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Should George Bush Be Tried for War Crimes?

World  (tags: George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Republicans, NeoCons, lies, deception, ethics, war, war crimes, troops, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Lebanon )

- 3901 days ago -
The chorus demanding George Bush be prosecuted for torture and other constitutional abuses is getting louder


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Blue Bunting (855)
Saturday July 12, 2008, 7:35 am
I had a good laugh when my friend Seth Gitell reported in the New York Sun on a campaign by the dean of the obscure Massachusetts School of Law to put George Bush and other top White House officials on trial for war crimes.

Lawrence Velvel, Gitell notes, wrote last month that his model was the Nuremberg trials held after second world war. Velvel went so far as to say that "we must insist on appropriate punishments, including, if guilt is found, the hangings visited upon top Germans and Japanese." Oh, my

Though I found Velvel's apparently earnest quest as ridiculous as Gitell did, the idea of holding our leaders accountable for the crimes and constitutional violations of the past seven and a half years isn't ridiculous in the least.

We are less than a decade removed from impeaching a president and nearly relieving him of office because of a lie in a civil
deposition about blowjobs. Yet when congressman Dennis Kucinich recently attempted to impeach Bush over torture, extraordinary rendition and other grotesque constitutional abuses, Kucinich's embarrassed fellow Democrats couldn't kill the measure quickly enough.

Why? Top Democrats are so complicit in what has happened since 9/11 that my guess is they dare not travel down that road. From voting in favor of the war in Iraq to holding the telecommunications companies guiltless for their role in spying on Americans (Barack Obama infuriated much of his progressive base by voting for immunity), the Democrats have often acted more as enablers than as a true opposition party. From their point of view, no doubt it's best to move on.

And yet we can't move on. Everywhere you turn, there are reminders of the demons that have been unleashed in the name of fighting terrorism. We are less democratic and less free than we were
before Bush and Dick Cheney entered office following an election that they demonstrably did not win. If we don't come to terms with what happened, there's little chance of reversing our slide into authoritarianism.

We shouldn't be too optimistic. Even when the truth is proclaimed, few are willing to listen. Not long ago the McClatchy newspapers published a five-part series on what went wrong with American detention policies, mainly at Guantánamo and in Afghanistan.

The massively documented stories revealed horrifying tales of torture and abuse; of innocent Afghans imprisoned for years because they ran afoul of tribal rivalries the Americans didn't understand; of ordinary people radicalised and transformed into violent jihadists inside US-run prisons. Yet because McClatchy is not part of the media elite, its journalism has barely been mentioned by the New York Times, the Washington Post and the television networks.

We find ourselves, nevertheless, at a certain transformational moment where things that had long gone unsaid are now being spoken aloud. Take, for instance, the ideologically promiscuous
war supporter Christopher Hitchens, the British expat who recently underwent waterboarding - voluntarily - and pronounced it to be torture. Hitchens can't help himself from inveighing against any "lame and diseased attempt to arrive at a moral equivalence between those who defend civilisation and those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out". Still, he concludes by saying he wishes Americans didn't practice torture.

Or consider Vincent Bugliosi's new book, The Prosecution of George W Bush for Murder, which has zoomed up the bestseller lists despite having received virtually no attention from the mainstream media. Bugliosi, a celebrity lawyer-author with a decent reputation, argues that because Bush misled the country into the war in Iraq, he should be held criminally responsible for the deaths of American soldiers.

Finally, consider that most mild-mannered of liberal pundits, the Times' Nicholas Kristof, who on Sunday actually called for the formation of a truth commission in the manner of post-apartheid South Africa "to lead a process of soul searching and national cleansing".

The determinedly bipartisan Kristof, who did read the McClatchy series, writes that both Obama and John McCain should commit themselves to forming such a commission. For that to make sense,
though, you'd have to ignore such inconvenient facts as McCain's own ambiguous stands on torture and his demagoguery over the supreme court's recent decision upholding the habeas corpus rights of those being held at Guantánamo.

Velvel is organising a weekend-long war crimes conference to be held in mid-September at his campus at the Massachusetts School of Law. The school is located in the beautiful New England town of Andover, home of Phillips Andover Academy, of which Bush is an alumnus. Shuttle buses will be running from the nearby Wyndham Hotel for those attending from elsewhere. It promises to be a fun-filled two days of righteous anger, leading to nothing.

But if Bush shouldn't be hanged by the neck until dead, as the ancient pronouncement would have it, he - and we - nevertheless must be called to account for what we have allowed to happen to our
country. If we don't, then we are all responsible - if not for what happened, then for what is yet to come.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 12, 2008, 7:39 am

Most definitly he should be charged and trialed!!!!

Melva H (93)
Saturday July 12, 2008, 8:56 am
YES! Charge and try Bush, alongside Cheney!

RC deWinter (418)
Sunday July 13, 2008, 2:43 pm
In one word - yes. Along with Dickless Cheney, John-Boy Ashcroft, and a load of others.

Bruce Combs (468)
Monday July 14, 2008, 5:29 am
Yeah, Cate, more "others" than you have care2 friends!

I have a little trouble with Blue's closing, however. I think the part I don't understand is "...called to account for..." and I'm just too lazy to look it up right now. I think maybe I'm really dense. Does that mean taking "justice" (and most [5] justices) into our own hands, vigilante-like? And as far as "hanging by the neck," I think that's a little higher than where some people who've been unhappy with their rulers have tightened the noose. And I suppose it would be done only after a lot of water boarding and handiwork with pliers, chain saws, etc., and to include members of their families, male and female. (We wouldn’t include their pets, too, would we?) But I certainly do agree with the last sentence, IF the initial "If we don’t” is removed. Because, whatever we do, including whatever we do to Bush/Cheney (and their families?) and do also to many others no doubt as “guilty,” “to blame,” “responsible,” still it will fall to us and our progeny and theirs to be responsible for repairing as much as possible what damage has been done, or allowed, or ignored, or expected to happen later – as with Global Warming. I’m talking now about damage to the earth and cities, etc. As for the dead of any of the countries involved in the mid-east and their kin and friends, their wasted education, etc, there is no reparation,…no repairs. I remember Bobby Kennedy, who I do believe had a change of heart and mind before he decided to run for president; I saw him in Oregon in 1968 a few days before he was shot in California. Some liberals (this is rather foggy in my memory) had suggested that young people be allowed to do some kind of “compensatory service” without suffering the jail time and life-long stigma of becoming a “conscientious objector.” In talking about where we could go and what we could do (besides withdrawing from Vietnam as quickly as possible), Bobby threw up his hands and repeated “What compensation is there for death? How can anyone speak in terms of compensation for death.” And he just looked around back and forth, up and down the football stadium crowd for a long time, occasionally repeating, “There IS no compensation for death.” I didn’t think it was an act but that he was as near tears as so many of us in the crowd were, too. But his sincerity is not the issue I’m trying to write about here. I mean to stress that it is a truth that there is – that there can be – no more than token compensation to those left behind. For the dead, “at best,”a pompous military funeral and maybe a collective memorial. For the physically wounded often inadequate treatment. For the mentally/emotionally wounded survivors scarred inside for life… I don’t think I have to spell out anymore of this for a care2 audience, nor go into the “repairs” of flora and fauna and their habitat, nor the sadly laughing matter of the miserable pittance, if anything, given to the demanding survivors of any virtual genocide: ask any Holocaust survivor, or Native American, or African American, etc.

All I am saying is that when enough of the people who get elected – one way or another -- do force the “rulers” to give “us” – the ruled – a chance to make peace work, it is we who must clean-up as much as possible the mess, which they did not make all by themselves: the possibilities for and the actual corruption – like stealing lesser elections – were well on their way to becoming the rules which the current administration merely extended to benefit themselves in the manners they wished. Fixed elections, cronyism, bribery, fraudulent acts of aggression to justify a war, mistreatment of civilians and prisoners, etc., etc. None of these began with the current administration; they are virtually unwritten American institutions. And I think that the Bush people have succeeded awesomely at getting so much credit for inventing them!

Given the voting record of the current Democratic congress – is “enablers” too tepid a word? Perhaps “defacto aiders-and-abettors” would be a more accurate description of Congress. And the majority of five will rule the Supreme Court till near mid-century. What can anyone do legally about them?

I’d say that if Senator Obama is elected it won’t make much difference how far he moves to the middle of the road. And Senator Kucinich: could we really expect, no matter how great a Democratic majority in Congress, that as president he could move any of his ideals through Congress much more successfully than he has accomplished by working (and voting) within the Senate. That itself is not much improvement for us to be working for. BUT, before turning a moving mass around and heading it in the opposite direction, its current course of movement must be slowed, stopped, and restarted in the direction desired. If another Republican is elected President, I believe that even if it were not McCain, the deterioration of all our freedoms will continue to increase. In other words, I believe that it is crucial to elect a Democrat as president, and it is also crucial to work on every lower election. It is not going to be easy, let alone be a quick process. But I do believe we can.

And so I think that I essentially agree, as usual, with Ms Blue Bunting (I usually just call her “Blue” because, not being familiar with that bird [I’ve seen pictures; they’re beautiful!], the name reminds me of a cheap margarine that used to be popular, and maybe still is.) I agree that we are responsible and must accept even more responsibility than just cleaning up the mess. BUT, we can also take heart that we are not totally responsible for how this administration was able to mistreat the world. Why I’m saying this is to help myself and everyone else to avoid becoming discouraged if all our efforts cannot fix all of the broken promises overnight.

Finally, part of our accepting responsibility, however much we might torture and execute those we consider enemies of freedom, criminals against humanity, whatever; that will not do a single thing positive toward destroying the long-taken for granted, deeply entrenched machinery of greed and corruption. We cannot just eradicate it/them except by creating systems that successfully function to produce and promulgate the results, the freedoms and equalities, that have been deteriorating during many administrations. It reminds me of the Bush policy talk of eradicating terrorism: sort of a program of the genocide of all terrorists. I think we need to guard ourselves with awareness that -- no matter what we do – or what happens – to “them,” to all the members of the outgoing administration and all their friends in business and bribery – still political corruption, like terrorism, has deeply interwoven roots. Ah, but it also has deep pockets, too.

Bruce Combs (468)
Monday July 14, 2008, 6:25 am
I forgot, as I often do, whatever, that I had intended to mention that more and more I've felt that the harder and longer I've worked for peace and freedom, the worser everything becomes!

Melva H (93)
Monday July 14, 2008, 8:56 am
The truth is that no matter how you slice it, the USA I grew up in (I'm a Senior Citizen) no longer exists. Of course, politicians have always been 'back-room dwellers', but there used to be a line they didn't cross:They were Americans- they were for the USA, its citizens and the continued existence of the Planet. That attitude has completely disappeared with this administration. You, Bruce, want to restore some of the ethics and morals of yesteryear. GOOD FOR YOU! The Cheney Cabal work ONLY for Profit and Power.... Now, would I like to see all the crooks and criminals of the Chaney Cabal locked up in a Federal prison?? Lose all their ill-gotten millions? You better believe it!!...I'm a Christian: I absolutely believe that Reward and Punishment come into serious play in the Next Life. HOWEVER, I also like to see the Bad Guys get slapped down DURING THIS LIFE! It galls me to see them strutting around, living the high-life, like little-tin-gods, after they sold their souls to become Un-American, UN-Christian thieves and criminals...and YES, MASS MURDERERS...This is my opinion and feelings and there is a less than zero chance that I will change these opinions during this Lifetime.
P.S. Like you, Bruce, I believe things CAN be turned around over time
IF enough citizens want it, demand it and work to get it dome.

Blue Bunting (855)
Monday July 14, 2008, 10:54 am

Arizona JAG officer wants Bush tried for war crimes --Joe Abodeely joins ranks with Vincent Bugliosi By Mark Yannone 13 Jul 2008 From the KPHX radio station in Phoenix, Arizona, Colonel Joe Abodeely told his worldwide radio audience on Saturday exactly how and why he expects George W. Bush to be prosecuted for the war crimes he committed as president [sic] of the United States.

Ester Hellen (213)
Monday July 14, 2008, 11:38 am
Where do you want to trail him?
He is not going to be trailed in Belgium,Bush made sure of that...a few years ago.
He made Belgium change the law on that.

Melva H (93)
Monday July 14, 2008, 1:22 pm
A.L, I read a few weeks (months?) ago that Cheney and Dubya had 'bought thousands of acres of land' in South America: One in Argentina, one in Columbia. A real mystery of why they'd do this, right?

Blue Bunting (855)
Monday July 14, 2008, 1:35 pm
Melva, It's Paraguay where Bu$h bought 10,000 acres near the borders with Brazil and Bolivia; and he's looking at the "water rights" too.

Melva H (93)
Monday July 14, 2008, 2:17 pm
Well, Blue, I've seen enough of your posts and comments to know that you are one smart cookie. If you say Dubya has land in Paraguay, he no doubt does. I don't know if he's smart enough to listen to advise to buy land in as many S. Am countries as possible. He believes he belongs to the Party that "owns the World" and "has more money than god" (I bet they use a small 'g', since they can't believe in God and live as they do), buying land from lots of ones you consider to be fellow-criminals would present no problem.... One wonders if his S.Am.fellow-criminal pals know how dumb, greedy, double-dealing The Decider and his handler/teacher are...and might have them greeted by machine-gun toting hit men.

Blue Bunting (855)
Monday July 14, 2008, 5:41 pm
Dave Lindorff: The Bush Family’s Bad Latin Real Estate Investment

“Last month, a former Roman Catholic Bishop with leftist, populist tendencies, Fernando Lugo, surprised almost everyone in Paraguay, and no doubt President Bush, by winning the national presidential election, ousting the Colorado Party for the first time in 61 years. There is talk that among other things, Lugo is thinking of returning Paraguay to the community of nations, by signing some of those extradition agreements.”

Gorilly G (339)
Monday July 14, 2008, 5:45 pm

Big Gorilly Hugs
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