Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bush Administration Invoke Nuremberg - I Say "Bring it On"

RickB picked this up at Ten Percent and I have never laughed so hard in all my life (at the concept, not RickB!):

The Bush administration has instructed U.S. diplomats abroad to defend its decision to seek the death penalty for six Guantanamo Bay detainees accused in the Sept. 11 terror attacks by recalling the executions of Nazi war criminals after World War II.

A four-page cable sent to U.S. embassies and obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press says that execution as punishment for extreme violations of the laws of war is internationally accepted and points to the 1945-46 International Military Tribunals as an example. Twelve of Adolf Hitler’s senior aides were sentenced to death at the trials in Nuremberg, Germany, although not all were executed in the end.

The unclassified cable was sent by the State Department to all U.S. diplomatic missions worldwide late on Monday.
[Taken from Yahoo!]

Ok, why so funny? Ok, well one of the major principles of the Nuremberg trials was as follows:

Principle Vl

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under; international law:

a) Crimes against peace:

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).

b) War crimes:

Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

c) Crimes against humanity:

Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

If the Nuremberg trials are suddenly the basis of how international criminals are prosecuted, the underlined sections make a very compelling case for Bush and Blair to stand trial for war crimes. Note from part (a), there are no exceptions and no examples when such action is justified. As such, the war in Iraq was a 'war of aggression'. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot apply the principles of the Nuremberg trials when you see fit. It either applies to all, or it does not. By using the justification of the Nuremberg trials as reason enough to execute those 'convicted', the Bush administration is also providing us with the rope from which to hang them. So yes, I accept this justification, provided you really accept every principle outlined in the Nuremberg trials. Otherwise, you might start to look like a hypocrite.

I was always taught at uni never to end with a quote, but bollocks to that I'm going to. This is what chief U.S. Prosecutor, Robert Jackson, said when he addressed the Nuremberg tribunal:

“.....we should remember that we’re handing these Nazi war criminals a poisoned chalice. If we ever sip from it we must be subject to the same principles or else the whole thing is a farce.”