UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE
"We nonviolently oppose the
reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative
Statement on the Abu Ghraib
prison abuses and a pattern of illegal conduct
May 13, 2004
The scandalous abuse of Iraqi
prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison has brought to a crisis what appears to be a
pattern of illegal conduct by the President of the United States and the high
civil officers appointed by the President.
We call upon all residents of
Pierce County and upon all Americans to demand appropriate investigations by
Congressional and judicial authorities of this pattern of conduct. Should
these investigations demonstrate that the administration has deliberately
violated the law, the U.S. Constitution, and international covenants and
conventions to which the United States is a signatory, we call on others to
join us in advocating the impeachment of the President, the Vice President, the
Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General of the United States.
The decision to make war on Iraq
unleashed a cycle of violence that has, in recent weeks, spun out of control.
The origin of this cycle of
violence was not, as the administration would have us believe, the terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington,
D.C., on September 11, 2001. Its origin was the President's decision to invade
and occupy Iraq.
United for Peace of Pierce County
opposed the war from the beginning; in fact, UFPPC organized as a group to
oppose the war. It was clear to us, just as it was clear to millions of
observers all around the world, that the rationales offered were insufficient
to justify war.
The fourteen months since the U.S.
invaded Iraq have shown that none of the justifications for the invasion of
Iraq were valid. There were no weapons of mass destruction posing an imminent
threat to U.S. national security, and the government of Saddam Hussein did not
support al-Qaeda and Islamist terrorism.
One justification for the war has
continued to be advanced: the overthrow, in the name of freedom and democracy,
of a tyrannical regime guilty of human rights violations.
However laudable these ideals, they
do not justify the war. Invasion of sovereign nations in pursuit of these
ideals without a clear authorization of the Security Council is a violation of
the Charter of the United Nations, to which the United States is a signatory,
and whose fundamental purpose is "to save succeeding generations from the
scourge of war, which . . . has brought untold sorrow to
mankind." This scourge the President chose deliberately to inflict upon
War has led to occupation,
occupation has led to oppression, oppression has led to resistance, resistance
has led to retribution, and retribution has led to revenge, with no end in
sight. The killing goes on. The number of Coalition troops who have died to
date is 884 (775 of them American, from every state in the Union), the number
of Iraqi civilians – men, women, and children – who have died is estimated at
between 9,137 and 10,994, and the total number of Iraqis who have died is far,
Now evidence of the extensive abuse
of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere has come to light,
shaming the nation and discrediting the administration's last justification for
war and occupation. The revelation of these horrors has led to other horrors
even more shocking. With the barbaric beheading of Nicholas Berg, the portals
of hell are swinging open wider still.
The administration says that the
misconduct of U.S. soldiers amounted to a number of exceptional cases.
Unfortunately, they are not that. Rather, they are the expression of a pattern
of contempt for and violation of the law. Photographs, and the very fact of
their existence, suggest that soldiers either believed that their conduct was
permitted, or that it would be shielded by superiors. For this, their
superiors must be held accountable – and the pattern of lawlessness seems to
have been set by our highest officials.
By holding prisoners at Naval Base
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and arguing that the persons in U.S. custody there have
no juridical status because the base is outside the borders of the United
States and the individuals are "enemy combatants" and not prisoners
of war (a matter argued before the Supreme Court on April 20 and now pending
decision), by misusing the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, applying it in
areas that have nothing to do with fighting terrorism, and by neglecting, as a
matter of policy, to ensure that the Geneva Conventions were respected by U.S.
military personnel holding prisoners of war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and
elsewhere, the administration appears to be guilty of violations of the law
which merit thorough and extensive investigations by appropriate legislative
and judicial bodies.
These investigations may show
that the administration has deliberately violated the law, the Constitution,
and international covenants and conventions to which the United States is a
signatory. Today's revelation in the New York Times that, in violation of anti-torture statutes (18
U.S. Code ß2340), the U.S. authorized the torture of a group of a dozen or more
prisoners, some of whom were deliberately kept under the ostensible supervision
of foreign governments in order to provide a legal cover for torture, is one
more piece of evidence pointing in this direction. If this is demonstrated, or
if investigations conclude that there is substantial evidence of this, then we
believe that impeachment proceedings against the President, Vice President, the
Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General of the United States are in
order, as provided for by Article II, Section IV of the Constitution of the
United States: "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of
the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for and
conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE
"We nonviolently oppose
the reliance on unilateral military actions
rather than cooperative