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Many Americans Don't Realize Iraq War Is Illegal

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Mistakenly, many Americans still believe President Bush's war on Iraq is justified because Congress supported it and funds it. 

 Yet, as international legal authority Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois points out, President Bush got congressional backing by lying that Hussein had W.M.D. and that Hussein was connected to 9/11.

That's fraud, probably the bloodiest, costliest lie in White House history. 

 Also, to start a war, a country needs UN Security Council approval, which Bush failed to get. Otherwise, a nation can fight only in self-defense when attacked.  

 By attacking Iraq, Bush violated the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928, the UN Charter, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals, and the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles, Boyle said.

 As all treaties become the supreme law of the land under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the Bush-Cheney presidency is guilty of breaking all of the above, warmongering in spades.

 In testimony defending U.S. soldiers who have refused to fight in Iraq, Boyle noted that, under Nuremberg, "a soldier has a right to absent himself or herself from committing international crimes."

In short, if given a criminal order, the defense used by Adolf Eichmann, Hitler's master killer, that he was only doing his job, is a phony.

 Boyle testified that First Lt. Ehren Watada had the right, "if not the obligation," to say, "I don't want to participate in this." Watada faced an army court martial for not deploying with his unit for Iraq. Watada won a victory when the judge ruled a mistrial.

 Boyle believes, "A soldier has an obligation to disobey illegal orders," which he says is printed in black-and-white in the Army's Field Manual(AFM) 27-10. Without Security Council authority, President Bush's war is "a crime against peace," Boyle says.

That's also written in paragraph 498 of the AFM.  "Any person, whether a member of the armed forces or a civilian, who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment (as)...crimes against peace," the AFM reads.

 This broad definition would seem to include trigger-happy private contractors in Iraq.And since the U.S. has committed war crimes in Iraq, U.S. soldiers are legally within their rights not to serve there, Boyle said. 

These crimes include torture of prisoners, authorized by former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and White House lawyers; the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas; and the firing of depleted uranium shells--- this last also a violation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925. "It's a war crime," Boyle said, that is "not only poisoning Iraqis, it is poisoning our own troops."

 President Bush has repeatedly said the U.S. does not torture, but he is no objective arbiter in this matter. The International Committee of the Red Cross, with supervisory jurisdiction, says it is torture and that it is widespread and systematic.

Thus Bush and his colleagues are guilty of crimes against humanity. Curiously, the public reaction to these crimes includes a large measure of denial.

 If Congress okayed the war and funds it, many people think it's okay. Besides, much of the bloodshed is concealed from their view. Fox TV, for example, runs little film footage of the real carnage in Iraq while reporting endless trivia and gossip. Fox is also continuing its show "24" over Army protests that the series encourages U.S. troops to torture. 

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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
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