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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

THE FAILURE OF DEMOCRATS TO STOP THE WAR IS A CRISIS OF THE REPUBLIC LEGITIMATING CIVIL RESISTANCE

December 20, 2007

The failure of Democrats in control of Congress to put an end to what is a demonstrably illegal aggression against a non-threatening nation that violates both international law and domestic law constitutes a profound political crisis of our Republic.

One year ago, United for Peace of Pierce County examined the timid, "consensus-driven" agenda of the Democratic leadership taking over both the House of Representatives and the Senate and asked "What's the matter with Congress?" The question poses itself still more insistently some 350 days later.

On Dec. 14, Reuters reported that the U.S. Congress "authorized more Iraq war spending on Friday, sending President George W. Bush a defense bill requiring no change in strategy after failing again to impose a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawals." Only three senators voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008: Robert Byrd (D-WV), Russell Feingold, (D-WI), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). And on Dec. 19, the House voted 272-142 for a $555 billion spending package that includes $70 billion in unfettered additional funding for Iraq.

When Daniel Ellsberg spoke in Tacoma in January 2007 in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, he said that the U.S. Constitution was written to stop just such an enterprise as the Iraq war and occupation. The Democrats in Congress have the power to bring an end to the occupation of Iraq. Yet they vote to keep it going, in defiance of the wishes of about two thirds of the American public. The Democratic leadership even fails to acknowledge its own failure: "'The effort (to change course in Iraq) is not over,' Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said after the vote," Susan Cornwell of Reuters reported. "But he did not know what the next step in that struggle would be."

In the minds of many, this crisis of the Republic legitimates calls for civil resistance like the one issued last month by law professor Francis Boyle, who has just published a book entitled Protesting Power: War, Resistance, and Law (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007) In a lecture given at Northwestern Law School on Nov. 20, 2007, Prof. Boyle asserted, as he has many times while defending Lt. Ehren Watada's refusal to deploy to Iraq, that the Bush administration is a criminal regime: "[I]n many instances specific components of the Bush Jr. administration's foreign policy constitute ongoing criminal activity under well recognized principles of both international law and United States domestic law."

It follows from this assertion, Prof. Boyle says, that "American citizens possess the basic right under international law and the United States domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, to engage in acts of civil resistance designed to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by Bush Jr. administration officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and military operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism." Such action, Prof. Boyle tells us, constitutes not civil disobedience but "civil resistance."

It follows from this assertion, Prof. Boyle says, that "American citizens possess the basic right under international law and the United States domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, to engage in acts of civil resistance designed to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by Bush Jr. administration officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and military operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism." Such action, Prof. Boyle tells us, constitutes not civil disobedience but "civil resistance."

"Civil resistance," Boyle concludes, "is the last hope America has to prevent the Bush Jr. administration from moving even farther down the path of lawless violence." To many, this will seem a frail hope. But the frustration of the American people is growing, and is certainly one of the sources for the current popularity several more or less "insurgent" political campaigns for the presidency, in both of the mainstream political parties.

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."