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"Bush Jr et al may be guilty of war crimes" -- senior editor of Foreign Affairs

More signs that the end is nigh for The Shrub and his Crew:

How many ways can you tell that Mr. Bush is politically dead meat? How about when the senior editor of Foreign Affairs, the ultra-prestigious quarterly journal of the ultra-establishmentarian Council on Foreign Relations, declares you a probable war criminal, and it gets featured as a New York Times Op-Ed?

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Published on Thursday, June 10, 2004 by the New York Times
An American in The Hague?
by Jonathan D. Tepperman

The Bush administration has yet to accept much responsibility for the torture at Abu Ghraib prison. True, the president has apologized for the abuse on Arab television, and several top military officials in Iraq including the general in charge of the prison and her boss have been quietly suspended or will soon be transferred. But so far, legal responsibility has fallen exclusively on the seven court-martialed soldiers who were directly involved. Administration officials have argued that they themselves are not liable, since the incidents were the work of a few bad actors.

This may or may not be true. Even if no smoking gun is ever found to directly link American officials to the crimes, however, they could still find themselves in serious jeopardy under international law. Under the doctrine of command responsibility, officials can be held accountable for war crimes committed by their subordinates even if they did not order them so long as they had control over the perpetrators, had reason to know about the crimes, and did not stop them or punish the criminals.

This doctrine is the product of an American initiative. Devised by Allied judges and prosecutors at the Nuremberg tribunals, it was a means to impute responsibility for wartime atrocities to Nazi leaders, who often communicated indirectly and avoided leaving a paper trail.

More recently, the principle has been fine-tuned by two other American creations: the international tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, which were established in the last decade by the United Nations Security Council at the United States' behest. These tribunals have held that political and military leaders can be found liable for war crimes committed by those under their "effective control" if they do nothing to prevent them.

If this is now the standard in international law which the United States and the United Nations are applying to rogue leaders like the former Yugoslavian president, Slobodan Milosevic what does it mean for Washington? The rulings of the Nuremberg and Hague tribunals don't directly bind the United States at home. But given that these institutions were created with the support and approval of the United States, their judgments will be difficult for American officials to disown.

American courts have already accepted the doctrine of command responsibility. In July 2002, for example, a federal court in Miami found two retired Salvadoran generals liable for torture even though neither man had committed or ordered the crimes in question. The jury held that they were nonetheless guilty, since as El Salvador's minister of defense and head of its national guard at the time of the torture, they knew (or should have known) about it and could have stopped it.

For their part, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other Pentagon officials recently told Congress that they didn't know and couldn't have known about a few instances of sexual abuse in Iraq. But this claim is contradicted by the officer formerly in charge of Abu Ghraib, who has said that her superiors were warned about the abuses months before they were exposed. And the Red Cross documented widespread abuses in Iraq last year and raised them with the White House in January.

Moreover, the abuses seem to have been more than isolated actions. Instead, they now appear to be part of an explicit policy of coercive interrogations conducted around the globe and supported by Justice Department and White House lawyers, who argued in 2002 and 2003 that the Geneva Conventions and other domestic and international bans on torture did not apply in these cases.

Of course, despite all the incriminating evidence, there is little possibility that any foreign or domestic judge will ever haul top members of the current administration into court. The question of guilt or innocence will most likely remain a political one.

Nonetheless, legal principles can affect politics. If voters begin to believe that George W. Bush or Donald Rumsfeld is legally responsible for the torture, it could affect the president's chances in November. Yet if American officials are not held legally accountable, the damage abroad could be even more severe. Part of the terrible legacy of Abu Ghraib may be that the United States will find it difficult to prosecute foreign war criminals if it refuses to accept for itself the legal standards it accuses them of breaking.

Jonathan D. Tepperman is senior editor at Foreign Affairs magazine.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


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Why is the CFR turning on Bush? 11.Jun.2004 02:02


Foreign Affairs magazine is a mouthpiece for the infamous Council on Foreign Relations.

The fact that the CFR is turning on Bush is a very ominious sign.

It means the American establishment is moving to dump the Bush Regime.

This is probably why the American media and establishment have been hyping the Abu Ghraib torture recently--despite the fact MANY INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS AND AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WERE RAISING THIS ISSUE IN 2003.

Why has the notoriously controlled American "free press" discovered this issue now during an election cycle?

I know that many liberals will welcome the end of the Bush Regime-as do I--but beware that American elites are dumping this regime in order to perform what Michel Chousoudovksy calls "Regime Rotation"--replacing one fascistic American regime with another fascistic American regime with a kinder, gentler mask.


Bush has a nickname 11.Jun.2004 03:47


In the secret, occultic "Order of Death" fraternity, Bush has as his Skull and Bones nickname temporary.

This whole sordid mess was planned. But make no mistake about it, the puppet Bush regime sure has moved forward the plan for world government and the end of Anmerican sovereignty.

End of "American" Soverignty. 11.Jun.2004 05:07


You are seriously deluded. The so-called world government or New World Order that you clowns love to rant about is a thinly disguised "euphemism" for global American Empire.

This will mean the END of sovereignty for EVERY OTHER NATION on this planet--except the USA which will be the citadel of the Empire.

You have heard of the Project for a New American Century, right?

Or you have read Bush's 2002 National Security Strategy which basically calls for the creation of a Pax Americana?

Clarification on American 11.Jun.2004 09:34


By loss of American sovereinty, I mean the appearance of our government pretending to serve under the limitations outlined in the constitution and operating under the RULE OF LAW in our judicial system. What has happened under the Patriot act and Homeland security does not further Americans and their bill of rights under "American Empire", Global Empire, NWO, or any other Transnational World Ruling Group name assigned it. Call it American if you want but it is still the global banksters running the show, less and less, behind the scenes and more and more in your face. Take a look at the G-8 summit and the lockdown to protect the drawing up of the UN military force. It only has the appearance of being the American people but on closer inspection, it is Americans that are the ones being imprisoned, along with the rest of the world's population.

well... 12.Jun.2004 10:16

this thing here

OF COURSE responsibility for the abuse at abu ghraib lies with the military superiors of the low ranking soldiers now under arrest.

OF COURSE responsibility for the abuse at abu ghraib lies with senior pentagon and bush admin. officials who intentionally sought ways to ignore international conventions on the treatment of prisoners, international conventions which the united states of america are party to.

so, OF COURSE both the military superiors involved, along with the senior pentagon and bush admin. officials should be held accountable and charged with war crimes.

that would, after all, only be the execution of justice.

but the system has been rigged for a long long time, and powerful men in powerful positions do nothing if not protect their asses from ever having to face justice for their evil intentions.

nurmeburg worked because the nazis were the nazis. not because the nazis were senior pentagon and bush admin. officials. corrupt, rigged leadership of the kind that has been exemplified time and time again since nov. 5, 2000 cannot turn the impartial force of justice against itself. and so, we are left with the complete and total tragedy of some low ranking soldiers being the only ones to ever account for the actions of their superiors.

RE Clarification on American 12.Jun.2004 18:00


Your rhetoric about how international "bankesters" control the USA (and the world) is the type of propaganda that Right Wing NWO types and other American nationalists always spew in order to divert attention and blame away from their American Empire.

You should ask all the people around the world who are being murdered, bombed, and tortured whether the Amercian Empire is real or not. It most definitely is.

As Niall Ferguson has said, America is an Empire in denial.

And, I would add, an Evil Empire in denial about its own Evil....