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Little War Criminals Get Punished, Big Ones Don’t

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by Paul Craig Roberts
July 17, 2008

National Public Radio has been spending much news time on Darfur in Western
Sudan where a great deal of human suffering and death are occurring. The military
conflict has been brought on in part by climate change, according to UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon. Drought is forcing nomads in search of water into areas
occupied by other claimants. No doubt the conflict is tribal and racial as well.
The entire catastrophe is overseen by a government with few resources other
than bullets.

Now an International Criminal Court prosecutor wants to bring charges against
Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war

I have no sympathy for people who make others suffer. Nevertheless, I wonder
at the International Criminal Court’s pick from the assortment of war
criminals? Why al-Bashir?

Is it because Sudan is a powerless state, and the International Criminal Court
hasn’t the courage to name George W. Bush and Tony Blair as war criminals?

Bush and Blair’s crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan dwarf,
at least in the number of deaths and displaced persons, the terrible situation
in Darfur. The highest estimate of Darfur casualties is 400,000, one-third the
number of Iraqis who have died as a result of Bush’s invasion. Moreover,
the conflict in the Sudan is an internal one, whereas Bush illegally invaded
two foreign countries, war crimes under the Nuremberg Standard. Bush’s
war crimes were enabled by the political leaders of the UK, Spain, Canada, and
Australia. The leaders of every member of the “coalition of the willing
to commit war crimes” are candidates for the dock.

But of course the Great Moral West does not commit war crimes. War crimes are
charges fobbed off on people demonized by the Western media, such as the Serbian
Milosevic and the Sudanese al-Bashir.

Every week the Israeli government evicts Palestinians from their homes, steals
their land, and kills Palestinian women and children. These crimes against humanity
have been going on for decades. Except for a few Israeli human rights organizations,
no one complains about it. Palestinians are defined as “terrorists,”
and “terrorists” can be treated inhumanely without complaint.

Iraqis and Afghans suffer the same fate. Iraqis who resist US occupation of
their country are “terrorists.” Taliban is a demonized name. Every
Afghan killed — even those attending wedding parties — is claimed
to be Taliban by the US military. Iraqis and Afghans can be murdered at will
by American and NATO troops without anyone raising human rights issues.

The International Criminal Court is a bureaucracy. It has a budget, and it
needs to do something to justify its budget. Lacking teeth and courage, it goes
after the petty war criminals and leaves the big ones alone.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m for holding all governments accountable
for their criminal actions. It is the hypocrisy to which I object. The West
gives itself and Israel a pass while damning everyone else. Even human rights
groups fall into the trap. Rights activists don’t see the buffoonery in
their complaint that President Bush, who has violated more human rights than
any person alive, is letting China off the hook for human rights abuses by attending
the Olympics hosted by China.

President Bush claims that the enormous destruction and death he has brought
to Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary in order for Americans to be safe. If
we are accepting excuses this feeble, Milosevic passed muster with his excuse
that as the head of state he was obliged to try to preserve the state’s
territorial integrity. Is al-Bashir supposed to accept secession in the Sudan,
something that Lincoln would not accept from the Confederacy? How long would
al-Bashir last if he partitioned Sudan?

Last October the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had a photo on its front page
above the fold of an elderly man with mikes shoved in his face. Paul Henss,
85 years old, is being deported from the US, where he has lived for 53 years,
because Eli Rosenbaum, director of the US State Department’s Nazi-hunting
bureaucracy, declared him a war criminal for training guard dogs used at German
concentration camps. Henss was 22 years old when World War II ended.

A kid who trained guard dogs is being deported as a war criminal, but the head
of state who launched two wars of naked aggression, resulting in the deaths
of more than 1.2 million people, and who has the entire world on edge awaiting
his third war of aggression, this time against Iran, is received respectfully
by foreign governments. Corporations and trade associations will pay him $100,000
per speech when he leaves office. He will make millions of dollars more from
memoirs written by a ghostwriter.

Does no one see the paradox of deporting Henss while leaving the war criminal
in the White House?


Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail] a former Assistant Secretary of the
US Treasury and former associate editor of the
Wall Street Journal,
has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A
new edition of his book,
The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored
with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection
of law, has just been released by Random House.

Copyright © 2008 Creators Syndicate

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