Friday, October 14, 2011

Wanted: George W. Bush

Amnesty International has called on the Canadian government either to arrest former US President George W. Bush or to extradite him when he enters the country next week for his role in the torture of prisoners. From 2002-2009, the CIA tortured and humiliated prisoners whom were being held by the CIA.
"Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former President Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture," Susan Lee, Americas Director at Amnesty International said in a statement. "A failure by Canada to take action during his visit would violate the U.N. Convention against Torture and demonstrate contempt for fundamental human rights."
Mr. Bush later admitted to authorizing the use of waterboarding to coerce prisoners to cooperate with the CIA.  According to the CIA's own investigation, Zayn al Abidin Muhammed Husayn and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were subjected to waterboarding some 266 times between them in 2002-2003.

Amnesty also points out, in a 1,000 page memorandum, that Mr. Bush presided over the torture of detainees held in military custody in Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Bush cancelled a trip earlier this year to Switzerland when other human rights groups called for his arrest.

I wouldn't expect Canadian authorities to do anything. Why would they want to upset the apple cart and piss off their big brother to the south? Besides, the only time a former head of state ever has to answer for his role in crimes against humanity is if he was on the losing side.

“I cannot comment on individual cases… that said, Amnesty International cherry picks cases to publicize based on ideology. This kind of stunt helps explain why so many respected human rights advocates have abandoned Amnesty International.”  -- Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney
Of course it's up for debate whether the US is on the winning side of the mess in the Middle East as the occupation is now ten years old. And what does the government have to show for it? Saddam Hussein is dead - not that Mr. Hussein had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks or al-Qaeda - and now chaos reigns in Iraq where US troops are stuck in a quagmire of political instability. Osama bin-Laden is dead - but TSA is still scoping and groping to its heart's content. Afghanistan is the Asian equivalent of Dodge City and the US shows no sign of figuring out how to get out anytime soon. Syria and Yemen are tinderboxes with governments only holding on because they have shown no problems with turning the army's weapons on their own citizens.

It's so easy to make decisions affecting the lives of others when you don't have to worry about putting your own neck on the line. How's that for personal responsibility, Mr. Bush?

See also:

"Human rights groups ask Canada to arrest President George W. Bush," NPR's The Two Way (Oct. 13, 2011)

"Amnesty International seeks George W. Bush's arrest," Politico (Oct. 13, 2011)

"Bush's Swiss visit off after complaints on torture," Reuters (Feb. 5, 2011)

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