FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Shock But Not Awe

by DAVID KRIEGER

 

I write with a heavy heart. Our cause has shifted from trying to prevent a needless war to seeking to end an illegal war. The audacity of the Bush administration takes one’s breath away.

The United States is bombing Baghdad, engaged in its “shock and awe” strategy. Shock yes, but there is no awe. To suggest awe reflects only the arrogance of the Bush militarists. US attacks on Iraq are shocking and awful.

Shocking that we are at war in violation of international law and our Constitution.
Shocking that our government is committing aggressive warfare, which is a crime.

Shocking that a large majority of the US Congress has been so compliant and cowardly, handing over their responsibility to declare war to the president. By giving up their Constitutional powers, Congress is putting the future of our Republic in jeopardy.

Shocking that Bush has demonstrated contempt for the strongly held positions of our allies, and hundreds of millions of their protesting citizens throughout the world.
Shocking that Bush has shown such studied indifference to the millions of Americans who have taken to the streets in protest of his war plans.

Shocking that the United States has attacked Iraq in defiance of the United Nations Security Council and with disregard for US obligations under the Charter of the United Nations.
Shocking that the United States has acted in bad faith, having assured the other members of the Security Council at the time of passage of Resolution 1441 that it does not provide for an automatic recourse to war. John Negroponte, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, assured other members of the Security Council on the day that Resolution 1441 was passed: “Whatever violation there is, or is judged to exist, will be dealt with in the Council, and the Council will have an opportunity to consider the matter before any other action is taken.” What he apparently meant was that the Security Council would have a chance to endorse a US-led war against Iraq or be cast aside as irrelevant.

Now we are faced with the challenge of ending this illegal war, and bringing those who are committing war crimes to justice. This must not be only victors’ justice, but justice that applies to all sides. As Bush and Rumsfeld have emphasized, following superior orders will not be a defense to the commission of war crimes. This should be so both for the Iraqi leadership and for the American leadership.
The anger wells up at the hypocrisy and arrogance of the Bush administration. The two most powerful statements that I have seen recently in opposition to the war are Senator Byrd’s lamentation, “Today, I weep for my country…” and the expression of bitterness of Michael Waters-Bey, the bereft father of one of the US soldiers to die in a helicopter crash returning to Kuwait from a mission in Iraq. Mr. Waters-Bey said that he wanted to tell the president that “this was not your son or daughter. That chair he sat in at Thanksgiving will be empty forever.”

There will be more killing and more deaths, more empty chairs. It is a time of sadness, as our country is losing its credibility and honor throughout the world. It is a time of tragedy that the militarists are having their day. It is a time of shock, but far from a time of awe. We will find a way back to decency, democracy and the rule of law. Until then, we must continue to express our dissent and opposition to this war, to policies of perpetual war, and to the diminishment of our democratic rights. We must also find a way to hold the guilty accountable for their crimes against peace and war crimes.

DAVID KRIEGER is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). He is the editor of Hope in a Dark Time, Reflections on Humanity’s Future (Capra Press, 2003).

Today’s Features

Gary Leupp
What Democracy Looks Like: the Streets of Cairo

Bill and Kathleen Christison
An Interview with Hanan Ashrawi

Bruce Jackson
Why Protest? Why Write?

Uri Avnery
Bitter Rice: Thoughts and Warnings on the War

Jason Leopold
Blood Indicator: Casualties and the Stock Market

Jeffrey St. Clair
Life During Wartime

Gilad Atzmon
Strategic Blunders by American Generals

Ralph Nader
A Pre-emptive War on a Defenseless Country

Website of the War
Iraq Body Count

Keep CounterPunch Alive:
Make a Tax-Deductible Donation Today Online!

home / subscribe / about us / books / archives / search / links /

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
David Yearsley
Handel’s Executioner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail