Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Small, Almost Meaningless but Still Consequential Verdict

A "tribunal of conscience" in Malaysia has found George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and five other former Bush Administration officials guilty of war crimes.  
Victims of torture told a panel of five judges in Kuala Lumpur of their suffering at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Among the evidence, Briton Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee, said he was beaten, put in a hood and left in solitary confinement. Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi said she was stripped and humiliated in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.  Transcripts of the five-day trial will be sent to the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, the United Nations and the Security Council.
 Obama may not have wanted to look backward, but for the many who suffered at the hands of American policies during the past decade, what we like to think of as past is still all too real. 

Bravo to the tribunal for its efforts.  Lacking specific jurisdiction, the tribunal has no power to enforce or impose custodial sentence on the convicted eight but at least it reminds the world that what America claims are national security imperative are in fact war crimes.

Maybe we can't do anything to Bush, Cheney and their ilk but we can always refuse to condone their criminal behavior.

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