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What does it mean to win an illegal war?

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Message Mark A. Goldman

I hear members of Congress talking about how concerned they are about the possibility of having our troops experience defeat in the Iraq war.  They want the troops to experience a win.  But how can soldiers engaged in an illegal war experience a win?  What does winning an illegal war mean?  Does it mean that we will not give up until we are able to extricate ourselves without having to pay a price for our war crimes?  Is that victory?


If Bush had not already done everything in his power to destroy what used to be our Constitution and International law, not only would he and his immediate cronies be tried for war crimes, so would every member of Congress.  Every member of Congress should have and could have done more than they did do to stop those crimes from continuing. 

Under Article VI of our Constitution which includes the Nuremberg Principles, that was their duty and responsibility.  Tell me, who under the terms of Nuremberg, in this administration or Congress, is innocent? 


Every member of the House should have offered up articles of impeachment when they saw that crimes were committed, particularly when they couldn’t get their party to speak with one voice to stop the carnage. 

Instead they surrendered their allegiance to party leaders, trying to protect their own careers at the expense of the Constitution--at the expense of their oath of office, and hundreds of thousands of innocent people.  And when asked why they didn’t speak out, the only excuse any of them give is that it would have been a useless exercise because they couldn’t get enough votes to succeed. 


We send our kids into battle and expect them to fight to their death or dismemberment, if necessary.  The troops are told they’re being sent to defend the Constitution.  If we expect our soldiers--our children--to fight when there’s no way for them to know ahead of time if they will win or lose, is it unreasonable to expect at least some similar remnant of courage from our elected officials who should be fighting to preserve and protect the Constitution at home? Didn’t they take the same oath our soldiers took?


And every member of the Senate should have spoken out in defense of the Constitution, too, asking members of the House to submit those articles.  Why didn’t they?  Didn’t they think torture was a crime?  Didn’t they think the loss of habeas corpus was a scurrilous attack on the Constitution?  What about signing statements, renditions, indefinite detentions, the loss of privacy, the misuse of the FBI, criminal negligence, no more fair trials, no right to know what crime you are being tried for, or what the evidence is against you?  No right to be represented by an attorney?  What about dropping depleted uranium weapons and cluster bombs in populated areas, bombing hospitals, lying to Congress, lying to the American people, lying to the United Nations? All of these things say, “I am not only above the law; now I am the law.”


For US Representatives and Senators to remain silent in the face of all these egregious crimes is nothing less than treason, a national disgrace beyond anything we have experienced in our history heretofore.


So what are we to do now that we see our government has betrayed us?  I believe anyone who failed to live up to his or her oath of office ought to be removed from government. 


Both major parties have betrayed their country.  But nothing in the Constitution requires that elected officials belong to a political party.    Can’t we find at least 535+2 honorable citizens among 300 million of us who can be trusted to keep their oath of office? 


I understand how some citizens might be so completely oblivious to what has happened, that they are prepared to vote for these people again come next election.  But that would be a travesty.  In fact, not only are many citizens prepared to vote them into office again, they intend to promote two of them to the high office of President and Vice-President.  What a disgrace.


In very real terms, we are no longer living under the rule of law that our Founding Fathers intended.  Both national and international law is in tatters.  The Great Experiment is in shambles.


We need to take back our government.  If elected officials won’t defend our Republic, isn't it up to us?  There is no one else.  If we don’t, how will we explain to our children how their freedom was lost on our watch?


What we need now is a revolution…  not a revolution where you shoot people or make a ruckus, but a revolution of the spirit; a revolution of courage and determination where you fight for your country and your freedom and your dignity.  How do you do that?  Above all else, you do it by refusing to vote for people who have betrayed you. 

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Mark A. Goldman is an author, financial planner and was a candidate for president of the United States in 2008 and 2012. His new book called "Starting Over" is available for download free as a pdf file at this address: (more...)

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