The "Good ol’ Days" of American Principle and Ideals
Remember when America wasn’t trying to avoid international law but was actively involved in creating it? Remember when we agreed with most of the world that starting a war was wrong?
Who said: “Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions.”? Kofi Anan, right? Some French wimp? Cindy Sheehan? Oh, I know, one of those America-hating Hollywood elites–Michael Moore, Sean Penn, or Susan Sarandon, right? Wrong, O short-memoried ones, my conservative critics. That quote was from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson when he served as the American prosecutor during the Nuremberg Trials. You may remember that the Nuremberg Principles that came out of those trials of Nazi generals and judges and politicians (all now firmly embedded in international law) divided international crimes into 3 categories: 1)War crimes–atrocities committed during the prosecution of a war (e.g., the destruction of Fallujah, Israel’s mass bombing of Qana, any of the beheadings, etc. being done by insurgents in Iraq, etc.); 2) Crimes Against Humanity such as torture (Abu Ghraib, the Guantanemo Bay imprisonments, the secret detensions and “extraordinary renditions” would all count) and 3) Crimes Against Peace–such as starting a preemptive war. Hmm. No wonder the Right doesn’t like U.S. courts acknowledging international law these days. If sanity ever returns, will we live to see members of the current U.S. administration on trial in the Hague for these kinds of Nuremberg violations? Or is justice meted out only to international criminals like Hussein whose nations are conquered first?
Thanks to Marty on the Homefront for reminding me of Jackson’s quote.
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