The Moral Hazard Created by America’s War Criminals

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, did an op-ed piece in the conservative Daily Telegraph where he warns our ex-President, George W. Bush, not to visit London in fear of being arrested. He went on to say that George W. Bush’s war crime admissions in his new book1, make the duty of the world community clear if Bush were to ever leave the United States since the United States appears to be abrogating its obligations to the world to investigate with a clear mandate to prosecute if there is evident that a war crime has been committed. The below is an excerpt from his op-ed, and a link to the actual story:

It is not yet clear whether George W Bush is planning to cross the Atlantic to flog us his memoirs, but if I were his PR people I would urge caution. As book tours go, this one would be an absolute corker. It is not just that every European capital would be brought to a standstill, as book-signings turned into anti-war riots. The real trouble — from the Bush point of view — is that he might never see Texas again.

If you would like to read this rather well written piece, the above excerpt is linked to that Daily Telegraph article of November 20, 2010. You might also want to read Andrew Sullivan’s very short piece entitled “The Mayor Of London On George W. Bush, War Criminal” in The Atlantic. I appreciate Mr. Sullivan’s attempt to bring conservative America back to sanity. I hope he is successful (and other moderate Republicans might want to join in) as his cause is worthy. Mr. Sullivan summed it up by stating:

It’s good to be reminded of real conservative values, which include abhorrence of torture and a dedication to the rule of law. By those standards, George W. Bush is not now a conservative, merely a thug, twisting the law to engage in something utterly alien to Anglo-American ideals. And a smug thug at that. Watching his interview on Hannity – yes, I managed to get through most of it – I was reminded of this man’s utter shallowness and moral unseriousness. Glib doesn’t begin to describe his solipsistic denial of his own barbarism.

Lastly, I will offer up a good legal option from Jonathan Turley, scholar of constitutional law, George Washington University, School of Law.

I would hope that every American knows how historically significant this is? America has never had a man who occupied the White House vilified as much as George W. Bush has been vilified. Nowhere in American history has any American President done anything that would raise the ire of world populations against this country as much as what George W. Bush did. Never!

Once upon a time, we use to try and convict war criminals in America. Those leaders of foreign nations that would dare cross a very well defined line in the sand regarding torture, or any other war crime, would not get any quarter in America. Indeed, after World War II, the war that made America the mighty power that it is today, we tried and convicted Japanese soldiers and military leaders2 for doing exactly what George W. Bush ordered our people to do to those legally, or illegally3, held by the United States in connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

I know that we have all heard this stuff before, and that most American conservatives have already left this blog figuring that it is just another screed by some leftist moonbat, but they would be wrong in assuming this to be the case. Simply put, my politics are not based on ideology, but on facts, figures and rational solutions to problems. Politics in and of itself is a very base game that some play to win elections. Policy does not come into play for these people, unfortunately. Those who play the game of “politics” simply for politics’ sake are driving this country right into the ground. Are you listening Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Jim DeMint?

As Americans, we are between a rock and a hard place. Do we forget many decades of history and the fact that most real Americans despise war crime and let George W. Bush and his political facilitators off the hook on this one? What would it say about us?

What does it say about us? Well, psychologically, it says that we are still grieving the loss of our innocence due to the attack on September 11, 2001. Anger and fear in the aftermath of such an attack is understandable. What is not understandable, after that despicable attack by al Qaeda, was how the Bush Administration could mislead the American people into the worst possible course of action that a country can embark upon. The Bush Administration made the error of warring with Afghanistan and not completing the mission and then getting out as quickly as we went in, and starting another war with Iraq who had no connection with the September 11, 2001 attack, giving a false set of arguments to bolster up the country for such a war. The world is still reeling from this international turn of events where the United States went from a trusted partner in the world community to one of the most reviled.

It is insane for us to think that there won’t be international consequences for our behavior on this matter. America might be suffering the long-term effects of Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) going right up into the Oval Office, the House, the Senate, local and state governments. The paranoia is palpable in America these days and this condition is not at all a healthy state of being for a person, or a country.

There is also an element in this country that would see America’s future being brighter if we take a much more brutal stance to countries of the world that defy us. America has never operated this way internationally as those bright enough to grasp the situation would be able to cite many times in history where a country took this attitude and paid the ultimate price for their arrogance. Germany and Japan once thought themselves in the position to thuggishly dominate their neighbors, and we all understand what happened to them.

A country that has this attitude might start by simply mistreating a country in some way (unfair trade agreements, embargoes, sanctions, attacks on a nation’s sovereignty, a hashed up set of falsehoods), and then they would start a propaganda campaign against said country to build national support for harsh action against them. This game has historically been played over and over again. The results might initially work without too much in the way of international repercussions but, eventually, world reaction would be set against this country, or countries. Indeed, the picture that one could paint would not be a pleasant one.

So, what can America do to clean up this mess that may only get messier the longer we wait to act? Why is it that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama think that the lesser of two evils is to let the Bush Administration off the hook on the war crimes of which some of them are so clearly guilty?

What would happen if President Barack Obama were to instruct Attorney General Eric Holder to proceed on an investigation of the Bush Administration’s war crimes?

If such an announcement were to be made by the President, you could bet that Fox News would be spinning this into an all out attack on conservative America, which could lead to civil unrest, insurrection or, even as a worst-case scenario, civil war. Would the conservative American leadership play this all the way out guaranteeing that the worst-case scenario actually happens? I would think so. They would have to take the position that if they were to “Throw Bush et al. under the bus” the Republican Party as a winning political entity might very well lose favor and thus may never again work their way into the ruling class.

That being the case, and knowing how utterly political those in the conservative leadership are, one would have to come to the conclusion that they would indeed push it all the way even if it means the destruction of the American political system.

So, that seems like a very unsavory position to put the country in, and would be something that President Obama and his staff would have to take into account. But, what of the alternative–to allow the Bush Administration off the hook on this one?

Indeed, this alternative, the one that the Obama Administration has embarked upon, is certainly the better choice in the short term. A choice, however, fraught with its own set of perils, some of which we see happening today. His hope is that the world community will forgive America for what the Bush Administration has done and will understand that the other alternative–seeking war crimes against the Bush Administration–might lead to even worse global consequences.
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1 Decision Points, a memoir of our forty-third president’s life.
2 Washing Post article dated November 4, 2007 by Evan Wallach, a judge at the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York, teaches the law of war as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School.
3 It has been reported that many of the prisoners held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, or any number of secret, or lesser known facilities, were not involved in any way, shape or form with the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.

 



This entry was posted on Saturday, November 20th, 2010 at 2:53 am and is filed under Current Events, Government, Politics, Psychology, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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