- WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lindsey
Graham asked Attorney General John Ashcroft Monday to provide him with
a legal assessment of those Americans headed to or already in Iraq to offer
themselves as "human shields."
- Graham, who has been vehement in his opposition to Americans
who go to Iraq and calls them "treasonous," said he believes
the "full force of the law should be applied to those American citizens
who give aid or comfort to our enemies."
- "It is my opinion that any American who voluntarily
engages in conduct to impede a potential American military operation, and
who thereby endangers the lives of our nation's men and women in uniform,
is participating in a program designed to weaken the power of the United
States to wage war successfully. I strongly believe efforts to impede a
potential military operation against Iraq should be strongly dealt with
and I am seeking your assistance in this matter," Graham, R-S.C.,
wrote in a letter to Ashcroft on Monday.
- "Our constitution and federal legal structure do
not allow Americans to actively aid nations or groups engaged in hostilities
with the United States. The recent conviction of American John Walker Lindh
for his assistance with Al Qaeda is one such example."
- Graham asked Ashcroft if the Justice Department has considered
formally notifying Americans engaged in such conduct of the legal risks
they are about to assume. In January, Iraq announced that it was bringing
in several groups from Arab, European nations and the United States to
act as human shields.
- But this weekend, several British war protesters, who
traveled from London to Baghdad to act as human shields, returned to England,
saying that they feared for their safety. Supporters of the movement said
they thought they could prevent a war if several thousand people acted
as shields but only a few dozen showed up.
- In addition, protesters said the Iraqi government was
limiting their access to sites they wanted to shield, such as hospitals,
but in the meantime was using them as propaganda by giving them accommodations,
transportation and arranging news conferences for them.
- The United States has previously said that using civilians
as human shields is a war crime. The government also said that the civilians'
safety can't be ensured.
- Fox News' Jim Mills contributed to this report.