As Governor of Texas, the Presidential hopeful warned us. If we were to select him as Commander-In-Chief he would not send mixed messages. Americans might have read George W. Bush’s lips. Pressure would be applied in abundance. A thousand points of light illuminated the path the then possible Chief Executive proposed. Yet, no one wished to believe a prominent person, the son of a former President of the United States could be so cruel. Certainly, a candidate to the highest office in the land would not suggest that he would be happy to start a war while he worked to win the support of American people. Yet, there it was, in the smirk, in the statement, in the glint seen in the eyes of Governor George W. Bush. The date, January 16, 2000, one year and four days before the ready and willing combatant placed his hand on the Bible and recited the Presidential Oath of Office.
Americans entered a new age; the second millennium had just begun. Yet, the people had learned little from hundreds or thousands of years of history. While tuned into television, citizens did not need to read between the lines. The future President spoke directly of his intent. Journalist Wolf Blitzer heard the words and reiterated. Perchance, the Broadcaster, too shocked by a truth he thought awesome, offered the then candidate a chance to redeem himself. George W. Bush cognizant of how his words might be thought cocky, endeavored to lessen the concern, somewhat; however, he remained stalwart.
The words were ominous, they, the Iraqi’s, would not exist any more. They hung in the air. Yet, people wanted to believe, as President, George W. Bush, (or whomever) would protect them. The public chose to suspend disbelief. With blind faith, supporters of the candidate followed their leader. Those who did not endorse the aspirant did not dare to fear the unthinkable. They thought they would or could “trust and verify.” Few imagined the impossible would be their unwelcome truth.
Nearly two years later, circumstances afforded Mister Bush an opportunity. The September 11, 2001, attack on the Twin Towers allowed the former Governor, then President, to say, the world changed. However, in truth, while the people’s perspective may have been transformed, the views George W. Bush expressed twenty-one months earlier were as they had been. The Chief Executive’s sense of reality was static.
Commander-In-Chief Bush is consistent. As documented, at least since January 2000, Mister Bush intended to eliminate what he decided was a threat, Saddam Hussein, and the country known as Iraq. The harangue was heard and George Bush would stay the course.
Blitzer: It’s almost exactly nine years since your dad, the president of the United States, accepted a cease-fire with Saddam Hussein in Iraq in exchange for full Iraqi agreement to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors. But for the last year, there have been no weapons inspection teams in Iraq at all. If you were president today, what would you do about it?
Bush: I would continue to keep the pressure on the Iraqi government. I would continue to insist that inspectors be left — allowed into the country. I would continue to insist that Iraq complied with the cease-fire arrangement.
Blitzer: But they’re in violation of the agreement right now.
Bush: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we shouldn’t be sending mixed signals. And if any time I found that the Iraqi’s were developing weapons of mass destruction, they wouldn’t exist any more.
Blitzer: Who wouldn’t exist, the weapons?
Bush: The weapons of mass destruction, yes. I’m not going to — they just need to hear that from a potential president, that if we catch them in violation of the agreement, if we in any way, shape or form find out that they’re developing weapons of mass destruction that there will be action taken, and they can just guess what that action might be.
Blitzer: And you’re not going to spell it out here today?
Bush: No, sir.
Ah, but he had shared the details. The candidate crafted a message and then, in the midst of the interview thought better of being so blatant. Perhaps, this election season, the American people might ponder the past. Citizens could consider pronouncements are portals. When the public listens to our current crop of Presidential challengers might the people acknowledge that a politician has power to change more than a policy. Lives will be altered with the stroke of a Presidential pen.
This time, will our countrymen contemplate the messages delivered when a Presidential hopeful is away from the persuasive scripts? Might Americans accept commercials do not reveal what is within a heart and soul. Stump speeches do not reveal authentic intentions.
Let us listen when a potential Commander offers his truest calculations. When a candidate speaks of possible combat, have faith. He or she will engage. If the same hopeful honors a citizen’s right to bear arms, believe him (or her). Suppose surveillance is the subject. A potential President that promotes a need to spy on those he or she thinks may be terrorists will follow through. Holidays from taxes that build a healthy infrastructure, once proposed, will be part of the ultimate plan. When a presumptive Chief Executive claims he or she will reduce the cost of Health Care Insurance and yet, does not establish a means for better access to affordable medical coverage, realize, he or she will not provide an avenue for those who struggle with what is. What of energy, education, the environment; perchance Americans might acknowledge, no matter the issue, a person, a potential President will reveal him or herself in subtle ways.
Americans might follow the money, the man, and the woman. People, no matter their station know what they need to say and when. A hopeful President indebted to industry will not forget their allegiance, just as George W. Bush never forgot his. Loyalty to family, friends, and financiers leads many a Commander to combat or a multitude of convenient truths.
All actions begin with a thought. Words are windows into a being. Be assured; if an aspirant muses of what he or she “might” do, trust they will. Defensively, details may not be forthcoming before the position is secured. Nonetheless, once the keys to the White House are in hand the world will change to fit the new office holder’s reality, when indeed he or she actually has not evolved.
Sources For Statement of War, or Peace. We, the people decide . . .
We heard his message. The die was cast and many would perish. The safety and security of citizens within the United States was threatened. A defiant Saddam Hussein and arms in Iraq were the issues of import. Iraqi despot Hussein would not comply with demands to disarm. The Commander-In-Chief proclaimed Americans were patient; however, we could wait no longer.
The President decided it was time to take mattes into his own hands. He addressed a world audience and proclaimed.
Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.
Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.
Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.
I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish . . .
The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.
The United States has patiently worked to preserve [United Nations weapons inspectors] UNSCOM as Iraq has sought to avoid its obligation to cooperate with the inspectors . . . So Iraq has abused its final chance . . .
The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm’s way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq’s military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties . . .
Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction . . .
Because we’re acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future . . .
In the century we’re leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we’ll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.
Tonight, the United States is doing just that.
These are the words of Bill Clinton. The date was December 16, 1998. At the time, the Republicans were skeptical. On impeachment eve as the sound of proceedings resonated within the Halls of Congress and the White House. Many thought the intent to attack Iraq served to divert attention on matters at hand. The subject of the upcoming censure was William Jefferson Clinton. At the time, White House officials insisted the President Clinton was not attempting to distract the Congress or the country. The portent of impeachment did not influence the President’s decision to attack Iraq. U.S. planes were in the air as the drone of detractors voiced cynicism about the timing of this announcement. Certainly, the question of when this nation might best assail another loomed large within the Beltway.
Just as members of Congress criticized the Commander-In-Chief in 1998, years later the former commandant railed against the man who followed him into the Oval Office. Clinton questioned why the George W. Bush White House wished to bomb Iraq when they did. Witness the words of Bill Clinton six years after his own pronouncement.
Former president Bill Clinton said he agreed with President Bush’s decision to confront Iraq about its potential weapons programs, but thought the administration erred in starting a war in 2003 rather than allowing United Nations weapons inspectors longer to carry out their work.
“In terms of the launching of the war, I believe we made an error in not allowing the United Nations to complete the inspections process,” Clinton told CBS News’s Dan Rather in a “60 Minutes” interview to air tonight.
Clinton made similar comments in an interview with Time magazine, in which he said he “supported the Iraq thing” but questioned its timing. Portions of both interviews — part of the publicity campaign in advance of this week’s release of Clinton’s memoirs — were distributed in advance by the news organizations.
Clinton croons, ‘Time is my side; yes it is.’ It is best to move in the moment that helps maximize an individual’s personal message. In this case the person is former President Bill Clinton. When hearings were arranged and the President was to be held in contempt, the time is ripe. Bill was ready.
In 2004, as Bill promoted his newly released book, it was, once again, time to recapture the attention of Americans. Once more, the opportune moment was now. However, regardless of the instant or the message, the essence is muddled. Which statement are we to believe and which Clinton speaks the truth, or when. Bill did change his focus and alter his feelings, and Hillary does. Granted we all grow in “time;” however, the current concern is not for the change. It is the re-write of history that we must call into question.
In October 2002, the former first Lady, as Senator, expressed her support for the then President George w. Bush. She cautiously calculated the options and concluded, we, as a nation, must give Mister Bush the power to act.
In 1998, Saddam Hussein pressured the United Nations to lift the sanctions by threatening to stop all cooperation with the inspectors. In an attempt to resolve the situation, the UN, unwisely in my view, agreed to put limits on inspections of designated “sovereign sites” including the so-called presidential palaces, which in reality were huge compounds well suited to hold weapons labs, stocks, and records which Saddam Hussein was required by UN resolution to turn over. When Saddam blocked the inspection process, the inspectors left. As a result, President Clinton, with the British and others, ordered an intensive four-day air assault, Operation Desert Fox, on known and suspected weapons of mass destruction sites and other military targets.
In 1998, the United States also changed its underlying policy toward Iraq from containment to regime change and began to examine options to effect such a change, including support for Iraqi opposition leaders within the country and abroad . . .
It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.
This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make — any vote that may lead to war should be hard — but I cast it with conviction . . .
And perhaps my decision is influenced by my eight years of experience on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in the White House watching my husband deal with serious challenges to our nation. I want this President, or any future President, to be in the strongest possible position to lead our country in the United Nations or in war.
Secondly, I want to insure that Saddam Hussein makes no mistake about our national unity and for our support for the President’s efforts to wage America’s war against terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. And thirdly, I want the men and women in our Armed Forces to know that if they should be called upon to act against Iraq, our country will stand resolutely behind them . . .
So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him – use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein – this is your last chance – disarm or be disarmed.
Although, she currently claims she did not think President Bush would unilaterally attack Iraq. She thought Bush would be more prudent. Senator Clinton cast her vote based on the information she had at the time.
As transcripts show, Sen. Clinton’s views on the war have slowly changed since 2002, but she still can’t say her own vote to authorize force was a mistake.
By Tim Grieve
Feb. 14, 2007
At a campaign stop in New Hampshire over the past weekend, a voter asked Hillary Clinton if she could say — “once and for all, without nuance” — that her October 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq had been a “mistake.”
Clinton couldn’t do it.
“Well,” she said, “I have said, and I will repeat it, that knowing what I know now, I would never have voted for it … I have taken responsibility for my vote. The mistakes were made by this president who misled this country and this Congress into a war that should not have been waged.”
Let’s go through that again. Clinton said that, knowing what she knows now, she wouldn’t have voted to authorize the use of force. She said that George W. Bush made mistakes. But Clinton didn’t say that she was wrong or that she made a mistake back in 2002.
Upon reflection, days, weeks, months later, some persons do not change. They consider certain types of progress a disadvantage. Resolute resolve, for persons such as Senator Clinton shows strength. With time, the telling differs, not the definition of right.
In time, people project, forget, and realize others will not recall. Thus, today, weeks before another Clinton milestone, Bill and Hillary Clinton, again consider the timing and their history. Perhaps before the Presidential hopeful is put to the ultimate test, it is time to generate a new tale.
The Iowa caucus is close at hand. The New Hampshire primaries occur within weeks. As the polls show her numbers are slipping, Hillary Clinton has reason to believe her coronation is not eminent. Bill also must acknowledge he may not be able to perform with preeminent power. Each does not wish to jeopardize their chance to reside and reign in the White House once again.
The Clinton’s, a term often adopted by supporters, are falling in the polls. The Iraq war is a popular issue amongst the public. Hence, Bill and Hillary are called upon to address this crisis. Neither wished to explain the New York Senator’s speech on the house floor in October 2002; nor do they wish to apologize. Thus, the dilemma, dichotomy, and duplicity in the Clinton camp consume the campaign.
As the pressure mounts and the public makes clear they want an end to the war in Iraq, an unapologetic Hillary took a stand against the combat. Although, Senator Clinton voted to fund the combat from before the beginning, in September she considered another option.
Washington (CNN) — Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said Sunday she won’t vote for any more money to support the four-year-old war in Iraq without a plan to start bringing U.S. troops home.
“I’ve reached the conclusion that the best way to support our troops is begin bringing them home,” the New York senator and former first lady told CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.”
“I don’t believe we should continue to vote for funding that has an open-ended commitment, that has no pressure on the Iraqi government to make the tough political decisions they have to make, or which really gives any urgency to the Bush administration’s diplomatic efforts.”
However, days later, Hillary Clinton turned or returned to her more hawkish stance. In a MSNBC Democratic Debate held at Dartmouth College the Senator was asked why she not might commit to end the war in Iraq immediately after taking office. Once more, timing was the theme.
Q: In 2006, Democrats were elected to the majority in the House and Senate, and many believed that was a signal to end the war. You have said that will not pledge to have all troops out by the end of your first term, 2013. Why not?
A: It is my goal to have all troops out by the end of my first term. But it is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting. We do not know, walking into the White House in January 2009, what we’re going to find. What is the state of planning for withdrawal? That’s why last spring I began pressing the Pentagon to be very clear about whether or not they were planning to bring our troops out. And what I found was that they weren’t doing the kind of planning that is necessary, and we’ve been pushing them very hard to do so.
You know, though, about the Democrats taking control of the Congress, I think the Democrats have pushed extremely hard to change this president’s course in Iraq. The Democrats keep voting for what we believe would be a better course.
Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 26, 2007
The better course may be to stay whilst we proclaim we are and were against the mission from the first. At least that seems to be Bill Clinton’s plan. Late in November 2007. Bill Clinton states he objected to the Iraq War from the beginning, although there is much to dispute this claim.
A former senior aide to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice disputed Bill Clinton’s statement this week that he “opposed Iraq from the beginning,” saying that the former president was privately briefed by top White House officials about war planning in 2003 and that he told them he supported the invasion.
Clinton’s comments in Iowa on Tuesday went far beyond more nuanced remarks he made about the conflict in 2003. But the disclosure of his presence in briefings by Rice — and his private expressions of support — may add to the headaches that the former president has given his wife’s campaign in recent weeks.
Hillary Mann Leverett, at the time the White House director of Persian Gulf affairs, said that Rice and Elliott Abrams, then National Security Council senior director for Near East and North African affairs, met with Clinton several times in the months before the March 2003 invasion to answer any questions he might have. She said she was “shocked” and “astonished” by Clinton’s remarks this week, made to voters in Iowa, because she has distinct memories of Abrams “coming back from those meetings literally glowing and boasting that ‘we have Clinton’s support.'”
It seems history is a matter of time. In the moment we are certain, committed, and clear. Yet, as days pass the story, his, hers, and ours changes. Perchance the Clinton’s and their Cabinet have reason to reflect and rewrite their legacy. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright certainly has. You may recall her infamous declaration . . .
Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.
–60 Minutes (5/12/96) . . .
It’s worth noting that on 60 Minutes, Albright made no attempt to deny the figure given by Stahl–a rough rendering of the preliminary estimate in a 1995 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died as a result of the sanctions.
Indeed, there was more said in this interview, all of it worrisome. Madame Secretary reflected aloud as she considered . . .
Whose fault is it? Iraq has long blamed the U.N. sanctions regime, and the U.S. State Department has long blamed Saddam Hussein. In a 1996 interview with 60 Minutes, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright admitted there was a “human tragedy” occurring in Iraq. But Albright accused Hussein of building 48 presidential palaces since the Gulf War, at a cost of $1.5 billion. Albright also said that Iraq wanted to import goods such as “Italian marble, videos, perfume, leather jackets,” and not food and medicine.
“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it,” Albright said. “It is a moral question, but the moral question is even a larger one. Don’t we owe to the American people and to the American military and to the other countries in the region that this man not be a threat?” Albright added that her “first responsibility is to make sure that United States forces do not have to go and refight the Gulf War.”
Perhaps, in those sixty minutes Madame Secretary had too much time to speak and not enough to ponder. Years later, as the former Secretary mulled over her moments in the sun, she realized she had regrets. Albright was sorry she expressed herself as she had. In her memoirs, the Clinton Secretary of State offered her newfound rumination. Madeline Albright wrote of her responsibility and self-reproach. She blames herself, or is it Saddam Hussein she faults. It is difficult to tell.
I must have been crazy; I should have answered the question by reframing it and pointing out the inherent flaws in the premise behind it. Saddam Hussein could have prevented any child from suffering simply by meeting his obligations…. As soon as I had spoken, I wished for the power to freeze time and take back those words. My reply had been a terrible mistake, hasty, clumsy and wrong. Nothing matters more than the lives of innocent people. I had fallen into the trap and said something I simply did not mean. That was no one’s fault but my own. (p. 275)
There is one thing for sure, those in the Clinton Camp, Cabinet, campaign, or clan can certainly turn a phrase, turn time back the hands of time, and tell tales. Perhaps, they hope we the people will forget in an instant, or be mesmerized by their charm, charisma, character, or disposition, no matter how dubious.
The old adage states the ability to choose the best moment to say or do what enthralls means more than the message. Obviously, the Clintons count on that. Beguiled and bewildered Americans may cast a ballot for the Clinton’s who understand what to say and more importantly when to say it.
Perchance, Madeline Albright, who supports the second, third, or fourth Clinton term, offered a conclusion that works well at any time. When we contemplate war, be it with Iraq, Iran, or the combat that ensues during an election we must understand the principles [that guide the Clintons.]
I believe a just war is possible. According to the just war tradition, resort to force is morally acceptable if undertaken by a competent authority with moral intentions in a rightful cause. The effort must have a reasonable chance of success, with the expectation that it will result in no greater harm than the injury that produced it.
There is a time and a season for everything. If war as an option enthralls you, perhaps, this is Clinton time.
It was a lovely Saturday evening. We had no idea that within minutes, the telephone would ring and we would hear the news. A young woman, a beloved wife, the sister of eight siblings, and an associate of ours, had passed. Prior to the call, we did as Americans frequently do. Four of us piled into a late model automobile and drove down quiet streets. It was after dusk, early in the evening, when we arrived at the elegant restaurant. The lights were low. The ambiance was tranquil.
The hostess directed us to our table. She gave us a window seat. A stream surrounded the building. Ducks, geese, and swans, gently swam in the water. Birds quietly passed overhead. The server bought each of us a cool glass of iced water. Then he asked if we would like coffee, tea, a carbonated beverage, or perhaps an alcohol based brew. We had many choices. Food was placed in front of us. The supply of fodder seemed endless. Music played. There were no bullets or bombs blasting. Conditions and circumstances were unlike those in Iraq.
However, for a moment, we felt as the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and extended family members of the more than 655,000 plus Iraqi civilians who have died must feel; ‘How could this happen?’ One so young and vibrant is alive and well in one instant and then, she or he is gone forever.
Teairra Washington-Thomas, twenty-four years young, lost her life when a drunk driver smashed into her vehicle. The automobile Washington-Thomas drove flipped over and over again. The long and graceful neck of this youthful woman snapped. As we heard the scant details, we observed the beauty of nature just outside the window. Our heads bowed. We verbalized; Iraqi citizens must mourn their loses each day. How devastating. How painful, how purely paralyzing life must be for those that struggle to survive in Iraq.
According to a July 2007 briefing paper published by Oxfam and the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq, civilians in that country are confronted with catastrophes each and every day. For those that reside in a war-torn nation circumstances are never calm. The innocent do not anticipate a quiet night with friends and family. Entertainment is rarely elegant. Entrées are not well prepared and abundant. Water is not served; nor is it wasted. Good health, education, and employment are sadly but a dream.
Iraqis are suffering from a growing lack of food, shelter, water and sanitation, health care, education, and employment. Of the four million Iraqis who are dependent on food assistance, only 60 per cent currently have access to rations through the government-run Public Distribution System (PDS), down from 96 per cent in 2004.
While some might muse life for Iraqis is far better since the fall of the Baath Party, arguably, many would say that is not so. Granted poverty was prevalent under the autocratic rule of Saddam Hussein; however, in 2002, before the brutal American assault, life for Iraqi citizens was improving. Iraq was beginning to adjust after years of sanctions imposed by the United States. The embargoes impacted this Middle Eastern nation, as much as the once American sponsored dictator himself did. Prior to the unilateral invocation of war, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported;
On a recent evening tour of Baghdad car dealers and shopping districts, it was easy to see that conditions, despite 12 years of sanctions in the wake of the Gulf War, are improving, even if only slightly.
Streets and storefronts are bathed in light, thanks to electrical plants that now provide 24-hour power. Food, clothing and electronic equipment is everywhere. Kinetic crowds of young men and women crowd the sidewalks. Restaurants and pizza parlors are packed. Theaters show movies from Italy, France, and even the United States, although most of them, judging from the billboards outside the theater, appear to be B-grade or worse.
For the more intellectual crowd, there is the Orfali Art Gallery, which has offered exhibits, movies, and musical events since 1963. On this night, a CD movie of an opera, “The Tales of Hoffman,” was playing on an outdoor screen, while, inside, an Iraqi musician was playing her own compositions on the piano.
Decidedly, life was not good for the then “mind-numbing” ninety-percent living in poverty prior to the fall of Saddam Hussein; however, it was better than it is now. As bad as dearth is, the possibility and stench of death is worse. The difference between scarcity and running scared is sizeable. A person can be poor, and still feel secure.
The truer, deeper crisis began when Americans physically set foot on Iraqi soil. When nothing seems certain, when soldiers can be seen on every corner, and each wields a weapon, when neighborhoods are battlefields, no amount of money ensues tranquility.
The war on Iraq is not novel; the form of destruction is. When we look back on the history of Iraq, we must acknowledge America’s influence. Long before the first bullets whizzed past the heads of innocent Iraqi civilians the United States worked to undermine the government it put in place with full knowledge that blameless people were being hurt. Sanctions against Iraq secured an uncertain future for innocent civilians. Survival was threatened. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people perished. Among these half a million children.
When the Security Council first imposed sanctions on Iraq in 1990, many diplomats, scholars, and citizens believed that comprehensive economic, sanctions were innovative, benign, and non-violent. Some believed that sanctions offered an ethical foreign policy tool to combat threats to peace and security without causing unintended suffering.
It is now clear that comprehensive economic sanctions in Iraq have hurt large numbers of innocent civilians not only by limiting the availability of food and medicines, but also by disrupting the whole economy, impoverishing Iraqi citizens and depriving them of essential income, and reducing the national capacity of water treatment, electrical systems and other infrastructure critical for health and life. People in Iraq have died in large numbers. The extent of death, suffering, and hardship may have been greater than during the armed hostilities, especially for civilians, as we shall see in more detail below. Comprehensive sanctions in Iraq, then, are not benign, non-violent, or ethical.
The 1977 Protocols to the Geneva Conventions on the laws of war include a prohibition of economic sieges against civilians as a method of warfare. Ironically, legal consensus does not yet define economic sanctions as subject to these laws, which apply in warfare and which legally require belligerents to target military rather than civilian objectives. Sanctions operate in a hazy legal status between war and peace. Unlike the dramatic, visible toll of military action, sanctions take their effect gradually, indirectly and with low visibility.
However, even when we attempt to shine a light on such criminal actions, those that impose “diplomatic” warfare defend their right to do so. You, dear reader may recall, former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, was asked of how Americans could justify such cruelty. Journalist, Lesley Stahl delicately broached the subject, during an interview aired on 60 Minutes.
Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.
— 60 Minutes (5/12/96)
Then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s quote, calmly asserting that U.S. policy objectives were worth the sacrifice of half a million Arab children, has been much quoted in the Arabic press. It’s also been cited in the United States in alternative commentary on the September 11 attacks (e.g., Alexander Cockburn, New York Press, 9/26/01).
But a Dow Jones search of mainstream news sources since September 11 turns up only one reference to the quote–in an op-ed in the Orange Country Register (9/16/01). This omission is striking, given the major role that Iraq sanctions play in the ideology of archenemy Osama bin Laden; his recruitment video features pictures of Iraqi babies wasting away from malnutrition and lack of medicine (New York Daily News, 9/28/01). The inference that Albright and the terrorists may have shared a common rationale–a belief that the deaths of thousands of innocents are a price worth paying to achieve one’s political ends–does not seem to be one that can be made in U.S. mass media.
It’s worth noting that on 60 Minutes, Albright made no attempt to deny the figure given by Stahl–a rough rendering of the preliminary estimate in a 1995 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died as a result of the sanctions. In general, the response from government officials about the sanctions’ toll has been rather different: a barrage of equivocations, denigration of U.N. sources and implications that questioners have some ideological axe to grind (Extra!, 3-4/00).
As I reflect on the bereavement in my own life, and ponder the end of a young life, I cannot help but wonder how we prevaricate and posture, “We Think the Price Is Worth It.” I can only assume that those that advocated for restrictions and chose not to work directly with Iraqi leaders think an amicable agreement is not possible. For these Ambassadors, war, militarily or otherwise is the only option.
It seems we forget how precious live is, unless or until death is delivered at our doorstep. Many Americans look at the recent findings and think nothing of the numbers. Nonetheless, I present the figures. My hope is that your heart will be full. Tiaerra Washington-Thomas may serve as a reminder. Every life is dear.
The violence in Iraq is overshadowing a humanitarian crisis, with eight million Iraqis – nearly one in three – in need of emergency aid, says a report released today by international agency Oxfam and NCCI, a network of aid organizations working in Iraq.
The agencies’ report “Rising to the Humanitarian Challenge in Iraq” says although the appalling security situation is the biggest problem facing most ordinary Iraqis, the government of Iraq and other influential governments should do more to meet basic needs for water, sanitation, food and shelter. According to the report:
Four million Iraqis – 15% – regularly cannot buy enough to eat.
70% are without adequate water supplies, compared to 50% in 2003.
28% of children are malnourished, compared to 19% before the 2003 invasion.
92% of Iraqi children suffer learning problems, mostly due to the climate of fear.
More than two million people – mostly women and children – have been displaced inside Iraq.
A further two million Iraqis have become refugees, mainly in Syria and Jordan.
Homelessness, helplessness, horrific circumstances unimaginable to the average American pass for normal in the life of Iraqis. Citizens of the United States of America caused great damage before they launched the first bomb. Today, we, the benevolent people in a civilized society claim to care. However, as we jaunt about in our jalopies and cozy up to our computers lest we forget “Their blood is on our hands.” In other nations, friends or foes, are dying a slow and awful death. In my mind, there is no excuse for man’s inhumanity to man. Can we ever truly justify homicide, slaughter, murder, or a massacre? I think not.
As we go about our work and improve our life style, let us consider more than the cost of gas, or the quality of our neighborhood. Please ponder, “No man is an island.” I ask each of us to bear in mind if my brother suffers, so too will I. The death of one affects us all. Please let us embrace life; work for peace, prosperity, and equality. May our mourning extend to those we have yet to meet. Teairra Washington-Thomas, may you rest in peace. May your passing help guide us all.
For everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. ~ Plato
In times of war, it is often difficult to distinguish the wrongdoers from those in the “right.” Each bumps and bruises the other. Frequently, both participants in a dispute share blame. However, there are those occasions where one party pounces, beats the other to a pulp, and then places the onus on the victim. The Iraq war may illustrate such a dynamic. Indeed, this conflict may be the epitome of what occurs when men and women justify their fight.
In May 2007, the Senator urged the Pentagon to begin planning for the withdrawal of American forces. Days ago, there was a response. Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman reprimanded Hillary Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, for requesting such a move [forward.] In a letter to Missus Clinton, Edelman wrote.
A copy of Edelman’s response, dated July 16, was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
“Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia,” Edelman wrote.
He added that “such talk understandably unnerves the very same Iraqi allies we are asking to assume enormous personal risks.”
Missus Clinton is now considered the scapegoat for this war. The Bush Administration is not at fault.
For years, President Bush often held Saddam Hussein responsible for his decision to attack the nation of Iraq. Mister Bush blamed the former dictator for the bombs that fell on innocent Iraqi civilians, men, women, and children. Were it not for United States supported despot, we would have never gone to war. Then, just as now the Iraq conflict is not the Bush burden.
The American people are familiar with this blame game. The diversion has been popular for a while. However, on January 13, 2007, the usual drums droned out a louder beat. The sound came from a different direction. At first the noise was muffled, somewhat muted; nevertheless, gained strength. It continues to ring in my ears.
Hillary Clinton spoke out; she stated her fervent opposition to the Iraqi government. Senator Clinton claimed the Iraqis had failed us. The physically and psychically wounded citizens in this war-torn nation have let the United States of America, and the American people down.
“I’m skeptical that the Iraqi government will do what they have promised to do, and that I think is the concern of all of us who have heard this before,” she said. “All the promises, and intentions in the world don’t substitute for action and we haven’t seen a lot of action.”
Missus Clinton not wanting to draw further attention to her own actions, her vote of support for the attack on Iraq, or her decision not to apologize for such a gesture, is willing to blame anyone, and everyone but herself. Senator Clinton blames faulty Intelligence, the President of the United States, the Vice President, and the Secretaries of State and Defense. Admittedly, when given the opportunity to read the official Intelligence reports, the esteemed Senator from New York and Presidential aspirant did not avail herself of this chance. Missus Clinton asserts she was briefed. However, Clinton remains certain she was fully informed.
Indeed, the Senator has access to secrets often known only by those residing in the White House. It is said, “Politics makes for strange bed-fellows.” Hillary Clinton shares her boudoir with the former President Bill Clinton.
On February 7, 2007, the Senator again hammered her message into the minds of a war weary public. Americans [and she] are not to blame for this protracted conflict, the [American led] Iraqi government must hold its own. They, the victims of our occupation, must be accountable. After all, did we, the Untied States of America, not “give” them billions of dollars and a guiding light?
On the floor of the Senate in a lengthy speech the candidate, perhaps the future Commander-In-Chief declared.
So what should we do? Well, many of us believe — and we’ve been arguing for this and voting for this for more than a year-and-a-half — that we have to chart a new course that emphasizes greater Iraqi responsibility. I still believe that is the path we should be taking. Instead, the President has chosen a very narrow course that relies heavily on American military force . . .
[A]s a means to increase our leverage with the Iraqi government and to clearly send a message that there are consequences to their inaction, I would impose conditions for continued funding of the Iraqi security forces and the private contractors working for the Iraqis. My legislation would require certification that the security forces were free of sectarian and militia influence and were actually assuming greater responsibility for Iraqi security along with other conditions. We must not let US funds, taxpayer funds, be used to train members of sectarian militias who are responsible for so much of the violence in Iraq.
“Responsible for so much violence in Iraq.” Missus Clinton, might that be the United States you are speaking of? Prior to the unilateral American led assault, the people in Iraq felt as though the quality of their life, while not great was vastly better than it is. The Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004 offered insight. The weight of warfare was already taking a toll and continues to worsen.
_Slightly more than half of Iraqis _ 51 percent _ now say that violence against U.S. forces is acceptable _ up from 17 percent who felt that way in early 2004. More than nine in 10 Sunni Arabs in Iraq now feel this way.
_While 63 percent said they felt very safe in their neighborhoods in late 2005, only 26 percent feel that way now.
The major cause for this sharp reversal in Iraqi attitudes is the continuing violence _ bombings, attacks by roving gunmen and kidnappings _ that has overwhelmed the country since the U.S. invasion four years ago this week.
As the Iraqis suffer we scream. “It is all their fault.” When a blast rocks the streets in New York City in July 2007, the first thought is “they” are attacking us, the innocents. Americans label those fighting for freedom aboard terrorist. However, we, the people of the United States, as aggressive and arrogant as we might be, never consider that we are brutal invaders of a sovereign nation. Those in the Middle East did not and do not welcome our intrusion into their homeland. Nor did they ask us to murder en mass their fathers, sons, women, and children. Yet, we do.
Iraq is in crisis; Iraqis are suffering and their circumstances are deteriorating daily. The escalation of violence has severely constrained humanitarian space, with the result that suffering people are not heard, and their needs are not met. In order to avert the impending regional crisis, swift and appropriate action is needed from all.
Iraq’s recovery process now depends upon ending a climate of disorder and impunity where rights violations are increasingly commonplace. The targeting of civilian populations by all parties to the conflict must cease. The GoI [Government of Iraq] should be urged on a priority basis to take all necessary steps to fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws. The donor community is encouraged to re-evaluate its current focus on long-term reconstruction and development programmes, and to support efforts to address the crisis immediately, before more damage is done, and more lives are unnecessarily lost. The UN stands committed in its role as neutral broker to coordinate the humanitarian response so urgently needed.
Nonetheless, Hillary Clinton harps on. This Senator, and perhaps, soon to be the President of the United States of America howls. Her cries are contagious.
On June 7, 2007, even the current President, George W. Bush, followed Senator Clinton’s lead. The Commander-In-Chief stated.
“I would like to see us in a different configuration at some point in time in Iraq,” the president said at a Rose Garden news conference on May 24
Other Federal officials concur. Congress joined in . They too call for accountability. Senators and Representatives shout, ‘How dare the Iraqi government recess when American boys and girls are dying everyday.’ The lives of the liberators are in danger. Granted Congress could have cut the funding and brought our troops home; yet they chose not to do that. Senators and Congresspersons claim the President is putting the soldiers in harms way. The White House declares the Congressional Branch is at fault.
Lawmakers divided over whether to keep U.S. troops in Iraq are finding common ground on at least one topic: They are furious that Iraqi politicians are considering a lengthy break this summer.
“If they go off on vacation for two months while our troops fight – that would be the outrage of outrages,” said Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn.
An indignation indeed; however whom might be the focus of such humiliation. Perhaps it is we? Are we, the people of the United States not the abusers, the ones that attacked another nation without cause, and are we not now the ones placing the responsibility on our victims? Had they not made US angry, had they been able to govern for themselves, we would have not needed to change their regime or occupy their countryside.
I sigh and reflect, as the drumming echoes in my ears. Hillary Clinton took the podium during the Democratic debates weeks earlier. There she stated publicly as she did again at a recent rally.
Yes, America can proudly proclaim mission accomplished. We have served ourselves well. We have sacrificed American lives in the name of freedom and justice; yet, I ask who is liberated and what is righteousness. If might makes right, I think I’d rather be wrong. I prefer heartbeats to those of a drum.
“There are no justifications for targeting civilians, in Iraq or anywhere else, said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division. “Armed groups as well as governments must respect the laws of war.”
In 2003, American occupiers marched into Baghdad, and forcefully changed the Iraqi regime. United States officials proclaimed they took this action in the name of democracy. When, on April 9, the statue of the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein fell, American President George W. Bush [or the Navy] announced, “Mission Accomplished.” The war was a success. At present, we cannot be certain who postulated the theory. The Administration tells us the Navy was responsible for this assertion. The maritime services say the White House made the banner famously seen in the background while President acknowledged a United States victory. Although, we do not know who avowed our triumph, we recall who contended the Iraq war was in its last throes.
Nevertheless, Mister Bush, and his Cabinet decisively declared, Iraqis hold dear the principles that serve Americans well. With the fall of the dictatorial leader, freedom is theirs. The American public was told, from that day forward, Iraqi individuals, would have the right to participate in their government. All the citizens of Iraq could, would, and do vote for their representatives. Indeed, the Iraq government is now of, by, and for the people, the American people.
With thanks to citizens of the United States social equality exists throughout this Middle Eastern country, even if it was imposed irreverently and ineffectually.
In 2007, on this the anniversary of the fall, in a country deeply divided, tens of thousands of people joined together. Iraqis’ stepped on the national pennant of their oppressors. These religious and secular factions correctly believe Americans and allied forces marched on their national banner. Thus, the Iraqi’s show their distain, reciting, ‘One “good” turn deserves another.’
The demonstration, which has remained peaceful, was being held at the urging of militant Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. He exhorted Iraqi security forces on Sunday to unite with his militiamen against the American military in Diwaniya, an embattled southern city in Iraq where fighting has raged for four days.
Mr. Sadr’s statement did not explicitly call for armed struggle against the Americans, but it still represented his most forceful condemnation of the American-led occupation since he went underground after the start of an intensified Baghdad security crackdown nearly two months ago.
While the American Mainstream Media criticizes the intent of Mister Sadr, and negates his credibility, it is interesting to observe the power of this man or this mission. The people of Iraq are truly speaking for themselves. They want the oppressors out! This ever-growing group of Iraqi soldiers and civilians, formerly fighting amongst themselves and with each other, is united in one cause, a “call for liberation.” These tired men and women, children too, wear tattered clothing. Their spirits are torn. Yet, they have the strength and the will to protest, peacefully.
The demonstrators marched to Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, from neighboring Kufa, with two cordons of Iraqi police lining the route. Some at the rally waved small Iraqi flags; others hoisted a giant flag 10 yards long, the Associated Press reported. Leaflets fluttered through the breeze reading: “Yes, Yes to Iraq” and “Yes, Yes to Moktada. Occupiers should leave Iraq.”
“The enemy that is occupying our country is now targeting the dignity of the Iraqi people,” said lawmaker Nassar al-Rubaie, head of Mr. Sadr’s bloc in parliament, as he marched, according to the A.P. “After four years of occupation, we have hundreds of thousands of people dead and wounded.”
A senior official in Mr. Sadr’s organization in Najaf, Salah al-Obaydi, called the rally a “call for liberation,” the A.P. reported. “We’re hoping that by next year’s anniversary, we will be an independent and liberated Iraq with full sovereignty.”
Ironically, that is what President Bush and Vice President Cheney said to the American public; they wanted to provide freedom for the people of Iraq. However, they are as they were, unwilling to do this. Their words did not reveal the truer plan. This war would be protracted. We intend to stay, to protect our oil interests, and to maintain bases in the Middle East.
Upon reflection, this was and is obvious. When one country, or its Commander-In-Chief, in this case America and the Bush-Cheney Cabinet, concludes that they are privileged merely because they have military and monetary power, they often act as emperors. Pompous leaders propagate evil, while seeing it elsewhere. A superpower frequently exerts force against all that they declare an enemy. Much ill is wrought in the name of “justice.” Sadly, wars are fought in a futile attempt to promote peace.
Americans, or their influential Administrators, with little information, believing they are right, fight for the freedom of those that they know nothing about. Lies are promoted facilitating the conquest. Thus, we have the Iraq conflict.
Certainly, it is a challenge to watch a dictator execute thousands of his own people. However, to enter a country and slay thousands more in defense of your belief is not a solution. To claim that “you,” the United States of America have the right to dictate policy, or to chose governance, simply because you are saintly or sanctimonious, does not honor peace for all people. A punitive practice such as that Americans allowed is counter productive.
Mister Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, Missus Rice, please understand to justify “your” own reactive behavior, asserting that the other is evil or has done wrong, is infantile. I was a toddler when I learned “Two wrongs do not make a right.” When will you ever learn? When will you give Iraq back to the Iraqi people. They are begging, pleading, for the right to be free.
The Iraqi dissenters are demonstrating as Americans might if our territory was taken over. They are assembling and speaking out against an autocrat who assumes authority against the wishes of the people.
“This is the right to assemble, the right to free speech – they didn’t have that under the former regime,” [Colonel Steven Boylan, an American military spokesman and aide to the commander of all American forces in Iraq] said. “This is progress, there’s no two ways about it.”
After four plus years of violence, the citizens of Iraq feel they can take no more. There is aggression on the fields, in the streets, and in people’s homes. Hearts are hurt. Individuals are lashing out. Hostility is everywhere; it is worsening. Forlornly, Iraqis are fighting their brethren. Thus, a call for change.
Mr. Sadr’s call for resistance came as the American military announced the deaths of 10 soldiers in five attacks over the weekend, the highest two-day total for American fatalities since the new security plan began Feb. 14. Five soldiers were wounded. Violence against Iraqis continued unabated on Sunday, with at least 43 people killed or found dead. Seventeen were killed and 26 wounded in a car bombing near a hospital and mosque in the insurgent enclave of Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad.
Mr. Sadr’s statement on Sunday indicated he might be ready to resume steering his militia, the Mahdi Army, toward more open confrontation with the American military.
The Mahdi Army has generally been lying low during the Baghdad security plan, but intense fighting broke out in Diwaniya on Friday between militiamen and American-led forces. The battles erupted when American and Iraqi soldiers isolated neighborhoods in Diwaniya to search for militiamen. Fighter jets hit militia positions on Saturday, and one police official said at least seven Iraqis had been killed and 15 wounded in the fighting. Residents reported American soldiers scampering across rooftops on Saturday evening.
The battles in Diwaniya have been the most violent in months between the Mahdi Army and the Americans, and could portend violence in other strongholds of the Sadr militia. Mahdi Army fighters began moving to Diwaniya and other southern cities when the Baghdad crackdown began.
“The strife that is taking place in Diwaniya was planned by the occupier to drag down the brothers and make them quarrel, fight and even kill each other,” Mr. Sadr said in a written statement. “Oh my brothers in the Mahdi Army and my brothers in the security forces, stop fighting and killing because that is what our enemy and your enemy and even God’s enemy hope for.”
Mr. Sadr added: “God ordered you to be patient and to unite your efforts against the enemy and not against the sons of Iraq. They want to drag you into a war that ends Shiitism and Islam, but they cannot.”
Moktada al-Sadr realizes “United we stand; divided we fall.” This organizer knowingly offers insight, stating the invaders that reside in our region under the guise of “liberator” are the terrorists. Mister Sadr may be helping the Iraq people find the will and the way to settle the sectarian disagreements among the people of Iraq. Moktada al-Sadr says ‘We need to take our country back.” In other words, Moktada al-Sadr offers the oft-heard expression, ‘Power to the People.’ I, for one, wish him, more precisely, the people of Iraq success. My hope is that citizens in every nation will take the power back peacefully.
The headlines scream. America is not the land of the free or the home of the brave. Moments ago, I came online and opened my Internet connection. The New York Times banner read, Bush and Cheney Rebuff Critics of Iraq Troop Increase. The caption below stated, what the public has long known and apathetically accepted, our Commander-In-Chief does not represent the people of America. He does not care for its citizens. Mister Bush ignores the founding fathers concept of “checks and balances.” George W. Bush governs as dictators do, with an iron fist.
President Bush insisted that he has the authority to send more troops to Iraq even without the approval of Congress.
I read further and found greater reason for my indignation.
“I fully understand they could try to stop me from doing it,” he said in a taped interview for the CBS News program “60 Minutes” that is to be broadcast this evening. “But I’ve made my decision. And were going forward.”
Yes, we must admit, there is little difference between Bush Junior and other bullies. Iraq may have had Saddam Hussein. Osama Bin Laden may have taken many lives; however, so too has the belligerent browbeater that leads America today.
The Bush/Cheney coalition aggressively declares itself “righteous.” This Administration needs no endorsement from Congress or the American citizenry. They repeatedly retort, we will “stay the course.” Controversy changes nothing where this couple is concerned. They continue to “move forward” or remain behind the eight ball.
In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, six in 10 respondents said the war is not worth fighting, three-quarters disapproved of how Bush has handled the situation, and there was no consensus about how the United States should adjust its policies in Iraq. Only 17 percent called for an increase in U.S. forces, the “surge” believed to be a centerpiece of the new Bush plan.
Pronouncements of peace or an official declaration stating the need for diplomacy cannot and will not deter the plans this White House promotes. This neoconservative union believes that they need not seek accord with the people of the United States of America. The infamous clan and their cronies can and will go it alone. Mister Bush does not confer with members of his own party. He tells them what to think.
Convergence is passé in this President’s mind. He is not compelled to agree with citizens, Congress, or even his fellow Republicans. Sadly, as a whole, Congress is unwilling to cut the purse strings for this failed mission. They fear that would show a lack of support for the troops. George and Dick know this.
Just below this heading was one I saw earlier in the day, Military Is Expanding Its U.S. Intelligence Role. again Americans are reminded, under the auspices of Mister Bush, privacy is no longer a privilege. This article was equally jarring, though I am unsure why. One would think that I had accepted the loss of civil liberties. This policy has endured since September 11, 2001. It is not a surprise.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 – The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.
The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.
Banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions receiving the letters usually have turned over documents voluntarily, allowing investigators to examine the financial assets and transactions of American military personnel and civilians, officials say.
The F.B.I., the lead agency on domestic counterterrorism and espionage, has issued thousands of national security letters since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provoking criticism and court challenges from civil liberties advocates who see them as unjustified intrusions into Americans’ private lives.
But it was not previously known, even to some senior counterterrorism officials, that the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have been using their own “noncompulsory” versions of the letters.
As I read today’s headlines I can only shake my head and wonder. Why did our countrymen not throw up their arms a week ago when Bush Warned About Mail-Opening Authority. You may recall, on January 5, 2007 we learned
President Bush signed a little-noticed statement last month asserting the authority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in emergencies or foreign intelligence cases, prompting warnings yesterday from Democrats and privacy advocates that the administration is attempting to circumvent legal restrictions on its powers.
A “signing statement” attached to a postal reform bill on Dec. 20 says the Bush administration “shall construe” a section of that law to allow the opening of sealed mail to protect life, guard against hazardous materials or conduct “physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.”
White House and U.S. Postal Service officials said the statement was not intended to expand the powers of the executive branch but merely to clarify existing ones for extreme cases.
“This is not a change in law, this is not new, it is not . . . a sweeping new power by the president,” spokesman Tony Snow told reporters. “It is, in fact, merely a statement of present law and present authorities granted to the president of the United States.”
But some civil liberties and national-security law experts said the statement’s language is unduly vague and appears to go beyond long-recognized limits on the ability of the government to open letters and other U.S. mail without approval from a judge.
Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, said the government has long been able to legally open mail believed to contain a bomb or other imminent threat. But authorities are generally required to seek a warrant from a criminal or special intelligence court in other cases, Martin and other experts said.
“The administration is playing games about warrants,” Martin said. “If they are not claiming new powers, then why did they need to issue a signing statement?”
I have shared this snippet many times in the last year. Nevertheless, I think it bears repeating.
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ”whistle-blower” protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.
Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush’s assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ”to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ”execute” a law he believes is unconstitutional.
Former administration officials contend that just because Bush reserves the right to disobey a law does not mean he is not enforcing it: In many cases, he is simply asserting his belief that a certain requirement encroaches on presidential power.
But with the disclosure of Bush’s domestic spying program, in which he ignored a law requiring warrants to tap the phones of Americans, many legal specialists say Bush is hardly reluctant to bypass laws he believes he has the constitutional authority to override.
Far more than any predecessor, Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws — many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone as the head of the executive branch or the commander in chief of the military.
Many legal scholars say they believe that Bush’s theory about his own powers goes too far and that he is seizing for himself some of the law-making role of Congress and the Constitution-interpreting role of the courts.
Someone, please tell me, why are we as a nation willing to impeach a President for a scandalous sexual digression and unwilling to prosecute a Commander-In-Chief for criminal offenses. Is the Constitution so weak that a government, supposedly of, by, and for the people has no power to institute law?
I do not understand. I only know, that each day, as I scan the headlines, I am reminded that Americans are not free to speak, or congregate. Religious practices are monitored, just as the mail is. The right to privacy is gone. Barnes and Noble, Borders and the local libraries are required to release personal information. I sadly accept that we the people have resigned our power. We are not strong; we are submissive.
Please, tell me; when will we be able to believe again; ‘America is the land of the free and the home of the brave.’
Peruse the President’s Policies and Practices . . .
As a child, when one of our playmates was known to be typically stubborn, a bully, or infantile we would accept that he or she needed to have his or her way. When confronted with unnecessary conflict, those wiser and more evolved would look longingly at each other and say, “Let the baby have his bottled!” We would give in to immature desires and walk away shrugging our shoulders as we passed the selfish monster.
As adults, we forget. Frequently, we give in. When President Bush ranted and raved, “You are either with us [the United States led by this silly imposter of a man] or against us,” we, as a nation, accepted that he was correct in taking that stance. We played along and “followed our leader.” Grown men and women in Congress relented.
They decided against further diplomacy with Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein. Lawmakers signed on to policies not worthy of an elder statesman. Perhaps, our representatives were reluctant. They did not wish to do battle with a bully, particularly one known as “President of the United States of America.” Thus, our legislators approved the Bush war and the hunt for Saddam Hussein was on. On December 30, 2006, it ended in a hanging. [See video above.]
In December 2003, Mister Bush mapped out his mission. He began by saying, Saddam Hussein,
As Bush spoke, America looked on. Some smiled, others sighed; however, few did anything to stop the crude tirade.
To a majority of citizens in this country it mattered not that the punitive President’s comments placed the United States in a precarious situation. Many American’s seemed ambivalent. This superpower was choosing to stand alone, in direct opposition to policies, practices, and humanitarian philosophies promoted by the United Nations and our European allies, an organization and nation states that remarked openly, they could not and would not endorse the death penalty.
Nevertheless, we did or at least, our hedonistic, browbeating President Bush did. The junior Bush chimed on endlessly. He wanted his way. He would make his position known. George W. would not be happy until he got his way. To that end, the President declared,
“I mean, he is a torturer, a murderer, they had rape rooms. This is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice.”
So be it; the boldface, belligerent, Bush Boy was intent. He would have his way. George W. Bush was determined. He would “stay his course.” Nothing would stop him.
Mister Bush knows and speaks his mind plainly. Often he could be heard to say as he did on December 14, 2001
President Bush pledged anew Friday that Osama bin Laden will be taken “dead or alive,” no matter how long it takes, amid indications that the suspected terrorist may be bottled up in a rugged Afghan canyon. The president, in an Oval Office meeting with Thailand’s prime minister, would not predict the timing of bin Laden’s capture but said he doesn’t care how the suspect is brought to justice. “I don’t care, dead or alive – either way,” Bush said. “It doesn’t matter to me.”
Nothing much matters to a bully or a baby, nothing beyond their wants. President Bush wanted an execution or two. Now, having completed one task, he smirks and moves “forward.”
Osama Bin Laden is still in his sight. President Bush intends to bully us [the American people] about until he gets his way. Our countrymen voted to oust Congressional representatives that sided with the ingenuous Bush. In their elation, US citizens forget that the Boy still has power. George W. Bush is still Commander-In-Chief. He is the “decider,” and whatever he wants, for the most part, thus far, he gets.
Saddam Hussein is gone from G-d’s green Earth. The kangaroo court that Bush said he rejected lived large in Iraq.
The president said that he did not want a “kangaroo court”, and that only the Iraqi people should decide what punishment their former leader deserved.
Saddam Hussein’s trials and his march to the gallows were intended to be turning points in Iraq’s history in which justice was delivered on behalf of hundreds of thousands of people killed by the dictator’s brutal regime.
But for many human rights advocates and legal experts who followed the trials, Hussein’s rapid conviction, and execution instead left them with doubts about the emerging Iraqi government and the fairness of its judicial process.
Hussein died on the gallows in Baghdad on Saturday, less than two months after an Iraqi court sentenced him to death for the killings of 148 Shiite Muslims in Dujail and just four days after the Iraqi appeals court upheld the verdict. Even some American advisers who helped set up the new judiciary after Hussein’s fall reportedly were surprised by the speed of the process.
Few denied that Hussein was guilty of war crimes and atrocities against his own people, and many said the execution reflected the heartfelt desire of the Iraqi people. President Bush said in a statement that Hussein “was executed after receiving a fair trial – the kind of justice he denied victims of his brutal regime.”
Yet, in the end, critics said, the flawed trials and the swift appeals process suggested that the system did little more than provide victors’ justice, delivered by a Shiite-dominated government against a Sunni Arab who repressed Shiites for more than two decades.
The execution in the Dujail case also will minimize the impact of the second trial of Hussein on even more grievous charges of killing tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq. The truth-seeking commission is to continue its case against Hussein’s six co-defendants and come to a conclusion on whether the former dictator committed genocide and other crimes. But it is unlikely the proceedings will be as closely followed now that Hussein is dead.
“It was absolutely right that Saddam Hussein should be held to account for the massive violations of human rights committed by his regime, but justice requires a fair process and this, sadly, was far from that,” said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North African monitoring program. “The trial should have been a landmark in establishment of the rule of law in Iraq after decades of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny. It was an opportunity missed.”
What might have been most jarring about the proceedings that led to Hussein’s hanging was how quickly the appellate court came to its conclusion, said Scott Horton, a Columbia University law professor who has served as a defense attorney for Iraqi journalists accused of crimes in Iraq.
Horton said that in his dealings with the Iraqi criminal justice system, judges spent little time reviewing cases that were on appeal, even capital cases. On a trip to Iraq to represent an Iraqi journalist, he said he was stunned to see judges dispensing of serious cases in as little as 10 minutes and defense counsel playing the role of a “potted plant” during proceedings.
“It’s still in the process of finding its way,” Horton said of the Iraqi judicial system. “I think the big question that Americans should be asking is, `Are we are moving it to be more transparent and just or we moving it toward being fast?'”
The short time for the appellate proceedings in Hussein’s case was in marked contrast to death penalty cases in the U.S., where condemned individuals often wait on Death Row for years while myriad appeals are considered.
Doug Cassel, an international law expert who worked with the United Nations in its investigation of atrocities in El Salvador, pointed out that while the Iraqi court took about nine months to hear a case that included hundreds of witnesses, thousands of pages of testimony and documentary evidence, the appellate court needed just weeks to review and uphold the sentence.
“The lesson that is sent to the world is that the United States talks a big game about due process, but in reality it doesn’t really believe in it,” said Cassel, now a law professor at the University of Notre Dame.
Hussein’s execution also could deepen the rift between the U.S. and its key European allies. Capital punishment is banned throughout the European Union, where political leaders and human-rights organizations spoke out strongly against hanging the Iraqi leader.
Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush’s staunchest ally in Iraq, opposed executing Hussein.
“We are against the death penalty,” Blair said. “However, what I think is important about this is to recognize that this trial of Saddam has been handled by the Iraqis themselves. . . . It does give us a very clear reminder of the total and barbaric brutality of (Hussein’s) regime.”
In Italy, which has one of the strongest anti-capital punishment movements in Europe, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi warned that executing Hussein would be counterproductive. Berlusconi, who supported the invasion of Iraq and sent Italian soldiers there, said the hanging was “a step backward in Iraq’s difficult road toward full democracy.”
Once the hearings concluded, the rush to judgment was finalized, all else was accelerated.
The Iraqi leader so delicately placed in power by the US government postured for the Bush cause. Using a red-ink pen, Maliki sealed the fate of Saddam Hussein. “Justice” would be served swiftly. Plans were made for an immediate execution regardless of expert opinions.
Since Tuesday, when Iraq’s highest court had upheld Hussein’s death sentence, it was clear that his execution would arrive soon. The Maliki government had wanted to execute Hussein early Friday, U.S. and Iraqi officials said in interviews. But legal issues, security concerns and Iraq’s political divide postponed the plan.
Legal and security concerns delayed the delivery of the Bush dictum; however, only for days. Will we, as Americans continue to let a puerile, persecuting Bush have his bottle? When Congress concedes, and ultimately caves in under the weight of Bush’s will, will we let that pass, again? Can we not come together in support of our soldiers? Might Americans practice the peace they preach.
This infant convinced America post September 11, 2001 that he would protect us [the United States of America.] He has not. Bush has made our borders more vulnerable. Citizens act as though they are defenseless. Thus far, we have accepted the haphazard behaviors of this powerfully placed man. Oh, yes, some may say they voted for Democrats against the war in this recent mid-term election. However, I must ask, can or will Congress do what needs to be done? We, the people must take the power back. Please, let us work together to impeach a man that takes pleasure in seeing another person in pain.
I think it is not an accident, I know it is not. Video of the Saddam Hussein hanging is all over the Internet. Mister Bush proclaims,
“Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself,” Mr. Bush said in a statement from his Texas ranch.
Thus, we want to see that it truly happened; we want to know that we are safe from this tyrant. Yet, what about the other one, the one that resides in the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue?
(Reason to reflect . . . – promoted by Betsy L. Angert)
If “If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;”
“Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love,
forgiveness, and brotherly co-existence…
I call on you not to hate
because hate does not leave a space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking
and keeps away one from balanced thinking
and making the right choice …”
There is much to speak of today.
Please share your thoughts on any topic.
A pleased public, a joyous Prime Minister, and the President of the United States excitedly prepare to execute their enemy, the former leader of an “evil empire.” All appears to be accelerated. The Muslim holidays are only hours away. It is illegal to put a person to death during the holy days, though, as we watch the warring tribes and troops we know that this rule is rarely observed.
Nevertheless, there is a rush, just as there was a rush to judgment.
(CNSNews.com) – Saddam Hussein’s execution will be carried out without delay, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was quoted as saying Friday, amid a flurry of speculation about the timing of the hanging.
“There will be no review [of the sentence] or delay in carrying out the execution against the criminal Saddam,” said a statement from al-Maliki’s office, reported by Iraqi state television.
“Whoever rejects Saddam’s execution would be insulting the martyrs,” he said in the statement, referring to Iraqi victims of the former dictator’s oppressive rule.
One of Saddam’s defense lawyers, former Qatari Justice Minister Najib al-Nuaimi, told al-Jazeera television he believed the execution would take place on Saturday, based on a request by the U.S. military for the defense team to collect the prisoner’s personal belongings.
Wire services are reporting at midday Friday eastern U.S. time that the U.S. has already handed Saddam over to Iraqi authorities, and the Associated Press quoted an Iraqi judge as saying the execution would take place by Saturday at the latest.
Saturday is the first day of the Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Adha, marking the end of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
Saddam Hussein will not be tried for crimes against the Kurds, Shi’ites, and marsh Arabs. There is no time for what might be juris prudence. President Bush and those he helped put into office are on a mission. The neoconservative base, the Religious Right are anxious to kill again in the name of G-d, liberty, justice, and democracy.
THERE ARE DIVERSE reasons for discontent with Tuesday’s decision of an Iraqi appeals court upholding a death sentence for Saddam Hussein for the 1982 massacre of 182 men and boys in the Shi’ite town of Dujail. The independence of the judges who found him guilty of crimes against humanity has been questioned, as has a blatant lack of security for defense lawyers. Human-rights groups have lamented the rapidity of the judicial review conducted by the nine-judge appeals panel. And those who oppose the death penalty in all circumstances would prefer that Saddam serve a life sentence for his crimes.
But if the work of the Iraqi High Tribunal is viewed as an opportunity to establish historical truth, then the principal objection to carrying out the death sentence within 30 days, as the tribunal’s charter mandates, is of a different order. Once Saddam is hanged for the single circumscribed crime against humanity he perpetrated in Dujail, his other, genocidal crimes against the Kurds, Shi’ites, and marsh Arabs cannot be tried and judged properly in a court of law.
The current Iraqi government claims that even after Saddam is put to death, his trial for the mass murder of some 180,000 Kurds in what he called the Anfal campaign of the late 1980s will continue. But there can be no true trial if the despot is not present in the courtroom to answer charges for the killing of Kurdish villagers with nerve gas and mustard gas, the executions by firing squads of Kurdish men and boys, and the herding of Kurdish women and children into lethal concentration camps.
Without a living Saddam to confront his accusers in court — to answer for the slaughters of Shi’ites he commanded in 1991; his assassinations of leading Shi’ite clerics and political figures; and the draining of the southern marshes that destroyed an ancient way of life for 500,000 marsh Arabs — justice will be cheated. Iraqis will lose their best chance to sift, challenge, and judge the evidence of Saddam’s major crimes against humanity. They will lose the only opportunity they will ever have to prove a crucial historical truth by legal means.
As I have been throughout my life, I am fascinated that we, the human race, never choose to learn from history.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
~ George Santayana
We journey on, breaching the commandments we profess to believe in. In our youth we are learn of the Romans and the amphitheatres built to observe killing.
Servants would duel to the death for the right to provide companionship to their owners in eternity . . . What gladiators did (indeed what they were trained to do) was kill and die well. These were tasks of extraordinary urgency for Romans. . . . as members of a relentlessly militaristic culture, Romans valued the art of killing. . . Gladiatorial games proved immediately and immensely popular within the Roman empire.
For days we discussed televising the hanging of Saddam Hussein. Would such an action promote martyrdom? Would the Iraqi people welcome the viewing or would they react in a manner that might incite riots? The decision was made. The execution would be taped for later and repeated viewings.
How far has the human race come in the last centuries. I surmise, not far at all!
The time is drawing near. Minutes ago the New York Times reported
BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 -United States officials have transferred Saddam Hussein to Iraqi custody, his lawyers said today in statements faxed to The Associated Press and Reuters.
The physical hand-over of Saddam was believed to be one of the last steps before he was to be hanged.
“The American side has notified us that they have handed over the president to the Iraqi authorities,” Khalil al-Dulaimi, head of Saddam’s defense team, said in the statement.
“They told us the president is no longer under the authority of the American forces and they requested us not to go to Baghdad,” he said.
Munir Haddad, one of the judges on the appeals court that upheld Saddam’s death sentence, told The A.P: “Saddam will be executed today or tomorrow. All the measures have been done.”
Mr. Haddad is authorized to attend the execution on behalf of the judiciary. “I am ready to attend and there is no reason for delays,” he said.
After upholding the death sentence against Mr. Hussein on Tuesday for the execution of 148 Shiite men and boys in 1982, an Iraqi appeals court ruled that he must be sent to the gallows within 30 days. In Iraq, where the Constitution requires that the Iraqi president and his two deputies sign all execution orders, officials said it was unlikely that legal formalities would stand in the way. The president, Jalal Talabani, had not received the documents by late Thursday.
But a government official familiar with the process said that little objection would be raised if the execution took place almost immediately. “Even if it happens tonight, no one is going to make an issue out of the procedure,” the official said.
Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser, said there would be no advance notice of the execution because of fears that any announcement could set off violence. When asked who would be invited to attend the hanging, Mr. Rubaie said: “No television. No press. Nothing.”
He said that the execution would be videotaped but that it was unlikely the tape would be released.
Even with the security fears, there was little appetite among Iraqi officialdom to spare Mr. Hussein for much longer. “I hope the decision should be implemented very soon,” said Qasim Daoud, a former national security adviser. “Sooner is better because it sends a message that we are determined – we want to get ahead step by step to building a new Iraq, and these messages will help.”
Some rights advocacy groups have criticized the haste of the trial and the appeal. Mr. Hussein was sentenced to death on Nov. 5 by a court set up to judge his years in power, and the appeals court handed down its ruling less than two months later. Mr. Hussein, along with two co-defendants, received his death sentence on a case involving only the killings of the 148 Shiites, in the town of Dujail. More cases were pending.
Since the appeals court upheld the death sentences, rumors have swept Baghdad that the Iraqi government would move quickly to put Mr. Hussein to death. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has drawn protests of political meddling in recent months by suggesting publicly that the former dictator should die at the earliest possible date.
Public pronouncements by American officials have been much more muted, as all formal queries have been referred to the government of Iraq, or G.O.I. in Baghdad jargon.
One American official who works closely with the Iraqi justice system expressed frustration over the criticism that Mr. Hussein’s trial had received. Considering the difficult security situation in a country emerging from a dictatorship – Mr. Hussein’s – the trial has been conducted as fairly as possible by the Iraqis, the official said. “I’m sure they gave it full deliberation and I have full confidence in them,” the official said.
Might we ask whether mankind understands the concept of “fair” as they gather round, ready up their VCRs and prepare to watch another execution!
Saddam Hussein is scheduled to hang. I heard the verdict and my head hurt; my heart was pained. I pondered the situation and the sadness, as did the man himself.
Former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein speaks of his life and of his probable passing in a letter written more than a month ago. The text is presented below. I acknowledge that Saddam Hussein did much harm to his people; however, I cannot ignore that he too is human.
Admittedly, there is much evidence. The former Iraqi leader did not respect the human rights of others. Nevertheless, can we justify our intent to cruelly kill this tragic tyrant? Are we able to excuse execution of any being? Apparently, the human race is infinitely capable of defending what it does; it has for centuries. I invite each of us to contemplate what we continue to do, kill in the name of righteousness.
I begin this treatise with the writing of another, Saddam Hussein.
Saddam Hussein wrote the letter on the day he was sentenced
A letter, written on 5 November by Saddam Hussein has been released by the former Iraqi leader’s lawyers. Here are some key excerpts . . .
In the past, I was, as you all know, in the battlefield of jihad and struggle.
God, exalted by He, wished that I face the same again in the same manner and the same spirit in which we were before the revolution but with a problem that is greater and harsher.
Oh beloved, this harsh situation, which we and our great Iraq are facing, is a new lesson and a new trial for the people by which to be judged, each depending on their intention, so that it becomes an identifier before God and the people in the present and after our current situation becomes a glorious history.
It is, above all, the foundation upon which the success of the future phases of history can be built.
In this situation and in no other, the veritable are the honest and faithful and the opposing are the false.
When the insignificant people use the power given to them by the foreigners to oppress their own people, they are but worthless and lowly. In our country, only good must result from what we are experiencing.
To the great nation, to the people of our country, and humanity: Many of you have known the writer of this letter to be faithful, honest, caring for others, wise, of sound judgement, just, decisive, careful with the wealth of the people and the state… and that his heart is big enough to embrace all without discrimination.
His heart aches for the poor and he does not rest until he helps in improving their condition and attends to their needs.
His heart contains all his people and his nation, and he craves to be honest and faithful without differentiating between his people except on the basis of their efforts, efficiency, and patriotism.
Here I am speaking today in your name and for your eyes and the eyes of our nation and the eyes of the just, the people of the truth, wherever their banner is hoisted.
You have known your brother and leader very well and he never bowed to the despots and, in accordance with the wishes of those who loved him, remained a sword and a banner.
This is how you want your brother, son or leader to be… and those who will lead you (in the future) should have the same qualifications.
Here, I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if He wants, He will send it to heaven with the martyrs, or, He will postpone that… so let us be patient and depend on Him against the unjust nations.
In spite of all the difficulties and the storms which we and Iraq had to face, before and after the revolution, God the Almighty did not want death for Saddam Hussein.
But if He wants it this time, it (Saddam’s life) is His creation. He created it and He protected it until now.
Thus, by its martyrdom, He will be bringing glory to a faithful soul, for there were souls that were younger than Saddam Hussein that had departed and had taken this path before him. If He wants it martyred, we thank Him and offer Him gratitude, before and after.
The enemies of your country, the invaders and the Persians, found that your unity stands as a barrier between them and your enslavement.
They planted and grounded their hateful old and new wedge between you.
The strangers who are carrying the Iraqi citizenship, whose hearts are empty or filled with the hatred that was planted in them by Iran, responded to it, but how wrong they were to think that they could divide the noble among our people, weaken your determination, and fill the hearts of the sons of the nation with hatred against each other, instead of against their true enemies that will lead them in one direction to fight under the banner of God is great: The great flag of the people and the nation.
Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love, forgiveness and brotherly co-existence…
I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave a space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking and keeps away one from balanced thinking and making the right choice …
I also call on you not to hate the peoples of the other countries that attacked us and differentiate between the decision-makers and peoples…
Anyone who repents – whether in Iraq or abroad – you must forgive him…
You should know that among the aggressors, there are people who support your struggle against the invaders, and some of them volunteered for the legal defence of prisoners, including Saddam Hussein…
Some of these people wept profusely when they said goodbye to me…
Dear faithful people, I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any faithful, honest believer… God is Great… God is great… Long live our nation… Long live our great struggling people…
Long live Iraq, long live Iraq… Long live Palestine… Long live jihad and the mujahideen.
President and Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Mujahid Armed Forces
I have written this letter because the lawyers told me that the so-called criminal court – established and named by the invaders – will allow the so-called defendants the chance for a last word.
But that court and its chief judge did not give us the chance to say a word, and issued its verdict without explanation and read out the sentence – dictated by the invaders – without presenting the evidence.
I wanted the people to know this.
People may choose to understand or they may reject what they refuse to believe. Here is a man, a fellow human, facing his own mortality. Individuals defend the decision to put this man to death. They assert he is not human. He is merely evil, the enemy, and must be executed.
Persons such as the self-professed Christian leader of a supposed secular country, President George W. Bush thinks the sentence is just. Iraqi courts ruled the former Middle Eastern leader quilt of crimes against his people. Hussein was convicted; they say he killed 148 people. Perhaps he did, or persons working for the dictator did the deeds. Those in authority rarely carry out the dirty work.
As the arrangements are made, attorneys for the condemned are scurrying.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein’s chief lawyer implored world leaders Thursday to prevent the United States from handing over the ousted leader to Iraqi authorities for execution, saying he deserves protection as a “prisoner of war.”
Iraq’s highest court on Tuesday rejected Saddam’s appeal against his conviction and death sentence for the killing of 148 Shiites in the northern city of Dujail in 1982. The court said the former president should be hanged within 30 days.
“According to the international conventions it is forbidden to hand a prisoner of war to his adversary,” Saddam’s lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, said in Amman, Jordan.
“I urge all the international and legal organizations, the United Nations secretary general, the Arab League and all the leaders of the world to rapidly prevent the American administration from handing the president to the Iraqi authorities,” he told The Associated Press.
The death penalty has never made sense to me. I have tried and tried to understand; yet, I never have. As a child we are taught to honor the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Quotes from the Bible are offered, “Turn the other check.” Of course, that pronouncement is quickly followed with the retort, “An eye for an eye . . .”
The Ten Commandments no matter which translation you choose state, “Thou shall not kill.” No religion sanctions the silliness. Only zealots endorse the option. Interpretations of text are interesting to say the least. Fortunately, today there is a religious voice that rejects the prospect.
Renato Cardinal Martino, Pope Benedict’s top prelate for justice issues and a former Vatican envoy to the UN, condemned the death sentence in a newspaper interview published Thursday, saying capital punishment goes against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Still, there are those that think killing one wo/man for killing another wo/man makes sense. I am fascinated by pro-lifers, anti-abortion fanatics, those that forcefully attack clinics, their physicians, and patients, all in the name of preserving life. These activists say they love their fellow man as they advocate murder.
BOSTON — In Norfolk outside the jail where John C. Salvi III was being held for the murder of two women, a pro-Salvi rally was going on. There was applause for the fatal assault on the Brookline, Mass., clinics where abortions are performed. There was talk of “justifiable homicide” and talk of “war.”
The Rev. Donald Spitz of Pro-Life Virginia bellowed into a megaphone aimed at the prisoner’s cell: “John Salvi, we care about you. We love you. We support you.” He called the murders “a righteous deed.”
Often emotions govern what we do. We kill and then justify the reasons why.
People ponder possibilities. Humans value their own lives. thus, they honor all life, except when they do not.
Money is a motivator. Many a conflict commenced with dollars as the “root cause. Dear reader, you might recall, cash was considered grounds for this protracted Middle Eastern conflict. Some say oil and the financial gain we in the States might reap were reason enough.
Insiders told Newsnight that planning began “within weeks” of Bush’s first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.
An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington, and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d’etat.
Mr. Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.
Secret sell-off plan
The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq’s oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq’s oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.
Former Shell Oil USA chief stalled plans to privatise Iraq’s oil industry
The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Fadhil Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel.
Mr. Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Newsnight he flew to the London meeting at the request of the State Department.
Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan’s “back-channel” to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq’s oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.
“Insurgents used this, saying, ‘Look, you’re losing your country, you’re losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable,'” said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.
“We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatisation is coming.”
Privatisation blocked by industry
Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq’s oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.
Our President claims we must save the oil fields; they might fall into enemy hands.
At the naval base, Bush declared, ”We will not rest until victory is America’s and our freedom is secure” from Al Qaeda and its forces in Iraq led by Abu Musab alZarqawi.
”If Zarqawi and [Osama] bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks,” Bush said. ”They’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition.”.
Others offer a different view. George w. Bush bellowed his rationale in 2002, prior to the falling of the first American bombs.
if the United Nations fails to adopt a tough resolution, then the “United States will lead a coalition” and confront Iraq and force it to disarm outside of any new U.N. mandate.
Bush was speaking in Houston at a fund-raiser for Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Phil Gramm.
Houston is the adopted hometown of the president’s father, former President Bush, and in discussing the threat posed by Saddam, the current president offered his staple list of complaints about Iraq’s defiance of the United Nations and his contention that Iraq is working aggressively on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. “This is a man who continually lies,” Bush said.
He said the Iraqi leader’s “hatred” was largely directed at the United States and added: “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.”
I sigh and say, we may never know all of the reasons for this war or that. I do comprehend to my core, I certainly cannot understand the rationale for killing. I acknowledge that we continue to do as was done. We have for centuries. It seems obvious, slaughtering one man does not lessen our loss. Little if anything is gained by the spilling of blood. I ask each of us to assess how many more maimings and murders will it take before we realize that killing offers no cure. Hangings do not bring resolution, though they may provoke a revolution. Death does not promote peace. The loss of one will not compensate for the loss of others.
As I breathe deeply I wonder why; why would we wish to harm another in the name of justice. I invite you to share your opinions.