Peace, Truth. and Ramsey Clark
Why, the question is being asked, does a high profile American defend people and causes that are not only anti-Establishment, but anti-American as well?
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Peace and truth, two absolutes that always seem to be at an unreachable horizon for mankind; two absolutes in ceaseless conflict with the dark nature of man. Our search for either, or both, appears to rely more often on our lips than on our deeds.
But then, there is this controversial man from Texas- America's La Mancha, if you will: William Ramsey Clark. An anti-hero to most Americans who, in their Sancho Panza ways, resent and ridicule him for his quixotic fight in trying to uphold those absolutes on everyone's behalf. Everyone's. not just Americans.
An indefatigable man, Clark at 78 still carries the physical and mental stamina required to tackle the most unlikely, perhaps impossible, tasks. All centered on a quest: peace through truth. And for that, he will be forever tongue-lashed by his countrymen. His mission this time: to act as an adviser to Saddam Hussein's defense team, principally by advocating the safety of defense counsel while also bringing a sense of fairness to proceedings shrouded in the opaque veil provided by an occupier.
America's vox populi, however, has the former US Attorney General [1967-9] as simply defending a thug. an anti-American thug at that! And the dour faces of American TV anchors and reporters, added to the unfriendly-at times belligerent-tone in their questioning, attest to that.
There he goes again, defending the "bad guys," his critics proclaim; now, it's Saddam, the latest entry on that list of "criminals and troublemakers"! Some people do remember his defense of David Koresh, by popular accounts a "religious nut"; or activists Berrigan (anti-war) and Peltier (American Indians' rights); or state terrorists (i.e.: Ntakirutimana of Rwandan genocide fame); or Palestinian nationalists/terrorists [depending on the ideological prescription of the glasses one wears]; and, recently, accused Yugoslavian "war criminals" Karadzic and Milosevic.
Why, the question is being asked, does a high profile American defend people and causes that are not only anti-Establishment, but anti-American as well? And as a follow-up question.How can such behavior come from the son of a US Supreme Court Justice, a former marine, and a man who for almost two years held the highest government law office in the Land?
For almost four decades, when it comes to understanding and acknowledging what Clark is all about, and the socio-political statement he's trying to make, most people, some by choice, simply miss the point. His message, almost always editorially-colored by the media, seems to be placed in a labyrinth. with ignorance as its entry and ill will as its exit. But, against all odds, the man keeps fighting on. His contribution to truth, peace and world fellowship never seems to get much favorable press in the US. One hopes that time, and history books, will properly assess his work, and remedy that.
I have followed Mr. Clark's rosary of activism from the time when he, as Attorney General, oversaw the prosecution of the Boston Five [draft resistance during the Vietnam War]. Clark did it with a single purpose: to focus the attention of a government-misled nation on the draft, and how it affected the conduct of that unjust war. In the process he had to convict Benjamin Spock, a peace activist and fellow winner of the Gandhi Peace Award; a renown pediatrician who gave America [and this writer] a manual for rearing our children. The trial brought home to Mainstream America the fact that opposition to that unjust war went far beyond the activism of young people with long hair. or the usual progressives branded as "commies." Although the war would last another six years, Ramsey Clark, working within the government against the injustices of that same government, left his indelible imprint.
From that time, as I counted bead after bead of Clark's legal encounters in public life, it was always the same. Consistently, he took the side of the underdog for no apparent fame or fortune. unless one considers being despised for your actions, by both the vocal and the silent majorities in your nation, as fame. His involvement seemed to cover the full spectrum of socio-political issues. More than an advocate for the person or group he was defending. his advocacy seemed to be focus on one thing: the uncovering of the truth no matter what social or political repercussions it brought.
Now it's Saddam Hussein's trial. Unfortunately, both the venue and the process are not likely to bring out the truth as Clark would desire. He would much have preferred to operate in an international, unbiased forum. But having been given nothing but lemons, he has no other option than to make lemonade, hoping that a miracle will provide the sweetener. so that the entire historical truth does come out. For, in the eyes of much of the world, it isn't Saddam who should be on trial, but the United States. culpable of criminally attacking a sovereign nation and inflicting untold hardship to its population.
As for Saddam Hussein, and the criminal charges brought against him, that's a matter that Iraqis need to resolve themselves, without the Americans looking over their shoulders. A national issue that should not be addressed by sectarian claims, however legitimate they may appear, of Kurds, Shiites or Sunnis.
It's doubtful that Mr. Clark will make any strides in this trial to bring the truth of America's illegal involvement in Iraq. But, at the very least, it will add to the ever growing belief that the current administration governing these United States is by far the most impeachable we have ever had. If nothing else, it will add wood to the impeachment fire he has already lighted.
Ramsey Clark's Articles of Impeachment of President George W. Bush et al. [Cheney, Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales rounding up the list] for Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes or Misdemeanors [www.VoteToImpeach.org] are the latest testimony of his love for peace and truth.
In my own quest for truth, that's how I see it!
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