Here we go again... four years later.

This is starting to look like the leadup all over again to the Iraq invasion back in 2003. The rhetoric is beginning, using words like "obvious" and "World War III". Leading the pack is non other than Dick Cheney. It's getting very, very scary. And, by the way, gas prices are going up again.

From the AP:

"Our country, and the entire international community, cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its grandest ambitions," Cheney said in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Studies.

If Iran continues on its current course, Cheney said the U.S. and other nations are "prepared to impose serious consequences." The vice president made no specific reference to military action.

"We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon," he said.

Cheney's words seemed to only escalate the U.S. rhetoric against Iran over the past several days, including President Bush's warning that a nuclear Iran could lead to "World War III.

What I don't understand is, why would anybody listen to someone who was so wrong about the Iraq situation five years ago and whose "intelligence" was so clearly faulty then? This is like the story of the boy who cried "wolf" too often. I would think that his credibility was lost years ago.

We are already mired in the Near East fiasco, a conflict started by these guys, that, far from making us safer, has actually raised the threat to this country and is now bleeding our finances and manpower dry. Now, Bush-Cheney want to expand the conflict and make it, perhaps, international. This is insane.

It's a good thing for this team of warmongering geniuses that this is the most powerful country in the world. Otherwise, George Bush and Dick Cheney would be in the docket for war crimes. As it is, no country dares to challenge us.

No votes yet

...might be important to those who'd like to know all of what was said rather than just what was reported:

on Iran:
"The Iranian regime's efforts to destabilize the Middle East and to gain hegemonic power is a matter of record. And now, of course, we have the inescapable reality of Iran's nuclear program; a program they claim is strictly for energy purposes, but which they have worked hard to conceal; a program carried out in complete defiance of the international community and resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. Iran is pursuing technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons. The world knows this. The Security Council has twice imposed sanctions on Iran and called on the regime to cease enriching uranium. Yet the regime continues to do so, and continues to practice delay and deception in an obvious attempt to buy time.

Given the nature of Iran's rulers, the declarations of the Iranian President, and the trouble the regime is causing throughout the region -- including direct involvement in the killing of Americans -- our country and the entire international community cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions.

The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences. The United States joins other nations in sending a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."

From the AP:

"Cheney's words seemed to only escalate the U.S. rhetoric against Iran over the past several days, including President Bush's warning that a nuclear Iran could lead to "World War III.""

Question: Is this an opinion?

Also from the AP:

"Last month the Senate approved a resolution urging the State Department to label Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization."

Apparently Congress thinks there's a reason to be concerned as well?

Interestingly...less than 20% of the speech was about Iran, but that's the only portion that got reported mention in the AP story about the other issues he discussed.

Please note - I'm not taking a position on Pete's comments - I have my own questions about the speech itself and the reporting on it.

Are supporting Iran with economic assistance and military assistance.

And this from the V.P.'s speech could give us pause; "The procedures are designed to be safe, legal, in full compliance with the nation's laws and our treaty obligations. They've been carefully reviewed by the Department of Justice."

Department of Justice under Gonzales who resigned with a cloud over him.

This is the second time I have heard or read the text of this speech. There are glaring omissions in his comments. I think the accepted term is cherry picking. As was pointed out in a recent post, Seymour Hirsh as early as March of '07 reported that the administration had already made plans to include Iran in escalating the war. These plans were being discussed in the early stages of the Iraq war by members of the American Enterprise Institute. The AEI has been a major influence on administration policy.

Hirsh also paints a very complete picture of the extremely complicated interconnected web of loyalties. He even pointed out that the U.S. has supplied arms and money to our "enemies." To me, it's obvious that the Bush administration has been bested by Middle East tribal mentalities.

The only winners in this whole mess are those in the military-industrial complex, which has no national boudaries.(of which Blackwater is one of the newer members of this exclusive club.)

IMO,the only one on the national scene with the expertise to bring us through this mess is Joe Biden, either as president or Secretary of State. If we can survive that long. He flat out said congress was wrong to label the Royal Guard as terrorists.

The most threatening comments I've heard towards Iran have not come from the Cheney or even the US.

Rather they came from France's President Sarkozy.



An account of current thinking about Iran and the U.S. was published in the online Der Spiegel today and is worth reading if only to get an overview of the issues we are facing.

"Washington society has been chattering about the risk of war with Tehran. It's an open secret that Vice President Dick Cheney has made bombing plans, but even high-ranking military experts think an attack would lead to world economic chaos, or even what George W. Bush calls 'World War III.' ",1518,513572,00.html

Mikey, I don't present any evidence here. I just posted something from Der Spiegel. Don't shoot the messenger. I do, however, believe that if we weren't as powerful as we are, the president and vice-president would be under indictment for war crimes, along with Bremer, Rumsfeld, and others. We've done it to our adversaries in the past, mainly, because we could.

...this for me, if anyone can...

Don't the Geneva Conventions apply to a country's armed forces?

Is there a differenct between 'soldiers' in uniform and 'terrorists' with no uniform and/or ties to a specific country?

How is an entity (like a terrorist organization) who hasn't signed the Geneva Convention bound by them?

"My question was more of the relationships between the countries who have signed it and the 'relationship' that exists between individual countries and 'terrorist' organizations who have no regard for such things."



And further;

As an example; "Pakistan 12.08.1949 12.06.1951 "

This is the basis of your question?

Pakistan has a number of terror groups or freedom fighters as Ronald Reagan described the Mujahidin, bin Laden and company.

So what is the relationship between the groups in Pakistan fighting the government and fighting for an end to separation in Kashmir?

Hostile at best and yet the country is an ally on the never ending war on terror.

Treaties and documents mean little until there is a test or application of the treaties and documents.

And there is the matter of semantics. One person's terrorists is another freedom fighters. Depends on what side of the fence one is sitting on.

Look at Northern Ireland. Some are considered loyalists and some are considered terrorists.

Our administration deemed one group to be a threat and used the vague wording and opinions to deem the actions proper and when tested by the courts well, a change of thought ensued.

Does Pakistan have to place nice with the internal struggle and people who use bombs and bullets to make their point known?

Who is to say at the conventions do not address the issue and yet some claim that like the constitution the passages mean this or that and use them as they wish.

They were caught in arms? Almost every male in that part of the world walks around armed from what I read. Because someone we "trust" said so? There has been more than one case were people were picked up to in response to an accusation from someone willing to settle a score. So we get the truth how? By making him feel he is drowning, and asking him questions? Hell, I'd tell anyone anything they wanted to hear to stop that. Oh, but we don't believe them so we do it again and again until we "feel" they are telling the truth.

Man, we are creating a generation of monsters. I would hate to be a room with some of those guys when they get back. Well, we'll reap the whirlwind from the sadists we have trained. We should kill all the people we've imprisoned after we're done with them because we have just made them our enemies. Of course, after we've gotten the "truth" from them. And we should lock up their jailers because they are going to be bunch of screwed up f-cks when we get them back.

Old South End Broadway

about 2 months ago pulled financial investments from Iran.

That is how Iran could be taken care of, all foreign investment pulled and everybody could stop worrying about the "evil" Dick Cheney and his plan to take over the world.

I hope that Joe Biden said, "Revolutionary Guards," referring to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Joe Biden is a thoughtful leader who wouldn't allow Iranian control over the world's major oil trade routes - especially since the Russians are involved in attempts to destabilize the area by supporting the current Iranian dictator. In other words, different leader - same outcome. It's political rhetoric, designed to attempt to differentiate Dems from Rs - the election, remember?

The Russians are in this for hard currency - not just construction projects. They wish to drive the price of oil up as high as possible. Why? They are very close to being the world's largest oil exporter. They are now in better economic shape and are beginning to challenge the West for oil trade route control. The Chinese, however, are the 2nd largest importer of oil (2nd to the U.S.). It should get even more interesting as this unfolds.

Again, if the Russians can just create enough concern among the oil traders, then oil will continue its rise in price, and the Russians will profit.

It won't make any difference who gets elected, the situation will not change, unless the Iranians decide to stand down. With the Russians playing their game, they are less likely to cooperate with the international community.

Wow Pete, what damning evidence you have there.

First off I noted in another thread how the VP has no authority to conduct military operations. So even if he does want to start a war it doesn't mean that he can. Nice try.

Besides the fact that you believe the President and VP should be put on trial for war crimes alone marginalizes your point of view.

The US has a very long and storied history of treating it's enemies better than it's enemies treat US soldiers. Likewise international courts have very little jurisdiction over sovereign nations which is the real reason they won't be brought to trial.

Please leave the rhetoric at home.



"I do, however, believe that if we weren't as powerful as we are, the president and vice-president would be under indictment for war crimes, along with Bremer, Rumsfeld, and others."

I seriously doubt it. The administration has not had a policy that has contradicted the Geneva Convention.

It's actually pretty hard to be in violation of the Geneva Convention. This is why there are few times where people are convicted of war crimes because the convention's wording is vague and general it's hard to be in clear violation of it.

This is why Saddam Hussein was convicted in an Iraqi court and not an international one. He most certainly would have been abstained of guilt in an international one. Again because the wording is vague.

Besides the US has a loooooong history of treating it's enemies better than it's enemies do of us. The basic things the convention covers: Food, shelter, right to mail, being paid for work done; the US has followed since the convention's signing and we even followed most of it prior to the signing of the convention.

The charges of torture and suspension of habeas corpus are the reason people declare the admin. is guilty of war crimes. However, the practices that we display have not been wholly defined as torture by our courts and habeas corpus is not never been extended to foreign enemies. In fact if we were to extend Constitutional rights to our enemies this would be the MOST DANGEROUS because it would legitimize the treatments our POWs have had under foreign enemies. What I mean is US soldiers heads being cut off is legitimate under Shria law and since we would be keeping their soldiers under our law then their treatment of our soldiers under their law would be legitimate.

By keeping POWs under the convention and not the constitution we are maintaining that our POWs should be kept under the convention as well. And thus we would hold the moral high ground.



who hasn't signed the Geneva Convention bound by them?"

They are not by virtue of the description you provided.

We are though by signing onto the agreement.

And just on the radio today I heard that the administration still holds one enemy combatant and intends to the end of the war on terror.

Regardless of the answer to Maggie's question about "a differenct between 'soldiers' in uniform and 'terrorists' with no uniform and/or ties to a specific country ", we should be asking what about the morality, the common standards of decency, of inflicting torture on ANYBODY? This question of soldiers in uniform or out of uniform sounds like a bunch of lawyers talking about theoretical legal issues. This is about real human beings being tortured! We have laws against doing this kind of thing even to animals.

"This is a crass dodge. Waterboarding is torture and was prosecuted as such as far back as 1902 by the United States military when used in a slightly different form on insurgents in the Philippines. It meets the definition of torture that existed in American law and international treaties until Mr. Bush changed those rules. Even the awful laws on the treatment of detainees that were passed in 2006 prohibited the use of waterboarding by the American military." (Today's NYT).

The blunt truth is a soldier is only a soldier if they are in uniform. When they are not in uniform they are technically classified as spies and can legally be put to death. The administration has not done this and has loosely kept them as POW's.

"How is an entity (like a terrorist organization) who hasn't signed the Geneva Convention bound by them?"

This is a good question. If I remember correctly the wording in the convetion is country so even your wording of entity opens up another gray area.

This is what I mean by the convention being vague. It is mainly a statment on natural law than it is a legal binding document. Instead each country accepts it's own laws regarding military behavior from the spirit of the convention. The convention itself is almost unenforcable. The military laws themselves are not.

In the US the UCMJ is the representation of the convention for US troops. That's where the law is enforced.

Now the President is the Commander and Chief of the US military. He is punishable under the UCMJ. In fact when Clinton was put on trial one of the charges was Article 134 General Article under the UCMJ.

Pete wants the President tried for war crimes he just hasn't condoned it being done in the venue that can enforce it... a trial in the House of Representatives.



A good deal of the terrorists in Iraq are mainly just poor people who are doing it for money and not ideaology.

The most popular Iraqi tv show was one entitled something like "Meet your Insurgent" where they'd interview captured insurgents. Most were poor people who said they were doing it because they'd receive $40 for every IED.

Many of them are just looking for a job due to the high unemployment. Many have been "turned" by our forces when after their interrogations and confinement they were offered chances to be interpreters.

Interestingly the most effective bombings have come from the insurgents use of people with Downs Syndrome. We know this thanks to DNA testing. The reason they're so effective is they don't understand that it's a bomb strapped to them and they're told to "go talk to the police man" and the bomb is detonated remotely at a much closer range than a suspicious idealogue could ever get to.



"Since 2002, the administration has contended that the Geneva Conventions would be respected as a matter of policy but that they did not apply by law to terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or in U.S. military custody elsewhere. Administration officials have voiced concern that the conventions are too vague and could expose the military to second-guessing about appropriate treatment.

But the Supreme Court rejected that view in a 5 to 3 decision last month, ruling that a Yemeni detainee at Guantanamo Bay could not be tried by a special military commission established by the Bush administration. The court held that the commissions violate U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions."

I'm not a lawyer, Mikey, but it seems pretty clear to me. Violations of the following are war crimes. Look it up. I didn't make it up. It's pretty sobering.

United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT)
Article 1
1. Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Article 3
1. No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

Article 16
1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article I, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture of references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

War of Aggression is a Crime
Article I
Aggression is the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations, as set out in this Definition.
Explanatory note: In this Definition the term "State":

(a) Is used without prejudice to questions of recognition or to whether a State is a member of the United Nations;
(b) Includes the concept of a "group of States" where appropriate.

Article 2
The First use of armed force by a State in contravention of the Charter shall constitute prima facie evidence of an act of aggression although the Security Council may, in conformity with the Charter, conclude that a determination that an act of aggression has been committed would not be justified in the light of other relevant circumstances, including the fact that the acts concerned or their consequences are not of sufficient gravity.

Article 3
Any of the following acts, regardless of a declaration of war, shall, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of article 2, qualify as an act of aggression:

(a) The invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State, or any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from such invasion or attack, or any annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof,

(b) Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State;

(c) The blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by the armed forces of another State;

(d) An attack by the armed forces of a State on the land, sea or air forces, or marine and air fleets of another State;

(e) The use of armed forces of one State which are within the territory of another State with the agreement of the receiving State, in contravention of the conditions provided for in the agreement or any extension of their presence in such territory beyond the termination of the agreement;

(f) The action of a State in allowing its temtory, which it has placed at the disposal of another State, to be used by that other State for perpetrating an act of aggression against a third State;

(g) The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein.

Article 4
The acts enumerated above are not exhaustive and the Security Council may determine that other acts constitute aggression under the provisions of the Charter.

Article 5
1. No consideration of whatever nature, whether political, economic, military or otherwise, may serve as a justification for aggression.

2. A war of aggression is a crime against international peace. Aggression gives rise to international responsibility.

3. No territorial acquisition or special advantage resulting from aggression is or shall be recognized as lawful.

... I do not know the answer. The question was an attempt to have the issue clarified.

I understand that we are bound by the G.C. My question was more of the relationships between the countries who have signed it and the 'relationship' that exists between individual countries and 'terrorist' organizations who have no regard for such things.

...Pete, I agree with the questions you say we should be asking...

I just had some questions about the geneva convention separate from the issue of torture.

Good questions we should all ask, though. Thanks.

That's great Pete, now please explain to me how A) this gives the UN jurisdiction and B) who from the UN will enforce it?

The UN is not a police force. It is a collection of the police forces of many countries. What gives one country moral rule over another? The answer is they don't. Instead it comes from a collection of total countries. And even still when a collection of countries has acted the UN has never successfully put anyone on trial.

This is because of jurisdiction and vagueness of wording. Now it may make you feel good by writing all that you did but it nonetheless is still vague.

Here's an example. Every POW has a right to food, correct.

Why wasn't Ho Chi Minh put on trial for war crimes when American soldiers weren't fed or were fed rat meat? The reason is because the writing of the law is vague. To the Vietnamese rat meat is food and while culturally the US doesn't see it as such because the law is vague.

So what you should be asking is what is the worth of a court and a law that isn't enforceable?



Mikey, you sound like a Philadelphia lawyer arguing that a man accused of murder can't be held accountable because he hasn't been caught yet. You are splitting hairs and using sophistry.

That war crimes occurred cannot be denied. But, you are right, maybe justice will not be served for various reasons and the UN and international law will never get involved. But the crime still happened. The accused party is still guilty, even though he may never be tried or sentenced.

Don't confuse immorality and punishment for that immorality. A lot of people get away with their crimes for a lot of reasons. That doesn't make having committed the crime right just because nobody is ever charged for it.

As to your question about "What gives one country moral rule over another", it's called our collective western ethical system that goes all the way back to the Greeks and Romans, it's our mutual cultural heritage of what we as westerners consider what is right and wrong. It's the Judeo-Christian code of ethics. No ONE country has moral rule over another. It's the whole ball of wax, consisting of more than two thousand years of accumulated social, legal, religious, and cultural interaction with each other, that gives us a framework of understanding what's right from what's wrong.

These laws and conventions were established -the laws of war and prohibitions against torture and cruelty- through long experience and a long history. We discard them at our own peril because doing so may come around to bite us in the ass.

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