The Hussein Trial and Imperial Tribunals

As the second trial of Saddam Hussein and six Baath co-defendants for assorted war crimes moves toward its near-certain guilty verdict, the Iraq Tribunal increasingly reveals itself as a naked U.S. exercise in one-sided punitive justice. The first court, to reconvene October 16th, exactly one year after the first charges were brought, is expected to find Hussein and seven other former Iraqi leaders guilty of war crimes in the killing of 148 people at the village of Dujail in 1982–meaning a probable death penalty for the ex-President and at least two or three others.

At the new trial, begun mid-August with new prosecution and judges, the defendants are accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity stemming from a 1988 military campaign against rebellious Kurds said to cost at least 50,000 lives, with the proceedings set to conclude in December. Upheld as a wondrous exercise in global justice by the U.S. political and media establishment, the Iraq Special Tribunal (later changed to Iraq Higher Criminal Court, or IHCC) has been repudiated in most parts of the world as a sorry effort by the Bush administration to cover its own more terrible crimes and simultaneously deflect public gaze from its costly and disastrous occupation.

As U.S. rulers and their pundits carry on about the virtues of international law and human rights, their carefully-orchestrated legal processes have quickly turned into a mockery of juridical norms–in Iraq, we have an ad hoc tribunal explicitly set up to punish the designated enemy. All that surrounds and defines the Baghdad court, buried deeply within the high-security Green Zone–military occupation, puppet government, uncontrollable civil strife, and collapse of political order not to mention full U.S. institutional, logistical, and financial support for the entire operation–has reduced both trials to comical farces, their processes manipulated and outcomes foreordained.

The verdicts will be heralded by the Western media as a “triumph of international norms of legality”, a “Grotian Moment” signaling a new phase in the history of war-crimes prosecution. Here as elsewhere imperial exuberance knows few limits: as the tribunal opened President Bush could say “this trial is indicative of the change that has taken place in Iraqi society . . . Today there is a new system, a judicial system in place that will give Saddam Hussein a chance to make his case in court.” According to Christopher Reid, U.S. regime liaison officer for the IHCC, “Saddam is on trial because the Iraqi people have chosen to embrace the rule of law and discard the methods of the former regime”.

Vanderbilt law professor Mike Newton, who helped set up the tribunal, termed the proceedings an epic legal moment, “arguably the most important war crimes proceeding since Nuremberg, the trial of Saddam Hussein is likely to constitute a . . . legal development so significant it carries the potential to create a new customary international law or radically transform the interpretation of treaty law.”

Neocon Kenneth Pollack, a driving ideological force behind the Iraq war, said Hussein’s prosecution for the “great terror” of Baath tyranny serves as a “major catharsis” for the Iraqi people, opening up space for renewal of collective memory. International law scholar Christian Eckart of Cornell University embraced the tribunal as “a new start based on firm legal principles,” adding: “The trial might hereby serve as another mosaic stone in establishing the rule of law and deter others from stepping over the lines of international agreements and custom in the area of international criminal law.”

Such “experts” are specialists mainly in disseminating mindless platitudes for public consumption, while the imperial architects of illegal war and occupation–those who should be first held criminally accountable–have few worries about meeting their deserved fate, basking in their inflated self-images as bearers of liberation and democracy. Those who subordinate international law to their own grandiose designs, who rudely dismiss the United Nations on those rare occasions when it fails to bend to their purposes, who routinely violate or ignore global treaties, who manage torture camps in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and Iraq, who wage military attacks on civilian populations, are the same outlaws who refuse independent global jurisdiction at theWorld Court and International Criminal Court, fearing even minimum constraints on their pursuit of world domination. For the U.S., unique among nations, international conventions exist primarily for others, the only acceptable tribunals being those which serve its insatiable ambitions.

The first trial was upended by courtroom turmoil from the outset, its work conducted in a heavily-fortified enclave yet riddled throughout with security problems. Three defense attorneys were murdered execution-style, most recently in June 2006 when Khamis Ubaidi was gunned down in Baghdad, severely weakening the defense. Anyone working for Hussein’s legal team was vulnerable to periodic threats and harassment, a problem so acute it led to a series of boycotts and walkouts, including one organized by the Iraq Bar. The mood of the tribunal was overwhelmingly one of intimidation and fear, what one witness called “terrorism in the courtroom”. At any respectable legal venue such collapse of legal norms, not to mention security, would be prima facie cause for mistrial, but in Iraq the juridical showcase simply moves toward its programmed conclusion.

At the first trial, moreover, the defense was given little time to prepare its burdensome response to the charges: prosecution took all of five months, while defense had to squeeze its case into a few chaos-ridden weeks. The defense team was repeatedly stonewalled on its motions–for delays, better security, adequate sharing of documents, and so forth. (In fact the U.S. military refused to provide security for defense attorneys and witnesses.) Four defense witnesses were arrested soon after testifying on behalf of Hussein or co-defendants. Another defense witness accused prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi of trying to bribe him into give damaging testimony against Hussein. Other witnesses said they were forced to testify under threat of punishment. Some tribunal proceedings were allowed without presence of the accused in court. All of Hussein’s prison interviews were monitored by U.S. intelligence. For Hussein’s lawyers, access to vital documents was always problematic. Anyone found to have been in or close to the Baath regime was disqualified from participating in the court. On December 5, 2005, defense attorneys vacated the courtroom after questioning the legitimacy of the Tribunal and requesting in vain access to papers seized by the U.S. Army. Perhaps most troublesome, in neither trial is there requirement of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Efforts to limit prosecutorial shenanigans made little headway since, after all, the tribunal was planned, set up, and largely subsidized by the Bush administration, which through its Pentagon liaison office provided a cadre of legal “advisers” from American universities to oversee every twist and turn in the case. One reason the U.S. insisted upon an Iraq venue–the defense had always wanted to move elsewhere — was the leverage it could exert through military occupation, a vital concern given disintegration of the U.S./NATO case at the Hague Tribunal, where Slobodan Milosevic and other Serb leaders were being tried for genocide and related crimes. In Baghdad the U.S. poured some $128 million into the IHCC to maximize prospects for a guilty verdict. If Milosevic had been able to turn the tables and publicly attack the U.S. and NATO for war crimes in the Balkans, there would be no replay in Iraq since the Baath villains would be denied a forum in which to raise questions of American guilt for major war crimes. When the first hand-picked chief judge was deemed too “friendly” to the accused, permitting Hussein and co-defendants space to denounce the occupation, he was rudely sacked in favor of Kurdish hardliner Raouf Abdel Rahman in January 2006, after an impromptu trip to Baghdad by Arlen Specter, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who warned that U.S. tolerance of judicial “balance” in dealing with the evil monsters of Baghdad had exceeded its limits.

The defense fought back, arguing that U.S. military occupation hovers over and dictates every phase of the judicial proceedings, but such obviously relevant claims were ruled out of order by the presiding judge. Whenever Bashra Khalil, Hussein’s leading attorney, sought to bring elements of political reality into the trial, Abdel Rahman denied every protest and motion. In early July the judge denounced Khalil as an ordinary gangster, unfit for legal duty, and had her dragged unceremoniously from the courtroom.

As the first trial degenerated into theatrical chaos, criticism from legal observers outside of Iraq (and the U.S.) intensified, little of it reaching the U.S. media. U. N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, usually congenial to U.S. interests, decided to bar assignment of U.N.-approved lawyers and judges to the IHCC, pointing out that the tribunal failed to meet “relevant international standards”. The anticipated guilty outcomes are sure to be tainted accordingly, as another exercise in victor’s justice, though not enough to save Hussein and perhaps two or three others from the death penalty. As for the death penalty, it has been repudiated by international courts and most countries outside the U.S., but this has not impeded Bush’s determination to impose it for both trials.

Deeper problems mar the tribunal, starting with its absence of legal and political legitimacy. How can a court established under foreign military occupation, itself the product of an illegal invasion, be considered remotely fair and independent? Neither the new Iraq government nor the war-crimes body could survive a single day without U.S. military power, which of course lacks any international mandate. Tribunal statutes were created and imposed by U.S. military, political, and academic personnel, at odds with the requirements of an independent judiciary. The first trial, limited to one relatively minor charge, was designed to show that the post-Hussein government is sovereign, efficient, and democratic — that is, a strong alternative to the Baath regime — but in actuality we have a state system with no power over such crucial issues as taxation, investment, banking, trade, property rights, and media control. (In the most recent parliamentary session, legislators passed just four minor bills covering a span of five months.) The IHCC itself is a textbook violation of the Geneva Protocols that forbid an occupying power from dismantling domestic institutions in favor of alternatives chosen by the occupier. According to the 1949 Protocols (section III, article 53) an occupation force cannot destroy public or private property, alter national institutions, or take coercive action against public officials. Since the tribunal was established by the Coalition Provisional Authority with the Hussein trial alone in its sites, the claim that this is an Iraqi-controlled tribunal allowing people to settle historic accounts with the Baathists is nothing but pure fiction.

The juridical basis for making political and military leaders accountable for war crimes has its origins in the Hague (1899, 1907) and Geneva (1928) Conventions, precursors to the Nuremberg trials following World War II. The aim was to codify universal principles of jurisprudence governing warfare, but in the case of Iraq even the pretext of universality is laughable; the entire operation was rigged from the start, dictated by the colonizing interests of the accuser. For punishment to be legally and morally binding, to be valid before the statutes of international law, the prosecution and judge cannot be selected, trained, and financed by the same party–in this case, with its own clear biases and priorities. Since the IHCC is little more than a U.S. enterprise (with minor British and Australian involvement) the prosecution and judge are beholden to the very same interests, grounded not on valid legal foundations but in U.S. economic and geopolitical priorities.

The tribunal farce cannot be separated from the societal turbulence just outside the Green Zone fortress, including a bloodbath of near civil-war proportions that by late summer 2006 was costing possibly 3000 Iraqi lives monthly. The public infrastructure has been reduced to shambles. The society is torn by widespread militarized violence and social dislocation. From Desert Storm through twelve years of brutal economic sanctions, bombings, and covert actions leading to more war and occupation, Iraq has been overwhelmed by a cycle of death and destruction claiming as many as two million lives, mostly civilian–a monstrous criminal record by any accounting, with U.S. decision-makers the most culpable. As Nuremberg affirmed in 1946, those guilty of crimes against peace must be held responsible for everything that follows, in this case the ensuing atrocities, infrastructure collapse, social breakdown, civil strife, torture of detainees, everything. At Nuremberg the German militarists were convicted mainly of crimes against peace, chief prosecutor Robert L. Jackson saying that “no grievances or policies can justify resort to war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy”. The tribunal held that such crimes amount to “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that they contain within themselves the accumulated evil of the whole”, meaning that, according to such criteria in the case of Iraq, the U.S. is legally and morally accountable for every disaster that followed its unprovoked military aggression–a long and continuing pattern of criminality.

Given all this, prospects for the kind of renewed legal order, or “Grotian Moment”, imagined by U.S. law “experts” is utopian in the extreme. Post-invasion atrocities–mass detentions, human-rights abuses, wanton attack on civilians, destruction of essential public services–are integrally linked to the original act of aggression, part of a planned, deliberate, and systematic agenda to “remap” (i.e., recolonize) Iraq and the Middle East. Unfortunately, those responsible for the carnage — Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et. al.–will never be held accountable before legal proceedings set up by these very criminal offenders. In the meantime, the Washington cabal remains free to continue its military aggression against any number of future targets. Whatever the scope of atrocities carried out by the Hussein regime–and these were mostly aided and abetted by the U.S.–they scarcely measure up to Bush’s record or that of his predecessors. It is often forgotten that the groteque 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, essentially a green light for U.S. military intervention, was passed during the Clinton administration, also the source of nearly a decade of sanctions, aerial bombardments, and covert infiltrations that laid the groundwork for Bush and the neocons.

Atrocities committed by small U.S. troop contingents have received most press attention, one premise being that such episodes are isolated, the outbursts of a few demented soldiers overly burdened by battlefield stress–an aberration from the military norm. The main story, however, is the unfathomable carnage that high-powered U.S. weaponry has visited upon a country already ruined by two wars and years of sanctions. As even those familiar with the mainstream press will know, acts of murder, rape, torture, house raids, detentions, and other random abuse by U.S. troops has multiplied, though assuredly most such incidents are never reported, many of them simply covered up. Among the worst occurred in November 2005, when U.S. Marines slaughtered two dozen innocent civilians at Hadditha in cold blood, claiming revenge for the death of a fellow soldier. Later, in the village of Ishaqi, Army troops brutally murdered eleven civilians in one home, including four children under age seven, their corpses riddled with bullets. Such “escalation of force” savagery mounts as the occupation predictably breeds heightened Iraqi antagonism and resistance, but it is rarely investigated much less punished. An occupation force involved in such atrocities clearly lacks the moral and legal credibility to prosecute anyone from the very nation it has subjected to its own barbaric actions.

As in Vietnam, where American soldiers were exhorted by commanding officers to elevate “body counts” as indicators of military success, in Iraq such orders (never made official) have typically come from the upper officer ranks. Recent testimony was given to the effect that Army Colonel Michael Steel, commander of the 101st Airborne Division’s Third Brigade and veteran of the 1993 Somalia campaign, issued orders to “kill all military-aged males” and handed out knives to soldiers as a reward for kills. Steel’s attitude is reportedly widespread. The military culture in Iraq has evolved into one of frenzied anti-Arab racial hatred and sadistic, often random violence. Rules of engagement have little meaning in a milieu where all civilians are invariably treated as sinister terrorists.

The most horrific criminal behavior, however, involves large-scale military operations across mainly urban population centers–crimes that have by far the most deadly consequences. The Pentagon’s “shock and awe” tactics, constructed as media spectacle by the TV networks — a reprise of the Nazi Blitzkrieg — is one of many flagrant violations of the Geneva Protocols prohibiting wanton attacks on civilian targets. Such laws (for example the 1977 Convention, Articles 51, 52, and 57) refer to assaults on public infrastructures as well as military operations where even incidental, much less grievous, loss of civilian life can be expected. The broad targeting of dense populations zones in Baghdad, Fallouja, and elsewhere with high-tech weaponry is destined–and most probably intended — to produce heavy casualties. Such tactics, relying on massive and sustained aerial bombardment, marked the onset of the 2003 invasion, but not so well known is how regularly those tactics have been employed since. Aside from the standard inventory of high-explosive bombs and missiles, the U.S. arsenal includes missiles and artillery shells tipped with depleted uranium (DU), white phosphorous and other incendiary devices, and cluster bombs called “all-purpose air delivered cluster weapons systems” designed to spread thousands of shrapnel pieces across large areas as it dismembers bodies. Employing such weaponry, the U.S. has turned several urban districts in Iraq into rubble, the effects of desperate but ultimately futile counterinsurgency methods dependent on high-tech aerial warfare.

Consider the U.S. assault on Fallouja in November 2004, which left a city of 350,000 people in ruins and at least 3000 civilians dead, leaving most other residents homeless, their food sources, water supplies, electricity, and medical services destroyed. Aerial bombardment of a defenseless population was conducted round-the-clock for several days, while Marines cordoned off routes of escape and “free-fire zones” were exploited to maximum effect. In less than one nightmarish week, thanks to the blessings of technowar, a major Iraqi city was reduced to the rubble of Dresden or Stalingrad as the U.S. military used everything at its disposal short of nuclear weapons to quell the resistance. Desolate streets were filled with traumatized people, many of them children, seeking food, water, and shelter. Viewing the carnage, one Marine was quoted as saying: “It’s kind of too bad we destroyed everything, but at least we gave them a chance for a new start.” Other troops commented that Fallouja got just what it deserved for “harboring terrorists”. The real terrorism, genocidal in scope, was the work of U.S. militarism, its main perpetrators at work in the Pentagon and White House, authors of crimes that ought to place them on the defense rather than prosecution side of the courtroom.

Reflecting on the German war record in World War II, Joe Persico writes in his book Nuremberg: “Not the slightest doubt could remain that Nazi Germany had planned and waged aggressive war, that it had fought that conflict with flagrant disregard for the rules of warfare, and that, independent of any military necessity, it had committed mass murder on an inconceivable scale.” (p. 26) The same indictment could be leveled against the U.S. and its collaborators today–the difference being that its leaders, unlike the Nazis, are effectively immunized from prosecution owing to the neatly-arranged court system they have created.

The ICCH has its dreadful precursor in the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), conceived by the U.S. and NATO in 1993 explicitly to try Serbs, an obstacle to Western interests in the Balkans and who for many years had been demonized in the Western media. This court was much the same kind of U.S. contrivance, with little basis in juridical norms — an ad hoc tribunal to validate and give cover to the 1999 U.S.-NATO bombing campaign, conducted without U.N. approval, its geopolitical maneuvers shrouded in moralizing rhetoric about the need to fight Serb “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide”. Located at The Hague and sanctioned under U.N. Security Council auspices, this tribunal got the bulk of its legal personnel, investigative resources, and money from a Clinton administration obsessed with punishing its nemesis, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. As with Iraq, only the militarily superior force was allowed to participate in rule-making. The Western powers generously benefited in this scheme from outright U.S. bribery of the Vojislav Kostunica Serb government with nearly a billion and a half dollars in “aid”, opening the door for Milosevic to be kidnapped and jailed by the ICTY in June 2001 (having already been indicted in May 1999). As prelude to the Iraq tribunal, any hopes interested parties might have had in bringing major U.S./NATO crimes before the court were summarily rejected, although the 79-day bombardment of Yugoslavia, itself a violation of the U.N. Charter, caused more damage than all Serb military actions combined.

In February 2002 Milosevic was charged with 66 counts of human-rights abuses, including genocide. The trial brought 298 witnesses and produced 30,000 pages of documents, all to prove that Milosevic was a recycled Hitler guilty of murdering some 200,000 during the protracted Balkans civil wars of the 1990s–wars mainly instigated and fueled by the Western powers. Other Serb political and military figures were charged with crimes, but rival parties to the conflict–Croatians, Bosnian Muslims, the Kosovo Liberation Army, all recipients of U.S. economic and logistical support–were virtually exonerated, not to mention U.S. and NATO forces guilty of unprovoked military aggression and attacks on civilian targets. Given the long and complex history involved, it has never been made clear why Serbs were singled out for punishment, the only conceivable explanation being that the tribunal was installed to serve Western propaganda agendas. Representing himself in court, the late Yugoslav leader insisted that most atrocities were a product of civil war and NATO bombings rather than from some evil design for a “Greater Serbia” (a bogus charge that was later dropped at ICTY). Stigmatized as an “indicted war criminal”, Milosevic argued until his death in May 2006 that the Hague court was a fraud, a tool of Western imperialism. In the end, after two years of testimony, zealous prosecutors wound up with little evidence linking Milosevic to specific war crimes, much less genocide. But the Hague prosecutors refused to give up: in summer 2006 they were still trying to bribe the Serb government, this time with inducements of European Union membership, hoping to arrest and try more Serbs for war crimes.

Beneath its self-righteous rhetoric about defending human rights and prosecuting war crimes, the U.S. has fiercely opposed any genuinely independent criminal tribunal based on universal legal principles. Dreading any loss of its freedom to militarily intervene, it endorses nothing beyond its own tailor-made tribunals — those where charges can be readily leveled against chosen villains while leaving itself, the accuser and prosecutor, fully immune. The White House rejects the only legitimate world tribunal, the International Criminal Court (ICC), founded on the Rome Statutes in July 2002 after ratification by 60 nations. The Court would have worldwide jurisdiction over individuals and states accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but the U.S. refused membership when its outrageous demand for veto power over charges against U.S. citizens (requested by no other country) was unanimously disallowed. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s view of the ICC typifies the rejectionist attitude in Washington: “The United States will regard as illegitimate any attempt by the court or state parties to the [Rome Statutes] to assert the ICC’s jurisprudence over American citizens”. No reason, aside from protecting maximum U.S. global power, seemed necessary.

In summer 2002 the Congress passed the American Service Member’s Protection Act, hoping to intimidate nations that had or were in the process of ratifying the ICC and empowering the President to fight the Court as a threat to U.S. sovereignty. The Act prohibits U.S. cooperation with the ICC for any purpose. It insists upon complete U.S. troop immunity from prosecution abroad–an implicit recognition that, with military forces scattered around the globe and interventions routine, the U.S. is uniquely vulnerable to war-crimes indictments. Known as the “Hague Invasion Act”, it bans the U.S. from giving military assistance to any state belonging to the ICC. As Philippe Sands writes in Lawless World, the topic of ICC jurisprudence is one that predictably reduces U.S. politicians, the media, and normally tepid academic gatherings to fits of hysteria.

U.S. disdain for ordinary canons of international law and human rights is further shown by the cavalier Bush administration attitude to the torture of prisoners, a staple of U.S. intelligence and jail practices in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and various secret CIA locations–and still defended, though more obliquely, after Abu Ghraib and related scandals. In February 2002 Bush, saying “I don’t care what the international lawyers have to say–we’re going to kick some ass”, upheld harsh and abusive interrogation methods known to violate both the Geneva Protocols and the International Torture Convention. According to international law, detainees’ rights can be challenged only in recognized courts of law but this did not stop Bush and Rumsfeld, emboldened by advice from their circle of neocon legal “theorists”, from embracing coercive methods of interrogation, otherwise known as an “alternative set of procedures”. More recently, Bush called for drastic changes in the War Crimes Act through amendments that would retroactively protect U.S. leaders and citizens from criminal charges even where evidence of torture has been uncovered. American personnel would be immunized from past or future transgressions, an outright dismissal of Article 3 in the 1948 Geneva Protocols prohibiting “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” In early September 2006 Bush proposed that Congress allow conviction of prisoners based on coerced evidence and hearsay testimony. Meanwhile, in August 2006 Army Major General Geoffrey D. Miller, architect and overseer of illegal detainee operations at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, was permitted a genteel retirement unencumbered by criminal prosecution or even disciplinary action despite the long cycle of atrocities he helped set in motion. Upon retirement Miller, said to be one of Rumsfeld’s favorite generals, was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his work and praised by Pentagon brass for a “very, very distinguished career”.

The Hussein and Milosevic courtroom fiascos reflect the bankrupt state of international law, with the leading superpower running roughshod over any agreement that might impede the smooth functioning of its global economic, political, and military imperium: treaties, the U.N. Charter, independent tribunals, rules of engagement, Geneva Protocols, World Court verdicts. For more than a century international conventions have set about forging common principles of global behavior, hoping within the framework of world capitalism to at least restrict the parameters of modern warfare, especially with the onset of doomsday weapons. But the U.S. alone remains shamelessly and hypocritically above such principles, now reduced to sheer fantasy. Many in Washington, including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, have dismissed the Geneva Conventions as “obsolete” because such laws are said to undermine the U.S. “war on terror”. The Bush/neocon hostility to the U.N. follows similar logic, since any body of rules that might limit superpower freedom are seen as violating its sovereign rights, while lesser or even contrived offenses of “rogue” states call for special tribunals with attendant political and media moralizing about crimes against humanity and the urgent need to punish another Hitler.

The IHCC serves as yet another vehicle in the destruction of an entire nation, a phony tribunal that blocks rather than facilitates Iraqi social and political reconstruction. In late August Gonzales visited Baghdad, proclaiming that the existing government and its war-crimes trials are ushering in a new era marked by “rule of law”. But the laws of an occupied Iraq–much like those of the world system–have been far too consistently subordinated to U.S. interests for such claims to be taken seriously. Those waxing eloquently about the “rule of law” turn out to be the most brazen and fearsome criminals, whose culpability extends to the very top of a power structure that Gonzales personifies.

This sordid condition is no radical departure from the past but simply carries forward and deepens many time-honored U.S. traditions, now pursued more openly than in the recent past. Military aggression as a useful method of advancing imperial goals–and with it callous indifference to even minimum rules of warfare–goes back to the earliest period of American history, and is nowadays shared equally by Republicans and Democrats. General “bipartisan” support for the permanent war economy, security state, and global military ventures is solidified by an increasingly jingoistic corporate media that, as leading propaganda arm of the Pentagon, helps normalize the outlawry. And with each new U.S. transgression, each new military operation, each new round of atrocities, such “normalcy” becomes more deeply embedded in the domestic power structure as well as a draconian, militarized international order that today increasingly reflects the barbarism of that power structure.

CARL BOGGS is the author of The Hollywood War Machine (Paradigm) just and Imperial Delusions: American Militarism and Endless War, which appeared last year. He can be reached at:




CARL BOGGS is the author of several recent books, including Fascism Old and New (2018), Origins of the Warfare State (2016), and Drugs, Power, and Politics (2015).  He can be reached at