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The War Crimes of George W. Bush

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Message Larry Sakin
Benjamin Ferrencz is a man on a mission. The eighty-seven year old former Nuremberg prosecutor wants to see President George W. Bush in the same International Criminal Courts docket with Saddam Hussein on war crimes charges. "Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime" Ferrencz said. "The atrocities of the Iraq War-from Abu Ghraib to the massacre at Haditha were predictable at the start of the war."

Of course, Ferrencz won't ever see Bush standing before The Hague. The United States revoked its signature from the treaties creating the ICC in 2002 and has vowed military action against the Netherlands to free US personnel detained or imprisoned by the ICC. Ferrencz speaks for millions who believe justice cannot be gained for Iraq without the recognition of Bush's illegal actions there. Admittedly, there is a cynical satisfaction that comes with the thought of Saddam and Bush being tried equally for their heinous reigns of terror. However, that's cold comfort for the thousands of families of Iraqi civilians and American military killed in Bush's supposed drive for democracy in the Middle East.

And in these times of American agitprop Christian nationalism, Bush would become a living martyr, a new Jesus persecuted for spreading their twisted gospels at the point of a gun. All we'd see on TV news is Vice President Dick Cheney, Pat Robertson, and Donald Rumsfeld plotting the overthrow of Northwestern Europe.

Ferrencz believes that had the United States shown more interest in the ICC, Saddam would have been tried for his 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Bush wouldn't have needed to oust Saddam from power militarily or gut Iraq had he been wise enough to choose a legal solution that would have saved American and Iraqi lives. "Nothing justifies the mass killing of innocents" says Ferrencz, "and the process of justice through law, on which humankind depends, would be reinforced." So the only inference we can draw from Bush's choice is that he prefers to have blood on his hands.

The only difference between Bush and Saddam is Bush has more money, weapons, and a bigger armed force behind him. Those things may not insure victory for Bush, but they do give him a huge advantage in making the world capitulate to his wishes. When you're the only leader who can offer carrots or sticks, other leaders tend not to stand in your way.

Ferrencz understands that the actions of both leaders need to be curbed. "What I've learned after working for sixty years on this problem is that you've got to stop using warfare as a means of settling your disputes."

Some look at President Bush through rose-colored glasses, believing everything he's done in Iraq is justified and that Saddam is criminally insane. However, in a world that is clouded in a hazy gray, crusading tyrants look very much the same. One may carry a Koran in his inside suit pocket and another may mouth sermons from the Bible at Morning Prayer breakfasts. When either of them moves against innocents they align themselves with those Ferrencz prosecuted sixty years ago at Nuremberg. And they each deserve the same judgments that were meted out on that dark day.
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Larry Sakin is a former non-profit medical organization executive and music producer. His writing can be found on Mytown.ca, Blogcritics, OpEd News, The People's Voice, Craig's List and The Progressive magazine. He also advocates for literacy and (more...)
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