Sick but true :-

US Congress passed a bill yesterday (10th May 2001) that gives the US President the right to use "all necessary measures" to liberate Americans held for trial by the International Criminal Court. To put it bluntly, it gave George W. Bush the "right" to invade The Hague to free US citizens arrested by Interpol for international crimes.

The world's going to hell. for those that read Dutch

Rook: You'll agree that "all means necessary and appropriate" doesn't in fact rule out anything, beyond the proviso against bribery or "inducements". So where am i wrong?

On May, 10, 2001, the US House of Representatives voted in favor of H.Amdt.31 (the "DeLay Amendment," authored by Republican Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas) to H.R. 1646, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which covers appropriations for fiscal years 2002-03. The vote was 282-137, with one representative voting "present" and 11 not voting. On party lines, 205 Republicans voted yes, and 4 voted no; 76 Democrats voted yes, and 132 voted no.

The DeLay Amendment, spelled out in House Report 107-62, states America's opposition to the International Criminal Court, established by the adoption of the UN's "Rome Statute" on July 17, 1998. The US Congress does not, as a whole, favor of the Rome Statute, which it believes is an unwarranted threat to its national sovereignty. Moreover, it is concerned that US servicemen and servicewomen on peacekeeping missions would be subject to prosecution for war crimes merely for carrying out their duties as prescribed by the UN Security Council. Whether or not these fears are warranted, the US Senate has not ratified the Rome Statute and has said it would refuse to do so as it is currently written.

Section 638(a) of the DeLay Amendment (the section in question) reads:

(a) AUTHORITY- The President is authorized to use all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release from captivity of any person described in subsection (b) who is being detained or imprisoned against that person's will by or on behalf of the International Criminal Court.

Note the use of the word "appropriate." This section does not imply military action. In fact, Sections 638(c) and 638(d) explicitly state that "all means necessary and appropriate" includes providing legal assistance but does not include bribery or other inducements. The mere fact that it prohibits relatively benign actions such as bribery suggests strongly that "all means necessary and appropriate" do not include an invasion of the Netherlands.

Moreover, it should be noted that this bill is not federal law, and will not be until it is passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President. A lot can happen in that process, and just because the text is in there today doesn't mean that the Senate won't take it out later.

Strictly speaking, it is evident that the United States has no intention of invading to liberate anyone incarcerated at the Hague. On the other hand, historically, wars have been started on weaker pretenses. What is measured as appropriate has a way of changing.

As to letter and intent of the bill, I must concur with Rook. On the other hand, K9 has struck directly to the humor in this needless effort of Congress in regards to our sovereignty. It is fascinating to suppose that anyone would be imprisoned and have it not be "against that person's will". This is a broad attack directly against the jurisdiction and authority of the court. If the intent of the DeLay Amendment was really to protect U.S. military personnel on U.N. Peacekeeping missions, then the amendment should just say so - by being so vague it throws our entire relationship with the court into a realm of doubt. The U.S. undermines the court anytime it involves U.S. citizens in any way, and then we expect it to act with authority when we want it to.

And if the problem is the U.N. and peacekeeping itself, rather than the court... Nigeria has had over 2,000 casualties over the last 10 years serving peacekeeping and spent over $7 billion in that time span. Quite impressive for a politically unstable state. Embarassing really, given the complaining that the U.S. Congress regularly carries out.

Sadly, we inch ever closer to isolationism.

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