The prior blog covered violations of the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Principles, the Geneva and Hague Conventions by President George W. Bush and high officials in his administration. Part II contains listings of violations of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. statutes, long-standing legal practice and indiscriminate use of weapons of mass destruction.
III. Violations of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Statutes and Long-Standing Legal Practice
1) The invasion of Iraq without a declaration of war violated the U.S.Constitution, which gives the Congress the sole power to declare war.
2) The detention of a U.S. citizen, Jose Padilla, without charges and without access to a lawyer for a considerable time, violated due process provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
3) Wiretapping without a court order violated the FISA Act of 1978. Ignorance of the law is not a factor, since there is a oft-played audio in which George W. Bush assures the nation that no one can wiretap without a court order.
4) The use of presidential signing statements was once a purely ceremonial affair without any legislative intent. Ronald Reagan was the first president to try to give signing statements a legislative intent and to urge judges to use such statements as a factor in legal rulings. President Bush greatly expanded upon the scope and number of such statements, as initially brought out by a Boston Globe story specifying at least 750 such statements.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the president may participate in the legislative process only by proposing legislation and vetoing/approving bills.
5) Although the firing of eight U.S. attorneys was within President Bush’s discretion, as frequently claimed, the fact that no explanations have been provided for individual firings; the fact that those who may have played roles in the firings can’t be questioned due to claims of executive privilege; the fact that documents related to the firings are being withheld from Congress;. and the fact that emails have been lost or erased, raises the strong suspicion that the firings were due to the eight running their offices in a manner that was insufficiently politically partisan.
6) The current case of an Interior Department undersecretary doctoring scientific documents is just the latest skirmish in a long-running war against science conducted by the Bush administration, in which the revision of scientific information to downgrade the threat of global warming has been the most repeated offense.
IV. Weapons of Mass and Indiscriminate Destruction
President Bush has inveighed against weapons of mass destruction but he has not been held to account for the weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction used during his presidency.
1) The 15,000 pound Daisy-Cutter was used in Afghanistan beginning in the first week of November 2001 to try to dislodge Taliban troops dug-in to stop a Northern Alliance advance on Kabul. Later, the Daisy-Cutter, along with the B-52 bomber, was used to pulverize caves and tunnels in the White Mountains to prevent their use by the Taliban and foreign fighters.
The Daisy-Cutter can incinerate an area equivalent to five football fields.
2) The use of the B-52 bomber to carpet-bomb dug-in Taliban was first advocated by Senator John McCain. The imprecise nature of B-52 bombing was emphasized when a 2,000 pound bomb killed a number of U.S. and anti-Taliban troops on December 5, 2001. B-52s were used in the heavy bombing of the White Mountains, raising serious concerns about long-term ecological damage.
3) Cluster bombs were heavily used in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Tragically, the bomblets used in Afghanistan were the same color as the food packages being dropped by another arm of the government. The U.S. military claims only a one percent failure rate of the bomblets but failure rates on the older versions are much higher.
Cluster bombs are not banned by international law but there is a strong movement under way by as many as 40 nations to ban them due to their deadly effect on civilian populations.
4) Depleted uranium, with its long-term radiation effect, has become a commonly used munition by the U.S. military due to its superior armor-piercing capability.
5) The U.S. military first denied using white phosphorous or any other chemical in Iraq. The Pentagon later said that white phosphorous was used strictly to illuminate positions in Fallujah, Iraq. Finally, after U.S. troops in the Fallujah offensive spoke out, the Pentagon acknowledged that white phosphorous was used in combat to drive insurgents from their positions so they could be killed by heavy explosives.
Italian RAI state television showed video images of white phosphorous being used in Fallujah; said it was being used “in a massive and indiscriminate way” against civilians; and reported on civilians in hospitals with phosphorous burns — phosphorous can burn to the bone.
Protocol three of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCCW), prohibits the use of white phosphorous against civilians and military targets located within a concentration of civilians. The U.S. has ratified only protocols one and two of the CCCW. Ironically, before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration warned that use of chemical weapons by the Iraqis could bring the use of nuclear weapons by the United States.
6) President Bush has not ruled out using nuclear weapons against buried nuclear facilities in Iran. Using Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability software developed by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Physicians for Social Responsibility has calculated that using a B83 nuclear bomb, adapted for bunker busting, to attack the nuclear facilities at Ishahan, Iran, could kill three million people with one explosion.