While Chastising Russia Over Crimea, Obama Defends Iraq War Calling it Virtuous

On April 3, in San Francisco, a federal judge will hear a lawsuit against key members of the Bush Administration: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice and Powell, for waging a war against the people of Iraq. Obama is opposed to holding the prior Administration officials accountable for starting a devastating war based on lies and fabrications. Instead, he has repeatedly and strongly condemned Russia and has imposed sanctions on key Russian officials, as well as, on its economy, for having the residents of Crimea, which was historically part of Russia until Khrushchev transferred it to Ukraine and still has a majority of Russians, vote in a referendum to rejoin Russia. In comparing Crimea with Iraq, Obama made no mention of over hundred thousand Iraqi deaths (in some accounts close to a million) and total destruction of the country or the false pretexts on which it was based.

One of the claims of the US for being an “exceptional” country is that there is rule of law here: that if your deliberate, planned and calculated actions harm an innocent person, or a group of innocent people, such as by inflicting bodily or monetary harm, or worse, causing their death, you must be tried in court and punished. For starters, those who make this claim overlook that, at least some of the countries that they compare the US with, which make the US worthy of praise, in their eyes in comparison, happen to be where the US supports and keeps in power a corrupt dictatorship or otherwise maintains close and friendly ties with, and which owe their lack of respect for rule of law, at least in part, to the US. It’s like I impoverish someone by stealing his wealth and then compare myself to him and boast that I have more than he does.

But, that’s not the only reason why such a claim is baseless. In fact, if one were to list all the cases discrediting that claim, it would be too long for anyone to read. Suffice it to mention the incredible disparity in sentencing for same or similar crimes, based on race. Blacks are routinely sentenced to much longer prison terms for same violations than are whites. Also, someone who reveals an embarrassing fact about the US government, such as an atrocity committed overseas, is punished much more harshly, as was Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning who is serving a 35 year sentence, than many rapists and murderers. Bankers who defrauded millions of people weren’t even charged by Obama’s Justice Department. Twice in less than two years, a white man was acquitted for shooting and killing an unarmed black teenager on the grounds that he feared for his life, even though the killer was armed and the victim wasn’t. The Justice Department refused to take up either case. Compare those two cases with the case of Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, Florida, a black mother of two, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting a warning shot into the air to scare away her abusive ex-husband and where no one got hurt. So much for the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law, which was obviously written for and exclusively used by whites.

Police officers are routinely exonerated even when they kill an unarmed young man, especially if the victim is black or Hispanic or homeless. Black children are routinely tried as adults and are held responsible for their actions much earlier in their lives than whites.

An FBI agent shot an unarmed 27 year old Chechen immigrant at his home in Orlando, Florida, 7 times, one in the back and one in the back of his head, killing him, while interrogating him about a triple murder, because they said he threw a coffee table at the agent and grabbed a broomstick from the kitchen during the interview. It took over ten months to explain the killing, after giving conflicting accounts at first. They then “investigated” and exonerated themselves. Of the 151 murders the FBI committed since they began doing their self-investigation, in all 151 cases, they found themselves justified in the killing. How nice! Their report as to how and why the agent shot and killed the unarmed young man, in May of last year, including a shot in the back of the head, is taken by the Justice Department and the State Prosecutor at face value, the case is considered closed and there will not ever be any investigation or hearing on it, ever. The killer will never have to appear before a judge or jury and no one will hear his parents’ case that he was killed unjustly and unnecessarily. Or maybe I’m mistaken to think that Muslim men have parents, too, who should have their day in court.

President Obama likes to remind the world of US respect for the rule of law and due process, while he goes to war without authorization from the Congress, in violation of the Constitution, which he used to teach at Harvard. He also reserves the right to pick individuals from his “Kill list” – US citizens or not – and order executed, without due process. The US, also routinely violates international laws and Geneva Conventions. Invading and bombing countries that have not attacked and are not threatening to attack is also against the UN Charter, and keeping prisoners of war indefinitely in Guantanamo is against Geneva Conventions, not to mention keeping Guantanamo which is part of Cuba as if it were part of the US. Talk about annexation of part of your neighbor’s territory. So is kidnapping individuals in foreign countries and sending them to other countries to be tortured against international laws; so is imprisoning individuals in secret CIA prisons in foreign countries. So is unprovoked drone attacks. So is toppling and changing a regime in foreign countries. It is also against diplomatic protocols and rules to conspire with other governments to deny landing permission to a sovereign nation’s president’s jet, flying overhead, as the US did with its European allies against the President of Bolivia because they thought Edward Snowden may be flying with him.

When a former citizen of Iraq sues those responsible for causing so much death, destruction and suffering to her or his country and countrymen, the “rule of law and due process” president asks the judge to dismiss the case. That’s what he’s expected to do again on April 3rd in San Francisco when the judge is expected to hear the case. There are many ways in which this is an “exceptional” country. Being the land of the rule of law, due process and justice, isn’t one of them. From its number of military bases around the world to the frequency at which it attacks other countries, from its income and wealth inequality to its number of incarcerations, from how much it spends on its military to its infant mortality rate among industrial nations, and in its “race relations”, it is indeed exceptional, not to mention the incredible and mind boggling hypocrisy of its leaders.


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