I'm not much on bomb-throwing polemics...
When I blog about the crazies that are running this country (as a believer in fiscal conservatism and the avoidance of foreign entanglements -- two of the pillars of conservatism -- I refuse to call these people "conservatives"), it's usually couched in obviously jokey terms, like "Tom Delay is an evil-spewing scumbag" or "Budget Director Rob Portman Is a Tonton Macoute" or "Tony Snow: Douchebag of Liberty" or "Mayor Jim Naugle Is Marie Antoinette" or "Jeb Bush Is also Marie Antoinette" or, of course, the ever-popular "Ann Coulter Is Really a Liberal". I never really put a lot of stock in these things, and I don't take them deadly seriously. Well, except for the bit about Tom DeLay being an evil-spewing scumbag. And the one about Naugle. But I wouldn't necessarily say that President Bush is a War Criminal. Despite the seemingly obvious take that the Iraq War itself is a flagrant violation of the 1996 War Crimes Act. No, I'll let other people make the case for me.
In its blog on the recent Hamdan v. Rumsfeld Supreme Court ruling, the Truth 2 Power Project presents a powerful case that our president is, in fact, guilty of war crimes. To quote the Project's analysis of the ruling:
In the Majority Opinion Justice Stevens stated:
"Because UCMJ Article 36 has not been complied with here, the rules specified for Hamdan ’s commission trial are illegal. ... The military commission at issue lacks the power to proceed because its structure and procedures violate both the UCMJ and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949."
In his concurring opinion Justice Kennedy brought it home:
"Article 3 of the Geneva Convention (III) Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War,Aug. 12,1949, [1955 ] 6 U..S.T.3316,3318,T.I.A.S.No.3364. The provision is part of a treaty the United States has ratified and thus accepted as binding law. ... By Act of Congress, moreover, violations of Common Article 3 are considered “war crimes,” punishable as federal offenses,when committed by or against United States nationals and military personnel. ... There should be no doubt, then, that Common Article 3 is part of the law of war.
The core of the decision, as written by Stevens is here:
Hamdan is entitled to the full protections of the Third Geneva Convention until adjudged, in compliance with that treaty, not to be a prisoner of war; and that, whether or not Hamdan is properly classified as a prisoner of war, the military commission convened to try him was established in violation of both the UCMJ and Common Article 3 of the Third Geneva Convention because it had the power to convict based on evidence the accused would never see or hear.
The Court did not find that Hamdan or other detainees would have to be tried in civilian court, only that the Special Secret Tribunals that have been setup by President Bush are not authorized under current U.S. Law (the UCMJ) and also violate our treaty as a member of the Geneva Conventions."
Approximate size of the bomb just dropped by the Supreme Court
Many thanks to the Truth 2 Power Project for this cogent analysis.
So, the Supreme Court -- the very one that Bush himself has packed with conservative judges -- seems to have essentially called President Bush a war criminal. If we had signed on to the International Criminal Court treaty -- and if we weren't the world's foremost superpower -- Lord knows where our president would be right now. Quite possibly, sitting in chains in the Hague. The Truth 2 Power Project wraps up its blog entry by remarking that Bush is likely to simply ignore the court's ruling and keep doing whatever he damn well pleases. That certainly seems in keeping with the man's character, and it's not without precedent.
When the court ruled against Democratic President Andrew Jackson, saying that Cherokee Indians had every right to stay in their homeland in Georgia, President Jackson famously said "The Supreme Court has made its decision, now let them enforce it." He then set up the Trail of Tears and merrily committed genocide.
Given that precedent, it shouldn't come as much of a shock if Bush decides to just keep denying Geneva rights to prisoners of war -- after all, what's a few war crimes between world leaders?
President Bush, alleged war criminal