Did President Bush the Younger commit war crimes? Richard Clarke thinks so. And Democracy Now! got him to admit this in the following interview. He said, “I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have. But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration. It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did—in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes.”
But let’s not be naive here. Many of the things he mentions like the International Criminal Court in The Hague are things that conservatives have been against from the beginning. The reason is simple. They think that “American Exceptionalism” means that we are above the law. It is like the international version of droit du seigneur. “It is all right for us to kill people, and maybe we will even punish those responsible. But it will be us and not the world. This is because we are better than the rest of the world!” This is a repugnant philosophy that is mostly shared with the Democrats.
There is no doubt in my mind that Bush and many other people in his administration committed war crimes. But I don’t think we necessarily need a trial. What I’ve always been for is a truth and reconciliation commission. People claim they were scared after 9/11. Fine. But let’s at least admit to what was done. Instead, we’ve just swept it all under the carpet. And as far as I’m concerned, the war crimes continue. So it isn’t surprising that Obama wouldn’t want to look back on war crimes, when he was busy looking forward to his own war crimes, like the drone killings.
Regardless, no one is going to listen to Richard Clarke except for people like me who already agree with him. Even though (Or perhaps especially because!) he is a Republican from way back, he has no credibility with the modern Republican Party. “How dare he even suggest that any American ever be held accountable by people outside America!” It reminds me of that foolish commenter VINCENTON who seems to think that everything America does is by definition good.
So nothing will change. We will continue on our path of becoming more belligerent and authoritarian and unaccountable. And the reason why is clear enough. Regardless how peace-focused a candidate is, once in the presidency, all the belligerent parts of the government converge on him and tell him how the whole nation will be conquered and there will be 9/11s eight days a week if he doesn’t bomb bomb bomb and spy spy spy. And they all know that. And so you won’t be hearing Clinton, much less Obama calling for US governmental official to be held accountable to international justice.
Yes, we are doomed.