After World War II, an international coalition, headed by American Judges, convened at Tokyo Bay to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with war crimes and torture. Prominent among these was "water torture," or waterboarding, specifically, simulated drowning.
As a direct result a number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, executed by firing squad, or served lengthy prison sentences. Yes, Truthseekers, once upon a time the US deemed waterboarding a war crime punishable by death.
The obvious question is, what changed? And what's the point of this pretense of international law if the application is unequal or ignored?
These are some of the questions that have revived the issue of unresolved war crimes as pressure mounts on the UK's Foreign Office to release phone records of calls between President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair in the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq. The Guardian of the UK reports it this way:
"Extracts of a phone conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush a few days before the invasion of Iraq must be disclosed, a tribunal has ruled. The Foreign Office lost an appeal against an order by the information commissioner, Christopher Graham, to disclose records of the conversation between the two leaders on 12 March 2003. Graham's order was made in response to a freedom of information request by Stephen Plowden, a private individual who demanded disclosure of the entire record of the conversation.
"'Accountability for the decision to take military action against another country is paramount,' Graham had said in his original order. Upholding that ruling on Monday, Judge John Angel, president of the information tribunal, said Foreign Office witnesses had downplayed the importance of a decision to go to war, a view the tribunal found 'difficult to accept.'
"Parts of the phone call between Blair and Bush recording what the former British prime minister said must be disclosed. The two men are believed to have discussed UN resolutions on Iraq and a television interview given by Jacques Chirac, then French president, on 10 March 2003."
What difference does it make today, right? The illegal action was taken, the bombs flew and the bodies exploded, thousands of "coalition" troops were maimed or killed and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis were maimed, tortured, and killed. It's done. There will be no inquiry or investigation. Time to move on.
There's the nasty little problem of accountability. And equal protection under the law and equal application of the law. It's American hegemony disguised as exceptionalism. Patriotism and trump-up terror threats to justify illegal actions done in our name. We execute Japanese soldiers for tortures we now freely use against others.
As Nixon once said about his Watergate scandal, if the President commits a crime it's not illegal. Fits nicely with the Bush "strike them before they strike us back" Doctrine of "preemptive" war. Indefinite detention of so-called "enemy combatants," the torture and murder of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, and who knows where else is perfectly fine if the Bush Crime Family ordered it.
How does the US maintain any credibility in the world after the last decade's demonstration of such gross hypocrisy?