent interviews with Ford, conducted for a future book and embargoed until after his death, show that the close political alliance between the two men seriously influenced Ford's decision to pardon Nixon."

As opposed to the much ballyhooed "good of the country".

12/29/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger LittleBill said...

Good work, everyone, especially Edgar and Emily.
Unfortunately, Ford has somewhat sullied his name by saving his true feelings until after his death. If he had spoken up sooner, the events under GWBush might have been different. Those of us who were duped by his duplicity might have been better served by a strong voice of opposition from a man of moral courage and political position.

As things presently are {with the execution of Hussein imminent), Bush should have acknowledged and accepted defeat for our betrayed nation, and immediately withdrawn our entire military presence in Iraq, accepting also, in advance his full responsibility for whatever follows.

12/29/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a real bad premonition that this barbaric act will come home to roost on Bush.

12/29/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking his "true opinion" in an embargoed interview to be played only after his death suggest that Ford valued decorum over honor, niceties over soldiers, loyalty to party over patriotism.

Had to hijack that. Thank you for so perfectly putting into words what's been rolling around in my pea-brain.

On a lighter note...I did hear a short blurb on CNN this evening outlining some actions that are being considered. Sounded positively Clintonian.

Not going to go all optimistic just yet, implementation being the usual sticking point with this administration but I'll just say, was less stupid than anythng I've heard up till now.

12/30/2006 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger Non-Partisàn said...

Saddam Hussein, Thanks for the memories....

12/30/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories, Mr. Partisan

12/31/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enough adulation about Ford. He was a mediocre representative from a safe district in Michigan, and the president who taught us that there are two laws — one for the rich and politically powerful, another for the common folk. President Nixon should have served time in jail, as should have President Clinton.

The excuse for pardoning Nixon was to heal the nation. Ha! Heal the nation with what? A slap in the face to the average man who raises a family without the advantages of a Nixon or Ford? It is said that Ford was a good man. There are many good men in our nation, but they are insulted by politicians such as Ford.

12/31/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger LTE said...

Now the Watergate scandal pales in comparison to the last five years of fabricated excuses for war, death, destruction and the dismantling of our Bill of Rights. Watergate was a parking ticket compared to President Bush's behavior.

12/31/2006 11:02:00 AM  

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