Please Sign The World Can’t Wait’s Statement Opposing The Continuation of War Crimes Under Obama

16.4.10

Collateral Murder: an image from the leaked video of murders in IraqThe following statement, prepared by campaigning group The World Can’t Wait, responds to a barrage of terrible news lately — including the endorsement of the assassination of Americans anywhere in the world and the Wikileaks revelation that US troops fired on an unarmed party of Iraqis in 2007, including two journalists, and then fired on those who attempted to rescue them — by calling on President Obama to accept that crimes committed under President Bush are crimes regardless of who the President is, and to bring them to an end.

Crimes Are Crimes — No Matter Who Does Them!

Please join Noam Chomsky, Cindy Sheehan, Cornel West, Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Ray McGovern, Carl Dix, Bill Quigley, William Blum, Joyce Kozloff, Ann Messner, David Swanson, Sunsara Taylor, Stephen Rohde, Fr. Bob Bossie, Peter Phillips, Jed Stone, Tomás Olmos, Peter McLaren, Jodie Evans, Margaret Lawrence, Matthis Chiroux, Larry Everest, Blasé Bonpane, William Ayers, Dahr Jamail, Kathy Kelly, myself and many others, in signing this statement and donating to publish it:

* * *

In the past few weeks, it has become common knowledge that Barack Obama has openly ordered the assassination of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, because he is suspected of participating in plots by al-Qaeda. Al-Awlaki denies these charges. No matter. Without trial or other judicial proceeding, the administration has simply put him on the to-be-killed list.

During this same period, a video leaked [to Wikileaks] by whistleblowers in the military showing US troops firing on an unarmed party of Iraqis in 2007, including two journalists, and then firing on those who attempted to rescue them — including two children — became public. As ugly as this video of the killing of 12 Iraqis was, the chatter recorded from the helicopter cockpit was even more chilling and monstrous. Yet the Pentagon said that there would be no charges against these soldiers; and the media focused on absolving them of blame — “they were under stress,” the story went, “and after all our brave men and women must be supported.” Meanwhile, those who leaked and publicized the video came under government surveillance and are targeted as “national security” threats [PDF].

Also during this period, the Pentagon acknowledged, after denials, a massacre near the city of Gardez, Afghanistan, on February 12, 2010, in which 5 people were killed, including two pregnant women, leaving 16 children motherless. The US military first said the two men killed were insurgents, and the women, victims of a family “honor killing.” The Afghan government has accepted the eyewitness reports that US Special Forces killed the men, (a police officer and lawyer) and the women, and then dug their own bullets out of the women’s bodies to destroy evidence. Top U.S. military officials have now admitted that US soldiers killed the family in their house.

Just weeks earlier, a story broken in Harper’s by Scott Horton carried news that three supposed suicides of detainees in Guantánamo in 2006 were not actual suicides, but homicides carried out by American personnel. This passed almost without comment.

In some respects, this is worse than Bush. First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of “terrorism,” merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the CIA, something Bush never claimed publicly. Second, Obama says that the government can detain you indefinitely, even if you have been exonerated in a trial, and he has publicly floated the idea of “preventive detention.” Third, the Obama administration, in expanding the use of unmanned drone attacks, argues that the US has the authority under international law to use such lethal force and extrajudicial killing in sovereign countries with which it is not at war.

Such measures by Bush were widely considered by liberals and progressives to be outrages and were roundly, and correctly, protested. But those acts which may have been construed (wishfully or not) as anomalies under the Bush regime, have now been consecrated into “standard operating procedure” by Obama, who claims, as did Bush, executive privilege and state secrecy in defending the crime of aggressive war.

Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration has refused to prosecute any members of the Bush regime who are responsible for war crimes, including some who admitted to waterboarding and other forms of torture, thereby making their actions acceptable for him or any future president, Democrat or Republican.

We must end the complicity of silence and say loud and clear:

The things that were crimes under Bush are crimes under Obama.
Outrages under Bush are outrages under Obama.
All this MUST STOP.
And all this MUST BE RESISTED by anyone who claims a shred of conscience or integrity.

* * *

Click here to add your name. Be sure to donate towards this effort, so we can publish it and publicly declare our opposition to the crimes still being carried out in our names. I am interested in where you think it should go to find an audience of people who will be challenged to speak out by reading it; write me.
Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can’t Wait

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and launched in October 2009), and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation

14 Responses

  1. Tom Dodamead says...

    War is a mental illness

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Agreed! Thanks, Tom.

  3. Karen Clinkscales says...

    The war is illegal we are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
    IT HAS TO STOP!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    And thank you for the comment, Karen.

  5. Tim Harris says...

    This must stop NOW!

  6. Michael Bentley says...

    Obama is either a coward or else he always was just more of the same. The rest of the world needs to wake up to what he represents. Many thanks for posting this, Andy. Signed and shared.

  7. Ahmad ayase says...

    You must understand that even if just one of you goes out there and from your light begins to light other lights, you have made a place of darkness turn bright, please en-light the people so they can see the ugly truth about WAR .

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Tim, Michael and Ahmad. I wasn’t aware that this was going to attract so much interest, and am very glad that I cross-posted it.

  9. Kenneth Appleton says...

    I was originally for the war in Aphganistan because I did not see and really am still not sure how we can just retreat everywhere and expect things to get better in the places we retreat from. The evidence however is becoming more and more clear that we are doing more harm than good by waging war.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you for your honesty, Kenneth.

  11. Helen Patterson says...

    I’ve been saying Obama is a war criminal since he ordered the un-manned drone strikes into Pakistan two days after his inauguration – to much ridicule from starry-eyed liberals whose adulation is now just a little jaded – just a little. He used his Nobel Price acceptance speech to glorify aggressive, American militarism and he reasserted Bush’s claim to America’s right to launch pre-emptive war anywhere. He has ditched the principles of Magna Carta, habeas corpus, international law and the American constitution this professor of Constitutional law. The U.S. is a police state with 49 million Americans lacking reliable access to adequate food according to a conservative US government report while its economy totters under the weight of its gratuitous and genocidal wars and occupations.

    But hey, isn’t Michelle’s dress sense impeccable.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s a fine line in justified outrage, Helen. Thanks for the comments.

  13. Michael says...

    It is just idiotic and getting worse by the day.

  14. Alan Gilbert says...

    Good to fight against Obama’s and the Democrats’ bipartisan illegality or police state. You might want to look at my post on: is collateral murder worse than torture this week at democratic-individuality.blogspot.com. I would be happy to cooperate with you in doing something about all this.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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