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Lies, Murder And Torture

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Why Hasn’t Bush Been Charged As A War Criminal?

By James Donahue

When President George W. Bush stepped down from office in January, 2009, we truly expected to read of warrants issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, charging Mr. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CIA director George Tenent, national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice and former attorney generals John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales with war crimes.

These people fabricated stories linking Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to the 911 attacks against the United States, having an association with the Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda, and conspiring to build a nuclear arsenal. The stories were used to justify an invasion of Iraq that led to the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, the arrest and hanging of Hussein, and the open practice of torture of captured prisoners being held in secret detention camps, many without formal charges.

Another war launched against the nation of Afghanistan, because that country was harboring Al-Qaeda terrorists at the time of the 911 attacks, also was questionable. Afghanistan did not attack the United States. Yet the Afghanistan people have died by the thousands from American and allied bombing and ground assaults. Our invasion of Afghanistan has provoked a war against another Islamic group, the Taliban, which had nothing to do with 911. The Taliban only wants the United States to leave Afghanistan and go home.

To date over 6,100 American soldiers have died in these two invasions. Thousands more have returned home maimed and mentally impaired from war injuries. The cost of the wars to date has been over $1.2 trillion and the debt is still rising at an alarming rate.

So why hasn’t Mr. Bush and the Washington gang that started this mess been held accountable? There are several reasons that we can see.

The Obama Administration has chosen to ignore the criminal acts committed by the previous administration. Mr. Obama announced after taking office that he believed it was “time for reflection, not retribution.” He said he would not seek to prosecute any Bush Administration officials for their actions.

Both Obama, who is a lawyer, and Attorney General Eric Holder, appear to be ignoring the War Crimes Act of 1996, which passed both houses by unanimous vote, that make it a federal crime to commit a “grave breach” of the Geneva Convention. This includes the deliberate killing, torture or inhuman treatment of detainees during a time of war. Is this because the acts of torture are still being committed?

Several nations of the world, most recently Switzerland and Spain, have formally filed criminal   charges against Bush, Cheney and members of the Bush staff for acts committed in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The United Nations, however, has not picked up on the movement. Consequently the accusations by foreign nations carry no weight in national or American courts.

 So why hasn’t the International Criminal Court gotten involved? This court, established in July 1998 and opened July 1, 2002, has been ratified by 60 nations. A total of 120 states were involved in its creation. The Bush Administration chose not to participate so the United States is not among them. Consequently the court has no jurisdiction over United States leaders who commit international criminal acts.

The final reason Mr. Bush appears to be running free is that the United States seems to be playing the role of a world bully. Our leadership appears to have a double standard for morality. We demand that the leaders of the other nations of the world behave under standards established by international rules of conduct. But we act as if the rules, including those established by our own government, do not apply to ourselves.

Efforts to correct this injustice have been going on behind the scenes, however. Earlier in July, Human Rights Watch released a report calling for a criminal investigation into the actions of Mr. Bush and members of his staff. The report admonishes the Bush Administration for permitting the use of torture, sending suspects to secret CIA prisons, and transferring them to countries where they were tortured by foreign governments, beginning after 911.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of the group, noted that “the U. S. government’s pattern of abuse across several countries . . . resulted from decisions made by senior U. S. officials to bend, ignore, or cast the rules aside.”

Sadly, little appears to have changed since Mr. Obama moved into the White House. If Obama and Holder choose to ignore the Bush era crimes, it suggests that the door remains open for a continuation of even more criminal behavior under the current administration.