Should George W. Bush Be Arrested in Calgary, Alberta, To Be Tried For International Crimes?

The striking contrast between the treatment of al-Bashir and Bush serves to clarify the division of the world’s criminals and suspected criminals into two major categories, one inhabited by a small elite that is essentially above the law and the other populated by figures not rich or influential enough to gain exemptions from the law’s coercive force. It is not without a sense of irony that I arrive at this conclusion. On the one hand the ICC’s decision to press charges against al-Bashir, as well as to initiate in January of 2009 a full-fledged trial against Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, signals a major transformation in the career of the ICC. It indicates that the court is no longer a mere vehicle for the empty expression of lofty idealism but rather a site of real engagement aimed at subjugating the rule of murder, mayhem and intimidation to the higher authority of law. On the other hand by pointing its initial surge of juridical activism at the local criminality of individuals in those afflicted regions of Africa where resource cartels and their client regimes often dominate, the ICC has called attention to the West’s hypocrisy in shielding its own war lords and war profiteers in the military-industrial complex from any legal accountability for the violent acts its operatives, many of them in the so-called private sector, regularly plan, instigate, finance, arm, facilitate, commit and exploit. Indeed, the double standard promoted by the ICC in the choice of its targets for prosecution replicates in the international arena much of the duplicity of the criminal justice system in the United States. As starkly demonstrated by the scandalously high and inequitable proportion of Blacks warehoused in the failing superpower’s privatized jails, law-enforcement officials there obviously shower a disproportionately high amount of their energy on criminalizing poor African-Americans leaving those predominately fair-skinned inhabitants of suburbia and the more rarified enclaves of extreme wealth outside the orbit of their most concerted attention. Will the new global enforcers of international law limit themselves to prosecuting gang leaders in the continental ghetto of Africa while conveniently looking the other way when it comes to more comprehensive global networks of cartelized criminality headquartered in North America, Europe, Israel, and, increasingly, China, India and Russia as well. While Omar al-Bashir is far from a household name, George Bush is one of the most well known people in the world. Indeed, throughout the eight years of his disastrous presidency, Bush managed to make himself into one of the most reviled individuals on the planet. He is widely disliked for his policies as well as for the assorted war hawks, corporate privateers, lying propagandists, evangelical zealots, loan sharks, torture freaks, and psycho cops and generals who formed the ex-president’s inner circle. A significant component of global public opinion sees this discredited man as the embodiment of something far worse than terrible leadership. They see the forty-third US head of state as an abusive lawbreaker. Indeed, many rightfully see Bush as a pathological deviant who harboured the delusional fantasy that the power of his office gave him unlimited global power to authorize his national forces, proxy armies and mercenary operatives to commit the most grave onslaughts of mass murder, disappearances and torture on a genocidal scale. This widespread belief is informed by the large and growing body of legal scholarship using evidence already on the public sphere to make the case that George Bush and his underlings have violated many domestic and international laws, including the Geneva Conventions and UN instruments prohibiting torture. Philippe Sands, Francis Boyle and Osgood Hall Law School Professor Michael Mandel have been prominent among the international jurists who have developed the legal case that George Bush and his war cabinet have transgressed the law of nations on many, many counts. Indeed, the line up is long of jurists seeking to bring the ex-US president to justice. With his recent book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Vincent Bugliosi, the former prosecutor of Charles Manson, adds his voice to a crowded field. Given the depth and extent of the documentation already assembled to indict Bush and many of his top lieutenants for domestic and international crimes, the ex-president’s ability to cross international borders and address audiences in places like Calgary stands as an indicator of the juridical malaise of our law-enforcement agencies. Is the role of these agencies primarily to protect the property and prestige of the rich from the incursions of the marginalized and dispossessed? Isn’t law a mere fiction if it can’t restrain the exploitative application of violence to entrench privilege and intimidate dissent? Will officials of the Crown in Canada or public prosecutors in other countries rise to a higher standard in order to demonstrate their respect for the power of law as a force of equalization applying uniformly to president and pauper, native and settler, white and black? How can we transcend the mean and frequently racist codes contained in the rhetoric of law and order in order to rise to the high standards required by adherence to the rule of law? Will truth ever be given its day in court in trials calling not only Bush, but also Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condollezza Rice and others to account for their decisions and actions in supervising aggressive wars. As key strategists, lobbyists, and propagandists for the oil, armaments and mercenary industries, most of these figures helped to plan through the Project for the New American Century the our current privatized terror economy and the pseudo-justifications for so-called “preemptive wars.” It was PNAC that announced a year before 9/11 the need for “a new Pearl Harbor” in order to produce the necessary climate of public hysteria to achieve its sponsors’ objectives. The most ambitious of these was to create a pretext in order to seize control of oil resources in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.   read article


One response to “Should George W. Bush Be Arrested in Calgary, Alberta, To Be Tried For International Crimes?

  1. Make him first run a country-wide gauntlet of thrown shoes,
    next waterboard him and suspend him from ceiling chains with electrodes hooked up to his testicles
    then video him having sex with jeb bush and then his sister and distribute these videos throughout the Mideast so everyone can laugh like the American troops did with their trophy videos of torture. Even if we stop here he will fare much better than the victimis of continued torture in Iraq and Afghanistan
    finally drag thIs sad excuse for a man by donkey to the world court moved to Bagdad where he can be judged by a court comprised of both Sunni and Shi’ite.

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