Thursday, June 19, 2008

Justice for War Criminals



Over the past seven years, I have argued against impeachment of the current president - argued against friends who were quite persuasive about the case for impeachment. I didn't disagree with their arguments, only their conclusion. To my thinking, the politically-motivated Clinton impeachment was a warning sign that must be respected. The Republicans had stretched the Constitution and used impeachment for a blatantly political purpose; it was important that we exercise restraint.

However, war crimes are another matter altogether. Scott Horton, who teaches law at Columbia University, has written on this subject at The New Republic. His piece, posted online today, is worth reading. Although he is not expecting the US to prosecute American political leaders for their role in torturing prisoners, he thinks it likely that such prosecutions will be pursued by other nations.

I believe this is necessary and just. If America will not enforce the laws of war against our own, then the rest of the world must stand up and shame us for our complacency, hypocrisy, and moral laxity.

Horton quotes retired Major General Antonio Taguba, he of the excellent and honest Abu Ghraib report, who wrote a forward to a report recently released by Physicians for Human Rights:

"There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes...

"The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account."
The next President should make sure that it is not left to Italy, France, Germany or the UK to take up this challenge of justice.

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posted at 9:31:00 PM by Neil

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