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First, a bit of clarification. I heard from several people this past week, bothered by what they perceived to be “yet another Nazi analogy comparing Bush to Hitler”. There is a corollary to Godwin’s Law (the longer any political discussion goes on, the likelihood someone will bring up Hitler approaches 100%) that states “the first person to bring up Hitler in any political discussion, loses.” While I may agree that the Bush Administration is demonstrably Fascist, the purpose of this analysis is NOT to suggest “the Bush Administration is as bad or worse than the Nazis”.

The significance of The Nuremberg Trials was that they took place BEFORE the creation of The Geneva Conventions, which were written in 1949 and ratified in 1950. The Nuremberg Trials took place in 1948. The Bush Administration has repeatedly used the “Geneva Conventions don’t apply to terrorists” argument to defend their use of torture against al Qaeda and Iraqi detainees as their defense. The U.S. still put the Nazi’s on trial for war crimes despite the fact there was no Internationally agreed upon “Rules of Engagement” between signatories of any “Geneva Convention”. The standard at that time was simply “crimes against humanity.” And just whose “moral standard” was used to define what was and was not a “crime against humanity”? The U.S.’s (not even the “Allies” standard, as Stalin’s Soviet Union was clearly in violation of many of those same crimes). No matter what you think of al Qaeda or even Iraqi prisoners, the fact is, the Bush Administration has repeatedly approved the use of torture on detainees without confirming evidence those detainees were even guilty of a crime. Literally hundreds of prisoners were released from U.S. POW camps without charge after years of being held prisoner by the U.S…. many of whom were tortured during their captivity.

Then there are the crimes of waging an unnecessary & unprovoked war against Iraq, a country that had not attacked us and, as was proved definitively following the invasion, were not amassing the stockpiles of prohibited “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that they were accused of acquiring prior to the invasion. I argued in emails to friends at the time that “sending in a contingent of one million International inspectors into Iraq and keeping them there for the next 20 years, crawling around Iraq looking for weapons, keeping Saddam busy and unable to so much as pass wind without someone knowing” was preferable to “waging war, where hundreds (at the very least) might die and you risk provoking Saddam into using the very weapons you claim he has.” But as demonstrated last week, George W. Bush was actively seeking a confrontation with Saddam Hussein, going so far as to try and “trick” Saddam into making the first move.

Let me point out one more thing that shouldn’t even need be said, but there’s always some closed-minded nitwit out there that makes stating the obvious necessary: I AM NOT DEFENDING SADDAM HUSSEIN, NOR AM I DEFENDING AL QAEDA OR OSAMA BIN LADEN. Saddam and OBL were/are monsters. They murdered tens of thousands and deserve to spend eternity in Hell for their crimes. But I also believe they should enjoy the company of a certain dimwitted President from Dallas (not Crawford. He only bought the Crawford ranch upon becoming President, and has said he already intends to sell it upon leaving office.)

Here again are the four charges levied against Nazi officials at The Nuremberg Trials”:

  • Count One: Conspiracy to Wage Aggressive War
    Addresses crimes committed before the war began, showing a plan to commit crimes during the war.
  • Count Two: Waging Aggressive War, or “Crimes Against Peace”
    Including “the planning, preparation, initiation, and waging of wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements, and assurances.”
  • Count Three: War Crimes
    These were the more “traditional” violations of the law of war including treatment of prisoners of war, slave labor, and use of outlawed weapons.
  • Count Four: Crimes Against Humanity
    This count involved the actions in concentration camps and other death rampages.

Clearly, there is significant overlap between Count One & Count Two. Demonstrating that the invasion of Iraq was based upon “aggression” and not “necessity” to make the case for Count One already proves that the invasion of Iraq was an act of aggression. But it is the second part of that argument… whether “international treaties, agreements, and assurances”… were violated, that form the basis for Count Two.

The infamous HJRes114… “House Joint Resolution 114 authorizing the President of the United States to use U.S. Armed Forces against Iraq” is the bill that Congress hastily passed in late 2002 to give President Bush the power to use force against Iraq as a bargaining chip to force Saddam Hussein into allowing UN Weapons Inspectors back into Iraq. His refusal to do so would mean the U.S. could use force to disarm Iraq and destroy its Weapons of Mass Destruction.

To what I’m certain must have been the Bush Administration’s dismay, Saddam agreed to allow inspectors back into Iraq. For the next five months, inspectors found little, the worst of which was Saddam’s (legally possessed) al Samoud missiles that inspectors claimed had been modified to exceed the maximum travel distance imposed upon Iraq following its defeat in the 1991 Gulf War, now with the capacity to reach Israel… 250 kilometers further than the rockets’ 150km maximum permissible distance. (Consider this restriction for a moment: permitting Saddam to posses a weapon that was allowed to travel no further than his own borders made him a threat to not only “our common enemy” Iran, but our allies of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait as well as Iraqi Kurds in the North of his own country.)

What is often overlooked is that the various Joint Resolutions passed by Congress “Authorizing the use of military force in dealing with Iraq” contained a substantial number of caveats on what would constitute a violation of the resolution, permitting George Bush to use military force against Iraq (not including the vast number of claims in the Resolutions that ex post facto turned out to be false, such as members of al Qaeda receiving assistance from Iraq):

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 45 drafted in late September of 2002, granted the President the authority:

“to use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce the United Nations Security Council Resolutions” (referenced within) [to] “defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region.”

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 114:

Sec.2.2: (The Congress of the United States supports the efforts by the President to–) obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

Sec.3b2: (Presidential Determination- may use force) “acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” (Ed. note: emphasis added.)

Sec.4: (The President) REPORTS TO CONGRESS. – All of it. Parts “a” thru “c”,

The former resolution, HJ45, simply laid the foundation for HJ114, granting President Bush the power to use force against Iraq “as necessary to enforce prior UN Resolutions” passed against Iraq, such as forbidding him to produce “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, allowing inspectors in to monitor his weapons programs, incursions into the No-Fly Zones in the North & South of Iraq, etc.

The White House website provides a “complete” list of UN Security Council Resolutions Saddam violated prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. (I say “complete” because they are all predicated upon UNSCR-660, which ordered Saddam to withdraw his troops from Kuwait back into Iraq in 1991, which he did. (I should note here that despite his crushing defeat, Saddam celebrated his “victory over the United States” every year thereafter. So for those who say leaving Iraq now, after five+ years, will be seen as “a victory for al Qaeda”, I have news for you. No matter when we leave, they’re going to claim victory.)

Of the resolutions the Bush Administration claimed Saddam was in violation of that formed the basis of their justification for invading Iraq, the accusation that he was “developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction” is chief among them. HJ45 permitted President Bush to use force only if Saddam refused to comply with earlier resolutions. As we now know, when it comes to WMD’s, he had.
 
So, were there any UNSC resolutions Saddam was in violation of that would of justified the use of force? Rather than go through the fifty-three separate violations (lots of overlap) within the 16 Resolutions the Bush Administration claimed Saddam violated, let us look at just those Resolutions he *did* violate, justifying the use of force to enforce:

Those modified al Samoud missiles were a violation of UNSCR687, but as seen in this video (also linked to above), UN inspectors were allowed back in and destroying the prohibited missiles prior to the invasion, so “the use of force to enforce” rule would not apply.

Also from 687: “Iraq must not commit or support terrorism, or allow terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq.” Many do not know Saddam did support and even engage in “acts of terrorism”, not just in Iraq but as far away as France and Great Brittan… against Iraqi Kurds that had fled the country. Saddam did NOT however facilitate al Qaeda or utilize them to commit terrorist acts on Iraq’s behalf. Iraqi intelligence officers were used to terrorize the expatriated Kurds. There is one report of contact between Saddam and al Qaeda AFTER being threatened by George W. Bush, which went nowhere. But it deserves mention that it it took the threat of invasion by President Bush on the grounds Saddam was collaborating with al Qaeda to actually bring about a potential collaboration between Saddam and al Qaeda.

Other “support for terrorism” by Saddam: paying $5,000 stipends to the families of “martyred” Palestinian suicide bombers, a common practice among Muslim nations. In fact, our largest ally in the region, Saudi Arabia hosted a telethon for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers that raised over $100 million, less than a year before the invasion of Iraq (often the family member that “martyred” themselves was the sole breadwinner, leaving many families without a source of income, thus the perceived need for a “telethon”.)

Personally, I would argue that “terrorizing Kurds outside of Iraq” was a police matter, not a justification for war. As for condemning Iraq for supporting the families of Palestinian bombers… something our close ally Saudi Arabia was doing overtly on state-run television… is likewise not a justification for war.

From UNSCR 688: “Iraq must immediately end repression of its civilian population.” Again, a violation that should not call for “war” to enforce. If anything, a war would only endanger the lives of the very people they claimed to want to help… they call those repressed citizens “insurgents” today.

That’s it. 16 UN Security Resolutions were passed, many of which simply repeated past demands the UN believed Saddam was not complying with. Of the 53 violations the Bush Administration claim Saddam was in violation of, a full 23 of them refer to “allowing inspectors in to ensure Saddam was not reconstituting his WMD program(s).” He wasn’t. Another six refer to enforcing prior UNSCR’s (overlap), while five refer to prohibiting Saddam’s nuclear program (he had no nuclear program post 1991). Throw in several other miscellaneous overlapping resolutions and you have roughly 40 resolutions that Saddam was in fact in compliance with. Of the remaining 13 that I list above, only four “arguably” could be used to justify the invasion of Iraq… weak as those justifications might be.

If I were the prosecutor, I’d certainly argue against any claim that those four violations could ONLY be enforced by an all-out invasion of Iraq, guaranteeing the deaths of hundreds… if not thousands… of innocent Iraqi civilians, but as both Judge & Jury, the right to make that call was… however stupidly… granted President Bush by both the UN & Congress. So on Count Two, one must, reluctantly, rule “Not Guilty”.

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