In several of my past posts I have referred to Bush as many things, none of them complimentary, but I got to wondering if I was fair when I labeled him a war criminal. I mean that is a pretty harsh accusation and probably a bit harder to justify than calling him a deserter. I guess that maybe I should take the time to look up what the Geneva Convention has to say about it:
Art. 146. The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article.
Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case.
Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present Convention other than the grave breaches defined in the following Article.
In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by safeguards of proper trial and defence, which shall not be less favourable than those provided by Article 105 and those following of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 12 August 1949.
Art. 147. Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.
Art. 148. No High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by another High Contracting Party in respect of breaches referred to in the preceding Article.
Quite a bit to read through and to be honest there may be a few things I overlooked that may pertain to or refute my assertion, please keep me honest and check my work. Okay, let me take the following four points one at a time, for the sake of argument I am assuming that the War on Terror is an actual declared War (more to follow on that)…
1) Wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health
Let’s assume that this is a great suffering or serious injury to body or health that would fall outside the scope of common battlefield injuries meant to be inflicted on soldiers by soldiers. Let me begin with cluster bombs. To begin with a cluster bomb is one big bomb that explodes into many little bomblets (about 147), sprinkling them over the target area like candy from a piata with anywhere from 5% to 16% not exploding, imagine a wide area land mine dispersal device and you pretty much have it. Bad enough to have hundreds or thousands of unexploded bomblets out in the desert just waiting for a luckless camel driver or bedouin to step on but to drop them on a highly populated city like Basra? Full of women, children, and non-combatants? This type of weapon may not be nuclear (or nukuler for you Bushies) or chemical or biological but do not doubt that it is a Weapon of Mass Destruction like the Bunker Buster which can penetrate 100 feet of earth or the Daisy Cutter a 15000 lb bomb with a lethal radius of up to 900 feet (or 1800 foot diameter.
In his efforts to wipe out Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq and apparently NOT in possession of WMDs, dropped four bombs on a restaurant in Baghdad with no regard for civilian casualties. It was 3:00pm in a major city when the bombing concluded leaving a 60ft crater where a restaurant had been, weeping people in the streets mourned untold casualties, now imagine 3:00pm where you work. Would you consider orders to drop several thousands of pounds of ordinance on the local Bennigan’s in the city you work in to be designed to protect civilians? I personally think of it as complete disregard for the welfare of the civilian (read non-combatant) population. By the way, Saddam wasn’t there that day.
As a crude analogy let’s say that I am standing near the teacup ride in Disneyland on Memorial Day when I spy a bee about to sting a toddler on the neck. I state aloud that I am declaring a War on Bees and take the shoulder mounted TOW missile launcher from my back and aim carefully at the bee… good judgment? Am I culpable for the death and destruction the missile causes when it misses the bee, the toddler, and a guy hawking cheap plastic crap to goggle eyed tourists and slams into Winnie the Pooh’s Hunny Tree? I bet I would be.
I think George Bush is also culpable for, at the very least, the civilian casualties in his little war which we are fighting.
2) Unlawful confinement of a protected person
Well, I was able to find plenty about what a protected person is NOT in the Geneva Convention, but not much that defines what a protected person is. I am going out on a limb and guessing that a protected person is a non-combatant at the very least because the moment you fire on the opposing side you kind of lose any special privileges you might have had when you were not a threat. Now just saying someone is a threat (ie: illegal combatant) is not good enough for a country like America that is always bragging on our freedoms, laws, and sense of justice because that’s what makes us great right? We’re so good our shit don’t stink. Except that it does.
Guantanamo, it slips from the tongue like a mouthful of bat droppings. Perhaps not since the Great Japanese round-up from 1942 to 46, have we as a country allowed such unlawful detention to exist within our borders. “But Eric”, I hear some of you saying, “those were US citizens and not a bunch of Foreigners who have NO rights under our constitution.”. Well, I wrote about him once before but let’s revisit the ongoing tale of Jose Padilla, American citizen.
Now from what I have read about his Gang-banger lifestyle previous to his suspected terrorist activities I can honestly say this man is probably the worst poster child for Constitutional protectionism that I could envision. He sounds like a violent anti-social thug that I would prefer be locked away for the rest of my life, but as a citizen he does have the right to due process. Yet he sits in a cell after almost 21 months without legal counsel, without visitation rights for family or friends, or without even so much as being formally charged. Here in America folks. And while the Second Court of Appeals rules that the President cannot detain an American citizen as an enemy combatant and that Padilla needs to be charged now, the government got a stay of release order. No justice for Padilla yet and he is just a “small Fish”.
Before you send me any e-mail stating that he was held in a Navy brig in SC and not in Guantanamo, I know. But I was on a Padilla kick so cut me some slack.
As for GITMO how about another US citizen Yasser Esam Hamdi born in Baton Rouge LA. Sure he has one of them funny sounding foreign names but if he was born here and did not renounce his citizenship he is a citizen. He was nabbed at the same time as John Walker Lindh during a foiled prison uprising in Mazar-e Sharif, but unlike the very anglo saxon Lindh who was detained a whopping 12 weeks, Yasser Esam Hamdi is still there with who knows how many others, since the tight lipped Bush administration isn’t saying.
Now Padilla was only suspected of plotting to detonate a dirty bomb while Hamdi… well I can’t find out what he was charged with, if anything. Did he kill an allied soldier? Did he try? Maybe. But as an American citizen he is at least entitled to know what the charges are against him, is entitled to legal counsel, and a speedy trial. Hell David Hicks, an Australian enemy combatant, was given over to Australia because they are our ally. What are we? Chopped liver? How about that 16 year old Canadian kid? When does he get to take off to the Great White North? I thought that Canada was an ally too…
Of course there may also be other ‘protected persons’ being detained that we just haven’t heard about yet and getting back to the Geneva Convention that should be looked into. Bush’s policy of complete silence when questioned about detainees is enough to make me suspect his motives. Fascist bastard leaps to mind.
3) Wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention
I COULD rehash the above information in a slightly different way to make the case that that detainees, for the most part, have been wilfully deprived of a fair and regular trial. They have been deprived of any sort of trial whatever.
Again with the analogies (oy vey) but try to imagine that someone you know, fairly well but not intimately, is one day taken away at gunpoint by uniformed soldiers who ignore your queries as to where they are taking the detainee. The family does not know where this person is or even that they were detained you find out after frantic phone calls. It is doubtful that anyone knows why this person was taken, the police have no records because it is not a police matter, and your state and federal representatives can tell you nothing because they are being told nothing. Your “president” has a policy that no one be told anything so you do not know if the person taken is even alive, though you can not possibly conceive that your Democratic government could kill its own citizens, but you are left completely in the dark by the people you elected to office. This stonewalling might go on for months or years and this detainee might know little more than you do about their own incarceration.
Now imagine how you would feel. Pretty frustrated, angry, confused, maybe betrayed by your government. Imagine what the person who is detained 24 hours a day 7 days a week for months on end must feel like, could it break a person? I bet it could.
Ever read Kafka?
4) Taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.
Appropriation of Property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly? You mean like taking over Iraq and giving it away to large campaign contributors via no-bid contracts? Misleading your citizens and the citizens of your allies (well, at least their politicians) with false information and outright lies about the Weapons of Mass Destruction that were ready for launch in 45 minutes? Kind of like invading a sovereign nation that had apparently destroyed all of those nasty WMDs before the war you launched to pay its leader back for threatening your dad?
So can Bush the lesser spin this to look like we went into Iraq because it was the humanitarian thing to do instead of our dogged insistence that he be held accountable for his lies and deception? We ARE pretty lazy as a nation and tend to follow the path of least resistance, politicians know this about us, hell the entire world knows this about us but let us not let this slide by. Clinton was hounded by conservative pit bulls because he lied about a little of the old in-out with a chubby intern, he was nearly impeached for gods sake! Is a lie about a stain on a blue dress the same as a lie that gets hundreds of our guys killed and thousands of theirs? Where are the howls of indignation from the liberals? From the independents? From all of the thinking citizens of this country screaming for the blood of these chicken-hawk conservative war criminals? Or do we not care about all of the dead soldiers on our side and theirs, sent to fight and die for a lie. So rich corporations could get richer?
Certainly we have ignored the genocides of other countries such as Rwanda, Kosovo, and India to name but a few (India is where EDS sent my job by the way) and we cannot let this administration spin this… DEBACLE as a humanitarian intervention! I for one have to look at myself in the mirror for maybe another 30 years or so, I will NOT let this go.
Now near the top of this very long boring rant I said that I would address whether war was actually ever declared and in accordance with Article I, section 8 of the US constitution which states that ONLY the Congress has the power to declare war, and although Congress did bend over, spread their collective butt cheeks, and take it in the ass when they gave him powers they had no business giving him, they did NOT declare war. But we did attack Iraq. We did capture it’s leader. We did kill their soldiers and civilians alike. We have taken over. We are forcing them to be a nice pliant little ‘democracy’ America can rely on for cheap oil and cheap labor. When Saddam invaded Kuwait without provocation back when I was in the Navy – we vilified him for that didn’t we? Smashed his military. Instituted no-fly zones. Forced him to dismantle his weapons programs. And the difference between his act of aggression and Bush’s act of aggression is what exactly?
I stand by my allegation of war criminal.