the new year unfolds, one unmistakable fact remains unreported in America’s
submissive mainstream media: our President George W. Bush is a war criminal.
Any attempt to state this obvious fact is ignored and any Democratic
Presidential hopeful who suggests we repudiate the new Bush doctrine of
American imperialism and instead, work for world peace, is dismissed as a
“vanity” candidate and told to drop out of the race.
The case against President Bush is overwhelming. The nonprofit American Society of International Law, consisting mainly of scholars, has laid out the case against the President in article after article in a dispassionate fashion. Following the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States by the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, both the United States and Britain attempted to comply with international law. When Operation Enduring Freedom, the massive military assault on Afghanistan, began on October 7, 2001, both countries adhered to the United Nations Charter Article 51 by notifying the Security Council that they were attacking Afghanistan under the doctrine of individual and collective self-defense. Most international law scholars accepted the United States’ right to self-defense against terrorist bases in Afghanistan.
From legitimate self-defense, the Bush administration suddenly resurrected the discredited Nazi doctrine of “preventive war” with Bush and his collaborators arguing that in the battle of “good” versus “evil” the United States had the right to attack any country that might pose a future threat to our nation.
The Bush administration is using the recent capture of Saddam Hussein for propaganda purposes to justify its illegal and criminal war against Iraq. Some newspapers have gone so far to question the practicality of the “Bush doctrine” without pointing out its illegal and criminal nature. For example, Matthew Hay Brown of the Orlando Sentinel wrote in a news analysis piece the day Saddam was captured, that: “By striking at a country that was not threatening to attack the United States and without hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction or links to al-Qaeda officials hope to show the length to which the United States would go to protect itself.”
The Columbus Dispatch ran Brown’s analysis on its front page. Still there was no mention of the universal repudiation of the Bush doctrine.
Let’s start with the obvious. Any law scholar will tell you that pre-emptive self-defense is unlawful under international law – from Article VI of the Nuremberg Charter to the UN Charter. In fact, the United States was the guiding force behind both the Nuremberg trials and the establishment of the United Nations. At the end of the second world war, with the Nazis defeated and discredited, the United Nations Charter, a treaty binding on the U.S., prohibited nations using preventive force in Article II, Section 4. Only the Security Council has the authority to take measures against “threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression.”
The only exception to this is the right of individual and collective self-defense that the U.S. and Britain invoked under Article 51. The key, of course, is that you has to be attacked or that an enemy must be in the process of attacking you. Under the UN Charter, you cannot simply say here’s a list of “rogue nations” who may at some undefined time in the near future pose a threat to you because they may harbor weapons of mass destruction, which we have in abundance, and they are not allowed to have. Nor is there anything under international law that says simply developing a weapons program amounts to an armed threat or attack. If this were true, every country on Earth would be justified in attacking the U.S., the country with the greatest number of WMD’s, at any time.
A few voices in the Democratic Presidential primary have attempted to raise substantial issues concerning U.S. foreign policy but the mainstream media is obsessed with its “politics as horse race” mentality focusing mostly on who is in the lead. So, while the talking heads analyze the post-Saddam capture “Bush bounce” and predict that no President with a favorable rating over 60% going into a presidential election year has ever lost, they miss the point that if they actually reported that world consensus holds their president to be a war criminal, then maybe his rating wouldn’t be so high.
Perhaps the most egregious example of a journalist trying to silence debate on the Bush doctrine was ABC debate moderator Ted Koppel who suggested that peace candidates Dennis Kucinich, Ambassador Carol Mosley-Braun and Rev. Al Sharpton should drop out of the debate. When Kucinich directly challenged Koppel suggesting that it wasn’t the media’s role to define who should be in or out of a presidential race prior to the people casting votes, ABC retaliated by pulling the fulltime reporter covering the Kucinich campaign.
Recently the Pope reminded the world that the war against Iraq is illegal. Perhaps ABC could take the fulltime reporter they pulled from Kucinich and put him on fulltime research on the illegality of the Bush doctrine and its eerie parallels to Nazi Germany and its attack on Poland.
And they might want to look into the story Popular Mechanics broke in its December 2003 issue showing a satellite photo of a pipeline through Kuwait looting Iraqi oil from the Ramalah oil field.
Bob Fitrakis is a Political Science Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department at Columbus State Community College, and author of The Idea of Democratic Socialism in America and the Decline of the Socialist Party (Garland Publishers 1993). He is the editor of The Free Press, where this article first appeared (www.freepress.org).
Other Articles by Bob Fritrakis