There is some debate in Canada on whether George W. Bush should be indicted for war crimes during his upcoming visit to the country. It would certainly be fitting for him to be prosecuted under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. This law was passed in 2000 and was modeled after the rules of the International Criminal Court.
Under this law, anyone who commits a war crime may be prosecuted by Canadian courts. The law covers any breach of the Geneva Convention, including torture, willfully depriving prisoners of war of their rights to a fair and regular trial, and attacking another country in the knowledge that such attacks will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians.
Hmmm…ring any bells? Abu Ghraib; the estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths since the March 2003 U.S. invasion; the redefining of POWs as “enemy combatants” and holding them in Guantanamo Bay with no trial, no charges and no access to lawyers or any family members. Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...
After World War II, the Allied tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo ruled that countries had no right to invade other countries; any national leader who staged such an invasion could be tried for waging an illegal war. The United Nations has outlawed all aggressive wars except those authorized by the U.N. Security Council.
As for the Bush administration’s attempt to redefine Afghan POWs as “enemy combatants” – similar reasoning was used by the Japanese during the 1946 tribunal. They reasoned that since they’d never signed the Geneva Convention, it didn’t apply to them. They were still convicted of mistreating Allied POWs.
But whether Bush should be indicted for war crimes is probably moot. Kind of like wondering if you “should” intervene when you see a strapping 350-pound muscle-bound man, with an Uzi strapped over his shoulder, tampering with your car. “Should” becomes more like “is this worth getting obliterated for?”
The most obvious solution would be for the U.S. to impeach Bush. Unfortunately, his harem (formerly known as Congress) shows no signs of doing this.
Last year, Belgium filed a war crimes suit against Bush. Boy George threw such a tantrum that Belgium not only withdrew the suit; they also changed their own war crimes law just to soothe the 800-pound gorilla.
So, the stalemate continues. However, if our allies, to whom we are heavily indebted, decided to call in these debts and thereby shatter the U.S. economy, who would be the tougher 800-pound gorilla? The world’s mightiest military machine vs. its creditors who could derail it? Would the U.S. still be able to invade other countries if the entire U.S. Treasury has been foreclosed by its creditors? Or, conversely, would the international financial offices in Europe and Japan be able to foreclose on the U.S. while American tanks are bearing down on them? Talk about gridlock!
Let’s hope there can be a civilized solution to The Bush Problem before the above scenario becomes likely.