Alice Revisits Wonderland

Faiza Rady

Former USA Attorney General, celebrated political activist and founder of the International Action Centre (IAC), Ramsey Clark has a lawyer’s way of getting things done—intelligently, promptly and efficiently. A long term anti-war activist, Clark has initiated procedures to impeach United States President George W Bush and USA Vice-President Dick Cheney for crimes committed against the Iraqi people during the war on Iraq. To get the ball rolling, the IAC has already gathered some 400,000 signatures.

"The American constitution invested in us, the people, the power to remove our leadership from office. We at the IAC are therefore working to impeach the president and the vice-president for crimes against humanity,” explained Clark.

Ramsey Clark is a former Washington insider who has become a high profile thorn in the side of the Bush administration.

Ramsey Clark is a former Washington insider who has become a high profile thorn in the side of the Bush administration.

As a result, the Bush administration has targeted the IAC, among other activists, yet Clark remains undeterred. “Our computer programmes get viruses all the time and our phones are bugged. But we are proceeding with the impeachment,” he said.

Clark was recently in Cairo to attend the second Cairo Anti-War and Anti-Capitalist Globalisation Conference, sponsored by the International Campaign against USA and Zionist Occupations. The presence of prominent activists like former British Labour MP Tony Benn, among thousands of anti-capitalist activists, provided the city with an invigorating breath of fresh air.

Thoroughly multinational—representatives of Arab countries, Europe, Asia, the USA and Australia attended the conference—the anti-capitalist protesters made a point of expressing their commitment to internationalism. In their keynote address to the conference both Clark and Benn stressed that the movement’s demand for peace as a national right had already been formulated in 1945 in the preamble of the UN Charter, which states: “We, the peoples of the United Nations, are determined to save the peoples of the world from the scourge of war.”

Ramsey Clark, in particular, addressed the war crimes committed by the USA against Iraq. “Since the first Gulf War in 1990, I’ve been to Iraq every year. And I love the people of Iraq with all my heart,” said Clark, who classified the 13-year period of USA-imposed sanctions against Iraq as “genocide” and “crimes against humanity”.

Long before this year’s war on Iraq started, he said, the USA was already waging the most brutal form of war against Iraq, in the form of deadly sanctions against 20 million people.

"These sanctions were a killer beyond compare, more deadly than bombs. More deadly than the 88,500 tonnes of explosives that the USA dropped on Iraq the first time around—the equivalent of 7.5 Hiroshimas,” Clark explained.

While an estimated 150,000 Iraqis died in what Clark defined as the “first war of aggression”, and at least 40,000 died in the second war, according to the UN FAO Mission to Iraq 1.5 million people died as a result of sanctions.

"The condition of the Iraqis is the worst it has ever been in our time. I have watched the constant deterioration of the people of Iraq over the years and it breaks my heart. But they shall overcome because you cannot crush a people’s desire for freedom.”

According to international law governing warfare as stated in the Nuremberg Charter, wars of aggression were outlawed and criminalised after World War II. Nevertheless, since the days of Nuremberg successive USA administrations have waged a total of 19 “wars of aggression” against sovereign nations. “To this day, the American government remains undeterred by international law. It is therefore high time that the criminal nature of the Bush administration be exposed,” Clark told reporters.

“As a matter of fact, USA government criminality should be clear to everyone,” said Clark. Basing his argument on the illegality of the war on Iraq, a war which could only be justified in legal terms if Iraq actually posed a threat to American national security, Clark proceeded to indict the Bush administration. “In reality the people of Iraq are less of a threat to the USA than any nation in the world since they have been beaten down over the past 13 years,” said Clark. “Not only has this administration killed tens of thousands in an illegal war, but it has proclaimed the right to kill, to assassinate. It has proclaimed it loudly, proudly, publicly.”

The Bush administration effectively spelt out their licence to kill when they published their National Strategy for USA Security last year. In this manifesto of sorts, the government announced their intention to fully exercise their right to self-defence, pre-emptively if necessary.

Following the identification of an “imminent threat”, the Bush administration proclaimed their right to intervene militarily—even in the absence of attacks or provocations in the real world.

Although acclaimed as the neo-cons’ own, the National Strategy contains nothing much new. “Adolf Hitler used the notion of pre-emptive warfare to justify his invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941,” said political analyst Ignacio Ramonet, adding that “the Bush administration’s grand strategy paper was in fact recycled Nazi doctrine.” Ramsey Clark agrees. “According to the USA government’s strategy, the execution precedes the trial.” Like Alice in Wonderland.

Published Thursday, January 1st, 2004 - 06:01pm GMT

Vote to Impeach George W. Bush

Article courtesy of Al-Ahram Weekly

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Faiza Rady

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