"This agression will not stand."
August 28, 2006 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Benjamin B. Ferencz, a chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg war crimes trials, believes that President Bush should be put on trial. Mr. Ferencz previously discussed the War On Terror shortly after 9/11.
posted by EarBucket (20 comments total)
So my answer personally, after working for 60 years on this problem and [as someone] who hates to see all these young people get killed no matter what their nationality, is that you've got to stop using warfare as a means of settling your disputes."

But think of the children of all those defense contractors!
posted by spock at 11:37 AM on August 28, 2006

as Professor Ferencz points out, one of the many lessons taught by Nuremberg is that the unprovoked invasion of another country is a war crime. simple and plain.

but then, torture and collective punishment are war crimes, too, and we know how well _that_ worked, too

in a post-911 world Nuremberg is obsolete, simple and plain. when and if a Democrat takes the back the White House (I wouldn't hold my breath) it's unclear if this basic fact will change, Nuremberg is kind of like the typewriter now, a useless -- if elegant -- piece of machinery that once upon a time worked really well.
posted by matteo at 12:04 PM on August 28, 2006

and the Int'l Court/Hague stuff is supposed to work, but we don't recognize it so that's no help.

If Kissinger still walks free, among many many other criminals, then there's no way any Bush person will be tried. Congress won't impeach even if we take back both houses--it's pathetic.
posted by amberglow at 12:10 PM on August 28, 2006

The only reason there were Nuremberg trials is because a war was fought. The only reason Milosevic and Saddam Hussein had trials is because a war was fought. IF you want to put Bush on trial, you should probably expect to fight a war.

Or, you might want to impeach him first.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:26 PM on August 28, 2006

Brilliant, like a box of wet fireworks.
posted by prostyle at 12:47 PM on August 28, 2006

in a post-911 world yadda yadda yadda...

9/11 changed NOTHING. It's neither more or less dangerous than before 9/11. All 9/11 did was wake us up and make us notice the elephant that's been sitting in the middle of the room all along. If it is more dangerous now, it's because of Bush's actions provoking anti-american sentiments around the world and his ineptness in handling the Middle East situation.
posted by mike3k at 12:48 PM on August 28, 2006

"9/11 changed everything" is reflexive and unthinking statement that people trot out in response to suggestions that the US has lost touch with its founding principles. Using the vernacular of cinema for a minute, it's about as a meaningless as "plate of shrimp" or "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life."
posted by Hypnic jerk at 2:02 PM on August 28, 2006

“...in a post-911 world Nuremberg is obsolete, simple and plain...”

I think matteo’s observation was predicated more on the realpolitick situation than those foreign (and domestic) policy issues created by the Bush administration and the excuses for deviations from ethical and moral (and legal) behavior post-9/11. And the question is a valid one - will the Dems, if elected, return to the former status quo or will they take advantage of the existing environment?

That Ferencz is damned well spoken. Wish we had more folks like that.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:38 PM on August 28, 2006

9/11 changed SOMETHING; it's a reflexive and dangerous (more or less) statement before 9/11, but now that the US has woken up and lost touch with the elephant's founding principles, we should trot out to the middle of the room. If it is more dangerous than a "plate of shrimp", it's because Raymond Shaw's actions are provoking the kindest, warmest american sentiments around the world.
posted by davejay at 2:41 PM on August 28, 2006

/btw - nice conflation of Repo Man and Manchurian Candidate there Hypnic jerk
posted by Smedleyman at 2:43 PM on August 28, 2006

matto, if Nuremberg is obsolete, that's only because we chose to make it so.

9/11, in the hands of wiser leadership, could have been used to make the world a genuinely better place. Instead, we opted for more of the same old shit.
posted by Malor at 2:55 PM on August 28, 2006

in a post-911 world Nuremberg is obsolete, simple and plain

I'm sure the victims of Nazi oppression that survived would agree with you. Matteo. I wonder what the dead ones would say, if they could say it. Truth be told, I think you say that because Professor Ferenc is raising a truth you find uncomfortable.

When a Nuremburg prosecuter talks, their views are something that should be examined seriously.

The only reason there were Nuremberg trials is because a war was fought. The only reason Milosevic and Saddam Hussein had trials is because a war was fought.

Wars that they brought about. World War 2 was also started by those who wound up being accused at the Nuremburg trials.

Perhaps Bush should bear that in mind. The US refused to partake in the International Criminal Court in The Hague...I wonder why?

In an ideal world, Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the key members of the Bush Administration stand trial, but I'd doubt none of those things will never happen.
posted by tomcosgrave at 3:16 PM on August 28, 2006

9/11, in the hands of wiser leadership, could have been used to make the world a genuinely better place.

because it's obvious that president Gore would have engineered a policy of Buddhist nonviolence, with the help of Secretary of State Noam Chomsky of course.

the truth is Gore would have had a rabid Republican Congress ready to impeach him like they impeached Clinton, and his VP would have been that Republican in disguise Joe Lieberman. and Richard Holbrooke, who would have been Secretary of State had Gore become President, is truly not a bleeding-heart librul pacifist (just ask the East Timorese). what you'd have had is a moderate Republican administration. better than the off-the-charts right wing nuts who won, OK, but no liberals really

anyway it's OK to dream I guess

I think you say that because Professor Ferenc is raising a truth you find uncomfortable.

no, what I find uncomfortable is the sight of adult, native speakers who are unable to understand their own language

and anybody who thinks that without 9/11 you'd have torture as official US policy, sine die detention without indictment, and the PATRIOT Act, well, the joke's on you, really
posted by matteo at 4:34 PM on August 28, 2006

and the Int'l Court/Hague stuff is supposed to work, but we don't recognize it so that's no help

and the coolest part is that if the ICC indicts and arrests an American, the US will invade Holland!

there seems to be no limit to what a very scared US population would authorize their government to do in their name.
posted by matteo at 4:40 PM on August 28, 2006

anyway it's OK to dream I guess

Yeah, well I think the dream is more that pre-9/11 Gore would have paid attention to that Clinton staff report saying Al-Qaeda was our main concern, and not thrown it out in order to begin drafting plans to invade iraq.

Plans that were made well before 9/11. That's what 9/11 changed. It gave the average american enough fear to approve anything our bible spouting president wanted to do.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:55 PM on August 28, 2006

Many people were very angry about 9/11. It wasn't just fear at first. Since it's clear that Osama is now irrelevant, it's all there is left, and it's evaporating.
posted by owhydididoit at 8:13 PM on August 28, 2006

let me add that I was very angry, and scared...
posted by owhydididoit at 8:38 PM on August 28, 2006

"This provision, dubbed the "Hague invasion clause," has caused a strong reaction from U.S. allies around the world, particularly in the Netherlands."


I dunno, metafilter has had discussions as to what might have been different if 9/11 hadn't happened. Obviously it did, but I think it's a mistake to lay it all at the feet of Bush. Not exactly an exoneration, but as powerful as the president is, he's only so powerful. Many, many people were involved in all the things that happened afterwards.
Look at LBJ f'rinstnace - passed lots of key legislation on a number of divisive subjects, but wound up escalating the Vietnam war.
Obviously the work from the Nuremburg trials doesn't have to be obsolete. We have things like informed consent in human experimentation from there not to mention the impact on international law in things like genocide, treaties, war crimes, human rights, etc.
But in terms of realpolitick (and Kissenger has pervaded much of Bushco and the neocon's work) - that is - in terms of what the power realities are - not what the law, in this case international law, is, no, right now the findings at Nuremburg don't have much bearing on international relations.
Not that they shouldn't, but dispite the fact that many in the international community did not want the U.S. to use pre-emptive war, dispite the fact that the U.N. did not authorize the action, there isn't much they can do about it.
John Mearsheimer over by there at the Univ. of Chicago is a big Neo-Realist devotee of realpolitick
Mearsheimer says that "a great power that has a marked power advantage over its rivals is likely to behave more aggressively because it has the capability as well as the incentive to do so."
I tend to pair with him on some things - he said that the underlying reasoning in attacking Iraq (although he was against it) were sincere interests in protecting American interests. In retrospect, I think I disagree as to the definition of either 'American interests' or 'sincere.'
But right now the USA is the the catbird seat and there is little the rest of the world can do about it. The law is quite literally not as good as the paper it's printed on without the realistic possibility of force behind it (force in whatever terms - economic, raw military, whatever). Thus the aggression.
(Mearsheimer nicely differentiates realism and neo-conservativism here)
But asymmetry always winds up with a balance - Stonewall Jackson had Minié bullets, but the North soon adapted strategically and technically. The Allies took two years to adapt to the German panzers, and then unbalanced again with nukes, which then rebalanced into the present deterrent.
9/11 pissed me off like anyone else. But I'd rather have a few more of those than the ass kicking the U.S. is going to take when the scales level themselves. However it looks we are, in some measures "winning" in Iraq (given the focus on fragments of comments I'll prepare for the inevitable onslaught of "Nuh-uh"'s). We are forcing our will on another group to make them do what they do not want to do. Right now, that's pretty much our 'coalition of the willing' kicking the ass (in Clausewitzian terms - war as a continuation of policy by other means) of the rest of the world. And we've pursued that course successfully, for quite some time.
(Me I prefer Sun Tzu - the purpose of battle to attain a more perfect peace, you fight to achieve national purpose, not as a policy or an end in itself) So, given certain factors the war in Iraq has been, in some terms, successful. But (to continue the battle metaphors) tactical victories no matter how many or how seemingly wonderful don't make up for strategic errors. Just ask Pyrrhus.
(sorry I didn't link more for reference and easy reading, but I'm tired)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:26 PM on August 28, 2006

We already have the necessary war, Pastabagel; it's called Operation Iraqi Lib-- uh, Freedom, and just as in the examples you cite, the losers, our leaders, are the only candidates for indictment. If the magnitude of Bush's crimes within this country is ever even mainly disclosed, handing him and his top appointees over to the Hague may be our best alternative to the second civil war trying to prosecute him ourselves could generate.

I'd say this was a pipe (crack, in honor of our leader) dream myself if the Bush people themselves weren't so obviously and palpably afraid of it.
posted by jamjam at 10:55 PM on August 28, 2006

But then, they are all cowards.
posted by jamjam at 10:57 PM on August 28, 2006

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