Tuesday, October 25, 2011

VAU Afghanistan 101: US War Crimes

George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush
Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes

by Mike Haas
Thinking about the idea of a "Virtual Antiwar University (VAU)" -- or, as @PeaceCouple refers to it, "Virtual Peace University" -- I asked myself, "What would be a practical way to start?"

It struck me that we could tackle a single topic each week -- on #AfghanistanTuesday! -- and over the course of eight weeks or so we could try out some teach-in materials. In other words, both learn and contribute to the development of a curriculum.

In thinking about what would be worth covering, I remembered the urging of my friends at Voices for Creative Non-Violence: start with the experience of the victims of war. Too often we focus on the cynical arguments about the costs to ourselves, but isn't the real question the harm we are doing to others?

I also thought of the focus over the next several months on indefinite detention and the crimes of the U.S. government with respect to Guantanamo, Bagram, and other detention sites. We should be sure to tie in to that.

It then occurred to me that perhaps the right framework would be to look at eight different categories of U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan (of which detention is one). This would allow me to make use of some research I've already been doing.

Below are eight categories of U.S. war crimes, selected from Mike Haas' book, George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes. I have suggested a series of #AfghanistanTuesday dates for looking at them. I propose to set up a separate page covering each topic, and the comment section on each page will be actively used by others to contribute ideas, comments, etc.

VAU Afghanistan 101: US War Crimes

If the American public knew the nature of the crimes that its government was committing in Afghanistan, could it possibly sit still and not force an end to the war, and the removal of U.S. military, intelligence, and contractors from Afghanistan?

Tuesday, November 1 -- Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians

Tuesday, November 8 -- Extrajudicial Executions

Tuesday, November 15 -- Failure of Commanding Officers to Ensure That Subordinates Understand Geneva Convention Obligations Regarding the Conduct of Warfare

Tuesday, November 22 -- Outrages Upon Personal Dignity

Tuesday, November 29 -- Torture

Tuesday, December 6 -- Failure to Prevent Torture

Tuesday, December 13 -- Discrimination Based on Nationality, Race, or Religion

Tuesday, December 20 -- Collective Punishment

To repeat, these are just eight war crimes selected for attention from among a long list provided at the websites for George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes.

Related posts

It would be good if we could present this whole collection of learning opportunities -- this "virtual antiwar university" -- in a way that captures the public's imagination. Particularly since the occupy movement has done so much to mobilize people, to wake them up, and to lead them. Is there an opportunity to elevate this into something bigger than isolated teaching events? How could we make something like this happen?

(See Virtual Antiwar University )

Can there be any doubt that Obama and his administration, who think it is their right to wage war in secret, kill anyone they want to, and destroy whole societies, took their cues from Kissinger and Nixon and their "Imperial (and criminal) Presidency"?

(See No Statute of Limitations for War Crimes (Henry Kissinger in Chicago) )

The crime of Extrajudicial Execution is described on the website for Mike Haas' book, George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes. Here, we will look at the specific legal basis for charging perpetrators as war criminals for Extrajudicial Executions, and list sources reporting relevant U.S. actions in Afghanistan.

(See VAU Afgh 101: Extrajudicial Executions )

It's time to face the truth. Whatever NATO stood for in the past, today NATO aids and abets the aggressive wars and other militarism driven by the United States. So when you think "NATO," don't think "peace alliance" -- think "war crimes alliance"!

(See NATO: A War Crimes Alliance )