From: "A.N.S.W.E.R." <answer.general at action-mail.org>
To: <answer.general at action-mail.org>
Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2002 8:18 PM
Subject: [ANSWER]: WHY BUSH'S PREEMPTIVE WAR IS ILLEGAL: Attorneys speak out

 Why We Are Marching on October 26th

 By Carl Messineo and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

 [The authors, attorneys and co-founders of the Partnership
 for Civil Justice - LDEF, are members of the national
 steering committee of the A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop
 War & End Racism) Coalition.]

 George W. Bush has declared his intention to wage a
 'preemptive' war against Iraq and is now seeking to
 strong-arm the international community, the U.N., and the
 Congress into support and submission. As members of
 Congress rush to show their obedience and member states of
 the U.N. line up to receive the anticipated spoils of war,
 the administration is now waging a campaign to convince
 the people of the United States to fall into step and
 finance with money and blood this war brought for conquest
 on behalf of the corporate and oil interests that make up
 Bush's true constituency.

 Bush's preemptive war is a war of aggression. The U.S.
 policy supporting the war is not the rule of law, but the
 rule of force.

 But no U.N. resolution and no Congressional resolution can
 legalize an illegal war. With pen to paper and votes of
 support, they can only commit to wilful ratification,
 complicity and responsibility for illegal acts by
 endorsing a criminal enterprise.

 A war of aggression violates the United States
 Constitution, the United Nations Charter, and the
 principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal. It violates the
 collective law of humanity that recognizes the
 immeasurable harm and unconscionable human suffering when
 a country engages in wars of aggression to advance its
 government's perceived national interests.


 On September 20, 2002, the Bush Administration issued its
 blueprint for global domination and ceaseless military
 interventions, in its comprehensive policy statement
 entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United

 The National Security Strategy sets forth the U.S.
 military-industrial complex's ambition for the U.S. to
 remain the world's superpower with global political,
 economic and military dominance. The stated policy of the
 U.S. is "dissuading military competition" (See source I)
 and preventing any other world entity or union of states
 "from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing,
 or equaling, the power of the United States." (See source

 The strategic plan elevates free trade and free markets to
 be "a moral principle . . . real freedom" (See source III)
 and endorses a comprehensive global conquest strategy
 utilizing the World Trade Organization, the Free Trade Act
 of the Americas, the International Monetary Fund, the
 World Bank, among other mechanisms.

 The Washington Post reports that the National Security
 Strategy gives the United States "a nearly messianic role"
 in its quest for global dominance. (See source IV)

 The National Security Strategy confirms and elaborates
 what was reflected in the January 2002 Nuclear Posture
 Review, that the Bush Administration maintains a policy of
 preemptive warfare contemplating the use of
 non-conventional weapons of mass destruction as a first
 strike measure. (See source V)


 Bush's preemptive war policy is a war without just cause.
 Under international law and centuries of common legal
 usage, a preemptive war may be justified as an act of self
 defense only where there exists a genuine and imminent
 threat of physical attack.

 Bush's preemptive war against Iraq doesn't even purport to
 preempt a physical attack. It purports to preempt a threat
 that is neither issued nor posed. Iraq is not issuing
 threats of attack against the United States. It is only
 the United States which threatens war.

 It is not a war for disarmament. It is the U.S. which has
 stockpiled nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. It is
 the U.S. which is directly threatening to use these
 weapons against another country. It is the U.S. which has
 bombed Iraq relentlessly for more than ten years, killing
 scores of innocent civilians.

 The Bush Administration turns logic on its head, twisting
 reality in order to create the pretext for its war of
 aggression. The Administration claims that the necessary
 prerequisite of an imminent threat of attack can be found
 in the fact that there is no evidence of an imminent
 threat, and therefore the threat is even more sinister as
 a hidden threat. The lack of a threat becomes the threat,
 which becomes cause for war.

 By the U.S. Government's own claims, it destroyed 80% of
 Iraq's weapons capability in the earlier Gulf War, and
 subsequently destroyed 90% of the remaining capacity
 through the weapons inspections process. There has been no
 evidence that Iraq is capable of an attack on the U.S.,
 let alone possessing the intention of carrying out such an


 Bush's preemptive war policy and proposed attack on Iraq
 cannot be justified under any form of established law.

 The preemptive war policy and Bush's threatened new
 military assault on Iraq violates U.S. domestic law and
 international law. The warmongering, preparations for war,
 and threats of violence coming from Bush, Cheney,
 Rumsfeld, Rice and other White House and Pentagon hawks,
 are in and of themselves violations of international law
 and constitute crimes against peace.

 Article VI of the U.S. Constitution establishes that
 ratified treaties, such as the U.N. Charter, are the
 "supreme law of the land."

 The Article 1 of the U.N. Charter establishes

 "The purposes of the United Nations are . . . To maintain
 international peace and sovereignty, and to that end: to
 take effective collective measures for the prevention and
 removals of threats to the peace, and for the suppression
 of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace and
 to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with
 the principles of justice and international law,
 adjustment or settlement of international disputes or
 situations which might lead to a breach of the peace . .

 Article 2 states that all member states "shall act in
 accordance with the following Principles"

 ". . . All members shall settle their international
 disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that
 international peace and security, and justice, are not

 "All members shall refrain in their international
 relations from the threat or use of force against the
 territorial integrity or political independence of any
 state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the
 Purposes of the United Nations . . ."

 Under this framework, acts of aggression, such as Bush's
 threatened attack, are to be suppressed and force is used
 only as a last and unavoidable resort.

 The U.N. Charter was enacted in 1945 in the aftermath of
 the devastation and suffering of World War II. The Charter
 was enacted to bring an end to acts of aggression, "to
 save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which
 twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to

 Disputes which might lead to a breach of the peace are
 required to be resolved *by peaceful means.*

 Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter, "Pacific Settlement of
 Disputes," requires countries to "first of all, seek a
 resolution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation,
 conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to
 regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means
 of their own choice."


 Bush has asked the U.N. Security Council to support
 execution of Bush's policy of a potentially nuclear
 "preemptive" war, as if that Council could endorse a war
 of aggression. The Security Council lacks the legal
 authority to grant such permission. The Security Council,
 by affirmative vote or by acquiescence to U.S. policy,
 cannot abrogate its own mandate. No collective action by
 the fifteen permanent and temporary members of the
 Security Council can lawfully violate the Charter which is
 the sole source of their collective authority.

 This is made clear in the U.N. Charter itself, which
 provides in Article 24, that "In discharging these duties
 the Security Council *shall act in accordance with the
 Purposes and Principles of the United Nations*."

 While there are, of course, procedures by which collective
 use of force may be authorized by the Security Council to
 maintain or restore international peace and security
 (Articles 41 and 42) those procedures may not be used to
 endorse aggression in violation of the primary purposes of
 the U.N. Charter. Article 51 of the U.N. Charter
 acknowledges the right to self-defense ?if an armed attack
 occurs against a Member of the United Nations until the
 Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain
 international peace and security."  None of the provisions
 allow for authorization for Bush's war plans and first
 strike strategies. Any resolution authorizing a preemptive
 war of aggression is *ultra vires*, or null and void as
 beyond the authority of the Council to enact.

 The very issuance of the Bush doctrine of preemptive
 warfare and also the threat to wage war against Iraq are,
 each, a violation of international law as a crime against
 peace, which is defined in the Nuremberg Charter as the
 "Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of
 aggression or a war in violation of international
 treaties, agreements or assurances."


 Neither Congress nor the President has the right to engage
 the U.S. in a war of aggression and any vote of
 endorsement, far from legalizing or legitimizing global
 war plans, serves only as ratification of war crimes.
 Under the principles of universal accountability
 established at Nuremberg, "The fact that a person who
 committed an act which constitutes a crime under
 international law acted as Head of State or responsible
 Government official does not relieve him from
 responsibility under international law." (See source VI)

 The execution of economic sanctions by the Bush I, Bush II
 and Clinton Administrations, which has caused the deaths
 of over one million people, primarily children and their
 grandparents, is likewise sanctionable as a crime against
 humanity under the Nuremberg Charter and under the
 International Criminal Court Statute as  "the intentional
 infliction of conditions of life, . . . the deprivation of
 access of food to medicine, calculated to bring about the
 destruction of a part of a population. (See source VII)

 The Bush Administration has rejected the International
 Criminal Court treaty signed by over 130 countries. This
 rejection is an admission of the administration's
 consciousness of guilt and of criminal intentions. The
 Bush administration acts with a conscious disregard of
 humanitarian laws and a stated intention to avoid
 accountability for their crimes under international law
 prohibiting crimes against the peace, war crimes and
 crimes against humanity. The National Security Strategy
 promulgated by the Bush administration states that the
 United States "will take the actions necessary to ensure
 that our efforts to meet our global security commitments
 and protect Americans are not impaired by the potential
 for investigations, inquiry or prosecution by the
 International Criminal Court (ICC), whose jurisdiction
 does not extend to Americans and which we do not accept."
 (See source VIII)


 Once this policy of preemptive wars of aggression is
 invoked by the Bush Administration to justify unprovoked
 attacks against the centers of population in Iraq, the
 doctrine will be used by the hawks in the administration
 time and time again, and will also be adopted by nations
 and individuals internationally as a justification for the
 preemptive use of catastrophic violence against centers of
 population worldwide. The legitimization of preemptive
 wars of aggression will be used to justify attacks against
 U.S. centers of population, and will bring greater violent
 retribution upon the cities and people of the United
 States for actions that the government is taking in their
 names, without their informed consent.

 The risk of suffering harm because of this doctrine is, of
 course, not distributed equally among all residents of the
 United States. Those who will lose their lives fighting in
 wars of aggression will be the young, disproportionately
 persons of color, and those who must enlist in the U.S.
 military because of bleak economic opportunity. Those who
 derive their wealth and security from the transactions of
 war, from increased oil profits caused by global
 instability or conquest of oil rich regions, and from the
 constant re-building and re-arming necessary to conduct
 endless wars against countless peoples premised on
 imperceptible threats -- they will have the means to
 acquire seclusion, protection and greater safety.

 Preemptive war will not stop with Iraq. Constant military
 interventions worldwide are necessary to enforce Bush?s
 stated policy of global economic, political and military
 domination. Just four days after the September 11th
 attacks, the CIA presented its "Worldwide Attack Matrix"
 identifying scores of countries that the CIA wanted
 permission to attack. Bush approved the CIA wish list, and
 authorized immediate covert and lethal CIA operations in
 over sixty nations.  (See source IX)


 As the U.S. moves at breakneck pace in execution of its
 stated policy of global domination and overt military
 interventions, the need for the people to take action is

 Congress will not stop this policy of aggressive warfare
 and global domination. Many in Congress are well served
 with the tithing of the war profiteers and their corporate
 sponsors who see U.S. military domination as a way to
 enforce their interests, to exploit human labor at
 starvation wages overseas and to drive down wages
 domestically, to mine vast sources of environmental
 resources globally, and to impose and expand the reach of
 their "free" markets.

 The U.S. Constitutional framework provides that,
 regardless of who temporarily holds office, all power
 remains in the hands of the people. It is time now for the
 people to take the reins of power back from those who have
 stated their intention to act in violation of all laws
 that humankind has struggled to create to end global
 conflagration and prohibit wars of aggression.

 When law will not restrain the government, the people
 must. We must take to the streets in mass numbers in
 organized and spontaneous acts of resistance. The message
 must be clearly conveyed that if the Bush administration
 refuses to be accountable to U.S. domestic law, to the
 U.N. Charter, to international law, to all known standards
 of just conduct, then the people of conscience within the
 United States will rise up to demand accountability. And
 the message must be sent that the people of the U.S. will
 not allow the Bush administration to spend the blood of
 the people of the United States and the people of Iraq who
 are not our enemies, in a needless war for oil.


 The authors, Carl Messineo and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard,
 constitutional law and human rights lawyers, are the
 co-founders of the Partnership for Civil Justice Legal
 Defense and Education Fund, a public interest legal
 organization in Washington, D.C., and authors of the
 forthcoming book "Empire at Home: George W. Bush and John
 Ashcroft v. the Bill of Rights."

 Partnership for Civil Justice LDEF
 1901 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
 Suite 607
 Washington, D.C. 20006
 (202) 530-5630

 For a formatted, printable version of this article, go to
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joint action in San Francisco to Stop the War Against Iraq
 Before It Starts, and to learn more about anti-war
 resources, visit http://www.InternationalANSWER.org and
 see below for more information.


 for "George Bush Plans High Crimes and Misdemeanors"

 I) National Security Strategy of the United States,
 September 2002, page 29.

 II) National Security Strategy of the United States,
 September 2002, page 30.

 III) National Security Strategy of the United States,
 September 2002, page 18.

 IV) Karen DeYoung and Mike Allen, The Washington Post,
 "Bush Shifts Strategy from Deterrence to Dominance,"
 September 21, 2001, A1.

 V) Walter Pincus, The Washington Post, "U.S. Nuclear Arms
 Stance Modified by Policy Study," March 23, 2002, A14;
 Thomas E. Ricks and Vernon Loeb, The Washington Post,
 "Bush Developing Military Policy of Striking First," June
 10, 2002, A1.

 VI) Principle III, Principles of International Law
 Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in
 the Judgment of the Tribunal (Adopted by the International
 Law Commission of the United States, 1950).

 VII) International Criminal Court Statute, Article 7,
 paragraph 2.

 VIII) National Security Strategy of the United States,
 September 2002, page 31.

 IX) Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, The Washington Post, "At
 Camp David, Advice and Dissent," January 31, 2002, A1; Bob
 Woodward, The Washington Post, "President Broadens
 Anti-Hussein Order," June 16, 2002, A1.


Momentum is building for the October 26 National March in
 Washington DC & joint action in San Francisco.

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 dc at internationalanswer.org or call 202-332-5757 or