Okay, I know that some people still love Bush Jr. and think that he can do no wrong.
I just want to know, if that’s so, why is he trying to set up a law that will retroactivly protect him from being charged with war crimes.
WASHINGTON – The Bush administration drafted amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policymakers from possible criminal charges for authorizing any humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees, according to lawyers who have seen the proposal.
The White House, without elaboration, said in a statement that the bill “will apply to any conduct by any U.S. personnel, whether committed before or after the law is enacted.”
Congress passed the War Crimes Act of 1996 with overwhelming bipartisan support. For the first time, U.S. courts were granted authority to convict any foreigner who commits a war crime against an American, or any American who commits a war crime at all. At the time, nobody could have predicted that a decade later a U.S. administration, with the explicit consent of the president and the attorney general, would be accused of systematic war crimes.
But that is precisely the accusation that President George Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales now face. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the Bush administration wrongly denied Geneva Convention protections to prisoners suspected of ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban, a policy that allowed for harsh and possibly illegal interrogation methods to be used against them. As a result, U.S. personnel, given their treatment of these prisoners, could become subject to prosecution under the law that Cronin, a former prisoner of war, lobbied to pass.
In fact, from the early days of the war on terror, the Bush administration was concerned about the War Crimes Act. Publicly released memos show that as far back as Jan. 25, 2002, Gonzales, then the White House counsel, worried that the president’s policies could trigger prosecution under the act. That led the White House to declare, over the objection of the State Department, that al-Qaida was not protected by the conventions. In the memo, Gonzales argued that the president could create “a solid defense against any future prosecution” by declaring that the Geneva Conventions did not apply.
But with the Supreme Court ruling, that defense no longer stands, leaving the administration in a legally vulnerable position.
From Daily Kos: (I recommend this link, lots of great info)
The fear is not that Bush team officials would be criminally prosecuted now under the War Crimes Act because that also requires a federal prosecutor to file charges against them. So, the Bush team must be fairly confidant that they have all their ducks in a row with federal prosecutors. The fear is prosecution by the next administration or by the appointment of a special prosecutor.
I’ve seen what Bush Jr. fears happen in South Korea. Chun DoWon was convicted of murder and corruption by his successor Roh TaeWoo, who in turn was convicted for corruption by HIS successor Kim YoungSam. It’s been ‘turtles all the way down’ ever since, with each following presidency prosecuting the previous for its crimes.
The GOP has to be worried. Bush is glaringly incompetent, which is probably not actionable. But being intentionally criminal is. Even if Bush can prove that he was merely incompetent, other GOP members are clearly NOT incompetent and knowingly participated in these war crimes.
The attempt to pass this legislation shows that there are a lot of sleepless nights throughout the GOP. I’m sure they will all sleep better when they are sure they can’t be prosecuted for their crimes.
And I’ve got to ask a question, so pardon my legal ignorance. If it’s legal to pass a law that retroactively makes something lawful, is it also legal to pass a law to make something retroactively unlawful? I sure hope not, because if it is true, then there is nothing that would prevent legislation that would turn past lawful acts into criminal ones. That could be quite a blow against political activists.