War and Peace 2.0

It has been evident well before 9/11 that George Bush would invade Iraq in the name of the United States of America. The carnage, the savagery, the tribal, sectarian and feudal brutality was foreseen by many, including me. Some of us have been writing and speaking against this butchery since Bush took office. Our choice before invasion and civil wars was: “Pray God, don’t do this. Don’t do this in God’s name. Don’t do this in our name.” We failed.

The butchery began. And it was aided, abetted, and applauded by corporate killers. Even a number of religious bodies have dared to mock god by declaring this slaughter a just war. A just war, indeed. Hogwash.

Now, our choices are bleak. In fact, there is really but one choice. We can stop now. Or stop in one year, two years or, as Thomas Friedman now says, in ten years. After which, he says, we will have built a new Iraq from the ground up. And one that will be safe, democratic, free. He’s as wrong now as he has been from day one of this butchery, which he has favored from that day. With all his knowledge, he does not understand the fundamental instability of violence. Once we turn to violence, all bets are off. And no one is in charge. Only Karma. Utterly Darwinian. God is not in sight.

The reality, from my point of view, is that there will be civil war immediately after we leave, now or in ten or forty years. Indeed, Iraq now is in civil melt-down, several steps lower than civil war. In civil war, two or more sides, clearly visible and known, wage war and then make peace. Eventually. In Iraq, and in some other Middle Eastern states, the necessary prerequisites to modern states do not exist. For example, a rule of law community; and nation-states, whose constituent parts have been self-made and defined. In fact, the Middle East was, in large part, the creation of the West, as the carnage ending World War One ended. The War to End All Wars, in the words of Field Marshall Archibald Wavell, who served under Allenby in Palestine, was followed by a “Peace to End Peace.” For here, the boundaries of much of the Middle Eastern states were violently and artificially created by the imperialists of Europe, as the nineteenth and twentieth centuries collided. When we leave, no matter when, the fractionalized brutalized remnants of what was never really a nation will begin to rebuild their own nation their own way, congruent with their rich history of Islam. All we can do, really, is to beg their pardon, and leave. Now.

This has all been about oil. Oil does not exist under North Korea. It is in Iran. And Iraq. It seems God erred. God did not know that the Bush family, and a few sheiks in Saudi Arabia, owned that oil. It was all supposed to be under Texas. Would that God could get the big picture.

It is time, now, and long past time, to impeach George Bush and bring civil and criminal charges against those who plotted and planned and carried out this international criminal conspiracy. This includes the Vice President, the former Secretary of Defense, and the President of the World Bank and, perhaps, the Attorney-General. It should also include members of Senate and House Oversight Committees who were briefed, to some extent, by this particular branch of organized crime we call the executive leadership of the United States of America. Subpoenas please, members of the Senate and House committees. Persons and papers. By demand, not request. This is still a rule of law community, I pray.

Edwin Brown Firmage (website, bio)
Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law, Emeritus
University of Utah College of Law Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City
Utah, USA
Ed Firmage is the Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law, Emeritus, at the University of Utah College Of Law. Ed wrote “The Law of Presidential Impeachment,” 1973 Utah Law Review, Winter, No. 4, at 581; and “Removal of the President: Resignation and the Procedural Law of Impeachment, 1974 Duke Law Journal, No., 6, at 1023, at the request of Senator Frank E. Moss, as requested by the Majority Leader of the Senate. He is also co-author of To Chain the Dog of War: The War Power of Congress in History and Law, with the late Francis Wormuth. Both the first and second editions appeared after Professor Wormuth’s death. The paperback and hardback editions are published by the University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 1989. Along with several thousand articles, chapters, and a few books, Professor Firmage wrote Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900, with R. Collin Mangrum, University of Illinois Press, paperback edition, 2001. He is senior editor of Religion and Law: Biblical-Judaic and Islamic Perspectives, Eisenbrauns, 1990; and with Chris Blakesley, et al, is the senior editor of The International Legal System: Cases and Materials, fifth edition, University Casebook Series, Foundation Press, 2001. Ed served on the staff of Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice President of the United States, as White House Fellow, in 1965-66. He has served as United Nations Visiting Scholar, at the arms control talks in Geneva, Switzerland, and at the United Nations, in New York; and has spoken on behalf of HH. The Dalai Lama, at the Sub-commission on Human Rights, 1999-2001. He continues his friendship with H.H. The Dalai Lama, working in Dharamsala, Inda, Tibet, and other Asian nations and in the United States. He was awarded the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, the highest award given by the University of Utah, in 1991.

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on December 3, 2006 - 12:44 pm

    I’m prepared to admit that I never thought Iraq would devolve to the level of sectarian violence we’re seeing now. Having lived in the Middle East (Yemen), I was aware of the differences between Shia and Sunni but I thought they had gotten past wanting to kill one another. Of course, Bush was completely unaware but he still bears responsibility for destroying Iraqi society.

  2. #2 by Caveat on December 3, 2006 - 1:04 pm

    “Of course, bush was completely unaware…” George Bush = Terry Schaivo republican quadrupled. When will this fellah get air-dropped, naked, into the ‘Holy Land’? (Of course, with advance notice).

  3. #3 by Ken Bingham on December 3, 2006 - 3:25 pm

    Dr. Firmage

    I agree with you on one point that partitioning the Middle East guaranteed instability just like it did in Africa. It took an iron fisted ruler like Saddam Hussain to keep the warring factions at bay. It is the same thing that occured after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union kept warring factions at bay as well, untill their collapse. Europe is better off now but it took a lot of pain to get where they are now. Hopefully the same thing will happen in Iraq.

  4. #4 by Frank Staheli on December 3, 2006 - 7:49 pm

    Before the 2003 invasion, I personally could not see justification for it. Then I was called to active duty and required myself to forget about those things in order to serve. Now that I am back in the US, I can see that a lot of the initial justifications given for the attack are no longer valid.

    However, I am glad I served? Yes. I made a lot of Iraqi friends, and I feel that many Iraqis respect what the average American service member is trying to do to help them achieve peace, although I’m not surprised that their opinion is in the majority and trending upward that “Let us take care of ourselves now. ” I still have a hope that the Iraqi people can ultimately have the liberties that we enjoy. But it looks bleak right now.

    The irony is that America in the 1980’s justified building up a madman, and then in the dawning of the 21st century we took the head off of a demon of our own creation. The body is still flailing and may do so for quite some time.

  5. #5 by Frank Staheli on December 4, 2006 - 2:33 pm

    I’ve recently consolidated my thoughts about the mess we are currently in. Although I felt like I made a difference in many Iraqi lives (I’ve been accused of having a psychosis in this regard) I wonder: Did we get sucked into a mess whose bait we should have never taken?

  6. #6 by Richard Warnick on December 4, 2006 - 3:45 pm

    Frank, among the weirdest statements we get from President Bush is his insistence that Iraq is the central front of the GWOT– because Bin Laden says it is. Apparently our strategy is being dictated by the enemy?

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