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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
The International Criminal Court is preparing to indict Moammar Gadhafi:
In asking for the arrest warrants, Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the evidence is clear: Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the attacks on unarmed civilians that have been taking place since the uprising began in mid-February.
“He committed crimes with the goal of preserving authority. He has absolute authority. He uses that authority to commit crimes,” said Ocampo.
Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo said Mr. Gadhafi ruled through fear, that his security forces opened fire onto demonstrators, used heavy artillery on funeral processions, and used snipers to shoot worshippers leaving mosques.
Gadhafi is without a doubt a war criminal, and should be treated as such. But the ICC will remain a mockery until it seeks to apply international law to citizens of all nationalities, and not just those of the developing world. I am referring here, of course, to the most obvious example of crimes against humanity in modern history: the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the extra-judicial assassination of Osama bin Laden.
The supreme crime against humanity, after all, is the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation. George W. Bush and company engaged in two such wars of aggression, and yet faced no consequences from the ICC. As Chomsky and others have pointed out, the war in Afghanistan was hardly justified, and undoubtedly could have been avoided if the Bush regime had been interested in doing so. The Taliban offered to extradite bin Laden to the United States if we merely provided sufficient evidence; the Bush administration refused. There were also numerous indications that the Taliban could have been toppled from within Afghanistan, by Afghani citizens, making a foreign intervention wholly unnecessary. But the Bushies chose instead to invade, a crime for which they still have not been punished.
The invasion of Iraq was even more unjustifiable, as nearly every American now understands. The Bush administration persistently – knowingly – lied to both the world and the American public, in order to stifle public dissent just enough to allow the invasion to take place. Untold hundreds of thousands of civilians have died as a result, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and millions children now live as orphans.
All the while, U.S. military forces, under instructions from the very top of the Bush administration, were conducting covert strikes in both Pakistan and Yemen, countries which had done nothing to the United States to warrant such secret – illegal – attacks.
The Obama administration is equally guilty of the same war crimes, as it has continued these wars of aggression, even grossly escalating the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan. We can now add to the mix the invasion of Libya, a country which, according to some reports, was attacked not for alleged human rights violations – as if we could condemn anyone for such violations – but because of a proposed change in currency.
George W. Bush and his cohorts are perhaps the worst war criminals since WWII; any cursory examination of their actions in office readily reveal as much. Barack Obama, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is also a war criminal, as his actions in Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and Pakistan have amply demonstrated.
The ICC as an institution is a noble idea, and the concept of an international code of justice is one that we should all embrace. But until the ICC rejects the offensively hypocritical it’s-0k-when-we-do-it mentality, it will remain little more than a laughingstock.