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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

'Can and should Bush be prosecuted for war crimes?'

Ray Hanania, Southwest News Herald

Although we might be able to distort politics, lobby international agencies and use foreign aid to swing support to and from important issues, principles of law do not change and always come back to haunt those who violate them.

Despite the chorus of fascist support that President George W. Bush continues to receive from many Americans whipped up by politics and emotions, the fact is Bush has violated some fundamental principles of law that can, should and will come back to haunt not just him but us as Americans.
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The first is the president's violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions.

It is a crime to violate the Fourth Geneva Conventions, not just according to international law but also according to U.S. laws. And, we are violating the Fourth Geneva Conventions in the manner in which we are

1) arresting and detaining prisoners in Iraq and around the world under the guise of "War on terrorism," and

2) in the manner in which we are mistreating those prisoners by denying them legal representation and also using torture.

In some cases, our soldiers are committing war crimes at these detention centers when they follow orders to violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and their actions result in the death of the prisoners.

Several have died.

The second is the actual killing of civilians in Iraq.

Just recently, we learned of an American soldier who, with help of his fellow Marines, raped a young Iraqi woman and then murdered her and her family to cover up the crime.

There have been several other high profile cases of U.S. Marines acting as serial killers rather than as the Proud American Soldiers that they are supposed to be, murdering innocent civilians in cold blood out of emotion and revenge.

Although we are being told that there are exceptions, the fact that the U.S. Military in many cases is engaged in covering up these crimes, as in Haditha, Iraq, suggests that they are in fact just the tip of the iceberg in terms of international war crimes and violations of international laws.

Who is responsible?

The soldiers sent to fight an illegal war or the man who sent them?

In the case of our prosecution of former Iraqi Dictator President Saddam Hussein, Hussein is being prosecuted for the actions of his soldiers in repression of a revolt and punishing individuals involved in a plot to assassinate him.

It's not simply a matter of how he killed the dissidents, using poison gas.

And keep in mind, these murders occurred nearly 20 years ago and were ordered by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Couldn't President Bush and his administration also be charged with war crimes for oppressing people who challenged his own administration, which is in fact as illegal as was Saddam Hussein's own government?

Then, there is the intentional killing of not on two of Saddam Hussein's soins in an unprovoked bombing and then assault on their home, but the murder of scores of civilians and relatives who were in the home when it was attacked by U.S. Marines.

In fact, the Bush ordered attacks took place several times before they actually murdered Saddam Hussein's two sons, Uday and Cusay, who were both convicted of crimes in the court of one-sided American public opinion and the biased American news media, abut never convicted of any crimes in a court of law.

Let's not forget that the evidence is even more compelling against President Bush when we weigh in his lies about the reasons for invading Iraq. Today the issue of weapons of mass destruction is a political football. But tomorrow, it will be a fact evaluated on the basis of international laws.

There were no weapons of mass destruction. Worse, Bush and his administration clearly and intentionally lied in order to deceive the American public into supporting an invasion of Iraq.

The invasion of Iraq sought to exploit the fears and emotions of the American people following the unrelated terrorist attacks of September 11 in New York.

There was no al-Qaeda presence at all in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, a secular dictator who opposed religious fanaticism, was not engaged in any dialogue or coordination with al-Qaeda at any level, and he had nothing to do with Sept. 11.

Yet, we are fighting a war in a country, Iraq, that did nothing to America. Why? Because President Bush used the power of his office and exploited American public fears to avenge his father and take down someone who was his father's greatest adversary.

Finally, but just as important in the context of violating laws and committing war crimes, is the abuse of power by President Bush; his abuses have been courageously documented by the New York Times and a handful of other American media despite threats and intimidation against the foundation of this country's "Free Speech pillar." That they continue to report the truth despite the demagoguery that is passed off as "free speech" deserves our highest admiration.

The Patriot Act was improperly adopted by Congress. It never received a hearing in Congress. The document that was introduced was replaced at the last minute by Bush and voted on, even though members of Congress complained vocally about the switch.

Though the sneaky strategy was not illegal, the manner in which it was imposed on Americans only compounds Bush's illegal actions.

Unlike the American people, who seem more like emotional ping pong balls bouncing from reason to emotional insanity at the whim of a reckless president, the law does not change. It is founded on principles of justice that cannot be applied indiscriminately, one way for you and one way for me.

That consistency will one day catch up to President Bush. Probably not while he is in office but in the years that follow as Americans regain their senses and clear their vision of the rhetoric and polemics fed to them by the Bush administration.

I am going to quote Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the brother of the late President John F. Kennedy, and someone who continues to stand up for the principles that JFK advocated and that we all, as true Americans, once embraced:

"The reckless abuse of power by George Bush and his rightwing allies is a continuing danger to the nation. It can and must be stopped, and the best way to do that is at the ballot box this Election Day - which is less than five months away," Kennedy wrote in a letter I received a few days ago.

"The Bush administration's arrogance and incompetence have made our country weaker at home and more hated in the world than at any other tome in our history, and made the war on terrorism harder to win."

Sen. Kennedy cites all of the points I have made, plus reminds us of the most serious violation of law that I think should most offend Americans who come to their senses" Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of Sept. 11, is still alive and at-large. Instead of committing our resources to capture him, we are wasting them on Iraq where laws are being violated, corporations tied to the president's pals are reaping windfall profits that put Enron to shame, and war crimes continue to take place in our good name.

America is a great country. Our Constitution is a great document.

Prosecuting President Bush and his administration would be a first step to restoring this country's greatness and returning it to being a virtuous champion of international freedoms.

Ray Hanania writes about everything under the sun. You can reach him at

© Copyright 2006 Vondrak Publishing Company, Inc.

Source: Southwest News Herald
The Smirking Chimp - Ray Hanania: 'Can and should Bush be prosecuted for war crimes?'


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