Friday, June 04, 2010

George W. Bush, self-avowed war criminal

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Former President George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush

The movement to arrest and impeach former President Bush (and possibly puppet-master Dick Cheney, if not others as well) on charges of torture (amongst other war crimes) may just be about to pick up a bit more steam, all thanks to Dubya himself. From a recent interview covered by CNN:

In some of his most candid comments since leaving the White House, former President George W. Bush said Wednesday he has no regrets about authorizing the controversial waterboarding technique to interrogate terrorist suspects and wouldn't hesitate to do so again.

"Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," the former president said during an appearance at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to the Grand Rapids Press.

There you have it: the former President of the United States just admitted, quite candidly, to having waterboarded at least one detainee whilst in captivity at Guantanamo Bay. Now, just before anyone has any lingering doubts: here’s the relevant text from the UN Convention Against Torture, an international human rights agreement that was presented and enacted by conservative darling former President Reagan himself, which explicitly demands the prosecution of anyone caught authorizing or carrying out the torture of captives. It really walks the walk as far as defining torture in the strictest of terms goes:

Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

Oh, dear. It does sound like waterboarding – or inflicting a very real sense of drowning and imminent death, in addition to real risks of injuries, upon a helpless prisoner – fits the bill, doesn’t it?

And, just how far does the Convention go to ascertain that torture, in any and all forms, shall be prohibited and prosecuted?

Article 2 of the convention prohibits torture, and requires parties to take effective measures to prevent it in any territory under its jurisdiction. This prohibition is absolute and non-derogable. "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever" may be invoked to justify torture, including war, threat of war, internal political instability, public emergency, terrorist acts, violent crime, or any form of armed conflict. Torture cannot be justified as a means to protect public safety or prevent emergencies. Neither can it be justified by orders from superior officers or public officials. The prohibition on torture applies to all territories under a party's effective jurisdiction, and protects all people under its effective control, regardless of citizenship or how that control is exercised. Since the Conventions entry into force, this absolute prohibition has become accepted as a principle of customary international law. [my emphasis]

Former US President George W. Bush has just admitted to having permitted and carried out war crimes, at the very least on one occasion with KSM.

Somehow, though, I still don’t expect him to end up before a tribunal anytime soon. Which is to say, ever. The likelihood of a former US President being accused of, and especially, convicted for, war crimes is simply laughable and this shall sadly remain within the realms of a pipe dream.

(via Dispatches From the Culture Wars)