By Marjorie Cohn and Jonathan Moore
Watching the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick 18-hour series, “The Vietnam War,” is an emotional experience. Whether you served in the US military during the war or marched in the streets to end it, you cannot remain untouched by this documentary. The battle scenes are powerful, the stories of US veterans and Vietnamese soldiers who fought on both sides of the war compelling.
The toll in human terms caused by the war is staggering. Nearly 58,000 Americans and 2 to 3 million Vietnamese, many of them civilians, were killed in the war. Untold numbers were wounded. Many US veterans of the war suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. More US Vietnam War vets have committed suicide than died in the war. However, those numbers do not begin to tell the complete story of the war.
The US Engages in Chemical Warfare
In one of its most serious omissions, the series gives short shrift to the destruction wreaked by the US military’s spraying of deadly chemical herbicides containing the poison dioxin over much of Vietnam, the most common of which was Agent Orange. This is one of the most tragic legacies of the war. Yet, aside from a few brief mentions, the victims of Agent Orange/dioxin, both Vietnamese and American, are not portrayed in the series. More importantly, the ongoing harm created by this chemical warfare program is never mentioned.Read more
Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 19. That threat violates the UN Charter, and indicates an intent to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, the war crime of collective punishment and international humanitarian law. Moreover, a first-strike use of nuclear weapons would violate international law.
By threatening to attack North Korea, Trump is endangering the lives of countless people. In the past, he has indicated his willingness to use nuclear weapons and Kim Jong-un has threatened to retaliate. The rapidly escalating rhetoric and provocative maneuvers on both sides has taken us to the brink of war.
Trump’s threat prompted North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho to state, “Given the fact that this [threat] came from someone who holds the seat of the US presidency, this is clearly a declaration of war.”Read more
After federal courts struck down Donald Trump’s first two Muslim bans, his functionaries crafted a third one. In an attempt to withstand judicial scrutiny by convincing the courts it is not really aimed at Muslims, Trump’s new travel ban (Muslim Ban 3.0) cosmetically adds two countries — Venezuela and North Korea — that do not have Muslim-majority populations. Nevertheless, the new ban suffers from the same constitutional infirmities as the first and second Muslim bans.Read more
When Donald Trump plunged a dagger through the hearts of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s victims and all justice-loving people by pardoning the racist serial lawbreaker, many threw up their hands in resignation. The president’s constitutional pardon power is absolute, they thought.
Not so, argue lawyers and legal scholars in two proposed amicus briefs filed in US District Court in Arizona. They contend the Arpaio pardon is unconstitutional.Read more
The Trump administration’s rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been met with widespread resistance by people across the political spectrum. Thousands have marched in the streets to save the “Dreamers” from deportation. Human rights and civil liberties organizations as well as legislators on both sides of the aisle condemned the ending of DACA.
Donald Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions announced the impending termination of DACA on September 5, 2017, disingenuously claiming it was necessary to forestall a looming legal challenge by 10 state attorneys general. Sessions cited no legal authority for his assertion that DACA was unconstitutional. In fact, no court has ever found DACA to be unlawful.
Lawsuits were immediately filed against Trump’s cruel targeting of the “Dreamers.”Read more
Making good on a campaign pledge to his right-wing nativist base, Donald Trump has rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA was established by President Barack Obama to encourage young people without immigration papers, who were brought to the United States as children, to come out of the shadows and sign up for temporary protection against deportation. Trump’s heartless decision will throw approximately 800,000 “Dreamers” currently enrolled in DACA into limbo.Read more
On Friday, less than two weeks after refusing to unequivocally condemn the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Donald Trump granted former Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio a rare presidential pardon, calling the notorious racist an “American patriot.” The pardon is noteworthy for many reasons.Read more
As we mourn the death of Heather Heyer, murdered by a white supremacist at the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday, and hope for the recovery of the dozens of other anti-racist counterdemonstrators injured that day, Donald Trump continues to fan the flames of hatred and bigotry he has nourished throughout his brief presidency.
The president’s reprehensible behavior in this moment creates a new sense of urgency. We cannot postpone consideration of impeachment until Special Counsel Robert Mueller finishes his criminal investigation. It is time to pressure the House of Representatives to bring articles of impeachment against Trump for his abuse of power. We must stop this president before he launches a new civil war and/or nuclear war.Read more
As Special Counsel Robert Mueller impanels two grand juries to investigate Donald Trump and his associates, and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s home is searched, Trump needs to distract attention from the investigation into his alleged wrongdoing.
North Korea has provided just such a distraction — albeit a potentially catastrophic one.
On Tuesday, Trump stated, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Friday morning, Trump warned North Korea that the US military is “locked and loaded.”
Trump has learned that bombing other countries enhances a president’s popularity. In April, with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, each armed with over 1,000 pounds of explosives, he went from scoundrel-in-chief to national hero virtually overnight. The corporate media, the neoconservatives and most of Congress hailed Trump as strong and presidential for lobbing the missiles into Syria, reportedly killing nine civilians, including four children.Read more
One of the most sacred duties of the president of the United States is to enforce the laws. The Take Care Clause, in Article II, §3 of the Constitution, says the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Yet, six months after taking office, Donald Trump has demonstrated contempt for the rule of law. He has not only refused to enforce certain laws; he has become a serial lawbreaker himself and counseled others to violate the law.
Trump is undermining Obamacare, which is currently the law of the land. He is advocating police brutality. Plus, he has illegally bombed Syria, killed large numbers of civilians in Iraq and Syria, instituted an unconstitutional Muslim Ban, violated the Emoluments Clause and obstructed justice.
Each of these actions either violate or indicate an intention to violate the law.Read more