Personal Statement on Why I Risk Arrest at the Republican National Convention. August 31, 2008
This immoral and illegal war against the peoples of Iraq must stop now!
I am required by the Nuremberg Principles to not be complicit with this war of aggression that the UN Charter calls a grave war crime.
I have written and called my Members of Congress as well as the President. I have sat in my Senators’ offices. I have marched and demonstrated in countless nonviolent vigils and demonstrations against this war and the illegal weapons (cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions) used against the people of Iraq. I have protested the sanctioned use of torture and other violations of human rights under the guise of prosecuting a “War on Terror” – while, ironically terrorizing others! I have written Letters to the Editor. When I heard that President Bush planned to address the Republican National Convention in my home state, I felt I needed to nonviolently confront the President himself since this War and Occupation continues. (On the reverse side you will find the letter I hope to deliver.)
If I am arrested for nonviolently attempting to deliver this letter and the International Law documents I carry to the President, I will choose to refuse to pay bail to seek my release. To charge someone for their right to nonviolently voice their opposition to criminal activity is a tax against my conscience. I will refuse to pay bail to a government that seeks to protect this War Criminal.
I march and protest today in solidarity with the civilians of Iraq and the millions of refugees who have had to endure this violent attack and occupation of their homeland. I ask my fellow U.S citizens to rise up nonviolently and refuse to allow this war to continue.
I try to faithfully follow the example and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth who calls me to “Love my enemies” and “Love my neighbor as myself”. I call all those who claim to follow the life and witness of Jesus to find creative ways to stop this war and work to heal its many wounds.
2912 E. 24th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406-1322
August 31, 2008
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20002
Dear President Bush,
I come today in profound opposition to your illegal and immoral war against the people of Iraq. As then-Secretary General Kofi Annan has pointed out, this war of choice and aggression is in violation of International Law – specifically the United Nations Charter, Articles 2 and 3 as well as Articles 39, 42, and 51 under Chapter VII.
In addition to the illegality of the initiation of this war, the execution of this war has also violated International Humanitarian Law (The Law of War) in numerous ways. The use by the US military under your command as Commander-in-Chief of “weapons of mass or indiscriminate destruction” as specified under UN Resolution 1996/16 (International Peace and Security as an Essential Condition for the Enjoyment of Human Rights above all the Right to Life), The Hague and Geneva Conventions (particularly Protocol I Part III Article 35 and Part IV Chapter 1 Article 51), and The CCW Treaty are defined as War Crimes. In particular, the use of cluster munitions and depleted uranium munitions, both of which are extremely indiscriminate, create long-term damage to the environment, continue to kill long after a conflict has ended, cause unnecessary harm and suffering, and are not restricted to the area of battle – thus failing all the tests which a weapon must pass muster to be legally used.
In addition to these illegal actions, your Administration has given the “green light” under your command to violate the treaty our nation has signed against the use of torture – even though you have callously tried to re-define that term. You have thus brought shame to our entire nation before the eyes of the world community.
Because our Constitution clearly states under Article VI (The Supremacy Clause) that all treaties signed by our government are “the supreme law of the land; and the judges of every state shall be bound thereby”, and because the Nuremberg Principles adopted in the treaty founding the United Nations declares that “Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity … is a crime under international law” (Nuremberg Principle VII), and because other nonviolent avenues I have pursued (including letters to you and my Members of Congress, visits to their offices, Letters to the Editor, public vigils and demonstrations, …) have thus far failed to end this illegal War and Occupation, I come today in hopes of personally delivering this letter to you.
I call on you to immediately announce a decision to withdraw all U.S. Military Forces as well as all “Private Contractors” (mercenaries) from Iraq as quickly as is physically possible while attempting to ensure their safety in withdrawal. In addition, I call on you to fully fund both a UN and/or Arab League security force to help protect Iraqi civilians coupled with the full funding of reparations to be paid to Iraq for the destruction of their country and infrastructure during this illegal war.
Steve Clemens, 2912 East 24th St. Minneapolis, MN 55406-1322. (612) 724-3255