Nicolas J S Davies

A collection of published articles and letters to policymakers regarding the crisis in United States foreign policy by Nicolas J S Davies.

Location: North Miami, Florida, United States

Monday, July 14, 2003

Letter to Bush on Iraq and Guantanamo

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600, Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington DC 20501

Monday, July 14th, 2003

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for your letter regarding the invasion and military occupation of Iraq, or “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. I am writing to you today on two topics: -
a) The ongoing crisis in Iraq
b) The proposed military tribunals at Guantanamo.

Since last September, I have urged you to take the position that the United Nations is the legitimate body to determine the status of any prohibited weapons in Iraq and to oversee any political transition in that country. The results of our attempt to unilaterally resolve these issues have been unsatisfactory, and every day that the military occupation continues prolongs the danger to our troops and the suffering of the Iraqi people. Please end the military occupation and ask the U.N. to supervise a political transition in Iraq.

Your administration’s position on Iraq’s weapons programs was predicated on a number of assumptions, not the least of which was the basic assumption that Iraq still possessed prohibited weapons. Another assumption was that an invasion and military occupation was a more certain way of dealing with such an uncertain threat than the existing U.N. inspection regime. It is now clear to the whole world that these assumptions were wrong. Please support the call for an independent bipartisan commission on the decision-making process that led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and please ask the U.N. inspectors to complete their work in conjunction with a U.N.-supervised political transition.

About the proposed “military tribunals” at Guantanamo, Amnesty International has issued a statement that “The Military Order is a fundamentally flawed document and should be revoked. We deeply regret that the President has taken his country one step closer to running trials that will flout basic standards of justice.” Amnesty highlights the following “fundamental flaws”: -
a) The proposed tribunals would accept a lower standard of evidence than is admissible in other courts, including hearsay evidence, and does not exclude statements extracted under coercive conditions.
b) The lack of a right of appeal to an independent impartial court is a violation of international law.
c) The tribunals lack independence from the executive branch of government. The British government has also insisted that such separation is essential to a fair trial.

Although you could certainly improve on the procedures established by the Military Order, the more fundamental problem is that the we are holding these detainees in legal limbo and unilaterally asserting the right to try and even execute them beyond the jurisdiction of any internationally recognized legal authority. Amnesty International calls this a “travesty of justice”, and urges your administration to “rethink its strategy before it causes any further affront to international fair trial norms and any more damage to its own reputation”. Please seek the cooperation of the international community to develop internationally accepted legal principles and procedures that can be applied to these cases.

At Guantanamo as in Iraq, our country has overstepped the bounds of acceptable international behavior. In both cases, we have chosen self-destructive unilateralism over constructive cooperation with the rest of the world. I am very concerned that the consequences of these choices will only get more serious, and I urge you to take a fresh look at both these issues.

Yours sincerely


Post a Comment

<< Home