A riveting documentary anthology that examines a deeply disturbing question: Is the United States guilty of war crimes in Iraq?
Until recently, the possibility that the United States was responsible for war crimes seemed unthinkable to most Americans. But as previously suppressed information has started to emerge—photographs from Abu Ghraib; accounts of U.S. attacks on Iraqi hospitals, mosques, and residential neighborhoods; secret government reports defending unilateral aggression—Americans have begun an agonizing reappraisal of the Iraq war and the way in which their government has conducted it.
Drawing on a wide range of documents—from the protocols of the Geneva Convention to FBI e-mails about prisoners held in Guantánamo Bay to executive-branch papers justifying the circumvention of international law—In the Name of Democracy examines the legality of the Iraq war and the occupation that followed. Included in this powerful investigation are eyewitness accounts, victim testimonials, statements by soldiers turned resisters and whistle-blowers, interviews with intelligence insiders, and contributions by Mark Danner and Seymour Hersh.
The result is a controversial, chilling anthology that explores the culpability of officials as well as the responsibilities of ordinary citizens, and for the first time squarely confronts the matter of American impunity.
|Publisher:||Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.|
|Series:||American Empire Project|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Historian Jeremy Brecher has written and edited more than a dozen books, including Strike! His articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Nation, and the Los Angeles Times. Jill Cutler, an assistant dean at Yale College, has edited several books, including Global Visions. Brendan Smith is an expert in international law and a former senior congressional human rights and defense aide. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and Foreign Policy
Historian Jeremy Brecher has written and edited more than a dozen books, including Strike! His articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Nation, and the Los Angeles Times.
Brendan Smith is an expert in international law and a former senior congressional human rights and defense aide. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and Foreign Policy
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This useful collection examines the evidence for US war crimes in Iraq and elsewhere. It concludes that the US state is destroying democracy in the name of defending it. Part 1 looks at the war crimes of illegally invading and occupying another country. It shows how the US-British occupation, an illegal continuation of an illegal war, has broken all the laws of occupation. ¿The occupation is basically one gigantic war crime.¿ The occupiers sacked all the army and police force, deliberately causing chaos. There were 100,000 excess deaths in the year after the invasion (Lancet), mostly from US air strikes. The USA is waging war largely by massive, unreported, bombing: the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing alone dropped more than 500,000 tons of bombs on Iraq between May 2003 and December 2005. The occupying forces continue to commit war crimes ¿ they attack and kill civilians, using cluster bombs, depleted uranium shells and napalm. They drove 200,000 residents out of Fallujah and killed more than 1,000 people half of them women and children. They deny food, water, electricity and medical supplies to civilians and attack hospitals and ambulances. They demolish homes, a collective punishment outlawed by the 1949 Geneva Conventions. They create death squads to set Shia against Sunni. Part 2 discusses the US and British forces¿ use of torture. The Washington Post wrote of the `documented tortures and killings of foreign prisoners by this American government¿. The Department of Defense reported `systemic and illegal abuse of detainees¿. The US government blames `rotten apples¿. But decisions by policymakers determine decisions by interrogators: those who take political decisions are responsible for the consequences. Bush authorised interrogation techniques `beyond the bounds of standard FBI practice¿. His Order of 7 February 2002 said that the USA would not apply the 3rd Geneva Convention to Al Qaeda members. He defined himself as above the law, and the detainees as outside the law, against the US Constitution¿s pledge to `government under law¿. Rumsfeld said, ¿Unlawful combatants do not have any rights under the Geneva Convention.¿ In the real world, the Convention obliges captors to protect all persons captured in wars. Rumsfeld¿s ruling by contrast authorised any and all abuses, and is itself a war crime. The Justice Department, like the Pentagon, issued statements purporting to justify the use of torture. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzalez advised Bush that the Geneva Conventions were `obsolete¿, the same word used by the head of Hitler¿s Wehrmacht, General-Field Marshal Keitel. At Nuremberg, the US prosecutor cited this as an aggravating circumstance in seeking and obtaining the death sentence for Keitel. John Bolton, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said, ¿It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so ¿¿ These policies by Bush, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez and Bolton led straight to the killing, torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners in US custody in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. The buck stops at the top. Moreover, the Blair government is complicit in all these crimes, since in law it is responsible for the war crimes committed by its ally, the Bush government. As the International Law Commission¿s Article 16 on Responsibility of States (2001) says, ¿A State which aids or assists another State in the commission of an internationally wrongful act by the latter is internationally responsible for doing so if (a) That State does so with knowledge of the internationally wrongful act and (b) The Act would be internationally wrongful if committed by that State.¿
This is a clearheaded look into America's conduct of the 'War on Terror.' What moral price are we willing to put on our own safety? How far are we willing to bend the rule of international law in service of our fears? At what cost do we abandon the principle of basic human rights in service of our security? This bracing, well-reasoned collection of writings should alarm and chasten readers of any political persuasion. Every responsible American must read this book.