In many respects, the congressional resolution would act like an arrest warrant in a domestic criminal action. There, a judge finds probable cause for the arrest and directs the police to take the suspect into custody and deliver the defendant for trial. In doing so, the police are authorized to use all necessary and reasonable force to take custody of the accused.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee approved a resolution in 2014 calling for North Korea to be brought before another international tribunal, the International Criminal Court (ICC), on charges of human rights violations. During testimony before the UN Security Council in 2015, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights asked the Council to refer North Korea to the ICC. Following the recent assassination of Kim's brother, Kim Jong-nam, the UN General Assembly again asked the Security Council to refer the North Korean leadership to the ICC While a congressional resolution directing President Trump to secure the presence of Kim Jong-un before these international tribunals would be coercive, it would be far less violent than the unleashing of bombs and cruise missiles on the poor North Korean people.
Although the use of reasonable force personally directed against the outlaw dictator to "arrest" him might result in his death, the use of force would not have political assassination as its purpose. To the contrary--much like hostage negotiations by professional police officers--every attempt should be made to obtain his voluntary surrender. Reasonable rewards and incentives might also be offered for his surrender by members of his own government.
The Kim dictatorship dominates the North Korean media and carefully controls the information received by the people. Radios and television sets are preset to North Korean frequencies and must be registered with the authorities. Although there is little access to the Internet, there is a widespread market for USB flash drives which feature South Korean music and movies. It is not difficult to image infiltrating and "bombing" the nation with bootleg flash drives and other forms of person-to-person communications reassuring the North Korean people that the United States was renouncing the making of war against them and their nation in favor of rewards and benefits for the arrest and delivery of their dictator. While ordinary North Koreans might not have the ready ability, those most close to the person of Kim Jong-un might be sufficiently encouraged to take action.
Sounding the Alarm
On becoming the Commander-in-Chief of the United States military, President Trump immediately abdicated his command responsibility by empowering the Secretary of Defense and the Central Command to authorize military actions they deem appropriate. Because of the numerous scandals and dysfunction associated with his political staff, Trump is relying on the military to distract the public from his presidential failures.
Within days of Trump's inauguration, a botched military counterterrorism operation in Yemen resulted in the deaths of 30 civilians, including an eight-year-old American girl. Trump blamed the failure on his generals and the Obama administration, while claiming unfounded successes. Trump's military aggression continued with a massive tomahawk cruise missile attack against a Syrian airbase--which risked war with Russia--and the dropping of the largest conventional bomb in history in Afghanistan. Trump claimed that all of these attacks were successful, but the primary result was to divert attention from his rapidly falling popularity ratings, which are the lowest of all newly-elected presidents.
As Trump is now threatening to go it "alone" on North Korea, his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has declared "the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is warning of "catastrophic consequences" of a failure to take action against North Korea and warns that the United States will use military force if necessary. The Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command refuses to rule out an invasion of North Korea, even for the "heck of it," and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says America must be prepared for military operations in North Korea.
Claiming "bone spurs" as a young man, Trump dodged military service. Now as America's leading "chicken hawk," he is like a little boy playing with matches as he risks reigniting the Korean War. Perhaps it matters not to him that millions of North and South Koreans may once again die in the resulting war, but he will also risk the lives of American service members and the economic health of the nation in an entirely avoidable war.
Near the end of World War II, as allied forces discovered the conditions in the German concentration camps, General Eisenhower ordered that local citizens be forced to look inside the camps at the atrocities committed by their Nazi leaders. Following the conviction and execution of these leaders at the Nuremberg trials, the United Nations established the principle that "All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state . . . ."
The United States has not formally declared war on another nation since World War II; however, its presidents have repeatedly threatened to use, and have actually used, military force against other states. Truman and Eisenhower had the Korean War; Johnson and Nixon had Vietnam; Reagan invaded tiny Grenada; Bush Sr. invaded Panama and Iraq; Clinton bombed Sudan and Yugoslavia; and Bush Jr. invaded Iraq based on falsified evidence. Obama continued the "war against terrorism," extended it worldwide, and institutionalized the presidential hit list.
President Trump repeatedly expresses his admiration for "strong," yet repressive leaders, including Putin in Russia, Duarte in the Philippines, and Kim Jong-un--whom Trump calls "a pretty smart cookie." Trump sees the world as a "vicious and brutal place" and imagines himself as the risk-taking, angry, tough, and authoritarian warrior who can win every game. In response to threats in the Middle East, Trump said, "I would bomb the s--- out of them. . . . I'd blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left." Conservative commentator George W. Will described Trump as having "an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence."
More than 53,000 mental health professionals have signed a petition sounding the alarm that Trump "manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States." The petition was started by Dr. John Gartner, who said "Worse than being just a liar or a narcissist" Trump is "paranoid, delusional and [engages in] grandiose thinking."
With the most mentally unstable person ever to occupy the presidency having the most powerful military force in history at his unfettered disposal, Americans must ask themselves whether or not they approve of another war being launched in their name. If not, they must arrive at a solution to avoid their personal complicity with the consequences of their failure to act.
The American People are not powerless; however, they still have, restricted as it has become, the freedom to assemble and protest. They still have the power to contact their congressional representatives and implore them to take legislative action to avoid another war in Korea, and they still have the power to vote out of any office any representative who does not listen to their voice and respond to their demands. Their vote is the only real power left to the People; however, time is short. With an Army general now serving as the Secretary of Homeland Security, the United States is only one terrorist act away from the imposition of martial law by presidential order, in which all of these remaining rights may be forfeit.
William John Cox wrote the role of the police in America for President Nixon's National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals in 1972. As a public interest lawyer, Cox filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1979 against President Carter and the Congress alleging that the government no longer represented those who voted for it. In 1980, he ran a write-in campaign for president calling for a law enforcement alternative to making war against the innocent people of other nations. Cox continues to write about philosophy, politics, and public policy matters. His latest book is Transforming America: A Voters' Bill of Rights.
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