By now, it is readily apparent that George W. Bush and puppetmaster Dick Cheney are criminals, but they seem pretty confident they will never be brought up on charges. In 2010, the former Vice President very clearly admitted to being a war criminal in an interview with ABC’s John Karl. “I was a big supporter of waterboarding,” Cheney said. “I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques…”
“I signed off on it; others did, as well, too,” Cheney said of the “enhanced interrogation technique,” which President Obama called “torture” and a “mistake” in 2009. The practice of waterboarding, which simulates drowning, is certainly torture, according to the International Red Cross.
“The definition of torture is any technique that causes severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, inflicted for a purpose, such as obtaining information or a confession, exerting pressure, intimidation or humiliation,” Anna Nelson, the International Red Cross spokeswoman in Washington, said in 2014. “Waterboarding fits into this category and therefore qualifies as torture” under U.S. and international law, she added.
Last year, former Bush administration counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, like Cheney, acknowledged that Bush and Cheney committed war crimes, though Clarke was much more explicit.
“I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have,” said Clarke, who handed in his resignation after the Iraq invasion began. “But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried.”
“So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration,” he continued. “It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes.”
Thomas Buergenthal, who served as a judge with the International Court of Justice for ten years, says that Cheney should — and eventually will — be brought before the International Criminal Court.
“Some of us have long thought that Cheney and a number of CIA agents who did what they did in those so-called black holes should appear before the ICC,” said Buergenthal, who is a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. He says that the United States could have “tried them ourselves,” but that we made a “great mistake” when we chose not to “instigate legal proceedings against some of these people.” However, he says that “it will happen” someday with regard to Cheney, though he dismisses Bush’s role as insignificant:
“(Bush was) an ignorant person who wanted to show his mother he could do things his father couldn’t.”
Both Bush and Cheney, as well as Donald Rumsfeld and legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo have been found guilty of war crimes “in what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world,” though it is doubtful it can or will be enforced. A five-panel judge tried and convicted the men in absentia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2012. All were found guilty — unanimously — of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
Watch Clarke raze the Bush administration, below:
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.