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Permanent Bases Point Toward Permanent War

Permanent Bases Point Toward Permanent War:
Is The Neocon Nightmare Winding Down, Or Just Getting Started?


By: Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D.

"To initiate a war of aggression is, therefore, not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes only in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
- Judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, relating to "Count Two, the Crime of Aggression," as brought against Herman Goering, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and 14 other defendants.

In Mr. Bush's "State 0f The Union" address, he claimed that "US forces will be drawn down as Iraqi forces stand up." [1] However, this claim is flatly contradicted by the Pentagon's ongoing multibillion-dollar expenditures for the construction of 106 permanent bases - including six hi-tech "super-bases" - inside Iraq. [2]

Is there a reason why the USA's mainstream media won't report on those 106 bases, and why Congress won't debate the Pentagon's base-construction projects? The simplest answer is that the government-media complex has declared this subject taboo because it would reveal the USA's intention to militarily occupy Iraq for decades. [3]

Furthermore, Mr. Bush's quagmire in Iraq already has the USA hemorrhaging red ink. According to a recent study by the American Economic Association, the Bush administration's pre-war estimate of a $60 billion price-tag for the Iraq War was wildly unrealistic. The study concluded that the final bill for the Iraq War will actually be somewhere between ONE AND TWO TRILLION DOLLARS, depending on how much longer our troops stay. [4] And that staggering figure doesn't take into account its human costs in bloodshed and suffering. [5]

Realistically, Mr. Bush's "draw-down" rhetoric is merely a propaganda ploy in anticipation of the 2006 mid-term election, and the withdrawal won't be implemented. In all likelihood, those hi-tech "super-bases" will serve another purpose, which is to launch and monitor his next illegal war of aggression against Iraq's oil-rich neighbor, IRAN. [6] Of course, the Bush administration will reassure us, during its pre-war propaganda campaign, that their petro-state invasion is absolutely necessary, and isn't merely another "blood-for-oil" scenario through which their wealthy war-profiteering cronies will further enrich themselves at our expense (and some naive Americans will actually believe them).

So where is this nation's foreign policy headed? In the short run, Mr. Bush is already attempting to expand his "wartime commander-in-chief powers" to despotic dimensions, so he can - among other things - autonomously order the commencement of a "might-makes-right" aggressive war against Iran, thus giving Republicans yet another "national security" cudgel to swing during the upcoming mid-term election. [7]

Additionally, it's foreseeable that Mr. Bush's dictatorial assumption of extra-constitutional powers will elicit a strong negative reaction domestically, and that he'll use these protests as his excuse to declare martial law at home. In the long run, it's foreseeable that his cynical militarization of US foreign policy will bankrupt this nation - morally, legally, politically and economically. [8]

BEFORE these things happen, we should be asking ourselves: "Does might make right?" According to the principles of Just War Theory and international law, the answer is a resounding "NO!" [9] BEFORE these things happen, we should have the moral courage to pro-actively pursue every legitimate preventive measure that is available to us in a democracy. BEFORE these things happen, we should try the constitutionally-prescribed remedy of impeachment and - if it becomes necessary - collective acts of nonviolent civil disobedience on a massive scale everywhere. [10]

Finally, every citizen should know that the plain language of the US Constitution empowers Congress to impeach any president who commits a war crime in violation of the USA's treaty obligations under international law. Here's how: (a) in Article VI, Paragraph 2, of the US Constitution, the "Supremacy Clause" declares that Senate-ratified treaties are "the supreme law of the land"; and (b) Article I, Section 8, Clause 10 of the US Constitution, Congress is empowered to "punish...offenses against the law of nations." In short, Congress may punish the president for committing war crimes in violation of Senate-ratified treaties and conventions. Therefore, Congress may impeach, convict, and remove Mr. Bush from office for committing the supreme crime when he ordered the commencement of an aggressive war against Iraq. [11]

ENDNOTES

[1] One of Mr. Bush's first claims during his State Of The Union speech on 1-31-06.

[2] Tom Englehart's 2-14-06 TD essay, "A Permanent Basis For War: Can You Say 'Permanent Bases'? The American Press Can't" [Gives details about the Pentagon's construction of 106 permanent bases, and 6 hi-tech "super bases," inside Iraq.]: http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=59774

[3] Ibid.

[4] Linda Bilmes & Joseph Stiglitz's 1-17-06 CD/LAT essay, "War's Stunning Price Tag" [An objective economic study has concluded that Bush's Iraq War will cost the USA between $1 and $2 TRILLION.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0117-20.htm

[5] Eric Leaver's 2-9-06 CD/Sun-Sentinel essay, "Why 2,245 Is Just The Tip Of The Iceberg" [Cites statistics on human suffering and monetary expenditures to explain why the Iraq War's costs are much higher than the government-media complex is reporting.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0209-35.htm

[6] Bob Burnett's 2-13-06 CD essay, "Iran - Deja Vu All Over Again" [Reports there are objective indicators that Mr. Bush is planning to commence an aerial-and-commando invasion of Iran this spring, then explains why this plan isn't a good idea.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0213-29.htm

[7] A. Al Gore's 1-16-06 OrbStandard.com speech transcript, "We, The People, Must Save Our Constitution" (with 26 endnotes on impeachment by Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D.) [Our former VP's speech is NOT merely political; liberals and conservatives agree that it's a brilliant analysis of the USA's very real Constitutional crisis; he recommends the appointment of a special prosecutor, which is a precursor to impeachment.]: http://www.orbstandard.com/News/Front/Gore_We_Must_Save_Our_Constitution.h tml B. Brian Foley's 1-30-06 Jurist essay, "The Real Danger Of Presidential Spying" [FCLS Law Professor uses excellent hypotheticals to explain why presidential spying on American citizens is dangerous: it chills the independent exercise of free speech among potential political rivals, journalists and activists who would otherwise balance, oppose, or constrain the imperial expansions of executive power that lead to dictatorship.]: http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2006/01/real-danger-of-presidential-spyi ng.p hp

[8] Two excellent essays provide critiques of the Bushites' militarization of America:

A. Peter Phillips' 2-9-06 CD essay, "Is US Military Dominance Of The World A Good Idea?" [Excellent statistics-based argument against the militarization of US foreign policy.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0209-32.htm B. Henry Giroux's 1-3-06 DV essay, "The New Authoritarianism In The United States" [Especially see his fourth anti-democratic dogma: the ongoing militarization of every aspect of public life, in which he cites numerous authors with the same viewpoint.]: http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Jan06/Giroux03.htm

[9] A. NCCB's 11-17-93 essay, "The Church's Teaching On War And Peace: The Harvest Of Justice Is Sown In Peace" [Pope John Paul II officially notified Messrs. Bush and Blair that the Roman Catholic Church opposed the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq because it violated the principles of Just War Theory. This essay emphasizes that Christianity's role should be that of a peacemaker. Especi ally see Section 1 B, "Two Traditions: Nonviolence And Just War". Contrast this with the American Religious Right's false "holy warrior Jesus."]: http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/harvestexr.htm

B. Alexander Moseley's essay, defining "Just War Theory," in the International Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://www.iep.utm.edu/j/justwar.htm

[10] Jamin Raskin's 2-14-06 TP essay, "Impeach: Yes, But..." [American University Law Professor explains the grounds for impeaching Mr. Bush, then why it's imperative that the American people take personal responsibility for launching the impeachment process - in the moral, electoral, and Congressional sense - against Mr. Bush and his minions.]: http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/02/14/impeach_yes_but.php

11. A. The Judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg defined the decision by 16 German national leaders to commence an aggressive war as follows: "The charges in the Indictment that the defendants planned and waged aggressive wars are charges of the utmost gravity. War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression is, therefore, not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes only in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." For the Nuremberg Judgment's full text, see: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/judnazi.htm#common

In other words, "aggressive war" is state-sponsored terrorism on a massive scale. Hence, national leaders who commit the supreme international crime by giving the orders to commence an aggressive war will be held legally responsible for every war crime that their belligerents subsequently commit - and that most definitely includes Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al.

B. Nicholas Davies' 12-31-04 OnlineJournal.com essay, "The Crime Of War: From Nüremberg To Fallujah" [Excellent history of the crime of aggressive war, and application to the Anglo-American invasion, conquest, and occupation of Iraq.]: http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/123104Davies/123104davies.htm l

C. TJSL Law Professor Marjorie Cohn's 11-9-04 TO essay, "Aggressive War: Supreme International Crime":

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/110904A.shtml

*************

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D., is the Executive Director of the American Center for International Law ("ACIL"). His essays on international law, human rights, civil liberties, politics, theology and ethics have been published by more than 30 websites worldwide. Readers are encouraged to forward this essay to your friends, relatives and colleagues.

© 2006 EAP IIII


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