Americans opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are more than merely frustrated with their lack of success. They are disillusioned.
Although they converged from divergent origins in 2006 to change the control of Congress, no progress toward World peace has resulted. To the contrary, torture, unlawful detentions and surveillance have been added to the war crimes committed by American leadership. And, things are getting worse. The Congress has under consideration a domestic anti-terrorism law that will limit the right of Americans to protest these heinous actions. Before that law is enacted, those who are for peace must rally to defeat the war monger candidates for Federal office at the polls in 2008.
At present, the chances to accomplish that result are slim. The two anti-war, public first candidates for President, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, are way behind in the polls. To overcome the military industrial complex and big media combination that keep the pro war candidates in front requires aggressive efforts on the part of “Wage Peace”, as suggested by Scott Ritter in his recent book, advocates. The questions asked of the candidates must be directed toward the wrongs committed by government that the media and candidates will allow.
As should be obvious to all, questions to place blame for 9/11 on the American government are not permitted. When former President Clinton was asked if he thought 9/11 was an inside job, he responded with a “How dare you” (sic ask that question). At least, to his credit, he did not attempt to defend the ridiculous 9/11 Commission report.
Rather than push the 9/11 issues in the face of superior opposition, those who wish to “Wage Peace”, must ask questions that emphasize that our government has a long history of violent behavior. For example, “Does the candidate support the refusal by the Department of Interior to provide an accurate accounting and payment of trust fund obligations to American Indians?” Any candidate opposed to fair treatment or would say they need to study the issue would be properly branded as pro unreasonable government behavior.
For example, how could Hillary Clinton claim to be for fair treatment of the American Indian when she has done nothing to promote that view in her role as a United States Senator? How could Rudolph Giuliani claim he is for integrity in government after he supervised the destruction of evidence at the 9/11 disaster site? Once integrity in government is the main topic of discussion, the election of the President will shift from those like Hillary Clinton and Rudolph Giuliani who are expected to perpetuate the wars in the Middle East to candidates like Kucinich and Paul.
As preparation for this shift, those interested in peace must learn the history of the treatment of the indigenous people of the United States. The primer for this subject is Chapter 1 of Howard Zinn’s book “A People’s History of the United States”. The American government came into existence, in part, by use of violence and breach of treaties with the American Indian. The facts regarding America’s treatment of its Indians are not clearly taught in most American schools. This deficiency must be overcome.
By change of focus from the current wars in the Middle East to this violent past, it will be possible to get the majority of Americans to understand that we have never been a peaceful people. And, if we are to become peaceful, we must begin by making peace with the American Indian.
Currently, we continue to wage war against the American Indian by refusal to accurately account for their trust fund money. This deplorable conduct is the subject of a lawsuit brought as a class action by the American Indians before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia styled as Cobell v Kempthorne, (sic Secretary of the US Department of Interior) at case number 96cv01285, Washington, DC.
The case was originally assigned to United States District Judge Royce Lamberth. No person with knowledge of Judge Lamberth’s past decisions would ever claim that he was anti-Federal government.
During the proceedings, Judge Lamberth formed an opinion that the Department of Interior was less than candid concerning the information that should be provided to the Indians to permit a fair trial. In February 1999, after the government’s abuses committed since the case began in 1996 had become intolerable, Judge Lamberth found Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, Assistant Secretary of the Interior Kevin Gover and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in contempt of court for their failure to produce documents, destruction of relevant documents and misrepresentations in sworn testimony.
The Department of Interior appealed Judge Lamberth’s findings to the United States Court of Appeals. In spite of additional false testimony, financial misconduct and bureaucratic retaliation against the Indians by the Department of Interior after entry of the contempt order, the Appellate Court reversed Judge Lamberth’s finding of contempt and removed him from the case. There was no proof that Judge Lamberth had entered the case with any animosity against the government. To the contrary, all negative opinion formed by Judge Lamberth was a result of evaluation of government conduct during the proceeding.
The Appellate Court ruling deviates from established law that only the trial judge has discretion to manage the case before him and unless bias is proved to have existed before the case began, no rulings regarding discovery, including contempt, entered by the trial judge will be disturbed on appeal. The Appellate Court decision is another in the long list of Court approvals of violent acts by our government against the American Indian. All Americans must recognize that until their leaders are required to deal with the American Indian fairly it is unreasonable to expect those leaders to treat any other citizen or foreign governments fairly.
It is up to those of us who want World peace to communicate the need for fair treatment of the American Indian to the American people. We must correct the root causes of injustice in this Country if we are to achieve World peace by non-violent means.
That correction begins by submission of questions to the candidates for Federal public office to learn what they will do to insure that the Indians are provided with a full accounting and payment of the trust fund money they are owed. And while we are at it, we should ask if they would also issue an apology and payment of the legal fees and costs expended by the Indians to get justice. Once Americans recognize that their government has a long history of unprovoked violence against this Country’s indigenous people, they will be better able to recognize that their government currently commits other unjustified violent acts that must be stopped.
There will be hope that Wage Peace has a chance of success.
William Sumner Scott, J.D.
Copyright December 2007
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