Monday, 15 October 2007

Is pre-emptive war ever justified?

Yankee Doodle asserts, in comments on previous Arena posts, that the US Constitution permits America the ‘right’ to wage pre-emptive war.

Article 6 of the Charter setting up the International Military Tribunal which conducted the post-1945 Nuremberg war crimes trials reads as follows:

The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:

(a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;

(b) WAR CRIMES: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;

(c)CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.

It seems quite clear that any country waging pre-emptive war without the authority of the United Nations should be held accountable to the International Criminal Court.


Jose said...

And I beg to add that the Constitution of the US of A was intended to be the main Law to rule the US of A, not the World.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Pre-emptive nuclear strikes are simply part of the US policy of global Full Spectrum Dominance (FSD).

anticant said...

"Simply"? Yes - they will certainly simplify matters. Drastically! Whether those who order them will still be around to rub their hands with glee at the results after the surely inevitable retaliation is another matter.

Mutually Assured Destruction [MAD] was a mad enough doctrine, but it's surely far saner than the glib assumption that a nuclear strike anywhere in the world won't trigger off globally disastrous consequences.

Do any of these lunatics ever stop to think what the aftermath of nuclear strikes will actually be like? Have they ever read - or even heard of - John Hersey's "Hiroshima"?

Yankee Doodle said...

The hate-America-first crowd has always had to distort reality to make their venom palatable. They have had to take corrupt American political leaders, of which there are many, and hold them up as an example not of the violation of American laws, but of what America stands for.

Your rhetoric here is old and tiring, and it is by no means an accident that my comments have to be taken out of context in order to give you fodder.

I do not advocate the use of nuclear weapons.

anticant said...

Now, now, YD I have already acknowledged that YOU don't advocate the use of nuclear weapons. However, many of your politicians - including some presidential candidates - do.

Please come off this near-paranoid "because you disagree with us/me you hate America" hobbyhorse. Let's have a sensible debate of the issues which, after all, are of world importance.

anticant said...

"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, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

- from Mr Justice Birkett's judgement speech at the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Emmett said...

THE Great problem, alas, remains that of the individual character; axiomatically, perhaps, in late-historical periods the average descends remorselessly, inevitably & decisively past a critical low-point; and, /that/ is that, for /any/ society or polity. My Americans of this farcical generation of self-adoring jackasses now ephemerally 'in power' (over everything except themslves, mind you!) are, taken individually, no better or worse than any preceding cohort -- but, the percentage of sheer swine, pornographers and other over-sized vehicle-operators is just too numerous for the decent and modest, self-disciplined, elements in the society any longer effectively to compensate & off-set.

Emmett said...

IN This context, clearly and objectively as the grim plangent doom of a gong of inevitability and ruin, the F-SD phantasy becomes explicit:

'FULL-Spectrum Dominance' is the /projected/ wish-dream of control; and, plainly, it must be the fond phantasy of /any/ american ass who positviely cannot keep HIMSELF from smoking, gouging himself on hydrogenated oils and Tee Vee 'sports', or from 'beating off' in front of his PC monitor. 'F-SD' is, in fact, a trope of sado-masochism; and, Ms Camille Paglia /has/ had the last word on this.

anticant said...

F-SD is the political projection of the paranoid power-hungry person who is unable to feel 'safe' unless he/she is in control of everybody and everything.

Conspiracy theory is the political projection of the paranoid powerless person who believes they are helpless because the world is controlled by an evil clique of secretive all-powerful people whose grip on all the levers of power is such that they cannot be dislodged.

Frankly, I find both these myths rather ludicrous, and the former one much more dangerous than the latter because it does dictate US foreign policy at the present time.

Richard W. Symonds said...

For someone who promised himself, on an 80th birthay, to be spending "less time" on the "supposedly serious blogosphere", that was a pretty good last three paragraphs.

It makes me wonder what 'gems' await, if you spend "more time" here.

Emmett said...

'THE Real Conspiracy' (study of /this/ is my domain) is /au cotraire/ an extreme phantasy of sufistic benevolence. For 'tis so, far away in the Badakhshan be-turbanned mullahs and dervishes in far deep caverns set out the whole tale of ALL the times to come. In baize & sanded tables full of itsy-bitsy figuriness of all the creatures, of all who have been, are now, and ever shall be, the story is fulfilled amid tiny porcelain farmsteads& shining dinky cities. And, when all the filthiest fears of the 'mainstream' paranoids are finally realised and Evil satiated (as well as vain 'goodness' with is insensate resistances) -- then we shall once-and-for-all be free, to move finally beyond this rather boring 'human being'.

(IN The meantime, it is the auxiliary role merely of those other inferior 'conspiracists' whom anticant rightly blackguards, and it is their /assigned/ albeit unconscious task, to dream up these horrors in the first place, so that from out of /their/ overheated suspicious brains the megrims of molecular existence may be distilled & purged.)

Richard W. Symonds said...

My last post to you was supposed to be a COMPLIMENT, for goodness sake AC !!!

Anonymous said...

Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution.
· Summary of Article VI.
· :“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” [US Constitution]
· The UN Charter is of course one of those Treaties refered to in the US Constitution.
In the UN Charter it states;
Article 2 of the United Nations Charter.
· Text of Article 2, Section 3- 4. “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. .... [and] 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.” [UN Charter, Article 2, Sections 3,4]·
· Articles 39 - 50 of the United Nations Charter.
o Summary of Articles 39-50. Articles 39 - 50 of the United Nations Charter clearly stipulate that no member state is authorized to use military force against another country without the UN Security Council first determining that certain criteria have been met. (1) There must be a material breach of its resolution; and (2) All nonmilitary and peaceful options to enforce the resolution must be fully exhausted. Once it has been decided that the necessary conditions for military action have been met, only the UN Security Council can authorize the use of military force. [UN Charter]
o Kellog-Briand Pact of 1928.
§ Summary of Article 51. The Kellog-Briand treaty, ratified by the United States in 1929, requires that all disputes be resolved peacefully. It prohibits war as an instrument of foreign policy. [Kellog-Briand Treaty of 1928] As a testament to this fact, in 1932, the secretary of state, Henry L. Stimson stated, “War between nations was renounced by the signatories (including the US and Britain) of that Treaty. This means that it has become throughout practically the entire world... an illegal thing. Hereafter when nations engage in armed conflict... we denounce them as law breakers.” [cited in Dawn, 11/13/01

anticant said...

Thanks for that, Anonymous. I'm still waiting to hear from Yankee Doodle in what way he thinks the US Constitution gives America the 'right' to wage pre-emptive war; and why, even if in the eyes of Americans it does, this supposed 'right' should be recognised by other sovereign nations or by the UN?

I hope he won't regard these questions as "venomously anti-American internationalist"!

Yankee Doodle said...

Let's put this in context. Here was the remark, and my response:


"compromise as a first option in preference to violence is surely a stance that you can endorse"

Not absolutely. There are some ideologies and some parties with whom there can be no compromise, no retreat at all, not even the slightest hint of surrender or weakness.

And, while I disagree with President Bush and his crew, I do, in principle, agree with the concept of pre-emptive war, a right addressed in our Constitution.


The US Constitution makes the following statement with reference to pre-emptive war in Article I Section 10:

"No State shall, without the Consent of Congress,... engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay."

Intended as a last resort prior to being overrun by an enemy clearly poising for an attack, the founders of our nation very clearly intended the option to be open to states to take the fight to an enemy, even without Federal permission, rather than wait for an attack at the enemy's discretion. It is a state right vis-a-vis the Federal government, but the intent behind the right is clear enough.

I cannot think of an occasion when a "pre-emptive war" was just and legitimate; as far as I can tell, all historical examples are examples of power-hungry political leaders abusing the concept. Hitler comes to mind here.

The fact that the principle has been so consistently abused in no way invalidates the principle, any more than foul language or hate speech by some parties would invalidate the concept of Freedom of Speech.

While Anonymous is reading the US Constitution, s/he might wish to note that Federal treaties, like the US Constitution, trump state constitutions; Federal treaties do not trump the US Constitution.

It should be further noted that Pearl Harbor and 9/11 both trump a treaty outlawing war. Furthermore, when the US fought in Korea and in the first Gulf War, it was with the full blessing of this international community whose judgement is here so esteemed, just as US action in the wake of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 had broad international support.

Undoubtedly some here will make noise about the abuses of that international support under the current US Administration. I am not here to defend our 43rd President.

Finally, I should like to point out, regarding these prized norms of international etiquette, that if all of a sudden the UN makes a rule that there shall be no more Freedom of Speech, that does not make it so -- and it matters not whether El Presidente Bush and his neocon crowd, or their Clintonite opposite numbers, go along with it, or even like it: our rights are our rights, endowed by our Creator, and I for one will not give them away for any reason at all, most emphatically to include the disapproval a hostile left-wing crowd that believes in neither our rights nor our Creator.

Emmett said...

BUT, My goodness, that sneering mob of hyper-credentiallists certainly /does/ believe in their degrees and their subsidised free ride off of Uncle Sugar, as 'helping professionals', don't they? This crooked left-gang together steals as much as the interglobal CEOs, that's for sure -- and, the lounging ironic figure at every turning, of the 'helping professional', is why this Democrat-Republican swindle /is/ reduced to such a thieving God-damned Mutt & Jeff game. My mate, The Baron, says that the day a 'helping professional' is hanging from every lamp-post, here in Old Mankato, /will/ be A Great Day For Liberty. /I/, of course, am an automatic sort of nay-sayer and should like to see rhe whole boiling, instead, 'sentenced to serve' (that's Yank for community sentencing, Aunty!) in down-town Iraq. At night. In their underpants. /And/ Mr Karl Rove and the rest of the New Conmen interglobal paedophiliacs along with them. This is the statistical load of cruds that /are/ wrecking the country. Any road, what can be DONE?

Emmett said...

AS A matter of fact you know, and as to Liberty & the will of A Free People, the question of secession REMAINS open -- just maybe, Minnesota, Western Wisconsin & Hither Dacotah COULD "walk." This would be interesting to try to pull off. I just bet that some of these federal hyenas would just foam at the mouth & take fits & just wet themselves like girly girls, at the very suggestion of having the scope of their nasty-masturbator little DC power-thingy in anywise kicked in & MADE SMALLER. Phooey to them guys, they don't even KNOW how to play ball -- how "American" is THAT? The point is THIS whorehouse is pretty rotten now, and maybe the time IS coming when the VOLUNTEER fire depatment does need to do a "practice burn."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (Michael)
Yankee Doodle said "While Anonymous is reading the US Constitution, s/he might wish to note that Federal treaties, like the US Constitution, trump state constitutions; Federal treaties do not trump the US Constitution."

I don't think that has been questioned by anyone, certainly not me. The point I was making is that the UN Charter being an International Treaty is a part of the the supreme Law of the USA. Clearly under the UN Charter the invasion of Iraq was illegal, unless of course the Iraqis had first attacked the USA. Therefore Bush has not only ignored International Law, the Geneva Convention but also the US Constitution itself.
The United Nations itself should have taken action on this and there are ways of circumventing the UN Security Council and the USA veto. At least Germany had the decency to leave the League of Nations, the USA obviously prefers to hang around to sabotage.

Not even sure what Emmett is even writing about.

anticant said...

As a seasoned Emmett-watcher, I think - he will correct me if I'm wrong! - he is suggesting that a salutary tilt away from overweening Washington DC Federal Government power back to greater emphasis on State rights - even backed by the threat of secession [though not, I take it, of another Civil War!] - would be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

No offence meant to Emmett, I suspect in that case Emmett must be a "Libertarian".

Certainly the USA needs some other political party to break the Democrat/Republican cartel which are simply two wings of the same party.
The root cause of "anti-Americanism" isn't simply Bush, he's just continued with the policies of Clinton who in turn continued with Bush Snr's. The record of the US in the last 60 years is atrocious, just look at the UN Resolutions veto by the USA and also their record of subverting democratically elected governments and replacing with military dictators.
Yes I'm anti-American just in the same way as most British were anti-German in 1939.

Anonymous said...

By accident today I tuned to CNN and was fascinated by an interview given to Donald Trump and was immediately astounded by his "orange" appearance caused by fake tan. Listening to what he was saying caused further amazement, he mentioned that when he was in Europe he noticed that respect paid to Americans had practically vanished, he felt he was a leper. He then went on to slack off Bush and criticised the illegal invasion of Iraq. Finally when asked to choose between Hilary Clinton and Giuliani for the next president he said both were good people and he like them both.
When will they ever learn?

Jose said...

In my opinion the big problem with the US and other so-called civilised countries is that the democratic principles are being sidestepped with the election systems which are applied in almost all of them. Instead of having candidates designed by the base, it is the tip of the pyramid that chooses them, it is the lobbies that provide the money for the campaigns. And the lobbies do never have in mind political objectives, it is the economy that prevails in all their actions.

That is why we can never appreciate differences in the successive administrations that have governed the US, be them Republican or Democrat.

In other countries differences between socialist and conservative parties are appreciated but uniquely in social aspects, such as National Health Services and Pension Services, but as far as international politics or national politics other than social are concerned differences are not ostensibly different.

As to preemptive wars my opinion is that they are absolutely illegal and punishable.

Emmett said...

WE Have all had great dreams, of course. Mine, for America, is the re-organisation of federal "power" something more along the lines of the Swiss Confederation. The one great issue in common, then, would be of course national /defense/. But, we should have to tolerate a deal more state-by-state variation on civil rights and so on, I suspect. That is not palatable to me. But, then, it is also certainly true that there are lots of people who actually can NOT "do difference," -- this is indeed a physiological matter of thymus & discomfort! -- and certainly they'd be more comfortable in socially-conservative zones, surely. On the other hand, we'd have also California! This last place fulfills the role for fads & silliness that New England did, back in the old transcendental- and abolition-days, complete with crazes for ouija-boards and "shamanic" drumming. The point is that, as muslim, if some folks cannot "go" my presence, why ever should I /want/ to shove in? Jesus Christ! I have no problem (perhaps unlike most of these semi-naked postmodern Yanks of today!) in staying away from places where I'm not wanted. To begin with, it prevents lots of chlamydia. And, for another instance, the South Dakota Indians should not care for my moon face hanging out and ooh-ing & ah-ing at those stupid paperweights, on Mt Rushmore, so of course I don't go there. In the last analysis, the appeal of the fascisms -- and, this fact just dooms state-liberalism! -- is that "universal access" in the end is just, well, boring. It's as with sex. Supposedly se are all now nicely "uninhibited" and anything goes. Unfortunately, the "anything" becomes nastier by the minute as the taboo-line yields ground, and this is so even as our initial concessions are simply a matter of fair play and common humanity. So with giving /more/ "power" to the asexual sociopaths of the two-party system! These folk are statistically morally insane and need restraint, stomach rinses and sedation. Reduction of federal authority would drive many into displays of infantile rage and breakdowns that oblige many actually to be forced to seek medical help -- but, this would be an undoubted boon for all.

anticant said...

That's a fascinating scenario, Emmett. Let's hope that many more of your fellow citizens see the need to move away from the mirror-image top-heavy two-party system with its incestuous lobby funding, and get a much more participatory style of politics going.

Emmett said...

YEAH, Well, Christ on a clap ward, we'll just knock on wood on that one! There /does/ come the day when a "people" are so acculturated and sunk in dishonesty about their real situation that they are no longer fit to live (!) as a nation in a community of nations. With even a promise of universal welfare there sure does seem to come the sheer inability to /work/ in all quarters except at playing "Army" and torturing the prisoners, and a final end of ALL civic courage -- everybody is "on the take," from the unislamic hog-farmers and surgeons to the city federally-funded misadminstrators and the National Public Radio pickleheads. And not a ONE of the self-adoring sonsofbitches will back off from their trough-run, not a God-damn one! So many of these lice have the postmodern pus for brains AND morals. Like Bilbo Baggins and his hoped-for dragon-invasion, /first/ I expect we'll get Chinamen -- and then, when they fish out in disgust at the mosquitoes, then (maybe) we will rebuild the house of our liberty. But it sure is a kick in the face to have to go through all of that Hell because of the universal degenerate taste for jacking-off NOW.

anticant said...

You're in great form today, Emmett - right on!

Emmett said...

YEAH, Right... well, these God-damned nation-states are the bunk & they are playtoys for other-directd defectives & epimethean halfwits. To Hell with the dim & dull-normal, fake-patriotic, BSers! Let 'em watch Barney cartoons and learn how to share & behave....

Yankee Doodle said...

Michael, have you read what I say about Bush and Iraq? This would be a good post to start with.

Anonymous said...

Well Yankee Doodle what can I write? True the Taliban practically reduced opium to zero and since the occupation production is reaching record levels. True also the USA is doing nothing about it, I'm sure it still has ample stocks of Agent Orange. "Afghans Pressed by U.S. on Plan to Spray Poppies" . The fact is if the USA wanted to do this it would with or without the approval of the puppet Afghan government but the US realises that for most Afghans it's the only source of income and that to destroy it would greatly increase the civil unrest. Nothing, nothing at all to do with the Taliban, you are simply inventing a new conspiracy theory.
There's a common theme running through American policy in regards to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Russia, Venezuela and indeed the whole world. That theme is related to the US$ and oil sales, the protection of the US$ as the "world's reserve currency" to be used in worldwide oil transactions. Iraq stopped doing that in 2000, Iran stopped this year as did Venezuela and Russia has stated that it would prefer EUROS.
The American economy has depended for decades on countries throughout the world holding billions of dollars and investing surpluses back into the US economy. That is beginning to end and it signals the end of American world domination.
Japan and China lead flight from the dollar
Iran's Oil Bourse

Gulf funds drift away from dollar
Dollar's double blow from Vietnam and Qatar;jsessionid=HU3MNOZRAFXIDQFIQMGSFFOAVCBQWIV0?xml=/money/2007/10/03/bcnviet103.xml
"Are Iran, Russia, China behind dollar's free-fall
Euro may replace dollar as "reserve currency"...
Almighty US dollar turns into ‘American peso’

falcon_01 said...

Look at who in the UN would actually have to approve any sort of war... If I were a bad guy, there's no way I'd let the U.S. declare war against me or one of my allies!

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

This was no doubt said by some right-wing-warmongering-baby-killing-wacko who probably would have driven an SUV if they had them back then! I bet he clubbed seals over the head for fun too!

That's the sort of logic I face when I try to have a discussion. I've been called a baby-killer by pro-abortion folks. I've watched as they try to strip our real rights away to cater to the eternally offended muslims who are waging a long-term war against western society, and have already established training camps here. I've seen them call for open borders and ignore the long-term implications such as increased burden on our infrastructures, tax-funded welfare programs, and even our own safety as criminals pour in and go on drunken-driving rampages, the Mexican military smuggles drugs, and rape rates soar.
Their dirty short sightedness, or traitorous plotting (whichever you believe, the results will be the same) infiltrates every aspect of our society, gripping tighter and tighter, unnoticed by a people more concerned with the latest reality shows, and what the media tells them to focus on. It's normal for one to believe what is taught in schools, but when what is being taught is controlled by the same corrupt powers, and when critical thinking is outlawed, and the origins of "Politically Correct" forgotten, we tread very dangerous ground.

Michael said...

Falcon "good guys" don't murder 1.2 million people since March 2003 just for economic reasons. Also Muslims are not waging any war against the West, they have been attacked and they respond, you no doubt you would as well if the roles were reversed. As far as the UN goes, they are the "keepers" of International Law, without compliance with International Law you have chaos and anarchy and that is exactly what the USA has done.
The USA uncaringly kills 1.5 MILLION Iraqis between 1991 and then expects the world's sympathy when 3,000 people are killed in NY.2001

anticant said...

"Unnoticed by a people more concerned with the latest reality shows, and what the media tells them to focus on."

Isn't this the crux of the matter? We don't have an effectively functioning participatory democracy in the West. Most people don't want to be bothered with politics, and when the going gets rough they flinch away and bury their heads in the sand even more.

Until small tails are deterred from wagging large dogs, as is the present way of the world, things aren't going to get any better.

Oh - and don't forget that by no means all the 3000 killed in the Twin Towers atrocity were US citizens.

anticant said...

Michael, let's be scrupulously fair, and allow that not all the estimated 1 million-plus Iraqis killed since the US-led invasion were the direct victims of American firepower.

But I think it IS fair to say that the vast majority of them would not have died the invasion had not occurred, and that the he Allies are INDIRECTLY responsible for their deaths.

The US website which keeps an ongoing calculation of the casualty figures is:

Michael said...

Nope sorry that doesn't wash, every death in Iraq right now which would not have occurred naturally is a consequence of the illegal invasion carried out by the USA, and to a lesser extent, the UK.
Whether it's caused by disease, and I understand typhoid is rampant, whether it's caused by unsafe drinking water, or whether it's caused by the violence, caused by destroyed or unmanned hospitals, each and every death lies at the feet of Bush and Blair.
Also I'm not interested in minimalistic estimates of the genocide from the people that "don't do body counts". There has been at least 4 serious estimations of the total genocide and they are consistent.