The Joe Blow Report 2

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Posts Tagged ‘War Crimes

Where are all the “Nation of Law” Americans?

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A recent article in Amnesty International’s Human Rights Now web log.

This caught my attention:

Kangaroos Storm DC to Close Guantanamo!

Kangaroos? YEAH!  People that “demand an end to unfair kangaroo courts, indefinite detention and impunity for torture.”

Here’s a specific incident and person they illustrate:

Amnesty International UK and Amnesty USA are campaigning to resolve the case of Shaker Aamer, a former UK resident with a wife and children in London who has been held without charge for over 8 years.  The UK government has asked for him back–UK Foreign Secretary William Hague even raised the case with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton–but Shaker Aamer remains detained without charge and without explanation.

We are calling on the US government to either charge Shaker Aamer with a crime and give him a fair trial in US federal court, or release him. You can help resolve this case and get us one step closer to closing Guantanamo by emailing Secretary Clinton and President Obama right now.

Personally, emailing Secretary Clinton and President Obama after reading this article by Glenn Greenwald,

The vindication of Dick Cheney or this Brookings’ “centrist” opposition to the rule of law

makes me wonder about the real-world benefit of writing to the very people instigating and empowering these lawless atrocities. Maybe we should be talking with our neighbors that support these criminals.

–Joe

War Criminal Dies a Peaceful Death

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mcnamara_oldVietnam War Architect Robert McNamara Dies at 93 

Some argue he was just a technocrat put in charge of  political architecture that was initially setup by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Either way, he was responsible for the wanton butchery of millions of innocent civilian people, mostly all Asian. He, later in life, admitted that some of what he was responsible for doing , even during World War Two, were war crimes for which he and other Americans could have been prosecuted. Yet, he was allowed to die a peaceful death.

The question remains today, how could these so-called American patriots right after prosecuting and executing German and Japanese for the very same war crimes, turn right around and do the same things? Specially in his case, where he was just as dirty and knew what he had done to the Japanese! Were they stupid? Actually, historians tell us these men, Robert MacNamara in particular, were very bright, intelligent and well educated. History also tells us that he was at the same time, as were the majority of his compatriots, morally bankrupt. To be specific, his whole generation, the so-called “Greatest Generation” was morally bankrupt. That’s the generation that grew up during the Great Depression that learned to survive by doing whatever it took no matter how degenerate and self-debasing — to them the end always justified the means.

The Guardian newspaper of England reports on his World War Two exploits:

A graduate of Harvard Business School, McNamara applied statistical methods to the US bombing campaign over Japan in the second world war, as an officer in the US air force. He greatly increased the efficiency of US air attacks, devastating the civilian populations of Japanese cities

 What they’re talking about here was his use of fire-bombing on civilian targets that murdered 100,000 people in a single night, the same as was used on German cities — the effect was the same as the atom bomb.

He then moves on after quiting his job as Secretary of Defense because he could see, but was too gutless to tell anyone at the time, that the US would lose that war, to run the World Bank. The World Bank along with the IMF has totally devestated the majority of Third World Nations ability to feed themselves. The World is on the brink of a food crisis of unimaginable consequences. MacNamara orchestrated the mass starvation of untold numbers of the Earth’s poplulation the likes of which, makes his mass murder of Asian people insignificant.

What lessons were learned? According to historian Howard Zinn – NONE! This is what he says about the current President Obama:

Unfortunately, you know, the present administration is still stuck in that kind of thinking. You know, I hear them talking in the White House and around the White House, Obama and the others, about winning in Afghanistan, and not asking, “Is it right that we are in Afghanistan?” To me, that’s one of the important things to think about when we try to learn something from the life of this figure McNamara.

What kind of thinking is Zinn talking about?

It seems to me one things which we should be thinking about, is that McNamara represented all of those superficial qualities of brightness and intelligence and education that are so revered in our culture. This whole idea that you judge young kids today on the basis of what their test scores are, how smart they are, how much information they can digest, how much they can give back to you and remember. That’s what MacNamara was good at. He was bright and he was smart, but he had no moral intelligence. What strikes me as one of the many things we can learn from this McNamara experience is that we’ve got to stop revering these superficial qualities of brightness and smartness, and bring up a generation which thinks in moral terms, which has moral intelligence, and which asks questions not, “Do we win or do we lose?” Asks questions, ” Is this right? Is it wrong?” And McNamara never asked that question. Even when he was leaving, even when he decided he had to leave the post of Secretary of Defense, even when he left, his leaving was not based on the fact that the war was wrong. His leaving was based on the fact, well, we weren’t going to win.

That’s the Robert MacNamara Legacy . . .

For more on lessons not learned you can read some revealing commentary by Howard Zinn, Marilyn Young and Jonathan Schell.

More from the Guardian here.

[Picture Source – STAN WAYMAN / Time Life Pictures / Getty]

–Joe

An Argument For Prosecution

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The New Yorker

The New Yorker

The Story – The New Yorker

The Hard Cases

Will Obama institute a new kind of preventive detention for terrorist suspects?

by Jane Mayer – February 23, 2009

Her comment on Democracy Now about President Obama’s reluctance to prosecute and uphold the law. Read the whole interview with her and Glenn Greenwald.

This whole setup during the Bush years was a criminal situation, where you’ve got our government working with other governments doing things that were war crimes and violations of all kinds of rights. And the question for the Obama administration is whether they’re going to treat these things as criminal, or are they going to—they’re on the spot—are they going to cover them up? Right now, they’re trying to move forward and not get bogged down in what they see as something that’s divisive, politically poisonous, you know, a political problem for them.

I think it’s going to turn out to be a mistake for them to do this. I think they’ve—because these questions are going to keep popping up again and again.

War Crimes and American Exceptionalism

by Glenn Greenwald in Salon written February 19, 2009

It cannot be emphasized enough that those who are arguing against criminal investigations for Bush officials are — whether consciously or implicitly — arguing that the U.S., alone in the world, is exempt from the laws and principles which we’ve been advocating and imposing on other countries for decades.  There is simply no way to argue that our leaders should be immunized from criminal investigations for torture and other war crimes without believing that (a) the U.S. is and should be immune from the principles we’ve long demanded other nations obey and (b) we are free to ignore our treaty obligations any time it suits us.

It’s just as simple as that:  one must embrace both of those premises in order to argue for a bar against criminal investigations.  And that’s particularly true for those who argue that Bush officials should not be held liable for what they did either because (a) DOJ lawyers said it was legal and/or (b) Congress provided retroactive immunity to the torturers.  As documented below, those are two of the most common and most universally discredited excuses in Western justice.

That fact may not lead anyone to change their minds about investigations and prosecutions, but those who are arguing for immunity for Bush officials ought to at least be honest and admit that they don’t care about our treaty obligations and the principles we spent decades advocating for others because those rules — for whatever reasons (e.g., we’re special; we have too many other important things to do; we’re the strongest and so nobody can make us do anything) — don’t apply to us.  Those who oppose criminal investigations and prosecutions should acknowledge that this is what they believe (or at least are willing implicitly to embrace).  Why pretend otherwise?

You can read why the arguments for no prosecutions are really just more poison for America. It’s rather compelling. The Democrat’s (and other collaborators’) gutless worrying about their political appearance are on the brink of doing exactly what the so-called terrorist’s want. A Constitutional America ceases to exist when the “government” can imprison someone – anyone without charge indefinitely on a mere unsubstantiated accusation. The so-called terrorist did not need to attack America, the had George Bush and all his gutless Democrats doing it for him.

–Joe

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