Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Time to Talk War Crimes

Robert Parry

In a world where might did not make right, George W. Bush, Tony Blair and their key enablers would be in shackles before a war crimes tribunal at the Hague, rather than sitting in the White House, 10 Downing Street or some other comfortable environs in Washington and London.

While many Americans think of the Nuremberg trials after World War II as just holding Nazi leaders accountable for genocide, a major charge against Adolf Hitler's henchmen was the crime of aggressive war. Later, that principle was embodied in the United Nations Charter, forbidding armed aggression by one state against another

The British memos, combined with public statements by Bush and his senior aides, represent a prima-facie case that Bush, Blair and others violated the Nuremberg Principles and the U.N. Charter, to which the United States was a founding signatory.

While Bush has insisted that his invasion of Iraq was "preemptive" - defined as an act of self-defense to thwart an impending attack - his argument is not only laughable in the case of Iraq, but has been contradicted by his own advisers, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In a March 26 interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Rice offered a different rationale for invading Iraq. She agreed that Hussein was not implicated in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks nor did she assert that he was conspiring with al-Qaeda on another assault.

Instead, Rice justified invading Iraq and ousting Hussein because he was part of the "old Middle East," which she said had engendered hatreds that led indirectly to 9/11.

"If you really believe that the only thing that happened on 9/11 was people flew airplanes into buildings (Gee, who could have predicted that? - G), I think you have a very narrow view of what we faced on 9/11," Rice said. "We faced the outcome of an ideology of hatred throughout the Middle East that had to be dealt with. Saddam Hussein was a part of that old Middle East. The new Iraq will be a part of the new Middle East, and we will all be safer." Rice's argument - that Bush has the right to invade any country that he feels is part of a culture that might show hostility toward the United States - represents the most expansive justification to date for launching the Iraq War.

Yet Rice's new war rationale, combined with the British memo on Bush's determination to invade Iraq regardless of the facts, should be more than enough evidence to put Bush, Rice, Blair and other U.S. and British officials before a war crimes tribunal.

In a perfect world, they'd behind bars as we speak. However, late, and pretty late at that, has to be better than never. I'm sure glad that some of the people who have the info we need - it ain't what you know, it's what you can prove - are telling us what they know. It'll be way too late for a lot of people, but Bush&Co. may get their just due yet.

I'm glad folks are talkin' Impeachment and I'm glad folks are talkin' War Crimes. When they start talkin' Necktie Parties, I'm liable to get aroused!

No comments: