The candidates for the office of President have presented their spin to the public about how great they are and how incompetent or inexperienced their opponents are. John McCain arose, like the Phoenix bird from the ashes, to resurrect his once dying campaign, and now he is the Republican standard bearer. The race between Hillary Clinton, a woman, and Barak Obama, a Black man, was historic, and Obamas winning his partys nomination was unprecedented. His rock star presence has energized young voters, educated voters, Black voters, and others seeking a change in American government. But are the voters interested in this election because a woman and a Black man competed for the nations highest officeor is the supercharged interest due to the desire by the public to change the policies of the George W. Bush administration which have been divisive, destructive, and catastrophic to the United States of America?
THIS IS MY OPINION
You should also know that I am a registered Republican and have been since 1968; I voted for George W. Bush the first time; I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate; I own guns and am a member of the NRA; I was a combat infantry unit commander during Tet 1968 in Viet Nam; I retired from the Army Reserve as a JAG officer with the rank of colonel with my last assignment at the Pentagon; and I have been a criminal law attorney since 1971 (15 years as a state prosecuting attorney). I am not a left-wing, commie-pinko, ultra-liberal, anti-military, un-American nutcase. I love this country, and that is why I must declare that George W. Bush and his co-conspirators must be held accountable for their crimes in either a U.S. tribunal or an international tribunal or both. He must be held accountable for his many crimes.
OBAMA VS. MCCAIN
Voters this fall have a clear choice between Obama and McCain. I believe that there is going to be a Democratic landslide because the public is fed up with the imperial Presidency and its shenanigans. Many of those white, hard-working, Americans (uneducated, too) may just vote for the Black guy. Obama says he represents change, and a Black President in the White House clearly is change. Obama (if he becomes President) may wind up spending money on education, health care, building infrastructure, creating jobs, etc., but where is the money coming from? From the money saved after he ends the war? A more important question to me is will he allow the mechanisms to work to bring Bush and his criminal co-conspirators to justice?
McCain says he represents change (from the Bush administration policies), but this last year he voted 95% of the time with George W. Bush. The year before, it was 90% of the time. He has been part of the problem. And he continues to support the occupation in Iraq and the enormous tax breaks for the big corporations and the wealthy. McCain is not change. The question is what happens if McCain is elected and he must deal with a clearly Democrat controlled Congress? McCain gets a lot of slack from the media and Congress who have helped portray this myth about McCainthe war hero. McCain served in the Navy and got shot down on a bombing run over North Viet Nam. He was a POW for 5 years. Although one may respect his suffering as a POW, that fact, alone, does not qualify him to be the President of the United States any more than the service of any other guy who served in the military. The fact that Obama did not serve in the military does not disqualify him from becoming the President of the United States.
McCain talks about more boots on the ground, but in my view that is not the correct analysis. The correct analysis is the right boots on the right ground at the right time to execute the right mission. If we really wanted Osama bin Laden, we should have gone to the tribal regions in Pakistan and got him. Instead, Bush lied to us to support attacking Iraq. Barak Obama is the only candidate to suggest going to Pakistan to get bin Laden. Obama has the better judgment about fighting terrorists than McCain does.
Whoever is the next President must change our policies in the Middle East relating to Palestinian-Israeli problems and U.S. aggression against the perceived enemies of Israel or any other so-called changes will simply be cosmetic. The people are tired of the Iraq war and occupation, but Israel supporters now want the U.S. to invade Iran. Israel has been instrumental in the invasion and occupation of Iraq and has been the catalyst for the various other conflicts in the Middle East. Bush commits war crimes on behalf of Israel.
Bush, the most pro-Israel president, has made much noise about Iran. McCain quipped, Bombbombbomb, bomb-bomb Iranso we know where he is going. If Barak Obama gets elected and invades Iran, there will be no change. In his speech to AIPAC, he said: "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power. Everything." Implicit in the word "everything" is more of the same more war crimes, bad economy, high cost of food, gas, etc. Without a change in our policies in the Middle East, America will be engaged in wars against Israels (not our) enemies. Our international image, our national security, and our economy will continue to decline if we do not change. The Middle East has no motive to be nice to us now, especially in insuring that we have less expensive oil. We need change.
BUSH ADMINISTRATION CRIMES
The next President will show great courage if he supports a prosecution of Bush and the Bush administration for crimes involving genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture. These crimes are intertwined with numerous acts of deception, hubris, and incompetence. Bush and his administration ignored the warnings of Richard Clark (a real terrorism expert) and other warnings about terrorists intent to fly aircraft into buildings before 9-11 occurred. That was at least criminal negligence.
After 9-11, Bush and his administration and others lied about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in order to dupe the American public into supporting an invasion of Iraq. Cheny, Rove, Libby, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, Pearl, Feith, Bolton, and others were all complicit in this conspiracy to commit genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture. Recently, the Senate Intelligence Committee determined that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify an invasion of Iraq. Bush and his criminal cohorts murdered thousands of Iraqi people and U.S. servicemen and misappropriated public moneys through lies and deception.
The Bush administration gave sweetheart deals to its buddies like Halliburton and Blackwater and squandered billions of dollars. Blackwater does security, which the military could do at a fraction of the cost, and has engaged in excessive use of force against the Iraqi people. Blackwater is not answerable to anyone under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or any other law. These mercenaries are untouchables. The Bush administration sent our troops to war without proper equipment and has failed to adequately care for those injured in battle (e.g., poor health facilities at Army hospitals and troops having to pay for their own expenses while waiting for treatment).
The Bush administration spied on Americans with the help of major communications companies when they had legal means (FISA) to monitor suspicious telephone conversations. It disclosed the secret identity of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA agent. Bush used his legal resources to pervert the law of the land to create an imperial Presidency. He fired U.S. Attorneys who did not do his political prosecutions. He used extraordinary rendition to ship people to foreign countries to be tortured. He ignored an international treaty, Geneva Conventions, to invade a foreign country in violation of Article 51, United Nations Charter because he could not get the Security Council to authorize his invasion. He authorized torture. Alberto Gonzales, Yoo, Addington, and others were accomplices to this legal chicanery. These lawyers should be prosecuted as aiders and abettors. Bush and his coconspirators must be held accountable for their actions if we are a nation of laws.
THE PROSECUTION OF GEORGE W. BUSH
George W. Bush wanted to be a war President, and he liked playing Commander in Chief, so he must accept the responsibility. Relating to war crimes prosecutions is the concept of command responsibility. Command responsibility is also called the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard. It is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war crimes. The doctrine of command responsibility was established by the Hague Conventions IV (1907) and X (1907) and applied for the first time by the German Supreme Court in Leipzig after World War I, in the trial of Emil Muller.
The "Yamashita standard" is based upon the precedent set by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita who was prosecuted, in a still controversial trial, for atrocities committed by troops under his command in the Philippines. Yamashita was charged with "unlawfully disregarding and failing to discharge his duty as a commander to control the acts of members of his command by permitting them to commit war crimes." That is what Bush and his commanders did.
The "Medina standard" is based upon the prosecution of U.S. Army Captain Ernest Medina in connection with the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. Medina was the company commander of Lieutenant William Rusty Calley. The principle is that a commanding officer, being aware of a human rights violation or a war crime, will be held criminally liable when he does not take action. (Medina was, however, acquitted of all charges). Bush, his administration, and generals could be prosecuted under the doctrine of hierarchical accountability. Bush had command responsibility for the war crimes.
The prosecution of Bush, et al. could be before the International Criminal Court or courts convened in other countries. The law of war recognizes prosecution bythird-party countries under the principle of universal jurisdiction; therefore, a country other than the U.S. or Iraq could prosecute Bush for war crimes. Under theGeneva Conventions, signatory states have a duty to prosecute or extradite persons alleged to have committed violations of the law of war, regardless of whether the state was involved in the underlying conflict. The obligations between states under the law of war have become obligations to protect individuals.
The International Criminal Court gives the Court jurisdiction over the crime of genocide; crimes against humanity; war crimes; and the crime of aggression, which has yet to be defined. The massive bombardment (remember Shock and Awe?) of non-military targets and the indiscriminate killing of hundreds or thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens could be cited as war crimes or crimes against humanity or even genocide. The United States is not a State which is a Party subject to the jurisdiction of the Court, so can the ICC try a U.S. President or military commander for a war crime? I think they can when the international political climate is just right.
A special court can be convened to prosecute or some other coalition of nations can take action against the United States and Britain for actions in Operation Iraqi Freedom for violations of international law. Russia and China are not our friends, and we have alienated old Europe to such an extent that rogue political and military leaders, including those from the U.S., could be brought before other countries war crimes courts or the International Criminal Court. The international political climate may demand accountability by Bush and his accomplices.
Vincent Bugliosi, famed prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of #1 New York Times bestseller Helter Skelter, writes in his new book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, that Bush should be tried for murder in American courts. He writes that the best venue would be the federal court in the District of Columbia. He thinks the U.S. Attorney should be the prosecutor. I agree, but I understand politics. The Attorney General of the United States is appointed by the President. Now you see why I was talking about Obama and McCain earlier. Bugliosi believes that state prosecutors can try Bush for murder of the soldiers from each state. I dont think most state prosecutors in America have the intellectual acuity or courage to prosecute Bush. There is too much politics involved. I can just see some mediocre states attorney trying to make a name for himself, starting the case, screwing it up, and setting a bad precedent for others down the road. I do think Bush must be prosecuted, but very carefully.
Change demands accountability by Bush for his actions. If McCain wins, its more of the same. If Obama wins, for there to be true change, he and the Democrat Congress are going to have to do more than just redistribute wealth. They must not let these criminals go free.