This needs wider distribution.
attached mail follows:
RESPECTING THE LAWS THAT GOVERN NATIONS
A statement by Veterans For Peace, Inc.
Veterans For Peace, an organization of men and women who have served in the
armed forces, having collectively experienced combat, imprisonment,
bombing, shelling, firefights, all the manifestations of war, and its
after-effects in terms of human suffering and cultural decline, is deeply
troubled that the United States administration, in violation of our own
Constitution, has waged an announced, but not legally declared war on a
sovereign nation in response to a terrorist attack, heinous though it was.
We believe, our government is setting a dangerous precedent by choosing to
bypass and avoid compliance with the United Nations Charter, which requires
member states to refer disputes threatening international peace to the UN
Security Council for determination of how to deal with such threats. Since
the United States was one of the original signers to the treaty that
established the principles of international law embodied by the United
Nations, it should constitute the law of the land, and we should be it
Further, the United States military, subsequent to its attack on
Afghanistan, has abducted hundreds of combatants, transporting them
blindfolded, drugged and in chains to imprisonment at the US Navy base at
Guantanamo, Cuba, where they are being treated improperly. These persons,
according to Amnesty International, are being subject to illegal
interrogation, while suffering the stress of close confinement, isolation
in a foreign land, lack of access to legal counsel, and deliberately
By these acts, the United States Government has abrogated the Geneva
Convention covering the treatment of Prisoners Of War and weakened the
influence of the United Nations, thereby jeopardizing the security of our
nation and the safety of our military men and women.
The security of our nation is threatened by the fear and resentment
generated by threats of unrestrained military action against named and
un-named sovereign states said to harbor terrorists. Even our closest
allies view the United States as acting in a dangerously provocative
manner. It should not be surprising, then, that those countries
specifically threatened by our rhetoric are preparing for conflict. The net
result is an increase, not a decrease, of the likelihood of terrorist
attacks upon U.S. citizens, possessions and territory.
We have grave concerns, too, for the safety of our brothers and sisters
serving in the US military and being put in harm's way under these most
unfavorable conditions. In the case of capture, they are likely to be
subject to unrestrained, debasing treatment, in similar disregard of the
For their safety and in the name of common humanity, Veterans For Peace
demands that the abductees in Guantanamo Bay, Afghani's and other
nationalities, be accorded the status of Prisoners of War (POW) with all
attendant rights under the Geneva Convention and any other Conventions
governing wartime activities and the treatment of prisoners that the United
States is party to. This should include access to the International Red
Cross, access to legal advice, the ability to communicate with families,
freedom of religious practice, release from close confinement, the ability
to exercise daily and be accorded proper medial care.
We also ask the United States government to begin planning for the
repatriation of these prisoners, and that it be accomplished sooner rather
than later, as mandated by international law.
If the United States is, indeed, a Nation of Laws; and if we expect our
citizens to abide by its laws, then we have the right to expect our
government to abide by the laws that govern other nations and insist that
it do so.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Mar 02 2002 - 17:29:25 EST