June 29, 2005 (revised July 4)
The Wisdom Fund

Iraq War: 'Supreme International Crime'

by Enver Masud

Having launched a pre-emptive war, and lied to the world about its reasons, he was left with few options. During his internationally televised speech to the nation from Fort Bragg on June 28, U.S. president George W. Bush put on a brave front, and vowed to stay the course.

Before launching the war on Iraq in March 2003, Mr. Bush said the war was about eliminating weapons of mass destruction from Iraq, and Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was a threat to the U.S. Mr. Bush implied that Mr. Hussein was responsible for the September 11, 2001 attack on America. He was not.

When no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, spreading democracy in the Middle East became Mr. Bush's rationale for war. It wasn't. It isn't.

Yesterday, Mr. Bush said the Iraq war was fought to prevent terrorism. But it is the war that is creating more terrorists. He recalled September 11, wrongly reinforcing what many Americans believe, that Iraq was responsible for the biggest attack ever on the U.S. mainland.

Mr. Bush launched the Iraq war "not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq" wrote Michael Smith - the British journalist who first revealed the secret Downing Street memos.

The July 23, 2002 memo states that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Former Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, chief U.S. prosecutor at the first Nuremberg trial, called waging aggressive war "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole", said Benjamin B. Ferencz, in a tribute to Jackson.

"The same view," Ferencz, himself a prosecutor at Nuremburg, wrote, "would later be confirmed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Far East. It was also confirmed in the detailed judgment in the 'Ministries Case' of the Subsequent Proceedings held at Nuremberg."

Some would have us believe that it was a just war. It was not.

It was not waged in response to an imminent threat. It was not proportionate to any perceived threat. Civilian infrastructure was not spared. Iraqis are not better off than they might have been in an Iraq contained by sanctions.


			Deaths Estimator

Enver Masud, "Deadly Deception, Pretexts for War," The Wisdom Fund, July 30, 2001

"Transcript of Powell's U.N. presentation," CNN, February 6, 2003

Israel's Secret Weapon, BBC Correspondent, March 17, 2003

Andrew Gumbel, "Growing Evidence of Deception by Washington," Independent, April 20, 2003

John Dean, "Is Lying About The Reason For War An Impeachable Offense?," FindLaw's Legal Commentary, June 6, 2003

Julian Borger, "The Spies Who Pushed for War," The Guardian, July 17, 2003

[Both Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, and Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's closest adviser, made clear before September 11 2001 that Saddam Hussein was no threat - to America, Europe or the Middle East. . . . This is the very opposite of what Bush and Blair said in public.--John Pilger, "PILGER FILM REVEALS COLIN POWELL SAID IRAQ WAS NO THREAT," Daily Mirror, September 22, 2003]

[TONY BLAIR privately conceded two weeks before the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein did not have any usable weapons of mass destruction, Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, reveals today.--David Cracknell, "Blair 'knew Iraq had no WMD'," Sunday Times, October 5, 2003]

Oliver Burkeman and Julian Borger, "War critics astonished as US hawk admits invasion was illegal,", November 20, 2003

Douglas Jehl and David E. Sanger, "Powell's Case, a Year Later: Gaps in Picture of Iraq Arms," New York Times, February 1, 2004

"Iraq War Was Illegal: Iraq Eliminated WMDs in 90's," The Wisdom Fund, February 2, 2004

James Bamford, "A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies," Doubleday (June 8, 2004)

Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger, "Iraq war was illegal and breached UN charter, says Annan,", September 15, 2004

John Pilger, "The Media's Culpability for Iraq,", October 1, 2004

[The message the siege of Falluja sends is brutally simple: resist us and we will destroy you. It is the same message that the Wehrmacht sent in Warsaw in 1944, and the Russian Army in Grozny in 1999.--Tony Kevin, "Fallujah: All the Makings of a War Crime," Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2004]

Michael Smith, "Ministers Were Told of Need For Gulf War 'Excuse'," Sunday Times, June 12, 2005

"'US Caused More Deaths in Iraq Than Saddam'," Agence France Presse, June 25, 2005

The Jury of Conscience, "The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our future, on us all," World Tribunal on Iraq, June 27, 2005

Elizabeth Holtzman, "Torture and Accountability," The Nation, July 18, 2005

[Yet the decision to demand changes is surprising given the number of critical books that have been published about the Iraq war--David Hencke, "FO accused of censoring insider book on Iraq war," Guardian, July 18, 2005]

[This tacky, third-rate leak that is starting to scar the President's second term springs from the great deception executed in his first term, luring the US into a war that 60 per cent of Americans now believe was misconceived.--Rupert Cornwell, "Rovegate: The scandal that lays bare the cynicism behind Bush's war in Iraq," Independent, July 22, 2005]

Paul Craig Roberts, "The War Is Over, and We...,", July 28, 2005

Ewen MacAskill, "George Bush: 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq',", October 7, 2005

[President Bush Jr.'s attempt to assassinate the President of Iraq was an international crime in its own right. Of course the Bush Jr. administration's war of aggression against Iraq constituted a Crime against Peace as defined by the Nuremberg Charter (1945), the Nuremberg Judgment (1946), and the Nuremberg Principles (1950) as well as by paragraph 498 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956).

Next came the Pentagon's military strategy of inflicting "shock and awe" upon the city of Baghdad. . . . Such terror bombings of cities have been criminal behavior under international law since before the Second World War: Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Tokyo, Dresden, London, Guernica.--Francis A. Boyle, "Iraq and the Laws of War," International Clearing House, October 14, 2005]

[A Royal Air Force officer is about to be tried before a military court for refusing to return to Iraq because the war is illegal. . . . His position is supported by international lawyers all over the world, not least by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, who said in September last year: "The US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN Charter."--John Pilger, "The Epic Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name," New Statesman, October 27, 2005]

Jeremy Brecher, Jill Cutler, Brendan Smith, "In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond," Metropolitan Books (November 1, 2005)

George Monbiot, "The media are minimising US and British war crimes in Iraq," Guardian, November 8, 2005

[Who in the White House knew about DITSUM No. 044-02 and when did they know it?

That's the newly declassified smoking-gun document, originally prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency in February 2002 but ignored by President Bush. Its declassification this weekend blows another huge hole in Bush's claim that he was acting on the best intelligence available when he pitched the invasion of Iraq as a way to prevent an Al Qaeda terror attack using weapons of mass destruction.--Robert Scheer, "Lying with Intelligence," Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2005

Jason Leopold, "In 2001, Tenet Said Iraq Posed No Threat,", November 15, 2005

COVER STORY: Elizabeth de la Vega, "The White House Criminal Conspiracy," The Nation, November 14, 2005

[For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men.--Martin van Creveld, "Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War," Forward, November 25, 2005]

Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith, "The Posse Gathers: Bush War Crimes,", December 6, 2005

VIDEO OF THE NOBEL LECTURE: Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution.--Harold Pinter, "ART, TRUTH AND POLITICS," The Nobel Foundation, December 8, 2005

[The suit accuses Bush and Blair of committing war crimes by using weapons of mass destruction and internationally-banned weapons including enriched uranium and phosphoric and cluster bombs against unarmed Iraqi civilians, notably in Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, al-Kaem and Anbar.--"Saddam to sue Bush and Blair," Washington Times, January 25, 2006]

C-SPAN: Presidential Impeachment Proposals," Democracy Rising, February 6, 2006

[The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, and of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein. . . .

The Bush administration, Pillar wrote, "repeatedly called on the intelligence community to uncover more material that would contribute to the case for war," including information on the "supposed connection" between Hussein and al Qaeda, which analysts had discounted.--Walter Pincus, Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on Iraq," Washington Post, February 10, 2006]

[A hundred years from now, historians will still be regaling readers with the all-too-true tales of ignorance, arrogance, dishonesty and outright incompetence that drove our nation to invade Iraq.--Jay Bookman, Eyewitnesses Peel Back Lies on War Debate," Atlanta Journal Constitution, February 20, 2006]

[Hours after a commercial plane struck the Pentagon on September 11 2001 the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, was issuing rapid orders to his aides to look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, according to notes taken by one of them.--Julian Borger, Blogger bares Rumsfeld's post 9/11 orders," Guardian, February 24, 2006]

Garrison Keillor, "Impeach Bush," International Herald Tribune, March 3, 2006

[The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.--Dale Van Natta Jr, Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says," New York Times, March 27, 2006]

Joby Warrick, Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War: Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary," Washington Post, April 12, 2006

[The United States invaded Iraq in alliance with Britain on March 20, 2003, winning a quick military victory and ousting the government of Saddam Hussein. Though the US and the UK claimed they acted in accordance with international law, an overwhelming majority of the world's governments and people thought otherwise. Since then, the US-UK occupation has encountered increasing armed resistance in Iraq, and support for the war and occupation has steadily declined in the invading countries. US-UK claims about Iraqi weapons threats and terror links have proven false, and the costs of the operation have risen. This section looks at many aspects of the conflict in Iraq, such as the background to the war, including the thirteen years of sanctions and the importance of Iraq's huge oil resources. It also examines the issues that have emerged since the invasion, such as the resistance to the occupation, the disputes surrounding a post-war government, and the task of reconstruction.--Iraq, Global Policy Forum]

[Tyler Drumheller, said top White House officials simply brushed off the warning, saying they were "no longer interested" in intelligence and that the policy toward Iraq had been already set.--"CIA warned Bush of no WMD in Iraq: retired official," Agence France Presse, April 22, 2006]

[When no weapons of mass destruction surfaced in Iraq, President Bush insisted that all those WMD claims before the war were the result of faulty intelligence. . . . He tells correspondent Ed Bradley the real failure was not in the intelligence community but in the White House.--"A Spy Speaks Out," 60 Minutes, April 23, 2006]

Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky, "The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office," Thomas Dunne Books (May 2, 2006)

"Law Prof. Francis A. Boyle on Impeachment," Talk Nation Radio, May 5, 2006

Editorial: "The Intelligence Business," New York Times, May 7, 2006

Marjorie Cohn, "The Haditha Massacre,", May 30, 2006

[The damning 90-minute expose (10 p.m. PBS) stops short of laying those bodies at Vice President Dick Cheney's feet. But it does finger Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - through more than 40 interviews with CIA veterans, journalists, politicians and others - as the ones who ignored, suppressed and manipulated intelligence after the 9/11 attacks to lead us into war with a country that had nothing to do with our attackers. . . .

The apparent circularity of the pro-war machinations is especially disturbing. Then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller would get off-the-record info from the White House about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, print the claims in Sunday's paper, and then Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and others would cite the articles as evidence on the Sunday talk shows to justify the invasion.--Mark Rahner, "'Frontline' documentary makes case that Cheney used 9/11 to go to war," Seattle Times, June 20, 2006]

[The importance of the Supreme Court's decision, however, is that a legal decision by America's highest court has ruled Bush to be in violation of the Geneva Conventions.--Paul Craig Roberts, "Bush's Assaults on Freedom,", June 2, 2006]

VIDEO: John McMurtry, "WHY THE FACTS OF 9/11 ARE SUPPRESSED,", June 24, 2006

[In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court . . . found the President's conduct illegal because it violated international treaties - specifically, the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.--Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith, "Watada, the War and the Law," Nation, July 7, 2006]

[Ferencz called the invasion a "clear breach of law," and dismissed the Bush administration's legal defense that previous U.N. Security Council resolutions dating back to the first Gulf War justified an invasion in 2003. Ferencz notes that the first Bush president believed that the United States didn't have a U.N. mandate to go into Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein; that authorization was simply to eject Hussein from Kuwait.--Jan Frel, "Could Bush Be Prosecuted for War Crimes?," AlterNet, July 10, 2006]

[When he refused to deploy to Iraq in June, Army Lt. Ehren Watada . . . set up an unusual collision between a man who is believed to be the first officer to refuse duty in Iraq and a military justice system that is now effectively being asked to rule on the war's legality.--Eli Sanders, "Putting the Iraq War on Trial," Time, August 18, 2006]

[Benjamin Ferencz, a chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg, recently said that President Bush should be tried as a war criminal side-by-side with Saddam Hussein for starting aggressive wars--Paul Craig Roberts, "Bush Goes Retro to Avoid Prosecution,", August 29, 2006]

John Conyers Jr. (Compiler), Anita Miller (Editor), Joseph C. Wilson (Introduction), "George W. Bush Versus the U.S. Constitution: The Downing Street Memos and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, Coverups in the Iraq War and Illegal Domestic Spying," Academy Chicago Publishers (September 1, 2006)

[We will not stand for it any more. No more lies. No more pre-emptive, illegal war, based on false information. No more God-is-on-our-side religious nonsense to justify this immoral, illegal war. No more inhumanity.--"Transcript of Mayor Rocky Anderson's speech," Salt Lake Tribune, September 1, 2006

David Morgan, "Senate panel finds no prewar Iraq-Qaeda link," Reuters, September 8, 2006

Walter Pincus, "CIA Learned in '02 That Bin Laden Had No Iraq Ties, Report Says," Washington Post, September 15, 2006

VIDEO: Elizabeth de la Vega, "United States vs. George W. Bush et al: Former Federal Prosecutor Drafts Indictment Against the President,", December 8, 2006

Ben Evans, "McKinney Introduces Bill to Impeach Bush," Associated Press, December 8, 2006

[Last week he unveiled plans for an unofficial war crimes tribunal to focus on victims of abuse in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, saying that the existing international court at the Hague was biased.--Mahathir Mohamad, "Bush, Blair 'worse than Saddam'," News24, February 5, 2007]

VIDEO: Rocky Anderson, "IMPEACH BUSH/CHENEY," Google Video, March 3, 2007

["Breaking every international law, and under the pretext of the war against terror, there has taken place since 2003 a devastating attack on the rule of law and against the very essence of the international community."--Vicky Short, "Spanish Judge calls for architects of Iraq invasion to be tried for war crimes,", March 20, 2007]

Sidney Blumenthal, "Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction,", September 6, 2007

Karen DeYoung and Michael Abramowitz, "Report Says Hussein Was Open To Exile Before 2003 Invasion," Washington Post, September 27, 2007

Charles Lewis and Mark Reading Smith, "False pretenses: Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about Saddam Hussein's Iraq,", January 23, 2008

Vincent Bugliosi, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," Vanguard Press (May 26, 2008)

["In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when, in reality, it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the intelligence panel. "Sadly, the Bush administration led the nation into war under false pretenses."--Greg Miller, "Senate war report rebukes Bush, Cheney,", June 6, 2008]

Gary Fennelly, "US Congressman Moves to Impeach Bush," Belfast Telegraph, June 10, 2008

"Former Senator Mike Gravel Calls for Independent 9/11 Investigation and Prosecution of President Bush and Vice President Cheney,", June 17, 2008

[A forged letter linking Saddam Hussein to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks was ordered on White House stationery and probably came from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a new transcript of a conversation with the Central Intelligence Agency's former Deputy Chief of Clandestine Operations Robert Richer.--John Byrne, "Top CIA official confesses order to forge Iraq-9/11 letter,", August 8, 2008]

John Bolton vs Tony Benn, August 31, 2008

[Massachusetts law school Dean Lawrence Velvel will chair a Steering Committee to pursue the prosecution for war crimes of President Bush and culpable high-ranking aides after they leave office Jan. 20th.--Sherwood Ross, "Steering Committee To Seek Prosecution of Bush For War Crimes," YubaNet, October 14, 2008]

Richard Norton-Taylor, "Top judge: US and UK acted as 'vigilantes' in Iraq invasion," Guardian, November 18, 2008

[International law would be mere farce, said the chief US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, the Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson, "if, in future, we do not apply its principles to ourselves". . . .

On 19 January, the George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley compared the status of George W Bush with that of Pinochet. "Outside [the United States] there is no longer the ambiguity about what to do about a war crime," he said. "So if you try to travel, most people abroad are going to view you not as "former president George Bush' [but] as a current war criminal." For this reason, Bush's first defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who demanded an invasion of Iraq in 2001 and personally approved torture techniques for use in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, no longer travels. Rumsfeld has twice been indicted for war crimes in Germany.--John Pilger, "The Brussels War Crimes Tribunal and the newly established Blair War Crimes Foundation are building a case for the former British prime minister's prosecution," New Statesman, April 2, 2009]

Clive Hamilton, "Bush's Shocking Biblical Prophecy Emerges: God Wants to 'Erase' Mid-East Enemies 'Before a New Age Begins',", May 24, 2009

[Bush confirmed even without a second resolution, the US was prepared for military action. The memo said Blair told Bush he was "solidly with the president".--Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend, "Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq," Guardian, June 21, 2009]

John Pilger, "Iraq: The Crime of the Century," New Statesman, December 10, 2009

Marjorie Cohn, "Obama's Af-Pak War Is Illegal,", December 21, 2009

David Pilditch, "TONY BLAIR 'WARNED BY 27 LAWYERS IRAQ WAR WAS ILLEGAL',", January 27, 2010

[Lord Bingham has held all three of Britain's great judicial offices: Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice and Senior Law Lord until his retirement in 2008. . . .

Lord Bingham deals first with the question of whether the allied invasion of Iraq was legal. He has no doubt that it was not. He argues persuasively that neither Security Council resolutions 678 nor 1441 could bear the weight that the British government was forced to place on them when confronted by the failure to obtain a further resolution explicitly authorising the use of force.--"Pillar of wisdom," Economist, February 11, 2010]

[The Obama administration has resisted efforts by the International Criminal Court to include 'aggression' as a crime, mainly because it could impact US military operations abroad.--Howard LaFranchi, "US opposes ICC bid to make 'aggression' a crime under international law,", June 15, 2010]

David Swanson, "George W. Bush the Murderer: The Movie,", October 4, 2012

[The war in Iraq will cost the United States as much as $5 trillion. It played a role in spurring the global financial crisis. . . .

The war against Iraq was based on lies. Thousands of Americans and perhaps a million Iraqis were sacrificed for those lies.--Dennis Kucinich, "Iraq: Ten Years, a Million Lives, and Trillions of Dollars Later,", October 4, 2012]

Col. Wilkerson on Democracy Now, December 23, 2014

"Genocide in Iraq," Clarity Press, June 2015

[Duelfer is also clear that Saddam Hussein's government had accurately denied having WMD, contrary to a popular U.S. myth that Hussein had pretended to have what he did not. The fact that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their team knowingly lied cannot be overemphasized. This group took the testimony of Hussein Kamel regarding weapons he'd said had been destroyed years ago, and used it as if he'd said they currently existed. This team used forged documents to allege a uranium purchase. They used claims about aluminum tubes that had been rejected by all of their own usual experts. They "summarized" a National Intelligence Estimate that said Iraq was unlikely to attack unless attacked to say nearly the opposite in a "white paper" released to the public. Colin Powell took claims to the U.N. that had been rejected by his own staff, and touched them up with fabricated dialogue.--David Swanson, "Secret Document Shows CIA Reaction to Finding No WMD in Iraq,", July 9, 2015

Glen Owen and William Lowther, "Smoking gun emails reveal Blair's 'deal in blood' with George Bush over Iraq war was forged a YEAR before the invasion had even started,", October 17, 2015

"Hillary Clinton's emails reveal evidence that George W. Bush committed treason,", October 18, 2015

Why the U.S. and Russia Get Away With War Crimes, AJ+, June 29, 2022

American War Crimes In Iraq 1991-2005

National Security Archive

Lies, Lies, Lies - Bush, Iraq and Iran

Service Academy Graduates Against the War

H. RES. 635: Creating a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.

On March 13, 2013, Witness Iraq filed suit against the Bush Administration related to the conduct of key government officials leading up to the war.

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