"The price good people pay for their indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. " Plato
"People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they 're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. " Herman Goering, Nazi leader who created the Gestapo, sentenced to death at Nuremberg for war crimes.
We should not be talking just of impeachment, that is not strong enough action to send a message to tyrants in the world. Given the Downing Street Memo showing that the current administration knowingly constructed intelligence to create justification for going to war it is appropriate for the world to examine whether officials of the United States and Great Britain should be tried for war crimes.
Justification for War
There were three reasons given for the Bush Doctrine of Pre-emptive War; 1) Saddam had weapons of mass destruction with which he threatened his neighbors and the U.S., 2) Saddam supported and was connected to al-Qaeda and 3) he was a ruthless tyrant. It is now clear to any thinking citizen (Bush apologists are not thinking citizens) that the President and other neo conservatives in the United States Government lied to the American public in order to gain support to launch a war of aggression against Iraq for ideological and economic motives.
Of the three justifications there is no doubt about the last. That alone ignores the fact that we do not invade countries because their leaders are tyrants, in fact we have supported many including Saddam in the past. Even conservative George Will was forced to state in a June 23 editorial "But unless one is prepared to postulate a U.S. right, perhaps even a duty, to militarily dismantle any tyranny, it is unacceptable to argue that Saddam 's mass graves and torture chambers suffice as retrospective justifications for pre-emptive war. " Lets look at what the postulation of that U.S. duty would mean.
Indeed, if that were ample justification, we would be invading Uzbekistan (in case you don 't know Uzbekistan is one of the coalition of the willing, our allies in the invasion), who according to NickWalsh in an article in the May 26th London Guardian states "Independent human rights groups estimate that there are more than 600 politically motivated arrests a year in Uzbekistan, and 6,500 political prisoners, some tortured to death. According to a forensic report commissioned by the British embassy, in August two prisoners were even boiled to death. "
There are any number of countries that imprison, torture and kill political dissidents including China who has most favored trade status with the U.S. North Korea who says they fully intend to produce nuclear weapons and sell them to terrorists is ignored. Liberia, a long term ally during the Cold War, where all parties, the government, the rebels, neighboring countries and the citizens caught in the middle are begged the U.S. for a small peace keeping force, only to have George W. fiddle while the country went in to self destruct. We allow and encourage chaos in Haiti. We also seem to have curiously found new mutual respect for the genocidal government of Sudan as "allies against terrorism " since the discovery of oil in the disputed territories. So much for invasion as a weapon to produce democracy and freedom for other peoples of the world.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Let 's look at just a few of the statements made by Bush and his aides about the justification of the "imminent threat " of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons over the last year to justify the war.
August 26, 2002 Vice President Cheney "simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction ... What he wants is time, and more time to husband his resources to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons program, and to gain possession of nuclear weapons. "
September 12, 2002 President Bush to the UN General Assembly " Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons ... Iraq has made several attempts to buy high strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. "
September 19, 2002 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "(Iraq) amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX, sarin and mustard gas. "
October 7, 2002 - President Bush in Cincinnati "It (Iraq) possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons ... And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons. "
January 7, 2003 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at a press briefing "There is no doubt in my mind but that they currently have chemical and biological weapons. "