OPEN LETTER FROM FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL RAMSEY CLARK
to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, members of the UN
Security Council and President George W. Bush
January 29, 2004
Dear Secretary General Annan,
U.S. President George W. Bush again confirmed his
intention to continue waging wars of aggression in his
State of the Union message on January 20, 2004.
He began his address:
"As we gather tonight, hundreds of thousands of
American service men and women are deployed across the
world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the
oppressed, and delivering justice to the violent, they
are making America more secure."
"Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of
the American people... America is on the offensive
against the terrorists..."
Continuing, he said:
"...our coalition is leading aggressive raids against
the surviving members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda....
Men who ran away from our troops in battle are now
dispersed and attack from the shadows."
In Iraq, he reported:
"Of the top 55 officials of the former regime, we have
captured or killed 45. Our forces are on the offensive,
leading over 1,600 patrols a day, and conducting an
average of 180 raids a week...."
Explaining his aggression, President Bush stated:
"...After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th,
it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal
papers. The terrorists and their supporters declared
war on the United States and war is what they got."
Forget law. No more legal papers, or rights. Forget
truth. The claim that either Afghanistan, or Iraq
declared war on the U.S. is absurd. The U.S. chose to
attack both nations, from one end to the other,
violating their sovereignty and changing their
"regimes", summarily executing thousands of men, women
and children in the process. At least 40,000
defenseless people in Iraq have been killed by U.S.
violence since the latest aggression began in earnest
in March 2003 starting with its celebrated, high tech,
terrorist "Shock and Awe" and continuing until now with
25, or more, U.S. raids daily causing mounting deaths
All this death-dealing aggression has occurred during a
period, Mr. Bush boasts, of "over two years without an
attack on American soil". The U.S. is guilty of pure
aggression, arbitrary repression and false portrayal of
the nature and purpose of its violence.
President Bush's brutish mentality is revealed in his
condemnations of the "killers" and "thugs in Iraq" "who
ran away from our troops in battle". U.S. military
expenditures and technology threaten and impoverish
life on the planet. Any army that sought to stand up
against U.S. air power and weapons of mass destruction
in open battle would be annihilated. This is what
President Bush seeks when he says "Bring 'em on."
President Bush declared his intention to change the
"Middle East" by force.
"As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny
and despair and anger, it will continue to produce men
and movements that threaten the safety of America and
our friends. So America is pursuing a forward strategy
of freedom in the greater Middle East. We will
challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of
terror, and expect a higher standard from our friends."
"...America is a nation with a mission... we understand
our special calling: This great republic will lead the
cause of freedom."
He extended his threat to any nation he may choose:
"As part of the offensive against terror, we are also
confronting the regimes that harbor and support
terrorists, and could supply them with nuclear,
chemical or biological weapons. The United States and
our allies are determined: We refuse to live in the
shadow of this ultimate danger."
President Bush's utter contempt for the United Nations
is revealed in his assertion that the United States and
other countries "have enforced the demands of the
United Nations", ignoring the refusal of the U.N. to
approve a war of aggression against Iraq and implying
the U.N. had neither the courage nor the capacity to
pursue its own "demands".
His total commitment to unilateral U.S. action, was
asserted by President Bush when he sarcastically
referred to the "permission slip" a school child needs
to leave a classroom:
"America will never seek a permission slip to defend
the security of our people".
President Bush intends to go it alone, because his
interest is American power and wealth alone, though he
prefers to use the youth of NATO countries and others
as cannon folder in his wars.
President Bush believes might makes right and that the
end justifies the means. He declares:
"...the world without Saddam Husseins regime is a
better and safer place".
So U.S. military technology which is omnicidal- capable
of destroying all life on the planet-will be ordered by
President Bush to make the world "a better and safer
place" by destroying nations and individuals he
President Bush presided over 152 executions in Texas,
far more than any other U.S. governor since World War
II. Included were women, minors, retarded persons,
aliens in violation of the Vienna Convention on
Diplomatic Relations and innocent persons. He never
acted to prevent a single execution. He has publicly
proclaimed the right to assassinate foreign leaders and
repeatedly boasted of summary executions and
indiscriminate killing in State of the Union messages
The danger of Bush unilateralism is further revealed
when he states:
"Colonel Qaddafi correctly judged that his country
would be better off, and far more secure without
weapons of mass murder. Nine months of intense
negotiations involving the United States and Great
Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of
diplomacy with Iraq did not."
Forget diplomacy, use "intense negotiations". If
President Bush believed it was "diplomacy", which
maintained genocidal sanctions against Iraq for twelve
years that failed, rather than an effort to crush Iraq
to submission, then why didn't he use "nine months of
intense negotiations" to avoid a war of aggression
against Iraq? He was President for nearly twenty seven
months before the criminal assault on Iraq, he
apparently intended all along. Iraq was no threat to
What President Bush means by "intense negotiations"
includes a threat of military aggression with the
example of Iraq to show this in no bluff. The Nuremberg
Judgment held Goerings threat to destroy Prague unless
Czechoslovakia surrendered Bohemia and Moravia to be an
act of aggression.
If Qaddafi "correctly judged his country would be
better off, and far more secure, without weapons of
mass murder", why would the United States not be better
off, and far more secure, if it eliminated all its vast
stores of nuclear weapons? Is not the greatest danger
from nuclear proliferation today without question
President Bush's violations of the Non Proliferation
(NPT), ABM and Nuclear Test Ban treaties by continuing
programs for strategic nuclear weapons, failing to
negotiate in good faith to achieve "nuclear
disarmament" after more than thirty years and
development of a new generation of nuclear weapons,
small "tactical" weapons of mass murder, which he would
use in a minute? Has he not threatened to use existing
strategic nuclear weapons? The failure of the "nuclear
weapon State Party(s)" to the NPT to work in good faith
to achieve "nuclear disarmament these past 36 years is
the reason the world is still confronted with the
threat of nuclear war and proliferation.
None of the many and changing explanations, excuses, or
evasions offered by President Bush to justify his war
of aggression can erase the crimes he has committed.
Among the less invidious misleading statements,
President Bush made on January 20, 2004 was:
"Already the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of
mass destruction-related program activities and
significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed
from the United Nations."
Three days later, Dr. Kay told Reuters he thought Iraq
had illicit weapons at the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf
War, but that by a combination of U.N. inspections and
Iraq's own decisions, "it got rid of them". He further
said it "is correct" to say Iraq does not have any
large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons in
the country. He has added that no evidence of any
chemical or biological weapons have been found in Iraq.
Iraq did not use illicit weapons in the 1991 Gulf war.
The U.S. did - 900 tons plus of depleted uranium, fuel
air explosives, super bombs, cluster bombs with
civilians and civilian facilities the "direct object of
attack". The U.S. claimed to destroy 80% of Iraq's
military armor. It dropped 88,500 tons of explosives, 7
1/2 Hiroshima's, on the country in 42 days. Iraq was
essentially defenseless. Tens of thousands of Iraqi
soldiers and civilians perished. The U.S. reported 157
casualties, 1/3 from friendly fire, the remainder non
U.N. inspectors over more than 6 years of highly
intrusive physical inspections found and destroyed 90%
of the materials required to manufacture nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons. U.N. sanctions imposed
August 6, 1990 had caused the deaths of 567,000
children under age five by October 1996, the U.N. FAO
reported. Twenty four percent of the infants born live
in Iraq in 2002 had a dangerously low birth weight
below 2 kilos, symbolizing the condition of the whole
In March 2003 Iraq was incapable of carrying out a
threat against the U.S., or any other country, and
would have been pulverized by U.S. forces in place in
the Gulf had it tried.
More than thirty five nations admit the possession of
nuclear, chemical and/or biological weapons. Are these
nations, caput lupinum, lawfully subject to destruction
because of their mere possession of WMDs? The U.S.
possesses more of each of these impermissible weapons
than all other nations combined, and infinitely greater
capacity for their delivery anywhere on earth within
hours. Meanwhile the U.S. increases its military
expenditures, which already exceed those of all other
nations on earth combined, and its technology which is
exponentially more dangerous.
The U.N. General Assembly Resolution on the Definition
of Aggression of December 14, 1974 provides in part:
Article 1: Aggression is the use of armed force by a
State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or
political independence of another State;
Article 2: The first use of armed force by a State in
contravention of the Charter shall constitute prima
facie evidence of an act of aggression;
Article 3: Any of the following acts ... qualify as an
act of aggression:
(a) The invasion or attack by the armed forces of a
State of the territory of another State, or any
military occupation, however temporary, resulting from
such invasion or attack;
(b) Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against
the territory of another State or the use of any
weapons by a State against the territory of another
(c) The blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by
the armed forces of another State;
(d) An attack by the armed forces of a State on the
land, sea or air forces, or marine and air fleets of
If the U.S. assault on Iraq is not a War of Aggression
under international law, then there is no longer such a
crime as War of Aggression. A huge, all powerful nation
has assaulted a small prostrate, defenseless people
half way around the world with "Shock and Awe" terror
and destruction, occupied it and continues daily
assaults. President Bush praises U.S. soldiers'
"...skill and their courage in armored charges, and
midnight raids." which terrorize and kill innocent
Iraqis, women, children, families, nearly every day and
average 180 attacks each week.
The first crime defined in the Constitution annexed to
the Charter of the International Military Tribunal
(Nuremberg) under Crimes Against Peace is War of
Aggression. II.6.a. The Nuremberg Judgment proclaimed:
"The charges in the indictment that the defendants
planned and waged aggressive war are charges of the
utmost gravity. War is essentially an evil thing. Its
consequences are not confined to the belligerent states
alone, but affect the whole world."
To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only
an international crime, it is the supreme international
The "seizure" of Austria in March 1938 and of Bohemia
and Moravia from Czechoslovakia in March 1939 following
the threat to destroy Prague were judged to be acts of
aggression by the Tribunal even in the absence of
actual war and after Britain, France, Italy and Germany
had agreed at Munich to cede Czechoslovakia's
Sudetenland to Germany.
The first conduct judged to be a war of aggression by
Nazi Germany was its invasion of Poland in September
1939. There followed a long list, Britain, France,
Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg,
Yugoslavia, Greece. The attack on the USSR, together
with Finland, Romania and Hungary, was adjudged as
It was contended for the defendants that the attack
upon the U.S.S.R. was justified because the Soviet
Union was contemplating an attack upon Germany, and
making preparations to that end. It is impossible to
believe that this view was ever honestly entertained.
The plans for the economic exploitation of the
U.S.S.R., for the removal of masses of the population,
for the murder of Commissars and political leaders,
were all part of the carefully prepared scheme launched
on 22 June without warning of any kind, and without the
shadow of legal excuses. It was plain aggression.
The United Nations cannot permit U.S. power to justify
its wars of aggression if it is to survive as a viable
institution for ending the scourges of war,
exploitation, hunger, sickness and poverty.
Comparatively minor acts and wars of aggression by the
United States in the last 20 years, deadly enough for
their victims, in Grenada, Libya, Panama, Haiti, the
Dominican Republic, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Cuba, Yemen with
many other nations threatened, sanctioned, or attacked,
some with U.N. complicity and all without effective
United Nations resistance, made the major deadly wars
of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq possible.
Failure to condemn the massive U.S. war of aggression
and illegal occupation of Iraq and any U.N. act
providing colorable legitimacy to the U.S. occupation
will open wide the gate to further, greater aggression.
The line must be drawn now.
The United Nations must recognize and declare the U.S.
attack and occupation of Iraq to be the war of
aggression it is. It must refuse absolutely to justify,
or condone the aggression, the illegal occupation and
the continuing U.S. assaults in Iraq. The U.N. must
insist that the U.S. withdraw from Iraq as it insisted
Iraq withdraw from Kuwait in 1990.
There must be no impunity or profit for wars of
The U.S. and U.S. companies must surrender all profits
and terminate all contracts involving Iraq.
There must be strict accountability by U.S. leaders and
others for crimes they have committed against Iraq and
compensation by the U.S. government for the damage its
aggression has inflicted on Afghanistan and Iraq, the
peoples injured there and stability and harm done to
This must be done with care to prevent the eruption of
internal divisions, or violence and any foreign
domination or exploitation in Iraq. The governance of a
united Iraq must be returned to the diverse peoples who
live there, acting together consensually in peace for
their common good as soon as possible.