Interesting. When the World Outlawed War is a book by David Swanson. That book explains that in A.D. 1928, most of the nations of the world signed a treaty (the Kellog-Briand Pact) to “outlaw” war. This treaty was signed by the U.S. and is still valid and therefore part of the “supreme law of the land” (Article 6 Section, The Constitution of the United States). Under this treaty all war is a crime.
World War II violated this treaty, and after that war, there were efforts to try Nazi “war criminals” based on the Kellog-Briand treaty that declared war to be a crime.
I wonder if modern “wars” (as in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, etc.) are deemed to be “police actions” to avoid criminal liability under Kellog-Briand. Perhaps the reason that Congress will no longer declare war and/or has passed power to the President to unilaterally initiate “war” (under some other definition) is that “war” is now a crime.
Are the “wars” on Drugs and Poverty, really “wars”? If so, could they be challenged as “crimes”? Probably not. I expect those “wars” are euphemisms rather than objective descriptions. Probably.
But what about the Trading With the Enemy Act which has allegedly recognized the people of the United States as “enemies”? What about “Emergency War Powers Acts” and/or the Patriot Act? Insofar as any such act seemingly authorizes a “war,” could those acts be challenged as crimes? Or do these acts attempt to sanitize and authorize organized violence without admitting to have expressly engaged in the (now criminal) act of “war”?
The actual treaty is fairly short and seemingly simple. You can see a copy at http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/kbpact.asp#art2.
Note that this treaty references the “President of the United States of America” and the “Government of the United States of America“. This treaty was not ratified by the government of the United States; it was ratified by the government of “the United States of America” which I presume to include the States of the Union styled “The United States of America” in the Articles of Confederation. If my analysis is correct, this treaty would apply within the States of the Union, but might not apply in the territories and/or territorial “states” of the United States.
The United States of America appears to be bound by this treaty. But, apparently, the “United States” is not.