In which we learn how to say 'war crimes' in Malaysian.
Last week, Richard Clarke, the man to whom nobody in the administration of C-Plus Augustus listened because what did he know, anyway?, had a chat with Amy Goodman in which he minced no words regarding his former employers.
"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. 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. 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."
And, something that most of us missed, there was a court on the other side of the world that agreed.
In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were... found guilty of war crimes. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia...At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.
At the very least, this court parceled out the blame for the torture program in a fair manner and all the way up the chain of command. The testimony of the victims was as horrible as you might expect:
The court heard how Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old engineer from Fallujah in Iraq had his fingernails removed by pliers; Ali Shalal was attached with bare electrical wires and electrocuted and hung from a wall; Moazzam Begg was beaten, hooded and put in solitary confinement, Jameelah was stripped and humiliated, and was used as a human shield whilst being transported by helicopter. The witnesses also detailed how they have residual injuries till today.
In related news, Ed Kilgore notes that Cheney continues to glory in his status as the most inexcusable American who ever lived. It's like giving Pol Pot a late-night TV gig.
At times, Mr. Cheney seems to relish his villainous public persona. Outside the rodeo arena, he took a moment to show off the latest feature on his truck, a Darth Vader trailer-hitch cover, a nod to his alter-ego from the Bush days. "I'm rather proud of that," he said, flashing his signature uneven grin. To paraphrase Rick Blaine, I don't object to a vampire, I object to a gutless one. I'll buy the stake if someone else buys the garlic.