John Yoo opposes a U.S. War

You read it here first. Or, if you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, second. In today’s WSJ, Yoo actually speaks out against a war. Yoo, remember is the Berkeley law professor who believes that the U.S. president has way more power than the Constitution appears to give him and that he can rightfully use this power to order the torture of people.

No, he doesn’t oppose the current war. He probably won’t oppose the next war. But he does oppose, apparently, the War of 1812. Here’s what he wrote:

But the historical record on this is not heartening. During the reign of the Jeffersonians, the progenitors of today’s Democrats, the congressional caucus chose the party’s nominee. It was a system that yielded mediocrity, even danger. Congressional hawks pushed James Madison into the War of 1812 by demanding ever more aggressive trade restrictions against Great Britain and ultimately declaring war — all because they wanted to absorb Canada. It ended with a stalemate in the north, the torching of the U.S. capital, and Gen. Andrew Jackson winning a victory at the Battle of New Orleans.

Ellsberg remarks at Die-in, San Francisco

[These were my remarks to several hundred activists and supporters participating in a die-in in downtown San Francisco at noon today, March 19, 2008, on the fifth anniversary of the launching of shock and awe in Iraq. All those blocking traffic–surprisingly, for a couple of hours, before we were all arrested–were handcuffed, booked and released some hours later for a later court date. I chose to paraphrase, in part, a statement to the court I had heard my older son Robert make in Colorado thirty years ago this spring, when we were on trial for blocking the railroad tracks leading to the Rocky Flats Nuclear Production Plant in 1978.]

On this fifth anniversary of an ongoing American crime against the peace, it is well to remember the 40th anniversary–four days ago, this last Sunday–of an American war crime in a hamlet named My Lai. On March 16, 1968, American soldiers–as brave as any fighting now in Iraq–obeyed blatantly illegal orders to gun down 504 Vietnamese civilians, nearly all women, children and infants.

The war in Iraq is a My Lai writ large: on a scale of a thousand. The best estimate of the number of civilians killed in this war, as of last year, is 1.2 million. Not all of those, by any means, have been killed by Americans. Many have been murdered by Iraqis; but American airpower has killed a very high proportion of those civilians, along with indiscriminate ground fire; and it was an American decision that unleashed this slaughter five years ago. 1.2 million people. That corresponds to a My Lai a day, every day, for six and a half years. That’s longer than this war has yet lasted, but not nearly as long as it will probably last.

The Republican candidate for president has projected an occupation of fifty to a hundred years. That could very well prove to be realistic. Of the two Democratic candidates, neither one has been willing to commit–even to an intention–to have every American soldier out of Iraq by the end of her or his first term: five years from now. That is unacceptable. But that situation will not change unless the American people demand that it change. We must demand that our representatives in Congress–as Representative Barbara Lee and others have proposed in resolutions that have not reached the floor for a vote– cut off the funding for any American presence in Iraq, including enduring bases, except for purpose of withdrawal over a period of months. We must demand that a candidate who wants our support and our votes commit to that same goal.

The people lying in the street here [as I began these remarks, people had begun lying down in a die-in in the middle of the intersection of Market and Montgomery Streets in downtown San Francisco, in front of the office of Senator Diane Feinstein] symbolize both the nearly four thousand American dead and the more than a million Iraqis who have died in the war. But they also express, with our bodies, our lives, that this war is continuing, as it began, without our consent.

By lying here– obstructing for moments or hours business as usual–fifty of us, a hundred, a thousand across the country, do not have the power to end this war. But we are trying to show that we as a people–if we have the will and determination–do have that power: the power to change ourselves and history. We as a people have the power to end this war. And that is what we must do.

Let’s get on with it.

[At this point my wife Patricia and I joined more than sixty others stopping traffic by lying in the intersection, awaiting arrest.]

Let Us Not Forget

After describing the carnage of the World War I battle of the Somme, future president Herbert Hoover remarked that in another even more dreadful sense he saw inhuman policies of war:  

That was the determination on both sides to bring subjection by starvation. The food blockade by the Allied Governments on the one side, and the ruthless submarine warfare by the Central Powers on the other, had this as its major purpose. Both sides professed that it was not their purpose to starve women and children. But it is an idiot who thinks soldiers ever starve. It was women and children who died of starvation. It was they who died of the disease which came from short food supplies, not in hundreds of thousands, but in millions. And after the Armistice came famine and pestilence, in which millions perished and other millions grew up stunted in mind and body. That is war. Let us not forget.

Tragically, most Americans did forget. On this fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, let us never forget the evil deeds of the architects of the war and the congressmen who continue to fund it.

Obama Gets PC

Patriotically correct, that is, the most common and most oppressive form of political correctness in our post-9/11 world. From this morning’s speech:

But the remarks [by Rev. Jeremiah Wright] that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

Pure PC piffle. As for the rest of the speech, eh, not so bad. As Jesse Walker noted,

If you don’t have a friend — a real friend, someone who means something to you and sometimes influences your decisions — who occasionally expresses a nutty opinion (“The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color”) or an impolitic truth (“a country and a culture controlled by rich white people”), then you really, really need to get out more.

Bush Earned Impeachment 5 Years Ago Today

In a memo sent to Congress five years ago today, Bush decreed that he was attacking Iraq “to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”

The Bush administration linked Saddam to 9/11 to justify commencing a war that has left hundreds of thousands of people dead.

Launching an unprovked aggressive war was recognized as a war crime at the Nuremberg tribunals in 1946, which declared that to “initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

The Bush administration has had five years to offer up evidence to support the Saddam/9/11 tie. They have offered nothing.

It is an outrage that Bush has faced no legal or constitutional peril for his lethal fraud.