Could Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld be charged with aggressive war?

Under the doctrine enunciated at Nuremburgaggressive war is defined as waging war in violation of international treaties.

The UN, of which the US is a member, prohibits war except in self defense. Yes, Saddam had violated UN resolutions but I don’t think it is up the the US to unilaterally decide to enforce those resolutions. The US was not in imminent peril of an attack by Iraq so I don’t see how self defense is involved.

What do you all think? Are Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/et al guilty of the same offense, waging aggressive war, that the Nazis were charged with at Nuremburg?

Yes. The sooner they go on trial in the Hague, the better.

Sure, they could be charged with it. I’d like to see anyone try to do it. And I’d really like to see anyone try to arrest them for it. It’d be a real act of war. America would not stand for it.

We had a thread on this once, as I recall. '04?

Evidently the best way to bring peace in Iraq is to hook up a bear cage to a tractor and tow it around the major cities with Bush, Cheney & etc inside, for the pleasure of the locals. Not a likelihood, true, for at least another couple of weeks.

Directly to the OP, in the question of prosecuting the sovereign; there are all sorts of considerations which do not apply to ordinary people. The current god-king has shown a rare disdain for the restraints of law and shows no sign of recanting. Why, one wonders would he wish to pass a law pardoning past war crimes done at his instruction? Leaving all these considerations aside: If the President stood in the same legal position as an ordinary person, prosecution and conviction would be a piece of cake.

A discussion of the pros and cons of this argument appears here: Bush doctrine considered However, in summary the rejoinder until recently was that the US had engaged in preventative war, which should properly be regarded as a permissible defensive war. This obviously was abandoned when the reasoning for such ‘prevention’ was discovered to be an invention.

Instead, supporters, reluctant to recognise principle and ever ready to practice self-forgiveness, now rely on the silly notion that the first gulf war created in the US an ongoing right to invade Iraq at pleasure, regardless of UNSC views or sanctions. Recall your President swore blind to take his resolution to the UNSC so that cards would be laid on the table. Then when its constituents foreshadowed unexpected integrity and a certain loss to the US and its pride, George W Bush caused his resolution to be withdrawn.

Certainly…Bush, Chaney, etc etc are JUST like the Nazi’s. The invasion of Iraq was exactly the same as the invasion of Poland. And in the end, the triumphant Europeans will roll their tanks right through Washington DC, where they will finally corner Bush in a bunker somewhere under the Whitehouse, and drag him and Chaney out, kicking and screaming, to face the justice of a world wronged by American evil!

Well, it could happen…in the fevered dreams of some on this board, if no other place in reality. :stuck_out_tongue:


Actually the invasion of Iraq was just like the invasion of Poland in all relevant respects.

The problem is the prevalent mindset: It is OK if the US military does it. (IOKIUSTDI). If all citizens of the US were people of principle; they would sombrely recognise their culpability in this war and hope and pray for the victory of those brave Iraqi boys in each conflict with US troops. Sending care packages. Holding support marches for their snipers and sappers. Cheering at report of each victory of the party with justice on its side, as they should and all decent people do.

Vis a vis Iraq, the position of the US is no different to Nazi Germany re: Poland. But in the US: IOKIUSTDI, or “support the troops”.

pulls up a chair and grabs the popcorn…this should be good

Could you list the relevent details on how the German invasion of Poland is just like the US invasion of Iraq? On the surface, they seem pretty far apart, except to the rabidly deluded.

The converse (which you are obviously familiar with) would be It is OK unless the US military does it…or (ISOUTUMDI since you seem to like acronyms :)).


No one has said that can happen. If anything, the Iraq situation demonstrates that the entire concept of international law is nonsense. All that matters in international affairs is ruthlessness and brute force, and America and it’s leaders are free of all law because they have so much of those qualities. They can be charged, but it means nothing.

Poland had a considerable contingent of crack cavalry, made up of carefully bred horses and well trained cavalrymen, with sabers of first rate steel, sharpened and oiled. This threat to Germany’s Panzercorps was intolerable, and Germany had no choice but to invade and disarm.

Silly, to be sure, but in actual fact Poland represented more of a threat to Germany than Saddam did to the US. (The Poles had, in fact, reconstituted their horse breeding programs.) Accordingly to the laws we signed, aggressive war without a imminent threat is a crime against humanity. We can be pretty sure that they were serious about this, because we hanged some people, which is universally accepted as a definite token of sincerity.

Yes, they should be, no, they won’t be, the closest to justice we can hope for is that they suffer the sort of scorn and derision that has blighted Robert McNamara’s days. It ain’t much, it damn sure ain’t enough, but its all we’re gonna get, if we even get that.

Always thought myself pretty calm, for the most part. And yes, as outlined above, I think it entirely plausible. The crucial point is that a nation is attacked by another nation without imminent threat and without provocation. Iraq was by no stretch of the imagination a plausible threat to the US, imminent or otherwise. That is the definition of “aggressive war”.

Perhaps if you could refute these obvious points you would then be in a position to diagnose hyrophobic delusions. Still be rude as shit, but hey!

Intersting. Is that your interperetation of why Germany invaded Poland? Or even the excuse Germany used to invade Poland? Your knowledge of history is truely dizzying.

They probably did at that. So what? Was a Polish threat the sole supposed reason for Germany’s invasion? Was the threat Saddam posed against the US the sole reason for our invasion of Iraq?

You haven’t been paying very close attention if you think that Iraq suddenly shows how hollow international law is. International law has ALWAYS been what the powerful countries of the world says it is.

Perhaps had you put your points in before I posted I would have had the pleasure of debating them…had you actually made any historically accurate points comparing how Germany invading Poland was exactly like the US invading Iraq on all the relevant points…as Sevastopol claimed. But hey, any rant in a storm, ehe? :slight_smile:


David: I assume you mean “convicted”, not “charged”. Right?

Assuimg the answer is yes, then it would depend on what court you’re talking about. In a US court? No. The war was legal according to US law. In some hypothetical international court? Sure. Of course, so could every member of Congress who voted for the war.

No, I meant “charged.” I realize that even if charged, conviction is out of the question despite pretty open-and-shut evidence which people seem to agree is the case.

The member of congress who voted for the war resolution are covered by the “et al.” :wink: .

Aren’t all laws mostly hollow without the strongest force being able to enforce them? Might has pretty much always made right. When the Nuremburg trials got lower and lower down in the chain of command this was much discussed among us. We were briefed on a target, given aerial photos and told that this is an important railroad cunction, or ammunition storage or whatever. We had no way of knowing whether or not that was true or whether it was just a cover. We had to run the mission or face very serious consequences. And so at the trial of any but the highest levels in the German military chain, it looked a lot like victor’s revenge, or might makes right, to us.

Just to be clear, then, do you mean indicted?

If so, then I suppose it’s possible that if could happen in a US court. You can, after all, indict a ham sandwich. Likely? No. In any case, such a charge simply wouldn’t stand up under SCOTUS review, where it would end up eventually.

I was thinking of the International court in The Hague, or perhaps a special court established by the UN, such as the Nuremburg court. The latter is out of the question until Bush, et al, are out of office because we have a veto in the UN. But after that?

In my humble opinion, their misconduct was, and is, so egregious that it screams out for some kind of redress.

John Conyers will be the House Judiciary Committee chairman as of January. Let him do his job first and we’ll see if that constitutes adequate justice.

Is there a special name for that, when you pretend to believe that someone’s sarcasm is a straight-faced statement of fact? Its either beneath you, or ought to be. Your call, I suppose.

“So what?” You kidding me? If it had turned out that the attack on Pearl Harbor was a hoax, would you then insist that, really, there were lots of good reasons to go to war with Japan, that was merely one minor point. No biggie if it turns out to be a bald-faced lie? Advise.

Have you memory issues? Do you seriously not remember the thundering drumbeat of threat by which this lovely little war was sold to us? Were you previously so skeptical, did you adorn these pages with such wisdom as “Maybe the WMD aren’t even there, maybe Iraq is no threat to us, but we should pour our blood and treasure into the sand anyway because…”

You do recall, I’m sure, Colin Powells presentation to the UN Security Council? A tissue of lies stitched together with half truths. If these other motives (as yet unamed) were equally important, or even approached such importance, would they not have rated some mention? Yet the speech is entirely about the threat of Iraq, the danger posed by Saddam’s Invisible Pink Unicorns of Death. And lies. Did I mention that, they were lies?

Need I quote The Leader’s ultimatum to Iraq?

Something I’m missing here, XT, some subtlety that eludes me but that you can explicate with crisp precision? If the ultimatum references the supposed threat to the exclusion of all other reasoning, how am I wrong to presume that such threats are the very essence of the conflict?

But you just said that my points were accurate. “They probably did at that”, sez you. Not quite cricket to attack my position from two mutually contradictory directions at the same time.

One of the main reasons for US opposition to the International Criminal Court is that it would allow foreign or international bodies to bring charges against American officials. I don’t have comprehensive knowledge of this area, but I’d be shocked if the US had signed similar agreements in the past that would grant authority to the UN to convict Bush et al of war crimes.

Also, I’m not sure that Congress, even if controlled by Democrats, would tolerate such an infringement on the traditional views of American sovereignty.

Not really. One of them was instigated for the purpose of detaining, torturing and possibly killing civilians with the knowledge that many of them are completely innocent. The other pioneered Blitzkrieg warfare.

I think a very good case can be made that it was an agressive war and that any type of international tribunal could very easily bring charges againts Bush, et al.

But it will never happen. The winners never get their day in (international court). Even if we ran from Iraq with our collective tails between our legs tomorrow, we’d still be, at least nominally, the winners and we’d be strong and powerful. Combine “winner” with strong and powerful, and it just ain’t gonna happen.