Many argue that the statute of limitations on Bush and Cheney’s crimes of lying us into the Iraq war and torture have all run … so it is too late to prosecute them.
However, the United States War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal statute set forth at 18 U.S.C. § 2441, makes it a federal crime for any U.S. national, whether military or civilian, to violate the Geneva Convention by engaging in murder, torture, or inhuman treatment.
The statute applies not only to those who carry out the acts, but also to those who ORDER IT, know about it, or fail to take steps to stop it. The statute applies to everyone, no matter how high and mighty.
18 U.S.C. § 2441 has no statute of limitations, which means that a war crimes complaint can be filed at any time.
The penalty may be life imprisonment or — if a single prisoner dies due to torture — death. Given that there are numerous, documented cases of prisoners being tortured to death by U.S. soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that means that the death penalty would be appropriate for anyone found guilty of carrying out, ordering, or sanctioning such conduct.
The Military Commissions Act of 2006 limited the applicability of the War Crimes Act, but still made the following unlawful: torture, cruel or inhumane treatment, murder, mutilation or maiming, intentionally causing serious bodily harm, rape, sexual assault or abuse.
War Crimes By the Bush Administration
Here’s an overview of war crimes by the Bush administration:
- The use of depleted uranium, which can cause cancer and birth defects for decades (see this, this, this,this, this and this)
- The Pentagon sent one of the main US creators of the death squads in El Salvador into Iraq to set up paramilitary death squads and torture centers
We’ll go into more detail on torture below.
Yes, It Was Torture
Yes, Waterboarding IS Torture
- President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Malcolm Nance (an advisor on terrorism to the US departments of Homeland Security, Special Operations and Intelligence), Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples(the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency) and many other interrogation experts and high-level politicians say that waterboarding is torture
- The United States has always considered waterboarding to be a crime of torture, including when the Japanese did it in WWII (and see this)
- Everyone claiming waterboarding is not torture has changed their tune as soon as they were exposed to even a small dose of it themselves. See this, this and this
Not Just Waterboarding
- Major General Antonio Taguba: Photos Show Sodomy, Rape and Sexual Assault With Wire and Various Blunt Instruments
- “The Sexual Humiliation Of Iraqi Prisoners…Was Not An Invention Of Maverick Guards, But Part Of A SYSTEM Of Ill-Treatment And Degradation”
People Died While Being Tortured
The ACLU wrote in 2005:
The American Civil Liberties Union today made public an analysis of new and previously released autopsy and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated. The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions.
“There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths,”” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “”High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable.
The documents released today include 44 autopsies and death reports as well as a summary of autopsy reports of individuals apprehended in Iraq and Afghanistan. The documents show that detainees died during or after interrogations by Navy Seals, Military Intelligence and “”OGA”” (Other Governmental Agency) — a term, according to the ACLU, that is commonly used to refer to the CIA.
According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides. Eight of the homicides appear to have resulted from abusive techniques used on detainees, in some instances, by the CIA, Navy Seals and Military Intelligence personnel. The autopsy reports list deaths by “”strangulation,”” “”asphyxiation”” and “”blunt force injuries.”” An overwhelming majority of the so-called “”natural deaths”” were attributed to “”Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease.””
While newspapers have recently reported deaths of detainees in CIA custody, today’s documents show that the problem is pervasive, involving Navy Seals and Military Intelligence too.
Spiegel reported in 2009:
At least two men died during imprisonment. One of them, a 22-year-old taxi driver named Dilawar, was suspended by his hands from the ceiling for four days, during which US military personnel repeatedly beat his legs. Dilawar died on Dec. 10, 2002. In the autopsy report, a military doctor wrote that the tissue on his legs had basically been “pulpified.” As it happens, his interrogators had already known — and later testified — that there was no evidence against Dilawar …
And see this.
Should We Prosecute?
But should we prosecute? Yes:
- Expert: Prosecuting Those Who Created Torture Program Will Reduce Attacks Against the U.S. and Against American Troops
- United Nation’s Report Condemns The United States For Human Rights Violations, IncludingBlocking Prosecution Of Those Responsible For Torture
U.S. Officials Launched a Systematic Program of Torture Using Specialized Techniques Which Produce False Confessions … to Justify the Iraq War
Let’s dig in a little deeper on the question of torture …
Not only did Bush, Cheney and other top government officials lie about us into the Iraq war by making a false linkage between Iraq and 9/11, but they carried out a systematic program of torture in order to intentionally create false evidence of that allegation.
Indeed, the entire purpose behind the U.S. torture program was to obtain false confessions. And the torture techniques used were Communist techniques specifically designed to produce false confessions.