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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bush's Crimes Against Humanity

The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty set up by the Canadian government in 2000, in which experts and career diplomats from around the world participated, sought to define the notion of "Crimes Against Humanity" with a greater specificity than its formulations had exhibited hitherto. The first of the two criteria the Commission proposed is the one that interests me here:
A. large-scale loss of life, actual or apprehended, with genocidal intent or not, which is the product either of deliberate state action, or state neglect or inability to act, or a failed state situation[.]

There is absolutely no question that the Bush Administration has failed catastrophically to respond to the Katrina disaster, and that it failed to respond to a situation that was very widely understood to threaten unprecedented catastrophe. It now appears that Bush himself was specifically present when the scope and contours of this threat were made clear quite early on, despite the fact that Bush subsequently denied that anyone could have known what everybody including he himself knew all too well -- namely, that Katrina palpably portended catastrophe. These failures were, of course, exacerbated by a longstanding neglect bordering on dismantlement of FEMA including an outrageous series of partisan and cronyist appointments of flabbergastingly unqualified individuals to FEMA's leadership. And all of this culminating (assuming that there is not yet worse to come) in a public relations campaign criminally diverting vital resources away from the already inadequate and disorganized rescue and support efforts to provide photogenic fictional backdrops of rescue personnel and helicopters for glamourous Presidential photo-ops while American citizens were still needlessly dying under his watch.

It is scarcely likely that our debased debauched Executive would lose much sleep upon discovering that a few diplomats and experts in Canada devoted to the notion of a realizable global polity ruled by law and universal rights would define "Crimes Against Humanity" in a way that would designate him as a perpetrator of this most evil category of human conduct. I say it is unlikely since as one of the 49 original signers of the United Nations Charter, the United States committed itself to the ideals and practices of the norms of international law, and we all know in what high regard he holds that commitment. Article 2(4) of that Charter, of course, specifically prohibits "the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state." Needless to say, the illegal planning, preparation, and initiation of the war on Iraq through a deliberate and well-documented manipulation of intelligence violates that Charter.

Come what may, it now seems likely that George W. Bush and his Administration will be seen by history from the perspective of the better, more humane, more cosmopolitan, more democratic, more fair, more legitimate days to come as guilty not only of War Crimes perpetrated around the world, but of Crimes Against Humanity perpetrated against its own citizens. May the day be not long delayed when these criminals are brought to justice.


yep, it's me.... said...

-- evilqueen asks --- DONATE to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort ---
--- or contact Red Cross at 1-800 HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669.)
--- Need more info? --

Nightfall said...

Come what may, it now seems likely that George W. Bush and his Administration will be seen by history from the perspective of the better, more humane, more cosmopolitan, more democratic, more fair, more legitimate days to come

This seems to imply that progress is something automatic, that it can be counted on to happen, that "better days lie ahead". When I was young I thought this too. Things would progress automatically in some sense. But in my 36 years I've seen mostly stagnation or regression and Bush and the atavistic forces he represents seem to give the lie to this notion of progress. It saddens me and fills me with rage.

Dale Carrico said...

I didn't mean to imply progress is automatic -- I am strongly skeptical of such notions of "progress," which seem to me usually conservative justifications for complacency and triumphalist justifications for the dispensable privileges of the powerful. I just meant to conjure up the perspective of a possible future worth living in, which many are struggling to make. It helpd keep my spirits up in times like these. About progress, though, I'd be interested to hear what you think of a more extended piece I wrote about progress, entitled Progress As a Natural Force Versus Progress as the Great Work. Thanks for your comments!

Nightfall said...

I see what you mean Dale. I think the Marxists call this idea of progress as a force of nature reification if I'm not mistaken. The market fundies do the same with the market. I think my generation has been complacent. We grew up thinking we would have cities on the Moon and a cure for cancer by now and it would all just happen. Instead we have cities under water and fascism growing like cancer. Guess this is what happens when you ignore the real world and just play Half-Life all day. My username hints at what I fear. You know Asimov's story I assume. Sometimes I just feel like I'm waiting for the villagers to burn down the observatory and begin another great hopeless cycle of destruction.