Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bush Goes Retro to Avoid Prosecution

www.antiwar.com: by Paul Craig Roberts:
"On Aug. 23, the BBC reported that Amnesty International has brought war crimes charges against Israel for deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure as an 'integral part' of Israel's strategy in its recent invasion of Lebanon.

Israel claims that its aggression was 'self-defense' to dislodge Hezbollah from southern Lebanon. Yet, Israel bombed residential communities all over Lebanon, even Christian communities in the north in which no Hezbollah could possibly have been present.

United Nations spokesman Jean Fabre reported that Israel's attack on civilian infrastructure annihilated Lebanon's development: 'Fifteen years of work have been wiped out in a month.'

Israel maintains that this massive destruction was unintended 'collateral damage.'

President Bush maintains that Israel has 'a right to protect itself' by destroying Lebanon.

Bush blocked the attempt to stop Israel's aggression and is, thereby, equally responsible for the war crimes. Indeed, a number of reports claim that Bush instigated the Israeli aggression against Lebanon.

Bush has other war crime problems. Benjamin Ferencz, a chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg, recently said that President Bush should be tried as a war criminal side-by-side with Saddam Hussein for starting aggressive wars, Hussein for his 1990 invasion of Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Under the Nuremberg standard, Bush is definitely a war criminal. The U.S. Supreme Court also exposed Bush to war crimes charges under both the U.S. War Crimes Act of 1996 and the Geneva Conventions when the Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld against the Bush administration's military tribunals and inhumane treatment of detainees.

President Bush and his attorney general agree that under existing laws and treaties Bush is a war criminal together with many members of his government. To make his war crimes legal after the fact, Bush has instructed the Justice (sic) Department to draft changes to the War Crimes Act and to U.S. treaty obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

One of Bush's changes would deny protection of the Geneva Conventions to anyone in any American court.

Bush's other change would protect from prosecution any U.S. government official or military personnel guilty of violating Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Article 3 prohibits 'at any time and in any place whatsoever outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.' As civil libertarian Nat Hentoff observes, this change would also undo Sen. John McCain's amendment against torture.

Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, says that Bush's changes 'immunize past crimes.'

Under the U.S. Constitution and U.S. legal tradition, retroactive law is impermissible. "


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