Tomothy McVeigh on Iraq

Chris Burford cburford at
Fri May 11 23:43:24 PDT 2001

At 12/05/01 10:52 +0800, you wrote:
>Chris Burford wrote:
>>Is the quote below, alleged to be from a short essay by him in 1996, genuine?
>>>Whether you wish to admit it or not, when you approve, morally, of the
>>>bombing of foreign targets by the U.S. military, you are approving of
>>>acts morally equivalent to the bombing in Oklahoma City.
>>Did he have any political motivation, however twisted, or is this a
>>retrospective rationalisation?
>>To the extent there is any truth in the proposition, it is an argument
>>for making the US responsible to some sort of world court as rapidly as
>Does it matter whether it is genuine or, if genuine, what his intentions
>were? It would only matter if somehow one thought that if it was genuine,
>and it wasn't post-facto, that it somehow diminishes the horror of what he
>did. But it doesn't, wouldn't and shouldn't.
>But it would still make it an apt comparison, not only in Iraq, but in any
>number of other places, including Vietnam where this happened continuously
>for a decade. Unfortunately, because it is attributed to McVeigh, it will
>simply reinforce the tendency to reject it -- now with the added 'reason'
>of it being the output of a mass murderer.
>KJ Khoo

Well my main point was about the growing convergence of global ideas of justice. If McVeigh should be executed by the USA, the USA should also be answerable in a world court for crimes against humanity for its military escapades.

The undercurrents are interesting. Only this week the European Union handed over a letter to the US Justice Department saying it is "deeply concerned about the high number of executions in the United States."

The latest juridical McVeigh muddle adds to European arguments about the riskiness of all executions.

Even a right wing, pro-capitalist journal like the Economist in London, joined in the argument:

"It is not hard, even for opponents of the death penalty, to understand America's need to take vengeance on Mr McVeigh. But next week's spectacle in Terre Haute is merely giving an evil man the notoriety he craves."

Underneath the skirmishing about ethics lie economic interests.

The US has just insulted other capitalist governments by walking out of the attempt by the OECD to control tax havens, declaring defiantly (which it was not been asked to endorse anyway) "The United States does not support efforts to dictate to any country what its own tax rates or tax system should be and will not participate in any initiative to harmonize world tax systems."

Once again the US under Bush seems to be defying a growing consensus about global law and accountability.

The more it is willing to appear a legal loose cannon, the less will be its hegemonic authority.

And now the economic and political conditions exist to erode its hegemony.

Chris Burford


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