Paul Savoy writes: Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, it is astonishing in a nation dedicated to the rule of law that every aspect of the war has been debated except the relevant law.
To be sure, a vast array of articles, books and films have documented how pre-war intelligence was “manipulated” or “misrepresented” or “twisted” or “cherry-picked” or “fixed around the policy,” and how the Bush Administration’s inadequate planning produced a “fiasco,” a “blunder,” and a “disaster” — terms used to convey the sinister nature and catastrophic effect of White House miscalculations without actually accusing anyone of anything so incriminating as a felony.
Two notable exceptions are former Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s book, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder,” which encountered a virtual boycott by the major news media when published in 2008, and “United States v. George W. Bush et al.,” by Elizabeth de la Vega, a former Assistant U.S Attorney who meticulously presents the case for criminal fraud under a little-known federal statute that does not require monetary loss by the victim as a condition for conviction. Both books rest their case on proof of deliberate deception by the President and members of his war cabinet — not an easy hurdle to overcome in a criminal trial, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Contrary to common belief, however, an American president can be found guilty of criminal conduct without proof of the corrupt state of mind of the deliberate liar or the malignant motives of Nazis on trial at Nuremberg. The criminal mind also encompasses the all-too-common consciousness of human beings acting carelessly in deciding to kill other human beings, however justified their conduct may seem in their own eyes.
On the tenth anniversary of the invasion, the only truly serious question about the war is whether President George W. Bush and those who participated in the decision to invade Iraq did anything illegal or unconstitutional or criminal.
To raise such a question about a war initiated by own’s own country is always “a vocation of agony,” as Martin Luther King, Jr. said of the war in Vietnam when he finally chose in 1967 to break his silence about the conflict. Whatever the reasons for avoiding the Iraq question, whether it is President Obama’s understandable fear of further polarizing a sorely divided nation, or out of respect for the 4,422 Americans who gave their lives fighting for what they believed was a just cause, or because the legal issues are too big or too difficult, we must finally say about Iraq what Dr. King said about Vietnam. “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.” [Continue reading…]