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Bush To The Hague

Laura Rozen looks at the latest developments on the torture front and remarks that it "is not at all inconceivable that some day not too many years off Rumsfeld and Bush will face arrest if they travel abroad for command responsibility for war crimes, like Pinochet." Indeed, not only is it conceivable, I think in some ways it has to be regarded as expected at this point. I only hope the good judges of the rest of the democratic world recognize that it would be counterproductive to hand down indictments before this crew has left office, as such action would only inflame the embers of brain-dead nationalism that have done so much to get them re-elected.

The really interesting thing about the spate of stories we've seen over the past two weeks isn't so much that widespread torture was taking place (we knew that already) but that large swathes of the security and intelligence establishment issued various protests. It's testament both to the basic integrity of most of America's security professionals and to the utter moral depravity of the people in the Bush-Gonzalez-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Feith-Cambone chain that this happened. In a decent world, Al Gonzalez would face some rough questions about all this at his confirmation hearings, but I don't think we live in that world.

December 21, 2004 | Permalink


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Funny...the same thought occurred to me after that press conference today. Someday, when traveling aborad, Rumsfeld and most likely, Geroge Bush, will be arrested for war crimes. It seems oddly logical, at this point.

Posted by: Deborah White | Dec 21, 2004 1:18:22 AM

"...the embers of brain-dead nationalism..."

A sentence fragment for the ages...

Posted by: Green Dem | Dec 21, 2004 1:28:15 AM

What about indicting them here first?

"NEW YORK -- A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up.


The two-page e-mail that references an Executive Order states that the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc." The ACLU is urging the White House to confirm or deny the existence of such an order and immediately to release the order if it exists. The FBI e-mail, which was sent in May 2004 from "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" to a handful of senior FBI officials, notes that the FBI has prohibited its agents from employing the techniques that the President is said to have authorized."


Doesn't the federal torture statute apply to conspiracy to commit torture, as well as actual acts of torture?

Perhaps Mr. Bush will enjoy his twenty years in federal prison being anally raped by large muscular men.

Posted by: Robert | Dec 21, 2004 1:31:39 AM

I liked the moral equivalence between Bush and Pinochet. Typical leftist trash.

Posted by: Al | Dec 21, 2004 1:38:21 AM

"I liked the moral equivalence between Bush and Pinochet. Typical leftist trash."

You're right Al. Bush hasn't thrown anyone out of airplanes yet, just disappeared them into a worlwide CIA-run gulag archipelago, while (mostly innocent) Iraqis are suffocated, sodomized (wouldn't wanna be a teenage boy out past curfew in Baghdad these days), burned, mamed, humiliated, and slaughtered in US run prisons there.

Posted by: Allende's ghost | Dec 21, 2004 1:43:12 AM

I'd like to be anally raped by large muscular men too. Know any?

Posted by: Al | Dec 21, 2004 1:51:34 AM

Matt, indeed, when 'utter moral depravity' leads to 'tough questioning' we will all be in another world. Too bad that the need for an aggressive national security posture will make said questioning difficult for the Democrats.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Dec 21, 2004 2:34:45 AM

Al, go stick a fork up your ass.

Anyway Matt, it would never happen because no U.S. leadership would let it.

(To say the least.)

Posted by: Toadmonster | Dec 21, 2004 2:37:32 AM

It's been reported that Kissinger doesn't leave the country without getting some legal advice, as he fears that he might be arrested in some country and shipped off to Den Haag.

I'm sure that Shrub and Rummy wouldn't be picked up before they leave office. But who knows what might happen after he does?

Posted by: raj | Dec 21, 2004 2:40:22 AM

While I don't doubt that Bush and his crew have committed war crimes, and there are many countries that would like to try them for it, there is almost no chance of any of this crew ever being held accountable for this, ever, unless Americans do it themselves.

Unless something earth-shattering happens in the future, that "brain-dead nationalism" would push America very much in the direction of waging war with whatever country arrested a former US president or the like. That isn't going to happen.

And Al, you might want to go to the doctor -- you brain is steadily deteriorating.

Posted by: Timothy Klein | Dec 21, 2004 4:48:27 AM

Last thing I heard of the USPA (US service members protection act) is that if an American ends up in the slammer of Den Haag (or The Hague)
the US president is authorized by Congress to nuke that city. But strangely enough he isn't authorized to bribe the Dutch for the release.
That needed an explicit mention. Can't have that, paying the Dutch.

Strange people, those members of Congress.

Posted by: Duh | Dec 21, 2004 5:19:11 AM

Ahhh... strangulation, beatings, and placing lit cigarettes in prisoners' ears... and posing as FBI agents to avoid prosecution.


Our best and brightest!

Support our troops!

Posted by: aaa | Dec 21, 2004 5:37:24 AM

Duh, everyone knows why you don't pay the Dutch not to arrest your heads of state:

"Danegeld, by Rudyard Kipling

IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation,
To call upon a neighbour and to say:
"We invaded you last night - we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray,
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say:

"We never pay any one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost,
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!"

Hm, that does suggest a way to solve the budget deficit, doesn't it?

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Dec 21, 2004 7:02:44 AM

I imagine future Bush visits (post 2008) will be limited to nations beholden to the United States. Between his security detail and that provided by the host nation I can't see an officer of the World Court cuffing him easily. The diplomatic fallout from a host nation permitting or acquiescing to such an arrest would be severe.

Posted by: steve duncan | Dec 21, 2004 9:16:40 AM

No country, with the possible exception of Britain, is going to want any visits from Bush after 2008 anyway. It takes a couple of battalions now to guard his ass; nobody is going to want the hassle. If he's indicted as a war criminal it will just be made very clear to him to stay home, forever.

Posted by: Tim H. | Dec 21, 2004 9:40:28 AM

Um, Tim, we don't want visits from Bush. Our current Prime Minister does. Given that every other sentient being in the United Kingdom despises Bush, his chances of an invitation post'08 are small.

Posted by: Dan Hardie | Dec 21, 2004 9:44:50 AM

Brett, you do know the Danes and the Dutch are not the same, right?

"Al," if you are looking for muscular men for your stated purpose you might do worse than
Andrew "Power Glutes" Sullivan!

Posted by: argh | Dec 21, 2004 9:45:30 AM

There's no statute of limitations on nationalism. A Bush indictment 5 years from now will raise the same feelings then as now. (Unless we impeach and remove the lying SOB first). If they've got the evidence on Bush and Rumsfeld, indict them now.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis | Dec 21, 2004 9:53:53 AM

Sure, I'm aware of that. But paying the Dutch not to prosecute Bush would still be paying a Danegeld. And if anybody ought to get paid a danegeld, it should be US.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Dec 21, 2004 10:00:54 AM

"I liked the moral equivalence between Bush and Pinochet. Typical leftist trash."

"Posted by: Al | December 21, 2004 01:38 AM"

What's Al so hot about? I thought Pinochet was a hero to the American right.

Posted by: M. Friedman | Dec 21, 2004 10:01:55 AM

Does it really need pointing out, Al, that to say that "A is indictable for the same crime B was" is not to say that their crimes were similar in every respect, let alone that the perpetrators are "just like" each other?

Posted by: bza | Dec 21, 2004 10:02:06 AM

Does anyone honestly think that Bush will be going abroad after his term's up, anyway?- I mean, of course no one will want him except maybe some tinpot dictators, but he made just two or three overseas trips in his fifty-odd pre-POTUS years of life, even though he came from a rich family & his father was something of a globetrotter himself.

My guess is that he'll head back to Texas, although somewhere a bit larger than Crawford. We'll see what his currency value is in GOP fundraising after the next few years of incompetence & mayhem,

Posted by: latts | Dec 21, 2004 10:16:45 AM

I sincerely hope that someone (probably Peter Tatchell) tries to arrest Bush when he visits the UK next year. I sincerely hope that people try to arrest Bush in every European country he visits on his 'mending fences' tour. I want him sharing a cell with Saddam Hussein, with only a slop bucket for company.

Posted by: ahem | Dec 21, 2004 10:18:56 AM

The Sedition Act of July 14, 1798
(U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. 1, pp. 596-7)


An Act in addition to the act, entitled "An act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States. "

SEC. I Be it enacted . . ., That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty; and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot. unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and on conviction, before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term not less than six months nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court may be holden to find sureties for his good behaviour in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.

SEC. 2. That if any person shall write, print, utter. Or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them. or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.

SEC. 3. That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act, for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause, shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

SEC. 4. That this act shall continue to be in force until March 3, 1801, and no longer....

Posted by: Dan from Cos | Dec 21, 2004 10:22:01 AM

It isn't like he ever travelled before, not like this is going to slow him down much.

Hopefully, he has squared away the whole 'Sweden Versus Switzerland' thing, though, that would probably be a good thing.

Posted by: Chance the Gardener | Dec 21, 2004 10:31:50 AM

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