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Monday, October 25, 2004

The view from the north

Linda McQuaig of the Toronto Star writes about her concerns that the issue of international law seems to be completely missing from the presidential campaign, except in the sense that each candidate wants to prove that he would break it more aggressively. The whole article is good; I found this part especially telling:
Michael Mandel, a law professor at York University's Osgoode Hall, notes that the Nuremberg Tribunal following World War II ruled that starting a war of aggression is the supreme international crime, because it's the crime from which all the other war-related crimes flow.

Mandel argues that the invasion of Iraq amounts to the supreme international crime.

The Bush administration has tried to claim the high moral ground, stressing that it puts great effort into avoiding civilian casualties in Iraq.

This is nonsense. If it is engaged in a war of aggression, any casualties it creates deliberate or accidental are a violation of international law, not to mention a gross injustice. And countless Iraqis have been killed by U.S. forces in Iraq.

Washington presents its ongoing attacks on insurgents as self-defensive, but Mandel insists that an aggressor has no right to self-defence. "If you break into someone's house and hold them at gunpoint and they try to kill you but you kill them first, they're guilty of nothing and you're guilty of murder."