Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Monday, September 18, 2006

White House War Crimes Defense: Appeal To False Confusion

The purpose of treaties, the law, and lawyers is to clarify lawful conduct. This White House, after abusing power and violating the law, wants America to believe the law is confusing.

The Attorney General is the one to blame for the feigned confusion. Geneva is well defined in 5100.77 through the Laws of War program.

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Alberto Gonzalez in a speech wants the world to believe the Constitution, Geneva, and the Rule of Law are confusing, unclear, and open to interpretation. This is true, so long as the Article III power of interpretation is afforded to the court. This President illegally asserts Article III powers, and defines illegal activity as something that is permissible.

Note Gonzalez' appeal to confusion:
Clearly, we all believe that we should follow the Constitution, but what does that mean?

Ministerial duties, as promulgated in FISA requirements and Geneva, clarify for the Attorney General what "follow the Constitution" means.

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Addington is well versed on international law. It means nothing in 2006 that Addington, Gonzalez, Yoo, and Viet Dinh decided to ignore Geneva, explain it away, or violate the terms. The reason for having international law is to provide guidance and explain what Geneva means. Gonzalez' statement suggest an ignorance of Nuremburg precedents which outline what outrages are.

Common Article 3 prohibits outrages upon personal dignity and humiliating and degrading treatment. Such phrases standing alone mean different things to Americans.

It's too late to appeal to confusion. In order for the alleged White House war criminals to explain Geneva away, they must have had a specific reason for saying Geneva did or did not apply. The burden of proof is on the government, and no other body, to explain its thinking.

Retroactively, the Attorney General cannot appeal to confusion. Rather, Addington, Gonzalez and others relied on incorrect legal opinions in the Bybee Memo to assert the specific requirements could be ignored. This is hardly an ambiguous exercise; rather, lawyers are paid to provide competent, lawful legal advice. It makes no difference in 2006 whether Gonzalez in hindsight is the target of a war crimes prosecution.

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The time to decide whether the United States was going to follow or not follow the Geneva conventions was in 2001, during the debate to use force. America chose to ignore the Geneva conventions.

It is too late to argue the opposite:
Defining our treaty obligations after the fact through domestic legislation has been done many times by our Congress and it ensures an understanding of our treaty obligations that is consistent with our values.

Treaty obligations, after they have been violated, cannot retroactively explain away, recrafted, or immunized. The issue isn't whether the obligation is or isn't consistent with values; but whether the conduct did or didn't violate the law.

US War Crimes statutes specifically outline what the requirement is. It is Article III powers, something neither the Attorney General nor Congress have the power to adjudicate. These legal questions belong before a war crimes tribunal.

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A mobilized citizenry must have more than a belief in something, but a legal foundation. It is meaningless to point to the work of American CIA agents, contractors, or military personnel as anything but criminal. It is not lawful to invade other countries without an imminent threat. This is pandering, without giving due consideration to the law:
The Americans on the front lines believe what they are doing is important, so important that they are willing to risk their lives for the mission

Risking one's life for lawful objectives is commendable. Blindly obeying unlawful orders to abuse and illegally wage unlawful war is a war crime. The 5100.77 Laws of War program are specific requirements. Gonzalez well knows this. It is disingenuous for the Attorney General to applaud sacrifices that are war crimes, but claim the law is unclear. The 5100.77 is a SecDef responsibility. There is no credible basis to argue this requirement is unclear.

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Gonzalez does not take his oath of office seriously. If he did, he would not have groveled at the abuse of Addington, but would have asserted the law, and refused to cooperate with illegal war crimes.

Gonzalez is shedding crocodile tears, and makes an incredible statement:
In my job, I am sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. I am humbled by that duty, as I believe our Constitution is one of the most important documents in the history of humankind.

Actions, not words matter. It is time to have a war crimes tribunal and assert Article III powers to review facts, compare conduct with the law, and adjudicate the matters.

Alberto Gonzalez, you are an alleged war criminal and you have brought discredit upon yourself, your country, and your peers in the American Bar Association. You should be investigated for purposes of disbarment by the Texas State Bar; then your alleged war crimes adjudicated for war crimes, and if convicted, be lawfully put to death by the Article III War Crimes Tribunal.

You wished this.