Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

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Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby The Cat » Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:37 pm UTC

Under the Geneva convention, what Bush has done to the prisoners in Guantanamo is against the law. [Which convention(s) or treaties?] What does everyone think about the laws that were changed, the results that were obtained, and the responsibility the Bush administration should take for their actions?

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Gunfingers » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:08 am UTC

Is every congressman who voted for it, every officer who ran it, and every supreme court justice who didn't rule against it going to be tried too?

[And under what precedent would they be held accountable, rather than just the commanding authority?]

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Adalwolf » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:28 am UTC

The Geneva convention only applies to soldiers employed by legitimate governments. [Citation? It's sometimes interpreted differently.]

So no, George Bush shouldn't be tried for war crimes.

Also, who would accuse him? Where would he be tried? Who would enforce the verdict?

How would whatever group that wanted to try him arrest him?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_convention

Relevant portion:
Common Article 2

Article 2 specifies which parties are bound, and under what circumstances.

* That any armed conflict between two or more "High Contracting Parties" is covered;
* That it applies to occupations of a "High Contracting Party";
* That the relationship between the "High Contracting Parties" and a non-signatory, the party will remain bound until the non-signatory no longer acts under the strictures of the convention. "...Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof."

The men being held in guantanamo aren't legitimate soldiers. Nor are they civilians. They 'enemy combatants'. Plus their organizations behead and torture their prisoners. Thus the US is not bound by the Geneva Convention. (not that the detainee are eligible for the protection of the Geneva convention anyway).
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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:35 am UTC

EDITED: to adress the purple after my original unsourced opinion piece.

I think warcrimes are a fair joke in any case... alot of stuff happens that an international body could do nothing to police or enforce. For example, in the My Lai Massacre American soldiers slaughtered a village full of Vietnamese... including babies, old men, people who had surrendered... 26 soldier were accussed of crimes but only a Luitenant was convicted and he only served about a quarter of his two year sentence. Crimes happen in war that are just lost in the noise. What is acceptable becomes blurred.

In the Algerian War, where the FLN (national liberation front) used guerilla tactics against the French to gain independence, and the French counter-insurgency resorted to torture. Paul Teitgen, the secretary-general of the Algiers police, resigned because he noticed when he was visiting detention centres that the detainees had, he said, 'the deep marks of cruelties and tortures that I personally suffered fourteen years ago in the Gestapo cellars1.' The French weren't put on trial for war crimes.

If you commit war crimes, you might be internationally condemened, but unless you just suffered total defeat or you're a third world despot, you're not gonna go on trial for it.

And there are often reasons that particular war crimes are let go, like the countries doing the prosecuting not wanting to draw attention to their own crimes. After WW2 they were very careful not to accuse the Nazis of killing civilians because the Allies had done plenty of that themselves in their air raids. [Source?] (I don't have a source for this except one of my professors was telling me this, himself a well published military historian). From memory, it was the Allies who went for civilian targets first which then prompted Hitler to retaliate by bombing London [I can find 6 citations (with various opinions) on this, how about you?] (I'm going to be lazy and cite wikipedia, which refers to German bombing of industrial targets which strayed into London, which prompted the bombing of Berlin, which prompted the dedicated bombing of London.) Anyhow under estoppel (not a common concept) you can't accuse someone of a crime if you commited the same crime. (again, citing my professor, he claimed it was what made prosecution of the Nazi's difficult).

1 Martin Meredeth, The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence (London and New York: Free Press, 2005): 53.
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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Azrael » Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:48 am UTC

Let's try to improve our discourse everyone.

(For this one time only, feel free to delete purple text when [if] you address my questions.)

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Clumpy » Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:24 am UTC

Well, despite my obsessive fanboyship of The Daily Show I'm no longer confident that I have the perfect argument to escape this Purple Text Holocaust.

If legal wrongdoing is found (moral wrongdoing being pretty much incontrovertible by this point), who is responsible? I've heard Rummy, Cheney, Dubya, blamed as the sole culprits, or merely contributing players to the abuses at Guantanamo and creators of the climate that led to Abu Ghraib and simliar abuses.

With police overturning citizens' arrests of Karl Rove, do we really think that anybody would be prosecuted even if a movement could be drummed up for an impeachment? Obama won't alienate diehard reds by supporting an actual trial against Bush, and only the handful of Democrats who constantly make Hannity highlight reels by calling for responsibility would ever go for it in the first place. At this point even Bush's haters would rather just see the last of him.

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:02 am UTC

Okay, first off, I know I'm not blowing anyone's mind here, but Presidents in the past have gotten away with some pretty crazy shit. No American President has ever been arrested on charges of misconduct in office; there have been only two impeachments--neither of which bore fruit, and both of which were over politics, not war-crimes.

So, short answer to the (admittedly unasked question) of 'Will Bush and Co. face charges as war-criminals?'--No.

It's the losers of a conflict that face the war time-tribunal; I cannot think of one single incident where a stabilized government with an effective military had its leaders whisked away to face trial and I cannot imagine it would ever happen. It's just not logistically feasible.

Now, onto the actual question: Should they?

Well, uh, I guess. Everyone who's guilty of breaking the law should theoretically be put on trial. While we're at it, let's jump back in our handy WABAC machine with Mr. Peabody--then add in the Khmr Rouge, Stalin, the Imperial Japanese Army, Japan's government in general, and, uh, okay, you see where I'm going with this.

Point is, all of these war crimes are far more extensive, and none of the perpetrators ever faced so much as a good long glaring for their crimes (I think Pol Pot was put under house arrest? I know he died fat and in his sleep, anyway). I know that's no justification; just because they got away with shit doesn't mean we should get away with shit--but I think it's worth pointing it all out as a way of putting it in a broader context. The guilty are not punished on the international stage unless it is somehow politically and logistically viable to do so. So yeah, sure, if the Bush administration broke the law, they should be punished--but they won't be. No one ever really is.

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby frezik » Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:24 am UTC

Adalwolf wrote:The Geneva convention only applies to soldiers employed by legitimate governments. [Citation? It's sometimes interpreted differently.]

So no, George Bush shouldn't be tried for war crimes.

. . .

The men being held in guantanamo aren't legitimate soldiers. Nor are they civilians. They 'enemy combatants'.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unlawful_combatant:

The judgment quoted the 1958 ICRC commentary on the Fourth Geneva Convention: Every person in enemy hands must be either a prisoner of war and, as such, be covered by the Third Convention; or a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention. Furthermore, "There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law," because in the opinion of the ICRC, "If civilians directly engage in hostilities, they are considered 'unlawful' or 'unprivileged' combatants or belligerents (the treaties of humanitarian law do not expressly contain these terms). They may be prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action".


So you're either a POW (and subject to the Geneva Convention rules for POWs) or you're being tried under the laws of whatever nation holding you. The legal null status is a fanciful invention to justify torture and indefinate confinement post hoc.

Also, who would accuse him? Where would he be tried? Who would enforce the verdict?

How would whatever group that wanted to try him arrest him?


I'd suspect that after ending his Presidency, any travel to Europe would result in Bush's arrest (essentially the same problem Kissinger has with showing his face in some South American countries). I doubt Obama or any other predecesor would extridite Bush for trial unless they were pushed into it.

Plus their organizations behead and torture their prisoners.


The Shining Beacon of Democracy should be setting a better example than such extreme moral realitivisim.
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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:48 am UTC

frezik wrote:I'd suspect that after ending his Presidency, any travel to Europe would result in Bush's arrest (essentially the same problem Kissinger has with showing his face in some South American countries).


You know, I completely and absolutely forgot about the whole Kissinger thing. From that angle, it would be potentially feasible...

But still, probably not. The US government would never stand for allowing one of its ex-Presidents to be put on trial in another country.

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:49 am UTC

frezik wrote:
Also, who would accuse him? Where would he be tried? Who would enforce the verdict?

How would whatever group that wanted to try him arrest him?


I'd suspect that after ending his Presidency, any travel to Europe would result in Bush's arrest (essentially the same problem Kissinger has with showing his face in some South American countries). I doubt Obama or any other predecesor would extridite Bush for trial unless they were pushed into it.


I highly doubt Bush would be arrested in Europe. The French didn't agree with the Iraq invasion but that's a long way off from arresting him as a war criminal. Who else would?
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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:09 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Ummm, seriously? I highly doubt Bush would be arrested in Europe. The French didn't agree with the Iraq invasion but that's a long way off from arresting him as a war criminal. Who else would?


I was thinking Iraq, not Europe. Which would be deliciously ironic.

But still, no chance.

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:58 am UTC

Well right. Realistically speaking, only we could try Bush. Otherwise he'd be a head of state (knowing all manner of state secrets) on trial in a foreign country.


The start of a thread about the effectiveness of torture was split off, and I know Wombat won't mind if I use his post as a coloring book.

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Diadem » Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:31 am UTC

frezik wrote:I'd suspect that after ending his Presidency, any travel to Europe would result in Bush's arrest (essentially the same problem Kissinger has with showing his face in some South American countries). I doubt Obama or any other predecesor would extridite Bush for trial unless they were pushed into it.


How could a European nation try a American citizen for crimes commited in Iraq. In almost all nations such a trial would simply be dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction.

There is an exception. In Belgium you can be tried for war crimes commited anywhere in the world. But as far as I know Belgium is the only country which has such a law. In theory, this means that any Belgian citizen can file charges against Bush, and in theory he could be convicted and sentenced to life in prison. But I don't see it ever happening. The political situation just won't allow it. Unless the climate changes dramatically.

He could also be tried by a special UN tribunal, or by the International Criminal Court in The Heague. Again though, I don't see either of those things happen anytime soon. Politicians are almost never tried for crimes commited. Even very serious crimes. Even in democratic nations. They should be. But our political system just isn't good enough to make that happen.
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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby frezik » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:50 am UTC

Diadem wrote:He could also be tried by a special UN tribunal, or by the International Criminal Court in The Heague. Again though, I don't see either of those things happen anytime soon. Politicians are almost never tried for crimes commited. Even very serious crimes. Even in democratic nations. They should be. But our political system just isn't good enough to make that happen.


This. He would be tried under international law according to the Heague Convention. Theoretically, it could happen to Bush if he traveled to any signing country, but EU member states seem to be the most likely to try it. I don't think it's likely, though, for the reasons outlined above, plus the fact that he didn't travel all that much before he was President (though it's untrue that he never traveled at all), and probably won't travel much afterwords, either. Again, he (and much of his staff) will be in the same position as Kissinger.

As was mentioned earlier in the thread, most will just be happy to see him disappear.
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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby BlackSails » Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:11 am UTC

http://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/othr/misc/23425.htm

The american Service-member's protection act

This law authorizes the president to use "all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court."

Among other things, it prohibits aid to any country that is part of the court (although it makes exceptions for NATO members and major allies, as well as countries who have agreed not to extradite US citizens to the court). It also forbids any national, state or local government from cooperating with the court, and forbids agents of the court from investigating on American soil.



So trying to prosecute any "members of the Armed Forces of the United States, elected or appointed officials of the United States Government, and other persons employed by or working on behalf of the United States Government" is a dicey proposition.

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Minchandre » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:08 am UTC

I'd like to preface this post by saying that I emphatically do not support what went on at Guantanamo (meaning, of course, that I'm going to defend it :P )

Seriously, though: I find this idea laughable. This is, I'm certain, not the first time American soldiers have tortured prisoners. There are, for an easy example, numerous examples (mostly poorly documented) of American soldiers torturing their Axis counterparts during WWII, and I'm sure there were more than enough in Korea and Vietnam, not to mention WWI, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War...pretty much all wars, really. Ever since the genie of total war was let out of the bottle, the concept of doing whatever it takes to win has been in the air, and has been executed. I am further certain that in all of these cases, the President was aware in a vague sort of way what was going on, and could, if you liked, be said to have condoned the actions through silence.

The issue with Bush is unprecedented in that there's a lot of evidence that Bush had explicitly okay'd the torture, and certainly the establishment of a central "torture station" rather than the ad-hoc sort of thing that had gone on in the past speaks poorly of an entire chain of command, implicating dozens of officers, up to the highest levels of the military, whereas in the past, it's likely that very few actual high-rankers were "directly" involved.

Another difference, of course, is the degree to which it was documented. For whatever reason, a large portion of the Guantanamo Bay human rights violations were recorded, meaning that they can't conveniently be swept under the rug. The fact that the war in question was far from total also raises some questions about the necessity of the actions...but I digress. I think it won't matter.

A few generals might resign, but that's about it. For example, look at the recent Bagram incident, and note how one single officer was implicated, and all charges against him were dropped. Also telling is that no major punishment was meted to any of the involved soldiers; the majority of them got off completely scott-free (either all charges dropped or not acquitted at the court martial), and a few served 3-5 month jail terms. And this is for killing two men by torture. This event isn't as widely known as G-Bay, but it sets a good precedent.

Besides, if we tried Bush for war crimes, we'd have to try half the heads of state in the UN, which many people conveniently forget is populated by many, many nations that are brutal dictatorships.

As for the Kissinger thing, that was overwhelmingly more about South America telling the US to go fuck itself than any actual issues involving people being concerned about Kissinger's conduct. Iran might bar Bush from entry, and the rest of the "Axis of People I Don't Like", and a few others, but the truth is that with the USSR out of the picture (and China unwilling to step in in the same way, and Russia unable to despite all their chest-beating), no one can afford to piss off the US with an insult like that.

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby roc314 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:17 am UTC

Minchandre wrote:Seriously, though: I find this idea laughable. This is, I'm certain, not the first time American soldiers have tortured prisoners. There are, for an easy example, numerous examples (mostly poorly documented) of American soldiers torturing their Axis counterparts during WWII, and I'm sure there were more than enough in Korea and Vietnam, not to mention WWI, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War...pretty much all wars, really. Ever since the genie of total war was let out of the bottle, the concept of doing whatever it takes to win has been in the air, and has been executed.
How does this imply that Bush shouldn't be punished? Past neglect of justice does not imply that we should never punish those crimes. For example, in the US, from the late 1800s until about the 1950s, the 14th and 15th constitutional amendments weren't enforced. Does that mean that they never should have been enforced? No.
Besides, if we tried Bush for war crimes, we'd have to try half the heads of state in the UN, which many people conveniently forget is populated by many, many nations that are brutal dictatorships.
I'm okay with that. I wouldn't mind seeing a lot of those brutal dictators tried for war crimes.
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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Minchandre » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:37 am UTC

roc314 wrote:
Minchandre wrote:Seriously, though: I find this idea laughable. This is, I'm certain, not the first time American soldiers have tortured prisoners. There are, for an easy example, numerous examples (mostly poorly documented) of American soldiers torturing their Axis counterparts during WWII, and I'm sure there were more than enough in Korea and Vietnam, not to mention WWI, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War...pretty much all wars, really. Ever since the genie of total war was let out of the bottle, the concept of doing whatever it takes to win has been in the air, and has been executed.
How does this imply that Bush shouldn't be punished? Past neglect of justice does not imply that we should never punish those crimes. For example, in the US, from the late 1800s until about the 1950s, the 14th and 15th constitutional amendments weren't enforced. Does that mean that they never should have been enforced? No.
Besides, if we tried Bush for war crimes, we'd have to try half the heads of state in the UN, which many people conveniently forget is populated by many, many nations that are brutal dictatorships.
I'm okay with that. I wouldn't mind seeing a lot of those brutal dictators tried for war crimes.


Sorry, I should clarify. Whether or not he should be, I doubt he ever will be. As for whether he should be...it's hard to say. I consider the actions at Guantanamo to be disgusting, but the degree to which Bush was involved with their actual implementation is unclear. Certainly other, less public figures, were involved to a much greater extent, and no one will ever give them a big public trial, or prevent them from going to South America, because these things are about politics, and not really about justice. This hurts me to say, because my grandmother was at Bergen-Belsen, but essentially all war crimes trials, including those at Nuremburg to pick the best known example, are more about giving a victor post-facto moral justification for a war than anything else. Because the torture in question was carried out by the winning side, the odds of anything happening are nill. Really, the whole idea of war crimes and the Geneva convention, making a civilized little game out of people dying, kinda disgusts me, but that's not the topic at hand. I'll make a new thread.

Anyway, if we tried Bush, we would also have to try umpty-many people in the military, a distressingly large fraction of the police force, jail wardens who allowed inmate on inmate or guard on inmate violence to occur...while I absolutely agree with you in theory, applying morals to the real world is a hard thing to do. Before you get indignant and say that none of this should be happening at all, I agree...but the amount of effort needed to completely eliminate torture being carried out or allowed by the state is ridiculous, and I'm not convinced that effort wouldn't be better spent elsewhere (e.g. stopping the genocide in Darfur which is amazingly still going on, or the Hutu/Tutsi aftershocks that apparently carried from Rwanda into the Congo, or the rape of virgins carried out in much of Africa by misinformed HIV carriers, or the distressingly high rates of slavery in developed nations, etc)

I guess, to summarize: I agree that Bush violated a number of moral standards, but am uncertain that these moral standards may be applied to him? I know that sounds horrible, but I'm a pretty cynical guy.

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Adalwolf » Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:53 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
BlackSails wrote:http://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/othr/misc/23425.htm

The american Service-member's protection act

This law authorizes the president to use "all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court."

That law is an empty threat. The US would never, ever, dare do this.

I'm not a fan of Bush by any means, but I, and most people I know would not under any means stand for some other nation trying Bush. If Bush was arrested and not released there would be war.
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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:16 am UTC

I'm sure the United States would exhaust the diplomatic channels before they utilised such a reckless application of force. And the cost of such force would outweigh the benefits of favourable relations with the rest of the planet.

Similarly I find it unlikely that the diplomatic move would be made to arrest Bush. I'm not even sure there's much of a case against him. It could always be argued that the inmates of GB are receiving adequate food, clothing and healthcare which would possibly put them as better off than being back home.
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Re: Should Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Azrael » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:42 pm UTC

Participants in this topic should take a quick look at the new title.

The discussion about if Bush could be arrested is, honestly, far too easily answered with a fair degree certainty, and thus the continued debate around that question has been entirely speculative. Not to mention that *could* he be arrested is the cheap question that follows from one that is more complex and nuanced; Should he? So I've changed "tried" to "charged" in an excessively pedantic gesture.

So, return to "should" and remember that this isn't the correct place for debating the ability or success of military invasions either.


Edit: It would help if I had actually unlocked this ...

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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Adalwolf » Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:21 am UTC

Should he be charged with war crimes?

Not unless half (wild guess there) the leaders around the world are arrested and tried for crimes as well.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Iv » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:50 pm UTC

In a dictatorship, leaders can do about whatever pleases them, in a democracy, leaders are accountable. The fact that dictators are not tried for their war crimes does not strike me as a compelling argument in favour of an immunity for democracies' leaders. Quite the contrary.

Whatever the jurisdiction, whatever the practicality of this, whatever the trial system used, war crimes should be punished as much as possible with sentences that prevents them from happening again.

"The Americans get away with it" is an argument that lawyers of such as Saddam Hussein and Milosevic used to excuse war crimes. Making it void would give a lot more credence and fairness to war crimes trials.

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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Bluggo » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:23 pm UTC

Adalwolf wrote:Should he be charged with war crimes?

Not unless half (wild guess there) the leaders around the world are arrested and tried for crimes as well.
I agree completely with this - actually, I think that half is a conservative estimate.

But the fact that, for example, Hu Jintao, Putin and Than Shwe are responsible for a lot of crimes too does not make Bush's (comparatively minor, although still grievous) ones any less reprehensible, nor any less deserving of punishment.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Lemminkainen » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:24 pm UTC

As a moral and legal question-- yes, Bush, and a number of others, should be charged with war crimes. Under his tenure as commander in chief, he has allowed many practices out of keeping with a number of human rights treaties signed by the US, as well as America's own 8th constitutional ammendment. Torturing people is also profoundly immoral.

However, as a practical matter, I don't believe that Barack Obama and Congress (who would be the group most feasibly able to punish a clear breach of US law) should try him at the moment. This is because they have to act in a number of important ways right now (saving the environment and the world financial system, ending the war in Iraq, perhaps preventing Pakistan from collapsing, and ending human rights abuses such as those at Guantanamo), and not having Republican cooperation would make these things considerably more difficult, if not impossible. Also, thanks to the position of those who would be calling for charges, some would likely interpret them to be politically motivated, which would tarnish the gleaming image of America's new president. Trials for those responsible for America's abuses should wait until the political climate is such that America's people and leaders are mostly united behind charging with war crimes, so the move would not seem opportunistic and burn much-needed political capital.

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Re: Should Bush be tried for war crimes?

Postby oxoiron » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:28 pm UTC

Adalwolf wrote:The Geneva convention only applies to soldiers employed by legitimate governments.
WRONG! God, I get tired of repeating this:

Interestingly, the following point has already been made. And without the condescension, too.

-Az


EDIT: That's not condescension, it's genuine frustration. This is the third time on these fora that I've had to dig up this reference after someone tries to say the Geneva Conventions don't apply to terrorists, etc. And as far as your comment about this point already being made, if it is in this thread preceding this post, I missed it.

EDIT 2: My apologies to frezik; I see you already quoted this source.

oxoiron wrote:
Commentary: IV Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1958) – 1994 reprint edition wrote:Every person in enemy hands must be either a prisoner of war and, as such, be covered by the Third Convention; or a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention. Furthermore, "There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law."
As with most legal documents, interpretation is affected by predisposition. If you start reading the Conventions (especially GC-III, which deals with POWs) looking for an excuse to indefinitely detain and torture people, you'll find that you just have to define them as 'Unlawful Combatants'. However, if you continue reading and wish to adhere to all of the Conventions, including GC-IV, you find that indefinite detention and torture are not acceptable under any circumstances. The Bush administration likes to pretend GC-IV and the legal decisions stemming from it don't exist.
Last edited by oxoiron on Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:30 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby fjafjan » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:46 am UTC

If Hitler should, so should Bush. And I am not saying Bush == Hitler. There are however few democratically elected (in 2004, and more or less in 2000, all voter systems are flawed) leaders who have been charged with war crimes, and the main point in the Nuremberg trials was the charge of aggression. Bush has committed that very crime, as well as a bunch of other regarding captured soldiers. So yes, he should be charged with War Crimes, if you agree that Hitler should have been charged with Invading, for example, Poland and France. In my opinion there is no doubt that yes, so is the case.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Grop » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:12 am UTC

Lemminkainen, I don't know well how the US works, but shouldn't judicial power be independant of politics? I doubt it is Obama's responsibility to sue Bush.

(Fjafjan, Germany invading France in WW2 is not a good example, since France declared war on Germany first - the case of Poland is different).

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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Lemminkainen » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:45 pm UTC

Grop wrote:Lemminkainen, I don't know well how the US works, but shouldn't judicial power be independant of politics? I doubt it is Obama's responsibility to sue Bush.

(Fjafjan, Germany invading France in WW2 is not a good example, since France declared war on Germany first - the case of Poland is different).

True, it isn't his job, but he has considerable influence over popular opinion about what should be done at the moment, and control of future judicial appointees, which amounts to some degree of control over what happens. As president, he also controls the Department of Justice, which could presumably file suit for federal crimes, and could also do things like issue pardons.

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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:14 pm UTC

Grop wrote:Lemminkainen, I don't know well how the US works, but shouldn't judicial power be independant of politics? I doubt it is Obama's responsibility to sue Bush.

(Fjafjan, Germany invading France in WW2 is not a good example, since France declared war on Germany first - the case of Poland is different).


It will almost certainly fall to an Obama appointee to decide if charges should or will be brought. It would either come from the Justice Deparment and executive branch. Or from a US attorney which would be an Obama appointment.

Ixtellor

P.S. I don't think charges should be brought against Bush and Cheney because it will be a waste of time as "executive privlege and national security" will make the investigation near impossible. The SCOTUS already ruled in favor of Cheney on executive privlege in another case. So its just a glorified spectecle that would have virtually no chance of doing anything other than making Democrats look like time wasters and media whores.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Iv » Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:29 pm UTC

Don't be so delusional. Donald Rumsfeld had to flee from France in face of lawsuits when he first came back here without any immunity (as a NATO consultant). Maybe he wouldn't be condemned, but he doesn't want to take the risk. If he flees to never come back, that is also some sort of second-class victory. Would the same happen to Bush in US, I would personally be glad.

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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Azrael » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:17 pm UTC

We don't do the whole drop a link and move on thing here in SB

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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Garm » Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:44 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
Grop wrote:Lemminkainen, I don't know well how the US works, but shouldn't judicial power be independant of politics? I doubt it is Obama's responsibility to sue Bush.

(Fjafjan, Germany invading France in WW2 is not a good example, since France declared war on Germany first - the case of Poland is different).


It will almost certainly fall to an Obama appointee to decide if charges should or will be brought. It would either come from the Justice Deparment and executive branch. Or from a US attorney which would be an Obama appointment.

Ixtellor

P.S. I don't think charges should be brought against Bush and Cheney because it will be a waste of time as "executive privlege and national security" will make the investigation near impossible. The SCOTUS already ruled in favor of Cheney on executive privlege in another case. So its just a glorified spectecle that would have virtually no chance of doing anything other than making Democrats look like time wasters and media whores.


There's an article in Harper's about the idea of a "Truth Commission" that I strongly support (it seems to be gaining traction which excites me). The idea is that a carefully chosen group of people with subpoena power would investigate all the wrong doing the Bush administration is accused of. Once they've dug through the piles and piles of shit they can figure out if anyone could be considered legally guilty and then give recommendations to the administration about whether action should be taken.

My personal thought is that Bush and Cheney should be brought to trial for war crimes. They've as much as admitted to torturing people and that's enough for me. Argue all you want about whether torture is effective or right, it's against the law and it's against what America stood for.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Ari » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:19 am UTC

Adalwolf wrote:Should he be charged with war crimes?

Not unless half (wild guess there) the leaders around the world are arrested and tried for crimes as well.


I'm quite fine with anyone with a comparable record being charged with war crimes. I'd potentially be willing to extend that principle as far as Tony Blair. I'd actually say that the leaders of a democratic country should be easier to try for war crimes- partially because democratic values involve not trusting our leaders absolutely and being willing to turn on them, and partially because of the ease of collecting evidence in democratic countries.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby Certhas » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:06 pm UTC

Krugman in the NYT makes the point that Watergate and Iran Contra are exactly why the US needs to try those who perpetrated War crimes:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/16/ ... 409074.php

Otherwise they will do it again. The US has tried and convicted US citizens for using water boarding before, so legal precedent shouldn't be a problem, only political willingness. In the long run holding those who committed unconstitutional and illegal acts, who undermined the very notion of the rule of law, who broke international law with even more abandon then their own, accountable seems necessary to restore the principles they have damaged. Otherwise it will take a long long time.

Edit: Also I think the question can't be whether there are other people in the world more deserving of trial. There certainly are, nobody can disagree on that. This is a question about what kind of country the US wants to be.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby iop » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:13 pm UTC

I am fairly sure that members of the Bush administration are not going to get charged for war crimes, after all, no administration is going to set a precedent that it may be held accountable for its actions.

However, it does seem quite problematic that American soldiers got convicted for torture in Abu Ghraib, but that the higher-ups who ok'd the illegal behavior aren't charged with anything.

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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby ddxxdd » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:42 am UTC

iop wrote:I am fairly sure that members of the Bush administration are not going to get charged for war crimes, after all, no administration is going to set a precedent that it may be held accountable for its actions.

However, it does seem quite problematic that American soldiers got convicted for torture in Abu Ghraib, but that the higher-ups who ok'd the illegal behavior aren't charged with anything.


Some people even say that Bush will be redeemed in the eyes of history.

Also, I think you have your facts wrong. The higher-ups in charge of Abu Graib didn't OK anything. They just weren't diligent enough to oversee the prison more closely; a career-ending mistake, but hardly a court-martiallable mistake.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby iop » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:15 pm UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Also, I think you have your facts wrong. The higher-ups in charge of Abu Graib didn't OK anything. They just weren't diligent enough to oversee the prison more closely; a career-ending mistake, but hardly a court-martiallable mistake.


The SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY begs to differ. Or maybe the soldiers in Abu Ghraib just read the minds of the most-high-up, or came up with surprisingly similar strategies on their own.

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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby oxoiron » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:36 pm UTC

ddxxdd wrote:Some people even say that Bush will be redeemed in the eyes of history.
When 'some people' are Michael Payne* and Bill Frist# I am inclined to ignore their opinions; they are unable to reconcile their beliefs with reality, which leads them to give reality short shrift in favor of their preconceived notions.

*Here we have a conservative apologist/columnist who doesn't know the difference between 'compliment' and 'complement'.
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#To get an idea of how Frist lets his beliefs color his perception of reality, see his "diagnosis" of Terry Schiavo.
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Re: Should Bush be charged with war crimes?

Postby The Cat » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:57 pm UTC

Some people even say that Bush will be redeemed in the eyes of history.


I hope so. However, he really ended on a low note. How the world views America, Economy, and the expensive war in Iraq really chewed away at his administration. I think how he will be remembered all hinges on the success in Iraq, and unfortunately that is no longer in his hands. Furthermore, that's a tough region in which to play king maker. I believe his philanthropic work will go down as a foot note in comparison to the much greater issues. As he said, his entire presidency was devoted to making America safe against terrorism. Stats say these terrorist organizations are at their strongest since 9/11. Again I think it all comes down to Iraq. A stable ally in the region = Win for Bush. If the democracy he created moves away from the United States= big Loss. I'm thinking about his big push for Democracy in the Middle East. That didn't work out as intended.

Also, I think you have your facts wrong. The higher-ups in charge of Abu Graib didn't OK anything. They just weren't diligent enough to oversee the prison more closely; a career-ending mistake, but hardly a court-martiallable mistake.


SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY

Looks more like turning a blind eye and CYOA. These are diligent people!


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