Prepare the War Crimes Tribunals...

Duh-byaIn light of the recent leak of the memo explicitly putting forth the Bush regime’s position that torture’s just fine and dandy (the full text of which John Ashcroft is now actively refusing to release to Congress), I don’t see how Duh-bya, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft can possibly escape being tried as war criminals. Actually getting them to trial will take some doing, but the indictments should be forthcoming. (The key word there being “should”; I’m not holding my breath.)

Somebody remind me: How is it bad when “they” torture prisoners, but perfectly acceptable when “we” do it? Oh, yeah, as long as the torturer thinks he might be averting some nebulous future “attack.” Not that anyone actually has to demonstrate that the victim has knowledge of an attack or anything, but as long as we think so — or claim we thought so — then we’re golden. And remember — the official position is that “torture” has to be of a level of pain comparable to “serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” So anything short of that, and you’ve got free rein. As for psychological torture, hey, anything that doesn’t cause long-term damage — or again, where you can just claim you didn’t think it would cause long-term damage — is hunky-dory.

I’m sorry, Shrub, but you can’t claim any longer that you never intended to torture prisoners. The memo is clearly meant (well, to anyone above moron-level intelligence) to find an excuse to weasel out of not only international law on torture, but United States law expressly prohibiting torture as well. If no torture had actually occurred, you might be able to claim that this was just an idea you’d tossed around but rejected — after all, how much more obviously wrong could this be? But Abu Ghraib (not to mention several independent Red Cross reports) proved that torture did happen, and systematically at that. You are so busted.

I’ve said it before, but just in case there were any hint that I might have been exaggerating, I’ll say it again: It is not enough to remove little George from office — he and his cronies must be made to pay for their crimes. And damn straight that means — at the very least — some serious prison time. Anything less gives every tinpot dictator or wannabe terrorist leader out there carte blanche to torture American prisoners to his heart’s content — oh, as long as he thinks he might be averting some potential attack by the United States.

Of course, there are some logistical issues to be worked out; after all, good luck getting any court here do do a damn thing about it. The 2000 “election” fiasco pretty much proved that Duh-bya and his supporters have got the American courts firmly in their back pocket. And I’m not about to start advocating that we turn Bush over to the international courts. No, that would be... well, bad, I suppose? But you’d think that some of these nations would start at least refusing Bush (or his subordinates) diplomatic sanctuary.

Now, I’ll confess, I never did fully understand how a confirmed war criminal like Slobodan Milosevic could pop over to the U.S. for “talks” with complete security — at least until we decided we’d had enough. Yes, I’m familiar with the concept of diplomatic immunity, and I do understand the necessity for such a policy, but it occurs to me that once someone crosses the line into “war criminal” territory, such courtesy has to take a back seat. It struck me as wrong then, and it strikes me as just as wrong now. So while I’ll take no direct action to aid in handing Duh-bya over for justice (nor would I encourage anyone else to do so, at least not in any manner that could be construed as a proximate cause of action), I sure as hell wouldn’t shed a tear were it to happen. A war criminal’s a war criminal — the “rest of the world” doesn’t hold a monopoly on ’em. And to try to argue that such a criminal should be treated differently by the international community just because he’s an American would be the depths of hypocrisy.


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