(Carl Herman) The most expensive public policy and most precious civil liberty involves the life and death issue of war. For cost: Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard’s Linda Bilmes co-authored a paper that current US wars have a long-term cost to US taxpayers of $3 to $5 trillion now. That’s up to ~$50,000 per US household (this also means if your household income is $100,000/year that your share of current US war cost is $100,000).
is an excerpt from a recent public speech by 92-year-old Ben Ferencz to the “young people.” Ben was a US prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials. He has publicly stated for years now that the US does in current wars what the US prosecuted and executed Nazis for doing: Wars of Aggression under the specious pretext of “self-defense.” His testimony joins the following that I know of and documented previously
One of the first academic leaders to explain the obvious is Francis Boyle
, Harvard-educated (Ph.D in political science and J.D.) international law professor. His outrage is expressed in the title of his article, Is Bush’s War Illegal? Let us Count the Ways:
“The precedent again goes back to the Nuremberg Judgment of 1946 when the lawyers for the Nazi defendants argued that we, the Nazi government had a right to go to war in self-defense as we saw it, and no one could tell us any differently. Of course that preposterous argument was rejected by Nuremberg. It is very distressing to see some of the highest level of officials of our country making legal arguments that were rejected by the Nuremberg Tribunal.”
, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton:
“An objective observer would reach the conclusion that this Iraq war is a War of Aggression, and as such, that it amounts to a Crime against Peace of the sort for which surviving German leaders were indicted, prosecuted and punished at the Nuremberg trials conducted shortly after the Second World War.”
Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan
responding to the direct question whether the Iraq War is illegal:
“I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter… from the charter point of view, it was illegal.”
In the January 2010 UK Chilcot Inquiry, testimony revealed that all 27 UK Foreign Affairs lawyers were in agreement
that the US/UK war was an unlawful War of Aggression. Their unanimous professional legal assessment before the war began was rejected without public disclosure of their work and public debate.
So there we are. We have a difficult world, and really it’s up to the young people to do something about it. Do what your heart tells you is the right thing – stop glorifying war. Do it as best you can. We are spending $2 billion every day on the military. We have a stronger military than every nation in the world combined. What for? No one wants the US to be the self-appointed policeman of he world. The country is on the verge of bankruptcy. We are denying people the elements of health and education by wasting our money on weapons of mass destruction that we cannot use. If you cannot reach and persuade politicians to reverse this disastrous policy, you may have to take to the streets. What else can we do?
America is a great democracy, and in every democracy it’s normal, and it should be that way, that people have differences of opinion. But a democracy can only work if its people are being told the truth. You cannot run a country as Hitler did, feeding the public a pack of lies to frighten them that they are being threatened so it’s justified to kill people you don’t even know. You cannot do that. It’s not logical, it’s not decent, it’s not moral and it’s not helpful. When an unmanned bomber from a secret American airfield fires rockets into a little Pakistan or Afghan village and thereby kills or maims unknown numbers of innocent people, what is the effect of that?
Every victim will hate Americans forever and will be willing to die killing as many Americans as possible. Where there is no court of justice wild vengeance is the alternative.
I’m a law-man. I believe in the rule of law. I see that we are provoking what we condemn as dangerous terrorism. The country is terrified. The freedom from fear that President Roosevelt talked about doesn’t exist in America today, Armies of airport guards check the shoes of old ladies to see if they’ve got a bomb hidden there. What have we come to? It’s not my world any more. My future is behind me. But, for your sake, and for those who have grand-children, make up your mind. Speak up when you can. Talk to your Congressman. Talk to your friends. Talk to your enemies. It’s up to the lawyers to lay down the rules and create the courts. We’re doing that, slowly and with difficulty. We need help from the public. You are the public. Good luck to you.