Francis A. Boyle Interview on the September 15 peace demonstrations

Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2007 11:04:52 -0400 From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)" <>

We have to go all out with massive, non violent peace demonstrations in Washington which Ramsey Clark is organizing for September 15th. I think it is very important for at least one member of the United States Congress to file a bill of impeachment against Bush to try to stop this and to give some ammunition to those still in the US Intelligence Services and in the Pentagon who don’t want a war against Iran–and to that extent to de-legitimize what appears to be their rush to war.

INTRO: In a September 2007 interview Professor Boyle warned about the guns of August, Neocon policy measures culminating in a US Military attack against Iran. In the following interview he discusses the indications for war now that August has arrived.

Francis A. Boyle has written extensively on legal issues involved in civil resistance. His most recent book, Protesting Power: War, Resistance, and Law was written as a tool for all who protest and need legal information and political insights. The book has been described as a clarion call to citizen action against Bush administration policies in the US and other countries.

Talk Nation Radio for Wed. August 22, 2007 taped at 10:30 EDT

Produced at <WHUS at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT by Dori Smith

... Professor Boyle welcome to Talk Nation Radio.

Francis A. Boyle: Thank you for having me on Dori and my best to your listening audience and regretfully in light of the Guns of August article it is August and last week the third US aircraft carrier task force arrived in the Persian Gulf organized around the USS Enterprise. So there are now three air craft carrier task forces in the Gulf. We have not seen that amount of Naval and aerial fire power in the Gulf since the war against Iraq in March of 2003.

So it’s an extremely dangerous situation. We have President Bush threatening to determine that the Iranian Guards are a terrorist organization. Yesterday Iran entered into a comprehensive work plan with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Today the Bush administration rejected that and said that they are continuing to move toward another round of sanctions at the Security Council. So literally I regret to say anything can happen. Studying the Guns of August by Barbara Tuckman, the allusion to the origins of the First World War I think would scare everyone. We could not rule out another incident along the lines of the so-called Tonkin Gulf incident of 1965. We had the British sailors ultimately admitting that they did stray into waters claimed by Iran and that created another incident so it’s an extremely dangerous situation. We had Vice President Cheney earlier appearing on the Air Craft Carrier Stennis in the Persian Gulf literally threatening Iran. So I really don’t know what to say. Anything is possible at this time.

Dori Smith: Getting back to what you said about the IAEA, International Atomic Energy, back in Iran recently to do inspections of nuclear facilities. They said that their recent agreement with Iran would help to diffuse Western suspicions about Iran’s nuclear program. Yet former CIA Director James Woolsey has appeared on CNN with Lou Dobbs to say something that we have heard from Israelis as well which is that an attack on Iran is a bad idea but allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon is worse. Just discuss this phenomenon of US pro war neoconservatives in the US teaming up with hard line Israelis on Iran.

Francis A. Boyle: I think the fact that this was a major breakthrough between the IAEA and Iran yesterday that was summarily dismissed by the Bush administration proves that the Bush administration is not concerned at all about Iran having nuclear weapons. Indeed, as Ray McGovern, the former CIA analyst pointed out yesterday this so-called National Intelligence Estimate that’s been bottled up predicts at best they might have one in a decade. I don’t think anyone reasonably believes Iran has nuclear weapons now or could have them for at least a decade and certainly this could be headed off with reasonable good faith negotiations.

So the nuclear allegations, this is the same scenario that the Bush neoconservatives used against Iraq to scare the American people and Congress to death and stampede them into supporting a war against Iraq. And that is why it is so dangerous what is going on. If you’ve studied the pattern of their behavior in the past I guess Bush and the Neocons figured well it worked once let’s try it again and that is what they are doing. And again the presence of that third aircraft carrier task for there is extremely dangerous.

As for the role of the Neocons yes of course first Iran has all that oil and gas and is a strategic location there on the Gulf. That is important as the Bush people see it.

Second, Israel wanted to take Iraq out and therefore had all its neoconservative operatives and minions and mouthpieces here in the United States mongering for war against Iraq, and you do not have to just take my word for it. The <> Walt and Mearsheimer essay in the London Review of Books on this – Walt, Harvard, Mearsheimer, Chicago – agreed with what I’m saying here about the pernicious role played by the Israel Lobby.

The Neocons were working with them as well such as Woolesy on JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

Now they are moving on to Iran. Again the Neocons are pushing for war and Walt and Mearsheimer have also pointed out and I do agree: in their longer essay with all the footnotes you can find on the web site at the Harvard Kennedy School, the only people pushing for war against Iran today are the Neocons and the Israel Lobby. They have all of their people out there in the news media, in Congress, doing whatever they can to push for war. But it’s not just the pro Israel Lobby and the Neocons. It’s also all of the oil and gas and the strategic location Iran occupies. So it is a combination of both factors at work here as happened in the invasion of Iraq.

Dori Smith: We’ve seen an incredible development with the Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al Maliki heading first to Iran and then Syria. This widening the scope of possible sectarian interplay in the region because Iran is Shiite, Syria is Sunni. But talk about how that also could impact Congress and the White House and possibly lead us to a wider US role in regional conflict.

Francis A. Boyle: Yes well the Iraqi Prime Minister went to Iran and made several statements that pulled the rug out from under the Bush Neocon allegations that Iran was destabilizing Iraq. And likewise he recently made a similar statement about Syria. Again it does appear that the Neocons, the Likudniks, the Pro-Israel Lobby, have Syria in their gun sites as well. If they attack Iran they will probably take out Syria.

A year ago when Israel went to war against Lebanon all the reports were that the Bush neoconservatives were also trying to pressure Israel to attack Syria. Israel I think realized that would be a very dangerous proposition and they resisted that pressure. But if there is an attack upon Iran my guess is they will go after Syria as well and we could see again a major conflagration over there. Syria could do very serious damage to Israel.

Of course, Iran, we have the case last summer where a Chinese missile in Lebanon fired by Hizzbollah took out an Israeli destroyer. The Iranians have large numbers of those missiles and they could easily take out a US warship in the confines of the Persian Gulf.

If that happened my guess is Bush would ask for a formal declaration of war against Iran from Congress along the lines of 1898 “remember the Maine” and things of that nature and that would be it. We’d be off. They would reinstate a draft. They would further engage in police state tactics; once the President actually gets a formal declaration of war which he does not have now for Iraq or Afghanistan he basically becomes a Constitutional dictator. It triggers an entire title of the United States code giving the President enormous numbers of emergency powers that he can pretty much do what he wants. So that is what we are facing.

Dori Smith: I certainly do want to ask you what we can do to stop this march to wider war in the Middle East. First I want to mention a Time Magazine article by a former CIA field official named Robert Baer. He has compared the evidence being put forth against Iran over their role in Iraq to something resembling the Bush administration’s evidence on Saddam Hussein. This article representing yet another example of the split between intelligence figures on US policy in the Middle East today. He also said he feels the Neoconservatives are delusional.

Francis A. Boyle: Well you ask the question what we can do now. I think it is very important for at least one member of the United States Congress to file a bill of impeachment against Bush to try to stop this and to give some ammunition to those still in the US Intelligence Services and in the Pentagon who don’t want a war against Iran–and to that extent to de-legitimize what appears to be their rush to war.

I personally do not believe the Neocons are delusional. They know exactly what they are doing as we’ve discussed before. I went through the same program with them at the University of Chicago, the home of the Neocons. I have my undergraduate degree there in International Relations. Wolfowitz was there getting his PHD in International Relations,Shulsky, Khalilzad, all of the rest of them. I went through the exact same program. They know exactly what they are doing and what their objectives are and these other statements they are making about the Iranian people overthrowing the government—they don’t believe that. This is propaganda.

So these people are very smart, ruthless, and completely unprincipled. You have to understand that the founder of the Neocons at Chicago, Leo Strauss, his mentor in Germany was Carl Schmitt who went on to become the most notorious Nazi law professor of that benighted era justifying in legal terms every hideous atrocity Hitler and the Nazis inflicted on anyone.

So these Neocons are really Neo Nazis and that’s the mentality that motivates them. So I would respectfully disagree with Mr. Baer there. I don’t think they are delusional. That’s their framework of reference and we have to deal with that and with what these people are up to.

Ray McGovern, another CIA analyst pointed out if we file the bills of impeachment now when Congress comes back against Bush and Cheney and start the process that will give some hope to those professional military people in the Pentagon who don’t want a war and my understanding is most of them don’t, and I suspect most of the people in the CIA don’t want a war against Iran. That’s why you are having retired CIA people speak out against this, not active duty CIA or Military.

Dori Smith: You are listening to Talk Nation Radio. Professor Francis A. Boyle is a leading American professor, practitioner, and advocate of International Law. Four years on January 17th his Draft Impeachment Resolution Against George W. Bush appeared in Counterpunch.

Professor Boyle we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the numbers of Americans that are against the war. Most people now believe the war was not necessary. How could members of Congress tap into these anti-war sentiments and use them to change US policy?

Francis A. Boyle: Well I think it’s we the American people who are going to have to tap into the members of Congress and get them to do their job. As you know Cindy Sheehan, Ray McGovern, and others, met with Congressman John Conyers just recently with a petition signed by a million people to start impeachment proceedings against President Bush and after one hour Congressman Conyers had them arrested. I think that is symptomatic of the problem here that you have one of the leaders of the Democratic Party arresting one of the leaders of the American peace movement, Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan, simply for insisting that Conyers and his Congressional colleagues perform their duties as mandated by the United States Constitution.

So that’s the problem. Just before Congress took off on their summer vacation, the day before they took off, they signed this so-called ‘Protect America Act’ which is truly Orwellian, basically gutting FISA the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and retroactively approving the illegal, criminal, massive spying operation that the Bush administration has been conducting against the American people. So unfortunately we have a congress that is not looking out for the Constitution or the will of the American people.

In this regard I note that my colleague and friend Ramsey Clark has organized a peace march on Washington on September 15th. I think as many people as possible have to show up there. As we know from Vietnam the massive peace demonstrations in Washington D.C. did have an impact. Indeed Dan Ellsberg tells a story of how he was in the Pentagon hearing the march and he had a crisis of conscience and decided to publish the Pentagon Papers. So that is coming up on the 15th and we have to continue working to turn around Congressman Conyers and others to get them to file those bills of impeachment right away to try to head off a war with Iran.

Dori Smith: Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she is not in favor of trying to use articles of impeachment, calling it a non-starter. But given the stakes do you think there is some way that she might be persuaded to change her mind if peace activists and others continued to make their appeal?

Francis A. Boyle: Cindy Sheehan had the right idea. You go to their offices, you talk to them. And then you refuse to leave until they respond in an appropriate manner to you and then if they decide to arrest you you carry on the struggle in court.

That’s why I wrote my new book “Protesting Power” to set forth to peace leaders, peace activists, NGOs, lawyers and the American public, the legal and Constitutional principles involved here in citizens petitioning their government for redress of grievances under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and in the event repressive measures are taken against them how to properly defend themselves in court–and since my involvement in the defense of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, a very courageous man who we did get adopted as a ‘prisoner of conscience’ by Amnesty International–the first here in this country since Gulf War I when there were about 23 or 24 prisoners of conscience at that time including my client and friend Captain Dr. Yolanda Huet-Vaughn.

I’ve also worked on the case of Lieutenant Ehren Watada, his court-martial being the first commissioned officer to be court-martialed for refusing to go to Iraq as a matter of conscience and principle. Again a very courageous man. I’ve met them both and dealt with them. We were able to get a mistrial in Lieutenant Watada’s case. It’s scheduled for retrial some time this fall. I don’t know if we will see it or not. There are appeals going on at this point in time. But my book was used in both cases and other protests that are going on around the country itself. The Nuclear Resister estimated that in the, I think it was the first two years of this Gulf War, there were over 9,000 arrests.

So what I try to do in my book is to address these types of questions, what are the principles of International Law, human rights, the United States Constitution, at stake, and why does it in fact justify peaceful, non violent, civil resistance against government policies and those government officials who are either actively aiding and abetting or complicit in what the Bush administration is doing.

So we have to go all out with massive, non violent peace demonstrations in Washington which Ramsey Clark is organizing for September 15th and others are organizing with him. And the civil resistance demonstrated by Cindy Sheehan, and now Cindy Sheehan I think has correctly stated that since Pelosi is not going to undertake her Constitutional obligations, she, Cindy Sheehan, is going to run against Pelosi. And that’s the way a Democracy works and I think we have to make it clear to our elected representatives whether they are Democrats or Republicans that if you are not going to do your job under the Constitution, if you are not going to stop this rush towards war against Iran, if you are not going stop the further development of the Bush police state along the lines of this reprehensible Protect America Act then we are going to run candidates against you and we will defeat you. We will put in people to do this job. I think doing this, what Cindy Sheehan has done with Pelosi, has a salutary affect. If I were Pelosi I would be very worried and concerned about what Cindy Sheehan is doing right now. I think she will have a lot of support behind her. I notice Dan Ellsberg just came out in support of her. We need to replicate that all over the country.

Dori Smith: You have made a legal case against preemption doctrine in the past. How can that be used and what other legal arguments can be used to argue for impeachment?

Francis A. Boyle: Again I do set forth all of that comprehensively in this new book, Protesting Power. But to make a long story short actually I just resumed teaching my International Law students yesterday, I have about 50 second and third year law students, and went through this doctrine of preventive warfare at great length and pointed out that in fact this doctrine that was developed by Wolfowitz, my former colleague from the University of Chicago, was actually rejected by the Nuremberg Tribunal when lawyers for the Nazi defendants made an argument along the lines of preventive warfare to justify their invasion of Norway. And it was soundly rejected.

Yet, unfortunately Wolfowitz and others put this into the national security directive of September 2002 to justify preventive warfare against Iraq. It is still on the books as the policy of this government. It is undoubtedly I suspect going to be used to justify a war against Iran and this is a Nazi doctrine. Again it gets back to my point that the Neocons because of the Strauss connection with Schmitt, these Neocons are in fact Neo Nazis and they are adopting and espousing and justifying Neo Nazi doctrines in our government and in our popular culture.

For example, Francis Fukyama, one of the leading Neocons at John’s Hopkins School of International Affairs, a center for Neocons, was asked to do a review on the hundredth anniversary of Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, for the New York Times Sunday book review. They gave him the whole back page of the book review to do this. And during the course of reviewing Max Weber’s Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism, and I lecture my students in Jurisprudence on this subject, Fukuyama mentions Carl Schmitt as if Carl Schmitt were an ordinary German philosopher along the lines of Max Weber. And Fukuyama didn’t bother to point out to anyone that Schmitt was a Nazi.

What also astounded me was that the editor of the Sunday New York Times Book Review did not pick up the fact that Fukuyama was citing a Nazi philosopher right there in the Sunday New York Times Book Review. It simply astounded me. But that’s what these Neocons do. They take Nazi, Neo Nazi ideology and doctrine, and either put them into government policy as Wolfowitz has done on the National Security Directive of Preventive Warfare which then gets carried out against Iraq and now might be carried out against Iran, or else they pollute and degrade the academic and intellectual culture here in America by espousing Nazi doctrines without attribution. I’m just appalled that the Sunday New York Times would run a favorable reference to a Nazi philosopher without any commentary at all. But this goes on all the time if you follow the Neocons closely as I have since the University of Chicago tried to train me to become a Neocon starting back in 1968. That’s how long I’ve been fighting these people.

Dori Smith: I happened to be driving this morning in Connecticut on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Highway. It runs through Bloomfield. And NPR was airing a news story about the President’s upcoming speech. Evidently he plans to make reference to ‘America’s success at winning Democracy in Asia’. Ironic at best but do you think the White House could be telegraphing its new approach to trying to make Americans feel better about dark histories of war? Maybe as a way to get them to support larger war in the Middle East?

Francis A. Boyle: Right. If you have a look at today’s New York Times it does appear that the President is going to make a speech later today before the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars trying to justify what he is doing in Iraq and the Middle East along the lines of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. I won’t go through all of the historical analogies here having lived through those wars and opposed them myself as a young man but you are correct. This is extremely dangerous because if you go back and look at this 58,000 men in my generation were murdered in Vietnam by Johnson and Nixon in the name of a pack of lies. And three countries were destroyed, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, by the United States Government.

To allegedly extricate themselves from Vietnam they attacked Cambodia and Laos, which is not a very good precedent when the Bush administration might very well attack Iran and Syria which we have already discussed. So yes, it is an ominous discussion here that it could be Bush and the Neocons are telegraphing us that that’s what they have in mind, continuing to pursue the Vietnam precedent, up to three or four different countries and tens of thousands of Americans killed and millions of Arabs and Muslims killed as happened with Vietnam. The estimate is, even McNamara himself said we probably killed three million Vietnamese.

So it’s obvious it seems to me they have–the Neocons and Bush/Cheney have in mind a much broader conflagration which very well could happen. If they do attack Iran, you know if you study the course of the Iraq-Iran war I’m sure the Iranians will fight back ferociously and Bush and the Neocons will probably use tactical nuclear weapons against them. I think given the Neo Nazi mentality of these Neocons they would be happy to use nuclear weapons. I think they would like to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and using nuclear weapons would not bother them at all.

Dori Smith: Professor Boyle thank you so much for joining us.

Francis A. Boyle: Well thanks for having me on and I wish I had better news for everyone but I guess I have to give it to us all straight as to the way I see it and I think at this point everyone has to act in accordance with his or her conscience.

Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois is author of Protesting Power: War, Resistance and Law. The Harvard Graduate has long been thought of as a leading expert on the use of the US Constitution and International Law to wage peace. You can find his article, “Beware the Guns of August in Eurasia,” at


Many Take Army's 'Quick Ship' Bonus

$20,000 Is Lure to Leave Within Days

By Josh WhiteWashington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 27, 2007; Page A01

More than 90 percent of the Army's new recruits since late July have accepted a $20,000 "quick ship" bonus to leave for basic combat training by the end of September, putting thousands of Americans into uniform almost immediately.Many recruits who take the bonus -- scoring in many cases the equivalent of more than a year's pay -- leave their homes within days, recruiters said. The initiative is part of an effort by Army officials to meet year-end recruiting goals after a two-month slump earlier this year. With the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the Army hopes the extra cash motivates those interested in joining or entices those just considering enlisting.

The program began on July 25, and in three weeks the Army had enlisted 3,814 recruits using the bonus, according to the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Ky. Those recruits accounted for 92 percent of the 4,149 recruits who signed contracts between July 25 and Aug. 13.The $20,000 bonus is a hefty sum for many of the individuals the Army targets most aggressively: young men and women who have not settled on a career. The Army estimates that soldiers coming out of initial training are paid $17,400 a year on average.

But the effort, experts said, could pose problems for the Army in the coming months, because those who might have helped fill recruiting quotas later this year or in early 2008 are instead joining now.

Military personnel experts said the signing bonuses are a transparent way for the Army to meet its annual goal of 80,000 recruits amid an increasingly difficult recruiting environment. They also said the rush to get people into uniform might have more to do with meeting numerical targets than with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though many of those who join the Army face the possibility of deployment to combat soon.The Army hopes the bonus will increase its recruiting numbers for August, a month whose goals are among the largest of the year. The Army will announce the August numbers in early September.

"The Army is intent on trying to meet its recruitment goals in terms of numbers by the end of the fiscal year, so they're doing just about anything they can to bring those numbers up," said Cindy Williams, an analyst at the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "To me it signals something that we've been seeing already from the Army, a trade-off in terms of quality and quantity. My sense is that right now, they're willing to take anybody who is willing to walk in the door and ship by Sept. 30."

Army officials have lowered standards and increased waivers in recent years to meet their recruiting goals, in part to deal with the strain of the wars and to quickly expand the Army. But the Army has been more concerned with nose-diving public opinion about the war in Iraq and the role of "influencers" -- parents, teachers and coaches -- who have been increasingly unwilling to recommend the military as a career option to young people.The $20,000 bonus can be enticing, especially to those who lack a steady job, languish in debt or are worried about their future. Staff Sgt. Kevin Gordon, a recruiter in Glen Burnie, said a majority of the people who come into his office have already decided to join the service and then jump at the chance to leave now.The way the bonus works is simple: Recruits willing to ship out within the next month will receive $10,000 upon completion of basic training and advanced individual training. Then, over the course of their initial active-duty enlistment, they will receive $10,000 in even annual sums. For a young recruit with no college education, the bonus, which is taxable, could be the equivalent of a year of pay over the course of a three-year enlistment. And the recruit can still qualify for other sign-up bonuses.

But James Hosek, a defense manpower expert at the Rand Corp., said that though the quick-ship bonus is a "very smart move" by the Army, it could attract people who are less motivated to be in the service."There's a risk of bringing people in with lesser attachment or commitment to the Army," Hosek said. "Adding money will, for some people, sweeten the deal enough to persuade them to enter."