The Rogue Elephant
Mr. Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence: Will the US War on Terrorism Go Nuclear? (Clarity Press, 2002) and Foundations of World Order, The Legalist Approach to International Relations (1898-1922) (Duke University Press, 1999).
When George Bush, Jr. came to power in January of 2001, he proceeded to implement foreign affairs and defense policies that were every bit as radical, extreme and excessive as the Reagan/Bush administrations had starting in January of 1981. To be sure, Bush Jr. had no popular mandate to do anything. Indeed, a majority of the American electorate had voted for his corporate-cloned opponent.
Upon his installation, Bush Jr.'s" compassionate conservatism" quickly revealed itself to be nothing more than reactionary Machiavellianism--as if there had been any real doubt about this during the presidential election campaign. Fascism with a friendly face. Even the Bush Jr. cast of Machiavellian characters were pretty much the same as the original Reagan/Bush foreign affairs and defense"experts," many of whom were called back into service and given promotions for international crimes they had committed anywhere from ten to twenty years ago. It was deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra aptly put it.
International Legal Nihilism
In quick succession the world saw these Bush Jr. Leaguers repudiate the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the International Criminal Court, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), an international convention to regulate the trade in small arms, a verification Protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention, an international convention to regulate and reduce smoking, the World Conference Against Racism, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems Treaty, inter alia. To date the Bush Jr. Leaguers have not found an international convention that they like. The only exception to this rule was their shameless exploitation of the 11 September 2001 tragedy in order to get the U.S. House of Representatives to give Bush Jr. so-called"fast-track" trade negotiation authority so as to present the American people and Congress with yet another non-amendable fait accompli on behalf of American multinationals, corporations, banks, insurance companies, the high-tech and biotech industries, Wall Street, etc. The epitome of"globalization," American-style.
More ominously, once into office the Bush Jr. Leaguers adopted an incredibly belligerent posture towards the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC), publicly identifying the PRC as America's foremost competitor/opponent into the 21st Century. Then their needlessly pugnacious approach towards the downing of a U.S. spy plane in China with the death of a Chinese pilot only exacerbated these already tense U.S./Chinese relations. Next the Bush Jr. Leaguers decided to sell high-tech weapons to Taiwan in violation of the USA/PRC Joint Communiqué of 17 August 1982 that had been negotiated and concluded earlier by the Reagan/Bush administration. Finally came Bush Jr.'s breathtaking statement that the United States would defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by the PRC irrespective of Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution expressly reserving to Congress alone the right to declare war. President Jimmy Carter had long ago terminated the U.S.-Taiwan self-defense treaty.
For twelve years the Constitution and the Rule of Law--whether domestic or international--never deterred the Reagan/Bush administrations from pursuing their internationally lawless and criminal policies around the world. The same was true for the Clinton administration as well - invading Haiti; bombing Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Serbia; the Lewinsky scandal, etc. The Bush Jr. administration has behaved no differently from its lineal Machiavellian predecessors. Their bellicose handling of the 11 September 2001 tragedy was no exception to this general rule.
The Bush Jr. Withdrawal from the ABM Treaty
Then, as had been foreshadowed, whispered, hinted at and finally broadcast over a period of several months, came the monumentally insane, horrendous, and tragic announcement on 13 December 2001 by the Bush Jr. administration to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, effective within six months. Of course it was sheer coincidence that the Pentagon released their self-styled Bin Laden Video just as Bush Jr. himself publicly announced his indefensible decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty in order to pursue his phantasmagorical National Missile Defense (NMD) Program, the lineal successor to the Reagan/Bush Star Wars dream. Predictably, the Bin Laden Video back-staged this major, pro-nuclear announcement. Once again the terrible national tragedy of 11 September was shamelessly exploited in order to justify a reckless decision that had already been made for other reasons long before. Then on 25 January 2002, the Pentagon promptly conducted a sea-based NMD test in gross violation of Article 5(I) of the ABM Treaty without waiting for the required six months to expire, thus driving a proverbial nail into the coffin of the ABM Treaty before its body was even legally dead.
The Bush Jr. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, which was originally negotiated by those well-known Machiavellian realpolitikers Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, threatens the very existence of other seminal arms control treaties and regimes such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Biological Weapons Convention, which have similar withdrawal clauses. The prospect of yet another round of the multilateral and destabilizing nuclear arms race now stares humanity directly in the face, even as the Bush Jr. administration today prepares for the quick resumption of nuclear testing at the Nevada test site in outright defiance of the CTBT regime and NPT Article VI. The entire edifice of international agreements regulating, reducing, and eliminating weapons of mass extermination (WME) has been shaken to its very core. And now the Pentagon and the CIA are back into the dirty business of researching, developing and testing biological weapons and biological agents that are clearly prohibited by the Biological Weapons Convention and its U.S. domestic implementing legislation, the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.
The U.S. First-Strike Nuclear Strategy
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the impoverishment of Russia leaving the United States as the world's"only superpower" or"hyperpower," we are getting to the point, if we are not there already, where only the United States has the capability to launch an offensive first-strike strategic nuclear weapons attack upon any adversary. For that precise reason, deploying the so-called"national missile defense" (NMD) has become a critical objective of the United States government. NMD is not really needed to shoot down a stray missile from some so-called"rogue state." Rather U.S. NMD is essential for mopping up any residual Russian or Chinese strategic nuclear weapons that might survive a U.S. offensive first-strike with strategic nuclear weapons systems.
The successful deployment of NMD will finally provide the United States with what it has always sought: the capacity to launch a successful offensive first-strike strategic nuclear attack, coupled with the capability to neutralize a Russian and/or Chinese retaliatory nuclear attack. At that point, the United States will proceed to use this capability to enforce its Hegemonial Will upon the rest of the world. Strategic nuclear"thinkers" such as Harvard's Thomas Schelling call this doctrine" compellance" as opposed to"deterrence." With NMD the world will become dominated by this U.S." compellance" strategy.
Honest Nuclear War-Mongering
Consequently, it should come as no surprise that the historically covert intent of America's nuclear"deterrence policy" should now come to light through almost off-the-cuff remarks such as those by the omnipresent U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz appearing in the 9 January 2002 edition of the New York Times:
"We're looking at a transformation of our deterrence posture from an almost exclusive emphasis on offensive nuclear forces to a force that includes defenses as well as offenses, that includes conventional strike capabilities as well as nuclear strike capabilities, and includes a much reduced level of nuclear strike capability," the deputy secretary of defense, Paul D. Wolfowitz, said.
Well, at least he was honest about it.
Wolfowitz admitted that the current U.S. practice of so-called nuclear"deterrence" is in fact really based upon"an almost exclusive emphasis on offensive nuclear forces." To reiterate, since this deserves emphasis: The U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense has publicly admitted and conceded that"almost" all U.S. nuclear forces are really"offensive" and not really"defenses." That Statement could be taken to the International Court of Justice and filed against the United States government as an Admission Against Interest, Wolfowitz acting within the scope of his official duties. Of course the Peace Movement and informed American public knew this was true all along. Nonetheless, it should be regarded as an ominous sign of the times that the Pentagon has become so brazen that it is publicly admitting U.S. nuclear criminality to the entire world. The arrogance of the Hyperpower!
A Nuremberg Crime Against Peace
Then, writing in the March 10, 2002 edition of the Los Angeles Times, defense analyst William Arkin revealed the leaked contents of the Bush Jr. administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that it had just transmitted to Congress on January 8. The Bush Jr. administration has ordered the Pentagon to draw up war plans for the first-use of nuclear weapons against seven states: the so-called"axis of evil" - Iran, Iraq, and North Korea; Libya and Syria; Russia and China, which are nuclear armed. This component of the Bush Jr. NPR incorporates the Clinton administration's 1997 nuclear war-fighting plans against so-called"rogue states" set forth in Presidential Decision Directive 60. These warmed-over nuclear war plans targeting these five non-nuclear states expressly violate the so-called"negative security assurances" given by the United States as an express condition for the renewal and indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by all of its non-nuclear weapons states parties in 1995.
In this regard, Article 6 of the 1945 Nuremberg Charter provides in relevant part as follows:
.... The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:
(a) Crimes against peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;
Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.
To the same effect is the Sixth Principle of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, which were adopted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations in 1950:
The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
Notice that both of these elemental sources of public international law clearly provide that the"planning" or"preparation" of a war in violation of international"assurances" such as the aforementioned U.S. negative security assurance constitutes a Nuremberg Crime against Peace. Such is the Bush Jr. NPR!
The Rogue Elephant of International Law and Politics
Equally reprehensible from a legal perspective were the NPR's call for the Pentagon to draft nuclear war-fighting plans for first nuclear strikes (1) against alleged nuclear/chemical/biological"materials" or"facilities"; (2)"against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack"; and (3)"in the event of surprising military developments," whatever that means. According to the NPR, the Pentagon must also draw up nuclear war-fighting plans to intervene with nuclear weapons in wars (1) between China and Taiwan; (2) between Israel and the Arab states; (3) between North Korea and South Korea; and (4) between Israel and Iraq. It is obvious upon whose side the United States will actually plan to intervene with the first-use nuclear weapons. And quite ominously, today the Bush Jr. administration accelerates its plans for launching an apocalyptic military aggression against Iraq, deliberately raising the spectre of a U.S. first-strike nuclear attack upon that long-suffering country and its people.
The Bush Jr. administration is making it crystal clear to all its chosen adversaries around the world that it is fully prepared to cross the threshold of actually using nuclear weapons that has prevailed since the U.S. criminal bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Yet more proof of the fact that the United States government has officially abandoned"deterrence" for" compellance" in order to rule the future world of the Third Millenium. The Bush Jr. administration has obviously become a"threat to the peace" within the meaning of U.N. Charter article 39. It must be countermanded by the U.N. Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. In the event of a U.S. veto of such"enforcement action" by the Security Council, then the U.N. General Assembly must deal with the Bush Jr. administration by invoking its Uniting for Peace Resolution of 1950.
There very well could be some itty-bitty"rogue states" lurking out there somewhere in the Third World. But today the United States government has become the sole"rogue elephant" of international law and politics. For the good of all humanity, America must be restrained. Time is of the essence!
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A.J. - 9/22/2002
I have to say that I find Professor Boyle's article very honest
and alarming. I read some of replies and they didn't convince
me. If you think that Boyle is wrong, then prove it. Don't just
throw flame, but say what it is that he claims that is not
true. I agree that China is a dictatorship, that there are
terrorist organizations in many places in the world, that
biological weapons are being developed in who knows how many
countries. These facts do not diminish the fact that currently the greatest danger to the world is the most powerful country in
history, the country with more weapons of mass destruction than
the next 25 countries. This country is getting more aggressive
and now it openly declares it readiness to ignore any
international laws and charters as it likes.
Expressing these views does not mean that I am anti-american. In
fact, I am completely convinced that the great majority of
American people are decent people who don't think that it is
the right of their government to kill people of other countries
at will, "in the national interest."
So please, respect the democratic process and try to prove that
Boyle is wrong; don't call him an idiot, leftist, or paranoid.
This is not worthy of human beings and does not help anyone.
A.J. from Toronto, Canada
Micky Young - 9/7/2002
You'd think a college professor would be able to pen an article with more real content and less political rhetoric. However, Mr. Boyle clearly reveals his leftist intent in the first few paragraphs; to attack conservative republicans. Once his intent was established the remainder of this piece had little effect, Written mostly for half-wits and mindless media controlled thinkers. I would suggest he approach his subject with at least a small amount of impartial civility if he intends to capture the attention of any fully intelligent reader. It pains me to know this man is instructing and shaping the minds of our youth.
Salvador Vargas - 9/6/2002
Too much for your pea size left-wing brain, huh?
Ephraim Schulman - 9/6/2002
Septermber 6, 2002
Why would anyone bother to refer to this "rebuttal"?
Salvador Vargas - 9/5/2002
This article is nothing more than a lithany of anti-american nonsense. In an effort to justify a do nothing policy, the likes of which brought about September 11, Boyle recites a long list of issues central to any good anti-american's heart because they hit them hard right where it hurts and placed them in full retreat and into historical oblivion. One case in point since a full retort would be too long besides unnecessary: The arrival of Republican Ronald Reagan marked the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union, something the likes of Boyle will never forgive him for. That was one of the many contributions to Mankind that made Ronald Reagan one of the greatest historical figures and political geniuses of all times, something that idiots like Boyle will never grasp because they are just to busy defending policies and ideologies that have been utterly discredited by that most unforgiving of all judges: history. The fact that they continue to underestimate the stature of Ronald Reagan and embrace that which has been handled historical condemnation is incontrovertible proof of their inability to grasp reality and/or their fanatical militancy to further anything anti-american.
What he quotes as International Law “violations” by America is nothing more than applying the common sense policy of avoiding that which has been designed without America’s best interest in mind such as the "Kyoto Protocol" and the "Durban Conference of Racists" just to mention two instances.
David Horowitz is absolutely right, the left wing McCarthytes of the Universities and Academia may dominate these but they sure need to dominate basic thinking abilities. If I ever step on his campus by accident, or any other with such "intellectual" frauds as Boyle, all I'm going to say is, "Beam me up Scottie... There's no intelligent life here".
Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico.
DON DESMEDT - 9/5/2002
Mr. Boyle may be a law professor, but he is a completly ignorant
of how the world works. His Anti-American, pro terrorist, pro-Clinton bilge is sickening. Please tell to move to whatever country he thinks is better than America.
Alec Lloyd - 9/4/2002
So you were purposely insulting and using over-the-top metaphors to “smoke out” people insulted by it? How very CLEVER of you.
If you were truly trying to be detached and professional, the “Bush Jr.” comment would have been omitted as it is insulting and factually incorrect, as I am sure you well know. Just as a conservative knows that throwing words like “feminazi” is guaranteed to generate anger in a certain political faction, so you have made a concerted effort to enrage and denigrate your opponents. Rhetorically you have poked them in the eye and then smirked at their discomfiture. Your arguments are certainly on the level of sandbox antics.
Your “judicial coup d’etat” remark is of a similar level. Either you are so far detached from reality to believe that one took place (in which case I presume you are hoarding gold bullion and Beecher’s Bibles under your bed as well) or you are simply throwing every brick handy at your hated political adversaries, without any regard for damage you might do to the body politic.
As someone who works in politics and has a detailed knowledge of how elections work, I can tell you that while the Florida election was highly irregular, the action of the Supremes was both justified and Constitutional. Elections MUST be resolved in a certain time frame, or anarchy will prevail. Federal law made just such a provision for a disputed election. Had Albert Gore, Jr.’s suit prevailed and yet another recount been ordered (which numerous independent researchers have verified would not have changed the outcome in any event), the Florida Legislature was prepared to appoint its own slate of electors which would, again, have voted for George W. Bush. In that case I suspect you would have spoken of a “legislative coup d’etat.”
It was Florida’s singular misfortune not to have a single statewide standard for improperly punched ballots. My home state of Michigan had a similar problem in the 1950s which has since been rectified with legislation spelling out in precise terms which ballots may be counted and which may not. No discretion is left to individual canvassing boards in this matter, which is as it should be.
Florida’s Supreme Court, overruling (Democrat) lower court judges, decided to start making up these standards on the fly and made no effort to apply them in a uniform manner. Such a maneuver is far more worthy of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe than anything contemplated by the Bush administration.
It is also worth mentioning that an extensive study of spoiled ballots by Professor John Lott has revealed that those areas with the highest percentage of spoiled ballots were heavily Democratic and their clerks and election officials hailed from the Democratic party. Truly, Republicans are clever indeed if they can infiltrate so deeply as to force Democrat election workers to spoil ballots for their own candidate.
One would expect a law professor to be mindful that George W. Bush is the second consecutive president to fail to receive less than majority of the popular vote. William Clinton never achieved a majority vote in either of his electoral victories. Was he also illegitimate?
The fissures in the American body politic are indeed troubling, and you are doing nothing if not working tirelessly to exacerbate them. You can blame Walgreen’s or Wal-Mart or the Tooth Fairy for “urban anarchy,” but the fact of the matter is the inner cities are run by corrupt one-party regimes and (brace for a shock) they tend not to be Republican in character.
It is the Democrats who have decided that skin color must determine party affiliation. Again, you can lay the blame on Nixon, Buchanan or Mickey Mouse but the fact is Black Republicans are regularly derided by “civil rights leaders” as Uncle Toms and traitors to their race. I have yet to hear a Democrat denounce this divisive demagoguery.
Likewise, it is Democrats who embrace Big Business, not Republicans. Democrats are always eager to pursue “targeted tax cuts” and new regulations which only large corporations can afford to comply with. Indeed, pitch a tax cut in business taxes and watch Democrats fall over themselves to condemn it as a handout for the “rich.” However, put a bill for a tax break for GM to build a new plant and the Dems will line up to praise it.
If you wonder where your mom-and-pop corner store went, look no further than city income taxes, personal property taxes and FICA levies which add 20 percent or more to the cost of hiring each employee. Walgreen can recoup those costs; Ma and Pa Podinski cannot.
Furthermore, while there is something to be said for the ambience of the Podinski drug store, there are times when 24-hour operation is highly desirable. At 2 a.m. when one of your children or your spouse is unexpectedly taken ill and the medicine cabinet is bare, you are quite grateful to avail yourself of the Corporate Nazis who are willing to keep a shop open so you can buy some Pepto.
Which brings us to the Gestapo-like security guards and cameras, which, while seeming Orwellian in the fevered minds of John Birchers and Michigan Militia types, are in fact there to prevent theft and violence to the property and personnel of the store, not create a dossier on the customers.
Certain high-profile stores have ALWAYS had additional security, such a banks and jewelry stores. Were they really vanguard cadre of the New Brown Shirts? No, they were there to protect property and employees.
Because they operate at hours when there are few people about, Walgreen’s and other stores are particularly vulnerable to hold-ups. The fact is a crack addict (created of course by CIA) is more likely to go to an empty drug store at 2 a.m. for some quick cash than a crowded mall at noon. Not that criminals object to standing in line, but they prefer less witnesses.
It may offend your sensibilities to actually CATCH a criminal in the act or PROTECT an innocent employee, but given the ineffectiveness of law enforcement in many areas and stringent gun-control (which often accompanies it), these are the only means for companies to prevent their stores from becoming piggy banks for the neighborhood crime lords.
In sum, it is you who thrive on bitter invective, who have made it your mission to indoctrinate a new generation of victims with your strange conspiracy theories of American Original Sin. For all your sophisticated vocabulary and postmodern smoke and mirrors, you remain a tenured professor in a comfortable job who has no understanding of the challenges average Americans face. In an era when union workers own stock in their company (and, Enron not withstanding, are loathe to give it up) the 1930s template of “Modern Times” is woefully obsolete.
Most workers labor for small businesses and this segment is continually growing. If you wish to accelerate this trend, abolish corporate income taxes, inheritance taxes and other barriers to small-businesses. Repeal FICA and let workers plan their own retirement. Again, only GM, Microsoft and other giants can afford to absorb their costs. Support tort reform so that mom-and-pop groceries can’t be sued into oblivion every time a drunk slips on their steps. Ever price liability insurance? It’s peanuts for Xerox or IBM, but one lawsuit can drive Ma and Pa Podinski out of business.
Most importantly, set aside your mantra of “America is an evil corporate state” and see the world as it really is. We aren’t playing Rollerball and John Houseman isn’t running the world.
It must be fun to sit around the faculty lounge and come up with clever insults for the rubes that pay your state-subsidized saleries, but in the end, all you are accomplishing is furthering your own marginalization from the rest of society. That is why so many professional journals are completely out of touch with working America. Yes, it feels good to go to a conference, recite clever new puns about the president’s alleged lack of intellect (“Oh, you are sooo, right, professor”) but in the end, all you have accomplished is a reinforcement of the monolithic groupthink that dominates the American academy.
Indeed, if you want Orwellian, look to your own humanities departments. I think you’ll find all the conservatives have been purged long ago.
Al Czervik - 9/4/2002
>>Dr. Goldman has done for us precisely what I had hoped to >>smoke out: The nastiness at the core of what passes >>for "conservatism" in this era, its resistance to reasoned >>exchange, and obviously more, but most glaringly, the weakness >>that nurtures lashing out rather than measured, informed, but >>above all honest discourse.
Of course, Mr. Leckie. Nasty "conservatives" such as Mr. Goldman just can not seem to display the reasonable, measured, informed and, above all honest, discourse that is frequently displayed on this website by the likes of Mr. Boyle, Mr. Spencer, Mr. Carpenter and yourself, right?
William H. Leckie, Jtr. - 9/3/2002
Dr. Goldman has done for us precisely what I had hoped to smoke out: The nastiness at the core of what passes for "conservatism" in this era, its resistance to reasoned exchange, and obviously more, but most glaringly, the weakness that nurtures lashing out rather than measured, informed, but above all honest discourse.
Dr. Goldman, I have no wish to be "commissar" of anything, but rather to encourage the re-establishment of a "public sphere" in which reasonable people can differ reasonably and measure their positions against humane procedures of collective enterprise to approximate those I guess now outmoded qualities, truth and virtue.
One of those procedures might involve reading and listening to another closely, rather than seizing at random on a word or phrase or reacting on hasty impressions, and creating bizarre straw men to attack. I have gestured at the notion that oppressive forces in a "postmodern" world are different from older regimes thrown up by the Short (20th) Century. We now can experience regimes that transcend the state, displace violence spatially (bombing abroad, maintaining impoversihed anarchy in inner cities) and make media spectacle of it, and that transform human identity by powerful techniques--from advertising to genetic manipulation--that take the distinction between public and private and turn it inside out.
We are only very poorly able to anticipate what the consequences of this new form of power will be, anymore than we can anticipate success in Iraq. Our failure to develop historical theory beyond the dead-end "linguistic turn" has left us, and certainly our policymakers, oblivious to history (I was stunned to hear a stock maven declare on public television recently that, "Now people have learned that stocks can go down.") except as something to dismiss or to manipulate.
I am delighted at your experience of the Soviet Union and do not question it. My point was that such as Stalinism, Maoism, even the Saddams and Milosevics, are indeed in the dustbin of history and are no longer "necessary." They have been trumped by something quite scary, indeed, but it also contains elements of the old reactionary venom that has never recovered from the 19th century's realization of an abyss, and has irrationally destroyed anything it perceived as Other, using the very techniques that destroyed its ability to achieve meaning by any other means than the assertion of power. My comments on this site of late have been calculated to make it reveal itself starkly, since the Bush administration is bit more sophisticated, but just a bit. Thank you.
Hal Goldman - 9/3/2002
Leckie writes: We have demanded other nations make their economies "transparent" to ours, while simultaneously making our own people "transparent" to the intrusiveness of of both government and property. Internment camps it ain't, and that's what makes it really scary. Camps are for those at that edge of chaos I wrote about, so yes, we imprison the highest percentage per capita of population while the rest quite docilely consume, as consciousnes is replaced by advertising. THAT is scary indeed
If only we had people like you in charge Mr. Leckie. Someone to tell us what we can and cannot buy. Someone to tell us who the good candidates are, since we are so stupid, we obviously are unable to choose people we want. Someone to set things right. If only that could be you Mr. Leckie. Along with Boyle, you guys would make all the decisions for us, since you are obviously so much smarter than the rest of us poor bourgeois doofuses (doofii?). How about the title commmissar? Would that suit you? All those pesky Fascist Republicans--put them in camps, it's no big deal, after all, from a post-modern perspective there really is no difference between an internment camp and the corner Walgreens right? So why not go for it?
The both of you are spoiled rotten. You have no idea how lucky you are to be American. You have no idea what the real world is like. I lived in the Soviet Union. I understand oppression. You would call a drug store oppression, or liken it to an internment camp. It is you who are Orwellian, you who are the extremists. You and Boyle spout words, but when one tries to sort through it all one finds them to be nothing but contradictory gibberish. There are lots of problems in this world. Most of them very complicated and not amenable to simple answers. Your solutions are the snide comment, the puerile epithet, the fancy words that at base are nothing but stream of conscoiusness stereotype and bigotry. A law professor who refers to the President as "Bush Jr?" Yeah, yeah professor, we get it--your feelings of inadequacy, marginalization, and powerlessness come through with every insult. How infuriating for you--to be so smart--and so unlistened to while that fool from Crawford wields his power--why can't Americans see how smart you are? It must be because there is something wrong with them--it can't be you after all. I can only shudder at the bias and unprofessionalism that must mark your classes at UIUC.
The fools truly are in charge--at our nation's law schools that is.
Hal Goldman, J.D., Ph.D.
Legal Studies and History
University of Illinois at Springfield
William H. Leckie, Jr. - 9/3/2002
Wow! Got the right-wingers uh-goin'!
Let's dispose of a few things: I do not equate "totalitarianism" with what's usually thought of as "oppression" (at least, here at home, or in our better-off neighborhoods!) or, and here I wish for better reading comprehension on the part of some, coporate employment. I'd guess--and I have known a few in my day--your average dweller in one our old-style "oppressive" regimes didn't feel "oppressed," either, and was quite happy to see those who dissented from it quieted. It is--and in the past was--those deemed outside the pale who have been surveilled officially and in Ashcroft-style by their fellows, imprisoned, disappeared, etc.
The mention of Walgreen's wasn't from of a sheltered perspective, but an allusion to the increasingly overwhelming uniformity of our built environment--where is "Hooked on Phonics" when we need it?
We might profit from a serious debate about the nature of our society and the kinds of analytical categories we use to assess it historically--another issue to which I alluded--rather than reading right-wingers chasing their tails; banana republic we ain't--though Ollie North did his best to act as if we were a few years back--and neither the left nor right seem quite to have freed themselves from the thrall of the 19th century's reaction to modernity.
I would suggest that there is indeed something creepy about a society suffused with cameras and security guards. Last time I bought pipe tobacco at Walgreen's (where it's cheap in the bag), the poor clerk apologized for asking to see my driver's license. "They got us on camera and they watch us to make sure," she said, nodding at where the Infernal Device was located. She was well-aged like me, tired from standing--in Europe clerks sit, by the way--but I was not polite, and as I faked showing her something, I shot my middle finger toward the camera.
We have demanded other nations make their economies "transparent" to ours, while simultaneously making our own people "transparent" to the intrusiveness of of both government and property. Internment camps it ain't, and that's what makes it really scary. Camps are for those at that edge of chaos I wrote about, so yes, we imprison the highest percentage per capita of population while the rest quite docilely consume, as consciousnes is replaced by advertising. THAT is scary indeed.
Bill Heuisler - 9/3/2002
Professor Boyle of the University of Illinois has represented the Palestinians against the Israelis, Anti-nuclear forces against the Reagan Administration and the Peace Movement against the United States. He always repays Illinois taxpayers with the icy scorn of a True Believer on the dole. His last lines say it all, "For the good of humanity America must be restrained." He fumes against America: "multi-nationals, corporations, banks, insurance companies, high-tech and bio-tech industries, Wall Street, etc." - engines of free Capitalism - while referring the reader to the United Nations and The Peoples Republic of China.
For half a century China has been murdering millions of Chinese in the name of the State. No freedom there.
Boyle calls W's people fascists and criminals, but writes reverently about the United Nations Security Council.
In 2001 Syria was elected to the Security Council by 160 of the 177-member General Assembly. Syria: a bloody dictatorship, ruled by the Baath National Socialists since 1963. No freedom there.
The United Nations over the United States? China more worthy of respect than America? History has gone shrieking out the window and left inexplicable dumb shows and noise. Science subsumed by ideology eventually reveals the worst of ignorance.
Then, to add melodrama, Mr. Leckie out-Herods Professor Herod. His "despotism of property", "consumer spectacle" and "egoism of the suburbs" are mindlessly sophomoric. This disgraceful level of scholarship belongs in tabloids, not on a college campus.
Francis Boyle - 9/3/2002
From: Boyle, Francis
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 1:57 PM
To: 'AALS Section on Minority Grps. mailing list' (E-mail)
Subj: A Banana Republic?: Panel Discussion: War on Terror
The American Constitution Society Presents
A Panel Discussion
The War on Terror:
Will Civil Liberties Be a Casualty?
12 pm, Tuesday, April 2nd, 2002
The College of Law Auditorium
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave, Champaign, IL
Parking Available in lot behind Law School
Pizza and Beverages to be served
Frances Hulin, Former United States Attorney
Professor Richard McAdams, Expert in Criminal Law
Professor Thomas Ginsburg, Specialist in International Law Professor Francis Boyle, Authority on Human Rights Law
[A BANANA REPUBLIC]
George W. Bush was never elected President by the People of
the United States of America. Instead, he was anointed for
that Office by five Justices of the United States Supreme
Court who themselves had been appointed by Republican Presidents. Bush Jr.'s installation was an act of judicial usurpation of the American Constitution that was unprecedented in the history of the American Republic. Had it occurred in a developing country, such a subversion of democratic process would have been greeted with knowing derision throughout the West. What happened in America could only be likened to a judicial coup d'état inflicted upon the American People, Constitution, and Republic. There should now be no doubt that the United States Supreme Court is governed by raw, naked, brutal, power politics. Justice has nothing at all to do with it. This Supreme Court's constitutional sophistry proved a harbinger of the new administration's disrespect for the Rule of Law, whether domestic or international.
BUSH JR.'S CONSTITUTIONAL COUP D'ETAT
From the Supreme Court's installation of Bush Jr. as
President to the Ashcroft/Federalist Society post-September
11 regime of police state "laws," the politico-legal functioning of America is increasingly resembling that of a Banana Republic. Since September 11th, we have seen one blow against the U.S. Constitution after another. For example, Attorney General John Ashcroft unilaterally instituted the monitoring of attorney-client communications despite the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures and the Sixth Amendment right to representation by Counsel in criminal cases. He just went ahead and did it, without even bothering to inform anyone.
Over 1100 aliens have been picked up and "disappeared" by Ashcroft and his Department of Injustice. The American People have no idea where most of these people are. They are being held on the basis of immigration law, not criminal law, for a period of detention which has not been defined.
Ashcroft proclaimed another ukaze that these immigration proceedings must be held in secret. The phenomenon of "enforced disappearances" is considered to be a crime against humanity by Article 7(I)(i) of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court.
It appears that many of these aliens have been deprived of their basic human rights to consular notification and access as set forth in the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which the United States is a contracting party and which even the U.S. State Department concedes constitutes binding customary international law. Apparently Bush Jr.'s left hand does not care about what his right hand does. Yet another international convention set at naught.
The one characteristic these detained foreigners have in
common is that they are mostly Muslims, Arabs, and Asians. Everyone needs a scapegoat for the 11 September tragedy, and it looks like we have one, both at home and abroad. Thousands more such aliens are being moved into the pipeline for the Ashcroft gulag by the FBI.
Ashcroft is now planning to reinstate the infamous
COINTELPRO Program, whose atrocities against the civil
rights and civil liberties of the American People have
been amply documented elsewhere.
It is just a matter of time before the Bush Jr. Leaguers unleash the newly-augmented powers of the FBI, CIA and NSA directly against the American People. And we already have 2 million Americans rotting away in prison -- the highest rate of incarceration in the world, a disproportionate majority of whom are Americans of Color, victims of the Nixon/Ford, Reagan/Bush, and Clinton administrations' racist "war on drugs," which is really a war against People of Color. The American Police State has already arrived for People of Color!
ASHCROFT'S POLICE STATE
This brings the analysis to the Ashcroft Police State Act. There are no other words to describe it. While Bush failed to get a formal declaration of war that would have rendered him a constitutional dictator, clearly Attorney General John Ashcroft and his right-wing Federalist Society lawyers took every piece of regressive legislation off the shelf, tied it all into what they called an anti-terrorism bill, and then rammed it through Congress, giving it the appropriately Orwellian name of the U.S.A. Patriot Act.
According to one report, Ashcroft's first draft would have
had Congress suspend the ancient Writ of Habeas Corpus - the necessary prerequisite for imposing a police state in the United States of America.
Many Members of Congress publicly admitted that they did not even bother to read the Ashcroft Police State Act. Another Congressman said basically:
"Right, but there's nothing new about that." Interestingly enough the so-called liberal Democrats in the House and the Senate were willing to give Bush Jr. and Ashcroft more police state powers than the conservative Republicans in the House. But there are no real differences that matter between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to promoting America's self-proclaimed "Manifest Destiny" to control the World and now Outer Space too.
BUSH'S KANGAROO COURTS
It would take an entire law review article for me to analyze all the legal and human rights problems with the Bush Jr.'s proposed military commissions. Here a cabal of Federalist Society Lawyers in the White House got President Bush to sign an Executive Order on 13 November 2001 which, when implemented, will be widely recognized to constitute a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and establish a prima facie case of criminal accountability against the President himself.
It is emblematic of this particular war that right towards
its very outset President George W. Bush personally incriminated himself under both international criminal law and United States domestic criminal law.
The Bush Jr. administration has severely undermined the integrity of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949. By doing this, the Bush Jr. administration has opened up U.S. Armed Forces and civilians around the world to similar reprisals, which has already happened.
As a licensed attorney for 25 years, a law professor for 23 years and someone who has done a good deal of criminal defense work in U.S. Federal Courts, I am appalled by the insinuation of these Federalist Society Lawyers that America's Federal Courts established by Article III of the U.S. Constitution cannot hold accountable those responsible for the crimes of 11 September 2001. This is an insult to all Federal Judges, Federal Prosecutors, Federal Public Defenders and all the Lawyers who are Officers of these Courts.
In one fell stroke these Federalist Society lawyers have besmirched and undermined the integrity of two Branches of the United States Federal Government established by the Constitution - the Presidency and the Judiciary. So far the U.S. Congress has supinely gone along with the Bush Jr. police state agenda. If and when these Bush/Ashcroft police state practices make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, many of them will probably be upheld. After all, a 5 to 4 majority of the Supreme Court already gave the Presidency to Bush Jr. We need to seriously consider whether they would strike down laws and practices that would give Bush Jr. a Police State as well.
Philosophers have taught that a People get the type of government they deserve. If the American People permit the Bush Jr. Leaguers to impose a Police State at home in the name of furthering Pax Americana abroad, we will have deserved it by abnegating our responsibilities as Citizens living in what is supposed to be a constitutional Republic with a commitment to the Rule of Law. The same thing happened to the Romans and to the Athenians. The United States of America is not immune to the laws of history.
Sic transit gloria mundi!
Richard Cook - 9/3/2002
Shame on you, Mr. Salmanson. Shame on all of you who can say with a straight face that you believe yourselves oppressed by 'corporations.' Besides the obvious imcompatability of 'corporate' oppression and actual oppression in such places as Iraq, Iran, China, North Korea, or Saudi Arabia, the fact is that no single corporation in America could possible force you to purchase their product! Shopping under the glaring eye of secutrity cameras is hardly Orwellian. Opt out of such 'evil' schemes! There is ample land awaiting you somewhere like Alaska or Montana or Idaho. Simply supply yourself with all needed items for life. Or, better yet, if you are so oppressed, find a more free country. What's that? There isn't one? I see.
David Salmanson - 9/3/2002
If shopping while being observed by hidden cameras and armed security guards who represent the interests of the corporation rather than the public (and are the kind of people who couldn't get those highly coveted airport security screener jobs) isn't at least a little Orwellian, I'm not sure what would constitute corporate totalitarianism.
Orson Olson - 9/3/2002
Mr. Leckie write: "The Right, I guess, still suffers from the delusion that Bill Clinton is the source of all recent evil....[I]t's ridiculous to divert us from the culture and connections of the much-ballyhooed 'CEO presidency.' I suggest the campaign contribution records and history of The Shrub warrant my remarks." Actually, sex had nothing to do with Clinton's criminality (save for harassment and probable pre-presidential rape, if prosecuter David Schipper's "Sellout" is to be believed--and it convinced a Doubting Thomas Democrat friend of mine where I could not).
I was a life-long registered Democrat until October 1996 when I resigned in protest and became a proud Republican. Why? Because I agreed with a true hero of the Watergate Era, Jerome M. Zeifman--Chief Council for the House Subcommittee on Nixon's impeachment--who wrote presciently in the Wall Stree Journal that fall, that Clinton was headed down a similar path. (Jerry went on to be one of the best chroniclers of the Clinton impeachment years; we lack only a book based upon his insightful efforts.)
Unfortunately for Mr. Leckie's case for corporate influence upon
"The Shrub," Republican's campaign contributions are more characterized by greater numbers of small donations than the opposite....So much for Democratic populism!
Orson Olson - 9/3/2002
Mr. Leckie writes: "...but a new style of corporate totalitarianism does seem to be emerging in the US, in many ways displacing government oppression to the despotism of property, and in remaking our built environment creating a total and uniform one as well....Instead of APC's and soldiers on streetcorners, we have Walgreens. Totalitarianism postmodern style...." Such is a popular perception on the Left. But is it true?
A brief study surveying the relevant data on the subject appeared in Liberty magazine by an economist (Montana State University, Northern--Havre, in fact; I had cause to thank the author), around two years ago.
Professor James Edwards found that the available data (roughly 1982 through 1994), falsified this impression. The total share of GDP and total share of employment by the largest US companies
(I forget whether this was measured by the biggest 500 or 1000 firms or something else), actually declined markedly through the period--by roughly an astounding one-third.
Mr. Leckie's "new style of corporate totalitarianism" is contradicted by the facts.
If so, why does the Left cling to this insistent misperception that flys in the face of the facts? Could it have something to do with its unresolved wish-fulfilment and the Fall of Communism?
Alec Lloyd - 9/3/2002
If you think Walgreen's is oppression, you have lived a very sheltered life indeed.
William H. Leckie, Jr. - 9/3/2002
The Right, I guess, still suffers from the delusion that Bill Clinton is the source of all recent evil--save for Saddam. Sic transit Osama! For the record, I was not a fan of the Clinton administration, but regard the Right's obsession with him as erotic, and not just in the sense that its worst and most obsessive elements became preoccupied by the likes of Paula Jones or Monica Lewinsky. He became the Right's secret male pinup, methinks, sort of ideological black leather. It should keep the high school locker of its imagination closed. But to the point: My posting was also a comment, really, on general trends that have emerged from the Cold War. Still, it's ridiculous to divert us from the culture and connections of the much-ballyhooed "CEO presidency." I suggest the campaign contribution records and history of The Shrub warrant my remarks.
Al Czervik - 9/2/2002
Lose your 401(k) to one of Dubya's pals?
Are you referring to Gary Winnick? or Bob Rubin?
William H. Leckie, Jr. - 9/2/2002
Whoops! In the heat of rhetoric, of course I meant a new Totalitarianism!
William H. Leckie, Jr. - 9/2/2002
"Fascism with a friendly face?" I'm not so certain how "friendly" it is, especially if you're a Serb, Iraqi, or Afghan civilian on the receiving end, or lose your 401(k) to one of Dubya's pals, or--as here in St. Louis--you are among those who endure high rates of chronic disease, a Third World infant mortality rate, and marginal employment--but a new style of corporate totalitarianism does seem to be emerging in the US, in many ways displacing government oppression to the despotism of property, and in remaking our built environment creating a total and uniform one as well....Instead of APC's and soldiers on streetcorners, we have Walgreens. Totalitarianism postmodern style does not require the crude exercise of force on the frontier of chaos so characteristic of those old-style regimes which the collapse of the 19th century in the First World War bequeathed us. Our "public sphere" has become a consumer spectacle. And the unilateralism of the Bush administration mirrors the egoism of the suburbs?