Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Fruit of the poisonous tree 

There is a legal principle called "fruit of the poisonous tree" by which evidence is inadmissable if it was generated from an unconstitutional or illegal act.
In discussions about the Iraq War, I think we need to talk more about its poisonous tree -- the first mistake which is the mother of all the other mistakes made in this awful war.
Josh Marshall describes what is happening now: "It seems the president's defenders have fallen back on what has always been their argument of last resort -- cherry-picked quotes from Clinton administration officials arranged to give the misleading impression that the Clintonites said and thought the same thing about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as the Bushies did."
Yes, this is exactly what the Bush apologists are doing.
But the right wing and the left wing are both making the same error -- neither is talking about the poisonous tree.
Folks, it doesn't matter WHAT Clinton thought. It doesn't matter what Sandy Berger thought, either. Or Al Gore. Or the whole Senate and House and Pentagon. Neither does it matter what Powell thought, or Rice, or Tenent, or Rumsfeld, or Cheney, or Bush himself.
The point is this -- regardless of what ANYBODY thought, they had no right to ACT -- not unless or until Saddam committed an overt act of aggression first.
Clinton, it should be noted, did NOT unilaterally start a war even if he thought Saddam's weapons bore watching.
But with George Bush, the US pomulgated the Bush Doctrine, giving itself the authority to strike preemptively, to start a war.
Now, this doctrine is illegal in terms of international law. Regardless of how powerful the US thinks it is, it cannot legally ignore the Security Council, and demand "regime change" in another country, regardless of what weapons Saddam had or how awful his government was.
The Bush Doctrine is the basic mistake here, the poisonous tree which has produced poisoned fruit. The inability of the US to establish a legitimate and respected government in Iraq flows from the basic illegality of the Bush Doctrine. As a result of this doctrine, the US and Britain started the Iraq War without international support or credibility, and hence their occupation of Iraq was not legitimate. From the very beginning, they lacked the moral authority to govern; no democratic government can ever be successful without such authority.
Now, what Juan Cole calls "the guerrilla war" in Iraq is killing hundreds of Iraqis every week, including a dozen or more American soldiers. The insurgency is so widespread and so powerful that there are more than 100 attacks against American soldiers every day -- that's right, EVERY DAY. Now the news comes that the US was using white phosporous bombs in Fallujah last November
Juan Cole writes "The lessons of British Iraq were mostly unknown to the American politicians who planned out and executed the 2003 Iraq War. One of them is that the military occupation of a conquered population is a barbaric business and can easily draw the colonizer into the use of horrific means to control the rebellious occupied. The Americans' moral fibre is being destroyed from within by things like Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, and other atrocities. In the end, America may not any longer be America. The country that began by forbidding cruel and unusual punishment is ending by formally authorizing torture on a grand scale, and by burning small town Iraqis down to the bone with white phosphorus."
Poison. Pure poison.

Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers | 0 comments


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Email me!