The Truth, Mainly - 04/29/2002

U.S. to unsign World Court treaty? WHAM!
by Leon Satterfield

The world's first permanent court for the prosecution of war criminals and dictators became a reality today as the United States stood on the sidelines in strong opposition….The Bush administration… argues that the court will open American officials…to unjustified, frivolous, or politically motivated suits.

—NY Times, April 12, 2002


Late 21st century historians generally agree that the World Heavyweight Anarchy Movement (WHAM!) reached the peak of its influence in 2050 just before nearly everybody blew up nearly everybody else.

Scholars trace the movement's origins, ironically enough, to April of 2002 when the requisite 60 nations signed the treaty that created the International Criminal Court, thus provoking exuberantly hopeful optimism.

Many thought that the new court would be the perfect venue for settling cases like the World Trade Center terrorist attacks of the previous year, and the lethal policies pursued by Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat.

"Those who commit war crimes, genocide, or other crimes against humanity," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "will no longer be beyond the reach of justice. Humanity will be able to…respond to the worst of human nature with one of the greatest of human achievements: the rule of law."

And that frightful prospect was enough to set in motion the eventual establishment of the World Heavyweight Anarchy Movement (WHAM!). Three of the world heavyweight countries in 2002—China, Russia, and what was then known as the United States—boycotted the International Criminal Court.

The U. S., heaviest of the heavyweights, had signed the court treaty during the Clinton administration. But a year and a half later the Bush II administration opposed the court because it would open Americans to unjustified, frivolous, or politically motivated suits.

Americans, the Bush staff argued, should be exempt from the court's jurisdiction. And if they were not, the president might "unsign" the treaty.

Michael Posner, director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, pointed out that "No American president in 200 years has unsigned a treaty, as far as we can find."

Had the controversy ended there, scholars say, the World Heavyweight Anarchy Movement (WHAM!) might never have come into being.

But in 2006, the state of Mississippi decided to re-establish slavery. When the federal government pointed out that slavery would violate the U.S. Constitution now, the Mississippi governor yelled a rebel yell and rebelled.

"Following federal law as interpreted by federal courts," the governor said, "would open Mississippi to unjustified, frivolous, and politically motivated suits. We hereby unsign all documents connecting our state to the federal government."

And that was just the beginning.

In 2028, the Lancaster County Commissioners unsigned documents connecting the county to the state of Nebraska because they disliked the policies of Gov. Ernie Chambers, who despite being 91 years old, could still (and often did) bench press the entire membership of the county commission.

By 2034, municipalities all over the Ununited States of America were unsigning their connections to county supervision because, they said, the status quo would open them to unjustified, frivolous, and politically motivated suits.

And five years later, neighborhood precincts were breaking ties with city courts all over the country for the same reason. By 2040, what would have been crime outbreaks were breaking out all over the country, but attempts to bring charges against the "criminals" were dismissed as unjustified, frivolous, and politically motivated.

Judges by that time had unsigned their allegiance to any government agency whatsoever.

This disintegration of the Ununited States was being watched carefully by potential anarchists abroad, and by 2048, the World Heavyweight Anarchy Movement (WHAM!) was up and running. The group, of course, had no rules to rebel against, but when a delegate from Sweden suggested that meetings might run more smoothly if they followed Robert's Rules of Order, he was summarily executed by an irritable Ayn Rand enthusiast from Idaho.

And, as we all know now, two years later, the most recent War to End All Wars ended because, unencumbered by law, nearly everybody had exercised the individual freedom to blow up nearly everybody else.

What was left of the world was evenly divided between Enron and the Mafia. Their CEOs said that they really, really liked not being bothered by unjustified, frivolous, and politically motivated suits, and that they were just crazy about anarchy.


Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is:

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