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Making Nuclear War Thinkable
Might-Makes-Right Instead of Rule of Law

Among the most disturbing consequences of the other repudiations, U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty is unraveling three decades of arms control -- posing the paramount threat of global incineration since the close of World War II. Bush II is working to replace such foundations of law as those listed above, with a supreme reliance on the United States military to supposedly maintain security. Again, the FCNL pinpoints the actual threat:

"The events of September 11 did not direct the U.S. to increase its reliance on the military. It is the Administration and its congressional allies that have raised military spending to new heights and that are subtly shifting responsibilities (such as diplomacy and nation-building) from civil society to military control." [13]

The move to shift political power and responsibilities from civil society to military control has long been underway. Its momentum broke the surface 15 years ago during the Iran Contra hearings when Representative Jack Brooks tried to question Oliver North about martial law plans including suspension of the U.S. Constitution, military commanders running state and local governments, and establishment by the federal government of concentration camps. We will come back to the issue of domestic dictatorship later.

Francis Boyle possesses an impressive background as an international law professor and human rights lawyer.[14] Recently he framed the historical context of the current rash of international legal nihilism and how last January we witnessed another shameless exploitation of the 9-11 tragedy "in order to justify a reckless decision that had already been made for other reasons long before."

"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." [15]

Analysing the significance of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) transmitted to Congress on 8 January 2002, Professor Boyle emphasizes that while there may be "some itty-bitty `rogue states' lurking . . . in the Third World, . . . today the United States government has become the sole `rogue elephant' of international law and politics":

"[On] March 10, 2002 . . . 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 [Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, and Syria] 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." [16]

Professor Boyle cites relevant sections of Article 6 of the 1945 Nuremberg Charter and the Sixth Principle of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal,[17] adopted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations in 1950, to establish the context for his conclusion of what humanity now faces given the unprecedented rejection of the foundations of established international law with respect to the intentional use of nuclear weapons:

"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 US negative security assurance constitutes a Nuremberg Crime against Peace. Such is the Bush Jr NPR!" [18]

World War II's catastrophe of escalating conflict, which ushered in the nuclear age, prompted humanity for the first time to confront the prospect of man-made world annihilation in the span of a few hours. The body of international protocols and laws established in response to this unprecedented calamity sought to prevent such runaway trains from occurring. Today we are witnessing the concerted attempt to dismantle a fundamental core of this body of international law by Bush II. Whose interests are served by the intentional disintegration of the foundations and rule of international law? Tragically, there are recent historical precedents for what is now occurring.

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