Letter from former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark to President Bush
May 14, 2003
Dear President Bush,
The authorization to U.S. military personnel in Iraq to shoot looters reported in the press today must be rescinded immediately. Neither the laws of war, nor peace, or any legal definition of “American Justice”, authorize soldiers, or police to shoot looters. Any soldier who shoots a looter has committed armed assault if injury results and murder if death results. You must not put this Iraqi blood on the hands and conscience of young American soldiers.
During the racial turbulence of the 1960’s, there was “Much loose talk of shooting looters.” As Attorney General I said “this talk must stop!” “If America has a conscience we had best awake from this wild talk of shooting looters and face reality.” “Far from being effective, shooting looters divides, angers, embitters, drives to violence… Is this American justice?”
Deadly force, including firearms, can be employed only as a last resort when necessary to stop a direct and immediate threat to life.
This new authorization to shoot looters compounds the excessive use of force employed against the people of Iraq by the shock and awe aggression already committed. It means the U.S. does not respect the lives of the people of Iraq and will use its armed might to kill them as it chooses.
Only your immediate action can prevent more deaths and greater hatred toward our country.