(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed) — One won’t find much mention of it in the corporate media, but in 2011 a Malaysian court found George W. Bush and Tony Blair guilty of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and genocide as a result of their roles in the Iraq war. According to the Telegraph, such a damning verdict meant their names were to be entered into a symbolic “Register of War Criminals.”
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Shortly after the Iraq war was launched, then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan publicly admitted the invasion was illegal and a complete breach of the U.N. Charter. In the days leading up to the invasion, France, Germany, and Russia made a joint declaration stating they would not allow passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing an invasion of Iraq. In other words, the Iraq war had no legal basis.
There are only two ways a country can launch a war against another. One is in self-defense. The other is with authorization from the U.N. Neither of these requirements were satisfied, and the result of this criminal act should shock us to the core.
At the end of May, the Washington D.C.-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from the American-led “War on Terror” could be as high as two million since the years following the 9/11 attacks — and that over one million of these deaths took place within Iraq. Even if one took into account those killed by enemy forces, PSR found that despite “all the inaccuracies…the answers still allowed for the conclusion that approximately one-third of all victims of violence had been directly killed by the occupation forces.” [emphasis added]
In its totality, the Bush administration did a lot more than simply rain bombs down on an innocent civilian population in contravention of international law. As early as May 2003, the U.S. made the single largest policy blunder of the decade by deciding to completely disband Iraq’s police and military, putting close to 400,000 servicemen out of jobs. As TIME has explained, the effects of this decision alone are still affecting the world to this day:
“It’s a jarring reminder of how a key decision made long ago is complicating U.S. efforts to fight ISIS and restore some semblance of stability to Iraq. Instead of giving Iraq a fresh start with a new army, it helped create a vacuum that ISIS has filled. Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine general and chief of U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000, said keeping the Iraqi army intact was always part of U.S. strategy. ‘The plan was that the army would be the foundation of rebuilding the Iraqi military,’ he says. ‘Many of the Sunnis who were chased out ended up on the other side and are probably ISIS fighters and leaders now.’ One expert estimates that more than 25 of ISIS’s top 40 leaders once served in the Iraqi military.”
In summary, the Bush administration invaded a sovereign nation without a legal basis, a decision that killed over one million people (one-third of that total was caused directly by American forces) and helped fuel the rise of ISIS and extremism in general.
It is mind-boggling that George W. Bush has not only been hailed as some sort of anti-Trump warrior recently but that countries who don’t engage in this sort of behavior (think North Korea, Iran, and Syria) are universally branded as unstable risks to global security. It’s as if Bush’s illegal wars are now forgotten about by the media because he has become vocal against Donald Trump.
According to AlterNet, Benjamin Ferencz, a former chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials who successfully convicted 22 Nazi officers for their role in killing more than one million people once said a “prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.”
Ferencz’s words directly referenced international legal doctrine. Specifically, it was the judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg that stated:
“[T]o initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Donald J. Trump may be one evil, twisted, and dangerous man. But if we want to send a message to him that there are limits to what one president can do, we should surely start with Bush and Obama before him, both of whom were found to have been guilty of some of the worst crimes imaginable.
As the Guardian explained:
“And he [Bush] caused far more harm to the country and planet than Trump has so far, and maybe ever will. It was under Bush that America invaded Iraq, murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians, and destabilized the Middle East so thoroughly that it may take the entire 21st century to recover.
“More than 4,000 American soldiers died. He stocked his cabinet with warmongering neoconservatives far more cunning and apocalyptic in outlook than any of the amateurs who populate Trump’s gang. These were men who dreamed of civilization-annihilating wars and found a president willing to transform their dreams into crackling reality.
“The blood on Bush’s hands will never dry. Under the guise of spreading democracy, his administration brought suffering to the world and strangled civil liberties at home.”