Saturday, August 30, 2003
An article in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal points out that love is exposing the confusion within U.S. officials as to whether they invaded Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people or to occupy the country.
Two Iraqi women have won the hearts of two American GIs, much to the dismay of military commanders. As flirtation led to romance, U.S. military officers “decided the relationships posed a security problem and prohibited the men from ‘fraternization’ during ‘combat.’” Combat? I thought we invaded Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people. If we love them that much, what’s wrong with our soldiers falling in love with them? Did we stop our GIs from falling in love with Italian, German, and Japanese women after the end of World War II? Putting the matter sternly, however, Capt. Jack McClellan stated: “We cannot develop relationships with the locals unless they are mission-related. If it’s true love, in a few months … they can pursue it. They are not allowed to see them.” When superior officers learned that the men actually intended to marry Iraqi women, the officers “limited the soldiers’ movements off base and forbade them to use Army vehicles to go to court.” Despite the omnipotent power wielded by U.S. military forces in Iraq, however, it seems that Cupid is even more powerful. Both couples have ended up getting married. Adding insult to injury, both American men have converted to Islam! Not surprisingly, the women are catching heat at their end as well. “You’re marrying the occupation,” one of them was told. On the day of wedding, the grooms’ friends scanned the rooflines looking for snipers. Now one of the men is trying to figure out how to get a visa for his wife. Good luck, dude. You’re now going to have to start dealing with the INS, or whatever it’s now called. You’ll be lucky if you ever get another promotion in the Army. You’ll be luckier if you ever get your wife into the United States.
Friday, August 29, 2003
In the months leading up to President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, Bush administration officials did everything they could to bully and bribe the United Nations into supporting a war whose purported rationale was based on lies and deception. Neo-cons repeatedly told the American people, “By supporting the president’s war, you are supporting America and our troops.”
As everyone is realizing, the result is a black-hole quagmire in which U.S. troops are sitting ducks for ever-increasing multitudes of enemies of U.S. foreign policy. But unfortunately, as Peter Mansbridge puts it: “Americans keep dying in Iraq — but no one wants to hear that.” In fact, such ardent media supporters of the war as the Washington Post sometimes relegate soldier-a-day deaths to the inside pages of the newspaper. Hey, when the same thing happens every day, it just quickly becomes “regular news.”
It is also rapidly dawning on people that the “rebuilding” of Iraq is going to be a bigger drain on U.S. taxpayers than even federal aid to any of the 50 states. Despite all the financial wool that U.S. officials will try to pull over the eyes of the American people, the simple truth is that all those billions of dollars will ultimately have to be extracted, one way or another, from our pockets, most likely through the insidious and fraudulent use of monetary debasement (inflation) of our currency.
In a dramatic policy shift leading up to the 2004 presidential election, the president has now decided to return to the United Nations, the organization he lambasted before the war, and plead with it to send troops and money to Iraq. In that way, countries like Germany and France, which opposed the war, will be able to have their young soldiers killed and their taxpayers plundered and looted in place of our soldiers and our money.
Talk about a morally bankrupt foreign policy.
It’s true that exiting Iraq and leaving Iraq to the Iraqis would likely produce strife, internal war, and perhaps even a more brutal, antagonistic regime than that of Saddam Hussein, but wouldn’t that be morally preferable to continuing to sacrifice our troops and money for a worthless cause? Wouldn’t it also be morally preferable than to ask foreign governments to sacrifice their troops and their money in place of ours, especially when it is our government that bears responsibility for the war?
One thing’s for certain: One way or another — whether the U.S. continues its military occupation of Iraq or whether the occupation is turned over to the United Nations or whether both the United States and the United Nations exit Iraq, the U.S. government is morally responsible for all the consequences of its immoral and ill-fated intervention.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
While American conservatives might (but not necessarily) disagree with the severity of the punishment meted out to a Nigerian woman convicted of having sex outside marriage, they undoubtedly are supporting the state’s decision to punish her. The woman, 32-year old Amina Lawal, was divorced about four years ago. After having a child two years ago, a Nigerian court convicted her of having sex outside marriage and sentenced her to be buried in sand up to her neck and stoned. Ms. Lawal, with tears in her eyes, said, “I’ve never been this afraid.”
The state regulation of nonviolent behavior, including that which people might consider sinful or immoral, is of course one of the issues that separate libertarians and conservatives. Just as in Nigeria, conservatives believe that the state should punish such things as adultery, drug use, and pornography. In fact, religious conservatives see nothing wrong with a partnership between God and Caesar, in which the coercive power of Caesar is used to punish people for nonviolent sins that they commmit.
One of the drawbacks, of course, to the conservative position is that it operates as an implicit condemnation of what is arguably God’s second-greatest gift to mankind — free will. But for some reason that doesn’t seem to matter to religious conservatives, either in Nigeria or the United States.
Religious libertarians, on the other hand, believe that people should be free to live their lives any way they choose, so long as their conduct is peaceful. We might not approve or condone their choices but we know that freedom and free will entail the right to make such choices. And we also know that a society that protects liberty and freedom of choice is the society in which such values as caring, compassion, responsibility, conscience, and morals are nurtured, developed, and elevated.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice have compared resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq to Nazi resistance to the Allied occupation of Germany after the end of World War II.
The United States went to war against Germany after Germany declared war on the United States soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Thus, the U.S. war against Germany was clearly a legitimate war of self-defense.
Perhaps we should also keep in mind that prior to U.S. entry into World War II, Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia for the ostensible purpose of “liberating” ethnic Germans from tyranny and had invaded the Soviet Union for the ostensible purpose of “liberating” the Soviet Union from communist tyranny.
At the end of World War II, the U.S. and the Allied Powers put both German officials on trial at Nuremberg for waging wars of aggression against Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Soviet Union.
On the other hand, prior to the U.S. government’s recent invasion of Iraq, Iraq had not declared war against the United States, had not attacked the United States, had not waged war against the United States, and had not even threatened to do so. In fact, Iraqi officials were doing everything they could do avoid war with the United States.
Nevertheless, the U.S. government invaded Iraq for the ostensible purpose of “disarming Saddam Hussein” of “weapons of mass destruction” and “liberating the Iraqi people from tyranny.” Both justifications were false and deceptive, given that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and given that the U.S. government has never given a whit about the well-being of the Iraqi people. (Remember the U.S. government’s support of Saddam Hussein, the economic sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, and the no-fly zones that were used as an excuse to fire missiles at the Iraqi people.)
U.S. officials, including both Rumsfeld and Rice, also knew that the UN charter expressly prohibits one nation from invading another nation and waging aggressive war against it for the ostensible purpose of “liberating” people from tyranny.
And they also knew that under our system of constitutional government, the president is precluded from waging war without a declaration of war from Congress (which was exactly why President Roosevelt had to seek declarations of war from Congress before he could legally wage war against Japan and Germany).
Thus, Rumsfeld’s and Rice’s comparison of the Allied occupation in post-World War II Germany and the U.S. occupation in postwar Iraq is clearly misplaced. The allied occupation of Germany was based on a war of legitimate self-defense. The occupation of Iraq is based on an invasion and a war of aggression that were grounded in falsehood, deception, and illegality.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Some religious conservatives are upset over a federal court’s order requiring the removal of a stone monument containing the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building. It would much more behoove them to reflect on the Seventh Commandment which reads “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” Then perhaps they would cease supporting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, educational grants, subsidies, welfare, and all other socialist programs that use the coercive apparatus of Caesar to take money from those to whom it belongs in order to give it to those to whom it does not belong. They might also want to reflect on what God thinks of the notion that an immoral act such as stealing can be converted into a moral act by having Caesar do it instead. What ultimately matters is not whether the Ten Commandments are situated within a government building but rather whether they reside within the hearts and minds of the people.
Monday, August 25, 2003
I’m back from vacation!
Ever since I discovered the story of the White Rose some eight years ago, I have had a deep desire to travel to Munich, Germany, to visit the plaza named in their honor.
The White Rose is one of the most inspiring stories of courage I have ever encountered. I’ve written three articles on the subject and have described it in many speeches over the years. Imagine the courage that it took for these young people to stand up against the wrongdoing of their own government — the German government — in the midst of World War II, when tens of thousands of German soldiers were being killed on the battlefield and when most other German citizens were rallying around the flag and supporting their government. Imagine being led to the guillotine three days after being arrested without flinching a bit.
I have long wanted to visit that park in Munich if for no other reason than to just pay homage to such unbelievable courage and devotion to principle.
And that’s exactly what I did for my summer vacation! Having accumulated lots of frequent flier points, I flew to Munich — and took along my bicycle, which turned out to be a great decision, given that Munich, with dedicated bike paths on practically every street, has to be one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world.
I figured that I would ultimately have to ask someone where Munich University was located, but as I was just aimlessly riding around the city, I looked over to the right and saw a sign that said “Professor Huber Platz” and I could feel my heart racing. Professor Huber was the philosophy professor that was helping Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends to produce their White Rose pamphlets and who also was executed by his own government.
I then looked across the street to my left and there it was — the Geschwister-Scholl-Platz, which is located immediately in front of Munich University. I crossed the street, put down my bike, and sat down on a bench near the edge of the park, just to think and reflect.
After a few minutes, however, I noticed what appeared to be white papers strewn about the red bricks of the plaza. I walked over to some of them and as I got closer I realized that they weren’t papers at all. They were actually bricks within the plaza that reproduced some of the White Rose leaflets and also contained biographical sketches of the White Rose members. I had chills all over me.
A passing student confirmed for me that the reproductions were indeed copies of the White Rose leaflets (they were in German), and we got into a conversation about Hans and Sophie Scholl, their friend Christoph Probst, Professor Huber, and the other members of the White Rose. After a few minutes of conversation, he blurted out, “Why, you know more about the White Rose than most German students!” I responded, “I hope not, but the story of the White Rose is one of the most inspiring stories of courage I have ever encountered.”
He told me that there was an exhibit inside the university, which fortunately was open. The exhibit is simple but very moving and contains photographs of Hans and Sophie and others within the White Rose organization as well as a description (in German) of what happened to them. I had another nice conversation with the student who was manning the desk at the exhibit.
I had a great vacation! If you would like to read any of the three articles I’ve written on the White Rose, here they are:
- “The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent” by Jacob G. Hornberger, which was ultimately reprinted in Voices of the Holocaust, a book for high-school students.
- “The White Rose: Dissent and Justice in Wartime Germany” by Jacob G. Hornberger
- “Crossing the Rubicon” by Jacob G. HornbergerIf you want to learn more, just Google “The White Rose.” Meanwhile, here are two interesting websites:
- The White Rose
- Photos: The White Rose
Friday, August 15, 2003
I assume most everyone is aware of those uranium bullets that the U.S. government used in Iraq, both in 1991 and in the recent invasion. Isn’t it somewhat ironic that the U.S. government invades Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction, finds nothing, and then leaves mass destruction in its wake that will adversely affect generations of people?
For another federal gift that keeps on giving, the Washington Post recently reported that according to a new study, “Decades after the wartime defoliant Agent Orange was sprayed over Vietnam, toxic chemicals continue to contaminate Vietnamese people and the food they eat.” Oh well, at least Agent Orange isn’t radioactive.
Too bad all the death and destruction from the Vietnam War was based on deception too—i.e., President Lyndon Johnson’s false claim to Congress and the American people that North Vietnamese forces had attacked U.S. forces in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
U.S. officials are undoubtedly feeling mighty good about themselves. Do you recall the U.S. government’s recent forcible repatriation of the Cuban refugees who had hijacked a ferry in an attempt to flee communist tyranny? Well, six of them pled guilty and now face jail sentences of 8 to 10 years.
According to Reuters, “The Cuban government praised the repatriation as a rare example of U.S. cooperation and compliance with accords between Washington and Havana designed to prevent illegal migration.”
The hijackers though should be counting their lucky stars that the joint U.S-Cuba action landed them only several years in jail for attempting to escape to freedom. Just recently the Cuban regime executed three suspected hijackers who did the same thing, after a trial that ironically followed the same procedures that the U.S. government plans to employ in military tribunals on its side of the island.
Too bad the trial was rigged from the start, just as those military tribunals will be. Otherwise, because the ferry they hijacked was public property (as just about everything is in Cuba), the defendants could have claimed that they were simply using their own property.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez has just announced that all U.S. troops in Iraq should expect to be deployed there for one year. Doesn’t that mean that if that commitment is to be honored, then 8 months from now 150,000 soldiers will be needed to replace the 150,000 that are then entitled to get out? I can just see all those soldiers volunteering now! But hey, why worry about that today when we can worry about it next year?
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Anybody who thinks that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are outmoded vehicles for controlling the actions of federal officials need look no further than what recently happened at a market in Tikrit. A group of Iraqi men openly and peacefully set out their guns for sale in a public square. When prospective buyers approached the sellers, U.S. snipers opened fire and killed two of the men and wounded several others.
U.S. Lt. Col. Steve Russell, the commander of the regiment to which the snipers were assigned, defended the killings: “When the suspected arms dealers pulled weapons from the trunk of their car, at that moment they became enemy. We will not allow a weapons market in this city.”
Make no mistake about it: These killings were motivated by the horrible gun-control mindset that guides Washington, D.C., officials, including those in the Pentagon.
Moreover, did the victims know the nature of the U.S. regime’s new “law”? After all, keep in mind that Iraqis had had the freedom to buy and sell guns under Saddam Hussein, and such activity had become a well-established part of Iraqi life.
And we have to use the term “law” loosely. After all, did the Iraqi legislature enact the gun-control “law” that was used to justify the killing of these people? Of course not. There is no Iraqi legislature because freedom-loving U.S. officials won’t permit elections to be held in Iraq for fear that people will be elected to office who favor throwing the U.S. government out of their country. This new gun-control “law” was just one of hundreds of other decrees or orders issued by the military authorities on a daily basis and most likely in English.
Also, were the Iraqi people advised that gun selling would be a death-penalty offense, in which the criminal suspect would be executed on the spot without arrest, indictment, and trial? Where’s the statute book that would advise them of the severity of the new offense?
If anyone wants to know how U.S. officials would conduct themselves in America without constitutional restraints, just watch what they’re doing in Iraq, where they are exercising omnipotent, dictatorial powers — no constitutional constraints whatsover.
The next time America is struck with something akin to the Washington, D.C., sniper crisis, thank your lucky stars that our Founders and ancestors fought for our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Their wisdom and foresight protects us from people who believe in bashing down everybody’s doors looking for guns, secretly and indefinitely detaining innocent people on gun violations, and killing peaceful people at gun shows without even the semblance of due process of law.
Monday, August 11, 2003
California’s recall election might prove to be a nightmare for Republicans and Democrats, the people who have imposed enormously high ballot-access laws in states all across the nation, including Virginia whose boring gubernatorial elections usually have two candidates, sometimes three at the most. There are some 150 people who made the filing deadline for the recall election, which just might just reflect the eagerness of people all across the country to run for statewide office. The only prerequisite for running in the recall election was 65 signatures and $3,500.
For years, advocates of ballot-access laws have argued that the American people, most of whom are graduates of public schools, would be overly confused with too many choices of candidates. Never mind that people have to choose between hundreds of jobs, homes, websites, churches, automobiles, food products, and all the rest of the items that are produced in a free market. They are just not sufficiently intelligent, the argument goes, to choose between a large number of candidates.
If California voters are able to cast a ballot for the candidate of their choice without becoming confused by the large number of candidates, how are Republicans and Democrats going to continue to maintain that enormously ballot-access barriers are necessary to protect people from becoming overly confused by too many candidates? How are they going to keep people from concluding that the real reason for those laws is to protect the privileged position of the Republican-Democratic party establishment?
Saturday, August 9, 2003
Points to Ponder:
If the Constitution requires a congressional declaration of war before the president can wage war, then doesn’t that mean that a war waged by the president in the absence of a congressional declaration of war is illegal under our form of government?
If that’s true, then didn’t that make the U.S. government an illegal combatant when it attacked and invaded Iraq?
Why wouldn’t an illegal invasion then make the U.S. government an illegal occupier of Iraq, especially given that the primary justification for the president’s invasion — “disarming Saddam” of his WMD” — was false?
Since Saddam did not have WMD, wouldn’t that mean that he was in compliance of UN resolutions requiring him to disarm — the same resolutions that the president used as a justification for invading Iraq to “disarm Saddam” of his WMD?
Given that U.S. officials are now saying that their real reason for invading was to oust a brutal dictator from power, isn’t that justification for invading another country made illegal under the UN charter? More important, where does the Constitution grant such power to the president?
Friday, August 8, 2003
In its lead editorial today, the Washington Post laments the “fun” of the California recall election, where there are virtually no barriers to anyone running for governor. The Post apparently doesn’t feel that the atmosphere is sufficiently serious to deal with the financial problems besetting the state.
It’s surprising that the Post didn’t recommend that California adopt the enormous ballot-access barriers for its recall election that the State of Virginia uses to prevent what the Post calls an electoral “spectacle.”
Virginia authorities ensure that there are no such electoral “spectacles” here by requiring 10,000 certified signatures from registered voters (which means gathering at least 15,000 signatures), which cost on average about a dollar per signature. What better device to keep all those unsavory Virginia citizens from running for governor than that?
And as if that isn’t enough, Virginia officials make it even more difficult to run for governor by requiring that those 10,000 signatures come from all the congressional districts across the state. Hey, maybe we ought to run our elections that way too, prohibiting anyone from winning an election unless the votes he gets are spread equally across the state.
Generally, the only two candidates in Virginia’s gubernatorial race are (surprise, surprise) a Republican and a Democrat. Thus, unlike the “spectacle” in California, the race for governor in Virginia is dignified and somber and, well, boring! In fact, the only differences between the two candidates inevitably revolve around which one has a better plan for reforming the socialistic welfare state and regulated society that their two parties have brought into existence here in Virginia.
The Post can lament all it wants about “the great fun” that Californians are having with “the pornographic candidates, the Hollywood candidates, and the punk rock candidates.” But why isn’t that what democracy is supposed to be all about? Why must campaigns and elections be exercises in boredom arising out of artificially high anti-democratic barriers that preclude regular people from running for office?
Oh, and the Post might want to consider that California’s financial problems have nothing to do with who’s governor and everything to do with the uncomfortable possibility that the chickens are finally coming home to roost after decades of California’s socialistic welfare state and regulated society. The even more uncomfortable possibility that the Post and everyone else in Washington, D.C, might have to face is that California’s financial crisis is just a harbinger of what is likely to occur on the federal level.
Thursday, August 7, 2003
Well, leave it to France to prove that its government officials are as brilliant as ours. The French government has banned the use of the term “e-mail” in all government communications and directed that the French term “courriel” be used instead. And just when we thought that nothing could get more ridiculous than the U.S. Congress’s decision to ban the term “french fries” in favor of “freedom fries.”
Wednesday, August 6, 2003
The New York Times reports that Iraqis are getting some first-hand experience with U.S. asset-forfeiture policies. A story entitled, “Iraqis Struggle to Retrieve Goods from GIs,” reports that U.S. soldiers are increasingly referred to as “Ali Babas” because of their refusal to return confiscated items to the Iraqis. Apparently, the Iraqi people are unable to distinguish between the U.S. government’s policy of “asset forfeiture” and plain and simple robbery.
“On any given day, Iraqis can be found pleading at the gates of military bases or in civil affairs offices: an old woman who laments that her savings were taken from her son on the road to Baghdad; a young man who says he gave a Thuraya phone to a soldier for a call and did not get it back; a cigarette merchant who says he returned to his checkpoint to recover his car the day after it was confiscated, only to find that both car and checkpoint had vanished.”
Cash also is in high demand as an item of asset forfeiture. According to an affidavit signed by a military translator, “Soldiers took the family’s savings — about $2,000 in dinars — and an old tin chocolate box containing the deed to his family’s house, their citizenship papers and their ration card.”
Welcome to the club, Iraqis — the feds have been subjecting Americans to “asset forfeiture” for years. And you all are right — there is no difference between “asset forfeiture” and robbery, at least not in a moral sense. If you all figure out a way to stop the feds from robbing you, please let us know so that we can stop them from doing the same to us.
Tuesday, August 5, 2003
The editorial board at the Washington Post has come up with a new idea in the Moussaoui case. It wants Congress to enact a law requiring a defendant in a terrorism case to rely on a government-prepared summary of a favorable witness’s testimony in place of the witness’s actual testimony at trial.
There’s only one big problem with the Post’s suggestion: the U.S. Constitution, and specifically that part of the Sixth Amendment guaranteeing the accused the right of compulsory process of witnesses.
Given that they’re based in Washington, D.C., perhaps the people at the Post don’t realize that the Constitution, rather than an act of Congress, is the supreme law of the land. If someone doesn’t like the wording of a particular constitutional guarantee, his only recourse is to follow the amendment process set out in the Constitution itself. He cannot do what is done in other countries — use a law enacted by Congress or a decree issued by the president to amend the superior law that governs both of them.
The Constitution is quite clear with respect to compulsory process of witnesses: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor….” There is no exception for “terrorism cases.” There is no exception for “drug cases.” There is no exception for “gun-control cases.” If someone wants such an exception to a constitutional guarantee, he must pursue the procedure outlined in the Constitution itself to win such an amendment.
One big problem with the people at the Post is that they seem to have forgotten that under our system of government, Moussaoui, like all other people accused of a crime, is presumed innocent of the crime with which he is charged. Perhaps that’s the reason that the Post, unlike the editorial board at the New York Times, has so cavalierly recommended that the feds simply remove Moussaoui from the civil court system and transfer him to the Pentagon’s control for a “trial” by military tribunal. Never mind that the military tribunals will serve no other purpose than to provide kangaroo-court cover for executing Moussaoui. After all, what’s wrong with killing those who are designated “bad people” by our president?
Monday, August 4, 2003
It’s often pointed out that Iraq is the size of California. Well, if California officials can organize a statewide election within just two months, why haven’t the feds organized nationwide elections in Iraq after four months of military occupation? Indeed, why have they actually canceled elections and prohibited democracy from flowering in Iraq for the indefinite future? Why does their newly appointed ruling council in Iraq consist of U.S. hand-picked people rather than people who have been democratically elected by the people of Iraq?
There is one and only one reason: the U.S. military occupational regime fears the results of democratic elections in Iraq. After all, what if people are elected to office in Iraq who favor the eviction of the U.S. military regime from their country? What would U.S. officials do then — oust the democratically elected leaders in favor of ruthless U.S. puppets, as they did in Iran many years ago?
It’s much easier to just keep promising elections sometime in the indefinite future, just as the military regime does in Burma. And to keep preaching to the world about the virtues of democracy. And to keep telling the American people that democracy was the real reason they invaded Iraq, not to “disarm Saddam” of his weapons of mass destruction.
Saturday, August 2, 2003
President Bush says that he can’t disclose those 28 pages of the congressional report about the September 11 attacks to the American people because, he says, to do so would jeopardize “national security.”
On the other hand, others who have seen those 28 redacted pages contend that the real reason that the president is hiding them from the American people is his concern over his electoral security.
There are undoubtedly those who are now saying, “We have to trust the president. He has information that we don’t. We must continue putting our blind faith in his judgment.”
But isn’t that what the war on Iraq was all about — blind faith and trust in the president and his minions? And didn’t that blind faith and trust result in misguided fear and support of a war that cost the lives of thousands of innocent people — that is, people who had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks?
People who have read those 28 redacted pages say they detail real and convincing evidence linking Saudi Arabia to the September 11 attacks as compared to the imaginary evidence that the president used to link Iraq to those attacks. If that’s true, then don’t President Bush and his minions have even more explaining to do?
In the wake of a war that was based on imaginary, erroneous, deceptive, and exaggerated claims, don’t we now owe it to ourselves to demand the full truth about September 11, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia? Must we continue following the same path of blind faith and trust in government that has guided U.S. foreign policy for decades? Isn’t it time for us to take responsibility for determining the future direction of our nation? Doesn’t such responsibility entail knowing the truth?
Friday, August 1, 2003
In announcing plans for a tribunal consisting of Iraqi judges to try Saddam Hussein, assuming they decide to capture rather than kill him, U.S. officials once again show their contempt for the American way of life.
Given that U.S. officials are now in charge in Iraq, you would think that they would want to use our judicial system as a model, especially since they know that the entire world is watching how they operate with omnipotent power.
One of the principal characteristics of our criminal-justice system is the right of trial by jury, a right that stretches all the way back into ancient England. It is a process by which a group of ordinary citizens — not judges — determines the guilt or innocence of the accused. Trial by jury has long been recognized by both Americans and Englishmen as a fundamental part of due process of law.
But given that the U.S. occupational authority in Iraq also has done nothing to set up a system requiring judicially granted search warrants before bashing people’s doors down and searching their homes or judicially granted arrest warrants before seizing and indefinitely “disappearing” Iraqi citizens into black holes — and given that they’re now “black-holing” people here at home and denying them jury trials, I suppose it’s not very surprising that they would avoid jury trials in Iraq as well.
Maybe we ought to look at the bright side. At least they’re not threatening to execute Saddam at Guantanamo Bay for falsely leading President Bush into believing that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” — after a kangaroo “trial” by military tribunal of course.