12 November 2010

Article: State crimes against democracy in the war on terror

Lance deHaven-Smith, "State crimes against democracy in the war on terror: applying the Nuremberg principles to the Bush-Cheney Administration" ("Contemporary Politics", 16 [4], December 2010: pp. 403-20):


Abstract: "This article asks whether, in waging war in the Middle East, the Bush-Cheney Administration developed and executed a conspiracy comparable to the one for which Nazi leaders were tried, convicted, and executed at Nuremberg after World War II. To meet the Nuremberg standards, such a conspiracy must include efforts to subvert the constitutional order. Today, scholars refer to these actions as 'state crimes against democracy' (SCADs). After explicating the Nuremberg standards, the article applies them to the Bush-Cheney Administration's 'war on terror'. The conclusion reached is that evidence of a SCAD-driven conspiracy is extensive and certainly adequate by the Nuremberg standards to warrant investigations and trials."

Excerpts: "To the extent the Bush-Cheney actions mirror the crimes of the Nazis, the administration's moral guilt becomes rather clear even if Bush, Cheney, and other responsible persons are for some reason beyond the reach of the national and international legal systems as they are now constituted. In the Nuremberg war crimes trials, the defendants were charged with, among other crimes, conspiring to [...] transform democratic Germany into a police state by contriving and exploiting threats to the nation's stability and security [...]. Hitler and his associates were charged with staging acts of domestic terrorism, issuing false warnings of impending coups, conducting false-flag attacks on the nation's frontiers, and in other ways mobilizing mass support for authoritarian government and aggressive war. [...]

"The IMT [International Military Tribunal] did not use the term 'state crimes' or 'crimes against democracy', but its jurisdiction and judgments prefigured the SCAD construct [....] [S]tatutory and constitutional reforms should be adopted to strengthen democratic governing institutions so that future presidents cannot repeat past abuses. If, as the evidence indicates, the Bush-Cheney Administration succeeded in hijacking American democracy, the political system was and remains quite vulnerable to SCADs by top officials. [...] The high crimes of the Bush-Cheney Administration show that representative democracy is quite vulnerable to antidemocratic conspiracies in high office."

Lance deHaven-Smith is a Professor in the Reubin O'D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University.

No comments:

Post a Comment