Get LISNews via email! Enter Your Email Address:
Stephen King, Winner of the 2003 DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTION TO AMERICAN LETTERS AWARD
Asked what he'd like to do with the rest of his life by Newsweek,
Stephen King responded:
To live to see George W. Bush tried for crimes against humanity.
To suggest that President Bush is guilty of crimes against humanity belittles those who were truly victims of the Holocaust, Apartheid, Rwandan Genocide, the Slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia Herzegovina, and the many others dating back to the dawn of civilization.
Do not forget that President Bush is persecuting a war against just those sorts of persons who will kill people because of their religion, their political beliefs, and their desire for freedom in the own lands. Don't forget that Hussein exterminated those who disagreed with him by gassing thousands of men women and children. Don't forget that officials of the former Iraqi government had opponents not just shot but thrown alive into meat grinders to have their flesh torn from their bones to insure a painful death.
To suggest that President Bush has committed Genocide, or in a systematic manner on a large scale: murder, extermination, torture, enslavement, persecution on political, racial, religious, or ethnic grounds; institutionalized discrimination on racial, ethnic or religious grounds involving the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms and resulting in seriously disadvantaging a part of the
population; arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population; arbitrary imprisonment, forced disappearance of persons, rape, enforced prostitution and other forms of sexual abuse; or ther inhumane acts which severely damage physical or mental integrity, health or human dignity, such as mutilation and severe bodily harm. (from the Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind ...)is absurd
Yes, terrible things happen in a war, people die but this war was and is prosecuted for the greater good, just as we stopped a genocidal maniac during World War II, we must now return Iraq to its people as we have stopped Hussein, another genocidal maniac.
No one wants the US out of Iraq more than I, however it must be at such a time as the Iraqis have been left with a stable government of their choosing with a military and civilian police force able to protect Shia, Sunni and all other Iraqis. If only that were possible tomorrow, but with the interference of state sponsored terrorists who desire instability in the region it is made exponentially more difficult.
Even more absurd is to suggest that Stephen King has any standing to suggest that President Bush be tried for Crimes Against Humanity. Stephen King while a prolific albeit mediocre author is no expert in Human Rights, no lawyer, and merely stating his personal views. Your glorification of him and celebration of his winning a literary award given by publishing house hacks just looks silly.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, why should Stephen King's be given any import is beyond me.
I agree with you that we have a responsibility to the Iraqi people and that we simply can't wash our hands of ANY involvement. I've started keeping track of alternative Iraq plans which have a common goal of a stable Iraq with the rule of law while preserving US ability to hunt for terrorists.So far I've found five. None involve escalation and none picture simply leaving the Iraqis with nothing.Before you or anon folks start dissing them as unrealistic, consider this: We've given the President a total blank check in terms of money, troops and other resources he's asked for the past four years. There is not one single instance up until now that the Congress has said "no" or even trimmed ANYTHING the President has asked for in Iraq. What have been the result of that plan?
The President's mostly military approach to Iraq's civil disorder not only hasn't worked, but the more we've done, the worse violence gets.It is time to try something different like one of the five and growing alternative Iraq plans.
How very interesting. I do agree that an apolitical and through investigation is warrented, however I probably expect a different result than you. Unfortunately I doubt an apolitical investigation could be had.
We are in the middle of a war no matter how or why we got there and we have to return Iraq to the Iraqis and we must ensure that they have a stable government of their choosing with a trained and effective military and civilian police force to protect the people. The sooner we do that the sooner we can be out of there.
S.King is an intelligent writer even if some people think he isn't literary enough...and he is a thinker for all the reasons you discuss in your post...I am glad I identified his comments.
I realize all war is hell. And all war is aggressive. But there is a principle of International Law that forbids invading another country in the absence of an multilaterally decided criminal violation, such as took place in 1990/91 with the full blessing of the UN Security Council.That is the Crime Against Peace, which Wikipedia says was enunciated in the Nuremberg Principles of 1950:
In 1950, the Nuremberg Tribunal defined Crimes against Peace (in Principle VI.a, submitted to the United Nations General Assembly) as
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).For committing this crime, the Nuremberg Tribunal sentenced a number of persons responsible for starting World War II. One consequence of this is that nations who are starting an armed conflict must now argue that they are either exercising the right of self-defense, the right of collective defense, or - it seems - the enforcement of the criminal law of jus cogens. It has made formal declaration of war uncommon after 1945.
I am well aware that it is the position of the United States Government that invading Iraq was both a matter of self-defense (WMD & al-Qaeda ties) and collective defense ("We're just enforcing UN resolutions")But many people think the "collective defense" defense doesn't hold water because article 39 of the UN charter states (Emphasis mine):
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.
As the Security Council never recommended invasion or other overt military action against Iraq in 2003, the United States cannot creditably claim to be be carrying out the will of the Security Council. Indeed none of our allies takes that seriously.Which leads us to the "self defense" defense. Here the matter is murkier. If the President and his advisers really believed that Iraq had 1) active WMD stockpiles, 2) current working relationships with al-qaeda or some other group capable of action against US soil, and 3) the intention to pass their WMD to these groups; then I think they would be able to avoid a prosecution under "crime against peace."But, if as the Downing Street Memo and other evidence indicates, the Bush Administration had good reason to believe that none of the above was true and that they were consciously using false excuses, then a prosecution on the "crime against peace" issue would be appropriate. The Nuremberg Principles, accepted by the United States in 1950 did not allow an exception based on the odiousness of the country being invaded.However, none of us know which scenario is true. The Administration MIGHT have been acting in good faith OR they might have twisted facts to fit policy. That's why I still think we should have a full independent investigation -- not into what the Intelligence Community gathered -- we've had that. But how the Administration used the product they were given. If the President has nothing to hide, he should welcome the chance for exoneration. If he is hiding a crime against peace, the American people should know so we can prevent any in the future.
After thinking about the issue some more, here are some things to be considered whether anyone in the Administration, Intelligence Community or military should be charged with war crimes:FBI Observations of mistreatment at Guantanamo Bayhttp://foia.fbi.gov/guantanamo/122106.htmThis report dealt with direct observations of treatment as opposed to taking complaints from prisoners. A CNN story summarized some of the findings as follows:
"On several occasions witnesses saw detainees in interrogation rooms chained hand and foot in fetal position to floor with no chair/food/water; most urinated or defecated on selves and were left there 18, 24 hours or more," according to one FBI account made public.One FBI witness saw a detainee "shaking with cold," while another noted a detainee in a sweltering unventilated room was "almost unconscious on a floor with a pile of hair next to him (he had apparently been pulling it out through the night)."Another witness saw a detainee "with a full beard whose head was wrapped in duct tape."One FBI statement said that an interrogator squatted over the Quran and that a German shepherd dog was ordered to "growl, bark and show his teeth to the prisoner."
If I remember correctly, no charges were filed as a result of the abuses because all either came from the Army's interrogation manual or had DoD/CIA sanction and thus "weren't really crimes."The last report I want to note is a Congressional Research Service report exploring the legal issues in detention and treatment of terror detainees:RL31367Treatment of "Battlefield Detainees" in the War on TerrorismNovember 14, 2006Two things come out from this report for me. One is that if the people we held had status of POWs, our treatment most certainly violates the Geneva Convention. In fact, the report notes on page 45 of PDF file that:
A British military court convicted several German Luftwaffe officers of improperly interrogating British POW at a special interrogation camp, where it was charged the officers used excessive heating of cells in order to induce prisoners to give warinformation of a kind they were not bound by the Convention to disclose.
Not to go all Godwin on you, but there is a precedent for saying that mistreating prisoners through extreme climate is a crime.Certainly the President and his supporters can say (and do so constantly) that unlawful combatants aren't entitled to anything at all. That's for the courts to decide, but I'm not buying it as moral even if it is technically legally.I honestly believe that the Christian and Libertarian position is that ends never justify means and that our opponents evil conduct should never influence our own. I have faith that our country can play by its professed founding values and not only survive, but thrive. The world is dangerous and filled with people who hate Americans. But we will never disappear, beat and humiliate our way to victory.
I am certain the president is not behind the nonsense at Abu Gharib, I don't truthfully have a problem with Gitmo. I do think he is well aware of the secret prisons and redndition - and while I have reservations about those I think there may be enough safeguards to see that they are used only exceptionally and when there is no alternative. I certainly hope so.
I do think that Iran and perhaps Syria have bankrolled more of the local sectarian groups than we know. I think Iran has supported both Shia and Sunni sides just to keep the pot boiling. Instability in that area is one of Ahmadinejad's priorities. What if a stable democracy broke out in the middle east that was not Israel, heck everybody would want one.
I think all wars are agressive, if they were not it would be called diplomacy. I don't think this was a pre-emptive war. I think it was timely and not reactive which to win one must be.
Because your defense puts so much weight on the crimes of Hussein, I feel obligated to point out that the evil of one side is no guarantee of the righteousness of the other. For example, each side in the German-Soviet war of the early 1940s could easily and quickly point that their opponent was guilty of numerous war crimes.Besides, saying "We're better than Saddam" is no great praise.Looking at your quote of:"arbitrary imprisonment, forced disappearance of persons, rape, enforced prostitution and other forms of sexual abuse; or ther inhumane acts which severely damage physical or mental integrity, health or human dignity, such as mutilation and severe bodily harm."I think it is well documented that Gitmo, Abu Grahib, and our whole secret prison system do all of the above except hopefully for rape; enforced prostitution and mutilitation.In addition, one of the crimes at Nuremberg was "agressive war" The United States invaded Iraq on the basis of what it might do in the future, not what it was doing in the present. Ironically, this is the same basis that Iraq claimed when it invaded Kuwait in 1990, that their oil drilling could impact Iraqi oil fields.Does this mean I think the President should be tried for war crimes, especially torture? No, not at this time because while many abuses have been well documented, while there are too many to simply be a few bad apples here and there, there is no conclusive proof these happened at the President's orders. But I would support investigations to see how direct a role he had.Finally, not even the military puts the primary blame on "state sponsored terrorists" for what's going on in Iraq. Go to the Strategic Studies Institute web site and you'll find analyseses that put 90%+ blame on the various home grown secretarian militias.
I'd rather read Agatha Christie.
I looked at the board of the foundation and LeCler was the only name that I recognized, but that could be from Hogans Heroes.
He has ordered torture of foreign nationals and American citizens, though.
It is a Newsweek feature this week. Stephen King was the featured commentator. He is a popular author, maybe not up to your standards, but many people read him. A Clearwater librarian once stood up in a class of mine and defended his art.
The National Book Foundation is hardly an organization of "hacks." Paul LeClerc,President The New York Public Library is on the Board of the NBF-
Here is the list of winners of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Lettershttp://www.nationalbook.org/amerletters.html
Since then, the Foundation has sought to fulfill this mission in two ways. Through The National Book Awards -- the nation's preeminent literary prize -- the Foundation recognizes books of exceptional merit written by Americans. Through its unique outreach programs featuring National Book Award authors, communities participate in the writing life of the nation by reading and writing together.http://www.nationalbook.org/nbaacceptspeech_sking. html
I haven't read them yet, but I do think escalation will help. Not escalation for combat but escalation for training the Iraqi military and civilian police. We don't have enough people now to do both, it seems they can do one mission or the other but not both at the same time.
We need to get the job done, and if it requires more troops to provide security so those already there can provide trainng (or vice versa) then we need to get the show on the road.
The offensive has been over for some time, now it is just security and training so we can turn the country back to the people who live there.
I will go read them now.
Librarian And Information Science News
Hosted By ibiblio XML Twitter!