Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cooking War Criminals

Recent awakenings among US Democrats (and others) claim they were blindsided by government assurances over Iraq and its dangers. It was clear from way back, however, that the Bush regime were peddling stinky fish.

British MP Robin Cook had just resigned as Leader of the House of Commons in protest over the planned invasion of Iraq when he delivered a well-reasoned and impassioned speech to Parliament on 17 March 2003. Cook is clear in his speech (which received a standing ovation from both sides of the House) that invading Iraq was being planned with no clear & present danger, and without multilateral agreement - Britain and the USA were embarking on an illegal war.

Here is an mp3 version of that famous speech:
Robin Cook resigns over Iraq attack plan 2003-03-17.mp3

and a transcript:
Robin Cook resignation speech

This was not a tiny voice from the fringe, but a mainstream warning against unilateralism, bullying and wielding war in doubtful circumstances (Robin Cook had been Foreign Secretary for more than four years under PM Tony Blair). Those who ignored his warnings might yet be convicted for criminal acts. The death, destruction & huge costs they've sown are tragedy for all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Illegal Foreigners

Immigrants have a hard time in making their lives in a new nation. And immigrants have helped many nations in fundamental ways. We can celebrate the immigrant. But illegal foreigners should not be encouraged. Let's reserve the term immigrant for those who properly follow legal immigration procedures. Hiking across a border should not confer the title 'immigrant' -- an honorable word.

The United States of America confers citizenship on people born within US territory. This is the law of jus soli (also lex soli). Citizenship is granted to a child born in the USA; parent nationality or legal status is immaterial (with the exception of children born to foreign embassy or consular officials posted to the USA, or the offspring of occupying enemy soldiers).

This system should be revised. When citizenship is granted to the babies of illegal foreigners, or to the offspring of tourists or short-term visitors, great confusion arises. The parents may soon need to leave, or already illegally resident (the legal status of parents is unchanged) but the infant has a citizen's right to stay. This condition is sometimes called 'birth tourism' or having an anchor baby...

Nutty! Little American children without the right to keep their parents with them. Of course we feel something is odd & unfair.

Revision of jus soli is complex because of the US Constitution's 14th Amendment, (excerpt): "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." The law has been upheld on challenge: United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898); Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).

This anomaly can and should be fixed.