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Raiding The Hague

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Was U. S. Ready To Invade Holland To Protect Bush From War Crimes Trial?

By James Donahue

A shocking report by the Christian Science Monitor this week suggests that the Bush Administration and Republican-led Congress not only knew they were breaking international laws against war crimes in 2002, but they took steps to prevent President George W. Bush and members of his administration from facing charges.

Back when the International Criminal Court was being formed at the Hague, most of the world nations ratified what was known as the Rome Statute of the I.C.C. Declining were Russia and Japan. President Clinton signed it, but Bush repealed it when he got in office.

Not only has the United States under the Bush Administration refused to ratify and recognize the court, Congress passed the American Service Members Protection Act that year that, in effect, enables American forces to storm Holland to liberate American soldiers if they are ever held for war crimes.

The Dutch call it the Invasion of The Hague Act and they want such a law erased from the books. They treat the whole issue as a joke, the Monitor story said, “but it is widely felt that if President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team wants to achieve a symbolic break with the previous White House, it could rescind the invasion law.

Such legislation was never necessary since the I.C.C. rules state that only nations that ratify the document fall under its jurisdiction. The other component is that only war crimes committed after the establishment are tried.

The other aspect about the International Court is that if issues, like the revelation that prisoners of war were tortured by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib, are dealt with by the U.S. military, intervention by the I.C.C. is unnecessary.

The court exists to deal with war crimes committed by nations against each other, when no other way of bringing charges appears available.

This bill was promoted by Senator Jesse Helm’s Foreign Relations Committee after the 9-11 attack and when American and Dutch troops were fighting together in Afghanistan, but before the U.S. invaded Iraq.

That Bush repealed America’s participation in the International Court, and then our Republican dominated lawmakers framed legislation permitting the recovery of Americans charged with war crimes in that court, was considered “a cowboy reaction” by the Dutch when it happened.

Conspiracy theorists, however, might look back on these acts and see a pattern. Was there a plan from the start by Mr. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other members of the Bush staff to attack Iraq without provocation?

Could it have been that they were taking precautionary steps to protect themselves from being charged with war crimes because they already knew what they were about to do was wrong.

Once they were caught up in the thrill of mass killing, the next step, the torture of prisoners was a natural one.