Friday, December 19, 2008

War Criminals Should Be Prosecuted for War Crimes, Claims Dept. of Obvious Things

Two days ago the NY Times published an editorial calling for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the highest levels of the White House and the Pentagon under the Bush Administration. His or her job would be to determine if war crimes were committed and if any charges should be brought against senior officials.

If you're reading this blog, you're probably jobless, high, and somewhere between Socialist and Anarchist on the political spectrum, so this op/ed probably won't tell you anything you bomb-throwers don't already know. The piece is still worth reading though, if only to take satisfaction in the fact that the paper of record is calling for an investigation of the President and his top advisers concerning torture and war crimes. It begins thusly:

"Now, a bipartisan report by the Senate Armed Services Committee has made what amounts to a strong case for bringing criminal charges against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his legal counsel, William J. Haynes; and potentially other top officials, including the former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.

The report shows how actions by these men “led directly” to what happened at Abu Ghraib, in Afghanistan, in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in secret C.I.A. prisons."

As usual, Glenn Greenwald has a devestating analysis of why pursuing these investigations is so important, and why mainstream calls for a Special Prosecutor should be cheered on loudly. You Anarcho-Syndicalists would probably rather just occupy some factories (that would be fun), but let's take baby steps guys.

Sadly, the only certainty that rivals the Bush Administration's guilt is the unlikeliness that they will be held accountable. The Times admits this in their editorial near the end:

"Given his other problems — and how far he has moved from the powerful stands he took on these issues early in the campaign — we do not hold out real hope that Barack Obama, as president, will take such a politically fraught step.
We expect Mr. Obama to keep the promise he made over and over in the campaign — to cheering crowds at campaign rallies and in other places, including our office in New York. He said one of his first acts as president would be to order a review of all of Mr. Bush’s executive orders and reverse those that eroded civil liberties and the rule of law.

That job will fall to Eric Holder, a veteran prosecutor who has been chosen as attorney general, and Gregory Craig, a lawyer with extensive national security experience who has been selected as Mr. Obama’s White House counsel.

A good place for them to start would be to reverse Mr. Bush’s disastrous order of Feb. 7, 2002, declaring that the United States was no longer legally committed to comply with the Geneva Conventions."

Yes, that would be a great place to start. It would also be great not to start your presidency with a bag like Rick Warren giving the invocation at the Serious Inauguration for Adults. This blog has no hope whatsoever that any of the highest government officials will be held accountable for their criminal actions in court, but limited public outcry must be better than nothing. Right?! Right?

That said, the piece is a good review and recap of attrocities you're familiar with,

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