I.P.O. Information Service


Iraq war 2003: question of war of aggression

Letter from Mr. Ramsey Clark to the Secretary-General of the United Nations -- 29 January 2004


The following letter has been sent by Mr. Ramsey Clark, former Attorney-General of the United States, founder of the International Action Center (New York), member of the Executive Board of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan.

New York, 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."
He proclaimed:

"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 and injuries.

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 Hussein's 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 designates.

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 and elsewhere.

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 anyone.

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 Goering's 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 combat.

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 population.

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 State;

(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 another State.

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 crime ...

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 follows:

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 aggression.

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  world peace.

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.


Ramsey Clark

END/Letter of Ramsey Clark to the Secretary-General of the United Nations/2004-01-29