Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Syria in Our Sights

War Plan

Last year, U.S. intelligence agencies and military planners received instructions to prepare up-to-date target lists for Syria and to increase their preparations for potential military operations against Damascus.

According to internal intelligence documents and discussions with military officers involved in the planning, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa was directed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to prepare a "strategic concept" for Syria, the first step in creation of a full fledged war plan.

The planning process, according to the internal documents, includes courses of action for cross border operations to seal the Syrian-Iraqi border and destroy safe havens supporting the Iraqi insurgency, attacks on Syrian weapons of mass destruction infrastructure supporting the development of biological and chemical weapons, and attacks on the regime of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

William M. Arkin
Wag the Damascus?
November 7, 2005


Article 6 of the Charter of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal established the legal basis for trying individuals accused of the following acts: Crimes against peace: the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing. (emphasis added)

International Committee of the Red Cross
The evolution of individual criminal
responsibility under international law
September 1999

And so by means of careful preparation in the diplomatic field, among others, the Nazi conspirators had woven a position for themselves, so that they could seriously consider plans for war and begin to outline time tables, not binding time tables and not specific ones in terms of months and days, but still general time tables, in terms of years, which were the necessary foundation for further aggressive planning, and a spur to more specific planning. And that time table was developed, as the Tribunal has already seen, in the conference of 5 November 1937, contained in our Document Number 386-PS, Exhibit USA-25, the Hossbach minutes of that conference, which I adverted to in detail on Monday last. In those minutes, we see the crystallization of the plan to wage aggressive war in Europe, and to seize both Austria and Czechoslovakia, and in that order.

U.S. Prosecutor Sidney Alderman
Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. II
November 29, 1945

The French and the Russians had at first objected to the whole concept of crimes against the peace . . . But those Allies gave ground when [U.S. Chief Prosecutor Robert] Jackson made it clear that the criminalizing of, and the imposition of individual punishment for, aggressive wars, now and in the future, were so important to the U.S. that if the Charter failed to do so, the U.S. was prepared to abandon a joint trial.

Bernard D. Meltzer
The Nuremberg Trial: A Prosecutor’s Perspective
December 2002

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

Crimes against peace: (i.) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii.) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

International Law Commission of the U.N.
Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal

Certain binding legal principles, affirmed unanimously by the UN, emerged from the Nuremberg trials . . . It was made absolutely clear that law must apply equally to everyone. Putting the captive enemies on trial was seen by America's Chief Prosecutor, Justice Robert Jackson, as "the greatest tribute that power has ever paid to reason." His successor General Telford Taylor, my chief and later law partner, was more succinct: "Law is not a one-way street."

Nuremberg Prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz
Remarks on the International Criminal Court
March 11, 2003

Posted by billmon at 05:01 PM



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