An Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General
February 14, 2004

Newsweek cover, adapted by The-Edge.
January, 29, 2004
Dear Secretary-General Kofi Annan

US President George W. Bush confirmed his intention to continue waging wars of aggression in his State of the Union message on January 20, 2004. He began his address: "As we gather tonight, hundreds of thousands of American service men and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror."

He proclaimed: "America is on the offensive against the terrorists... our coalition is leading aggressive raids against the surviving members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda." In Iraq, he reported: "Of the top 55 officials of the former regime, we have captured or killed 45. Our forces are on the offensive, leading over 1,600 patrols a day, and conducting an average of 180 raids a week."

Explaining his aggression, President Bush stated: "After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States and war is what they got."

The claim that either Afghanistan or Iraq declared war on the US is absurd. The US chose to attack both nations, violating their sovereignty and changing their "regimes" --summarily executing thousands of men, women and children in the process.

At least 40,000 defenseless people in Iraq have been killed by US violence since March 2003 -- starting with its celebrated, high-tech, terrorist "Shock and Awe" and continuing with US raids daily causing mounting deaths and injuries. The US is guilty of pure aggression, arbitrary repression and false portrayal of the nature and purpose of its violence.

President Bush declared his intention to change the "Middle East" by force:
"As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America and our friends. So America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East. We will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror, and expect a higher standard from our friends.... America is a nation with a mission… We understand our special calling: This great republic will lead the cause of freedom."

He extended his threat to any nation he may choose:
"As part of the offensive against terror, we are also confronting the regimes that harbor and support terrorists and could supply them with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.... We refuse to live in the shadow of this ultimate danger."

President Bush's utter contempt for the United Nations is revealed in his assertion that the US and other countries "have enforced the demands of the United Nations" (ignoring the refusal of the UN to approve a war of aggression against Iraq) and implying the UN had neither the courage nor the capacity to pursue its own "demands."

President Bush… sarcastically referred to the "permission slip" a school child needs to leave a classroom: "America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people." President Bush intends to go it alone, because his interest is American power and wealth -- though he prefers to use the youth of NATO countries and others as cannon fodder in his wars.

President Bush believes might makes right and that the end justifies the means. He declares: "The world without Saddam Hussein's regime is a better and safer place." So US military technology -- which is capable of destroying all life on the planet -- will be ordered to make the world "a better and safer place" by destroying nations and individuals [Bush] designates.

Murders, Assassinations and Threats as Official State Policy
Credit: No Blood for Oil (
President Bush presided over 152 executions in Texas -- far more than any other US governor since World War II. Included were women, minors, retarded persons, aliens (in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations) and innocent persons. He never acted to prevent a single execution. He has publicly proclaimed the right to assassinate foreign leaders.

The danger of Bush unilateralism is further revealed when he states: "[Libya's] Colonel Qaddafi correctly judged that his country would be better off -- and far more secure -- without weapons of mass murder. Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not."

If President Bush believed it was "diplomacy" that failed (after 12 years of genocidal sanctions against Iraq), then why didn't he use "nine months of intense negotiations" to avoid a war of aggression against Iraq?

What President Bush means by "intense negotiations" includes a threat of military aggression -- with the example of Iraq to show this is no bluff. Any army that sought to stand up against US air power and WMDs in open battle would be annihilated.

The Nuremberg Judgment held Hermann Goering's threat to destroy Prague (unless Czechoslovakia surrendered Bohemia and Moravia) an "act of aggression."

If Libya "would be better off -- and far more secure" without WMDs, why wouldn't the US be better off and far more secure if it eliminated all its vast stores of nuclear weapons?

Is not the greatest danger from nuclear proliferation President Bush's violations of the Non Proliferation, Anti-Ballistic Missile and Nuclear Test Ban treaties? [Bush is] continuing programs for strategic nuclear weapons, failing to negotiate nuclear disarmament and [developing] small "tactical" nuclear weapons of mass murder. He has threatened to use existing strategic nuclear weapons.

An Extensive Legacy of Lies
None of the many and changing explanations, excuses, or evasions offered to justify [Bush's] war of aggression can erase the crimes he has committed. Among the less invidious misleading statements, President Bush made on January 20, 2004 was:
"Already the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations."

Three days later, Kay told Reuters he thought Iraq had illicit weapons at the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War but that, by a combination of UN inspections and Iraq's own decisions, "it got rid of them." Over more than six years of highly intrusive physical inspections, UN inspectors destroyed 90% of the materials required to manufacture nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

He further said it "is correct" to say Iraq does not have any large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. He has added that no evidence of any chemical or biological weapons [had] been found in Iraq.

Iraq did not use illicit weapons in the 1991 Gulf war. The US did -- 900-plus tons of depleted uranium, fuel air explosives, super bombs, cluster bombs -- with civilians and civilian facilities the "direct object of attack".

The US claimed it destroyed 80% of Iraq's military armor. It dropped 88,500 tons of explosives -- 7.5 Hiroshimas -- on the country in 42 days. Iraq was essentially defenseless. Tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians perished.

UN sanctions imposed August 6, 1990 caused the deaths of 567,000 children under age five by October 1996, the UN FAO reported. Twenty four percent of the infants born in Iraq in 2002 had a dangerously low birth weight below 2 kilos [4.4 pounds]. Iraq was incapable of carrying out a threat against the US -- or any other country -- and would have been pulverized by US forces had it tried.

More than 35 nations admit the possession of nuclear, chemical and/or biological weapons. Are these nations subject to destruction? The US possesses more [WMDs] than all other nations combined -- and infinitely greater capacity for their delivery anywhere on Earth within hours. Meanwhile the US increases its military expenditures, which already exceed those of all other nations combined -- and its technology which is exponentially more dangerous.

The US Is Guilty of Waging a 'War of Aggression'
The UN General Assembly Resolution on the Definition of Aggression of December 14, 1974 provides in part:

Article 1: Aggression is the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State;

Article 2: The first use of armed force by a State in contravention of the Charter shall constitute prima facie evidence of an act of aggression;

Article 3: Any of the following acts ... qualify as an act of aggression:

(a) The invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State, or any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from such invasion or attack;

(b) Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State;

(c) The blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by the armed forces of another State;

(d) An attack by the armed forces of a State on the land, sea or air forces, or marine and air fleets of another State.

If the US assault on Iraq is not a War of Aggression under international law, then there is no longer such a crime as War of Aggression. A huge, all-powerful nation has assaulted a small prostrate, defenseless people half-way around the world with "Shock and Awe" terror and destruction.

Hitler, Bush and Wars of Aggression
The first crime defined in the Constitution annexed to the Charter of the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg) under Crimes Against Peace is War of Aggression. II.6.a. The Nuremberg Judgment proclaimed:

"The charges in the indictment that the defendants planned and waged aggressive war are charges of the utmost gravity. War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world."

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime.

Adolph Hitler's "seizure" of Austria in March 1938 (and of Bohemia and Moravia from Czechoslovakia in March 1939) were judged to be acts of aggression by the Tribunal, even in the absence of actual war.

The first conduct judged to be a war of aggression by Nazi Germany was its invasion of Poland in September 1939. Nazi Germany's attack on the USSR, together with Finland, Romania and Hungary, was adjudged as follows:

It was contended for the defendants that the attack upon the USSR was justified because the Soviet Union was contemplating an attack upon Germany, and making preparations to that end. It is impossible to believe that this view was ever honestly entertained.

The plans for the economic exploitation of the USSR, for the removal of masses of the population, for the murder of Commissars and political leaders, were all part of the carefully prepared scheme launched on 22 June without warning of any kind, and without the shadow of legal excuses. It was plain aggression.

The UN Must Speak Out against Bush's Aggression
The United Nations cannot permit US power to justify aggression if it is to survive as a viable institution for ending the scourges of war, exploitation, hunger, sickness and poverty. Comparatively minor acts and wars of aggression by the US in the last 20 years in Grenada, Libya, Panama, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Cuba, Yemen (with many other nations threatened, sanctioned, or attacked -- some with UN complicity and all without effective UN resistance) made the major wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq possible.

Failure to condemn the massive US war of aggression and illegal occupation of Iraq will open wide the gate to further, greater aggression. The line must be drawn now.

  • The UN must insist that the US withdraw from Iraq as it insisted Iraq withdraw from Kuwait in 1990.

  • There must be no impunity or profit for wars of aggression. The US and US companies must surrender all profits and terminate all contracts involving Iraq.

  • There must be strict accountability by US leaders and others for crimes they have committed against Iraq and compensation by the US government for the damage its aggression has inflicted on Afghanistan and Iraq, the peoples injured there and stability and harm done to world peace.

  • This must be done with care to prevent the eruption of internal divisions, or violence and any foreign domination or exploitation in Iraq.

  • The governance of a united Iraq must be returned to the diverse peoples who live there, acting together consensually in peace for their common good as soon as possible.

    cc: Members of the UN Security Council, the President of the UN General Assembly and the President of the United State. [Note: This is an edited version of Clark's letter.]
Rally Against Aggression on March 20, 2004
On March 20, join Ramsey Clark and thousands of others in the mass protest in New York City to demand "Bring the Troops Home Now." For more information on the protest, go to:

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