From John S. Hatch:
Amidst the somewhat hysterical euphoria of the Obama win is the fact that he has some very sober decisions to make, and his choice of Chief of Staff (Rahm Emanuel has already had to apologise for remarks by his once-terrorist father) does not auger well. Why choose someone who has served in Israel’s brutal IDF and who is rabidly anti-Palestinian? Is this ‘Change’? Also disturbing is talk of retaining Secretary of Defense Robert Gates with all his Iran-Contra baggage. Or Madeleine Albright who insanely stated that the undisputed deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children (under the age of five) during the (ineffectual to Saddam) sanctions following Gulf War I were ‘worth it’. Or possibly appointing Paul Volker to head Treasury. Change? This sounds like Business As Usual.
But his biggest challenge will be in how he chooses to deal with the crimes of the previous Administration. Crimes such as kidnapping, illegal imprisonment, torture (including perhaps hundreds of torture deaths for which no one has been held to account), assassination, illegal invasions, the use of prohibited weapons such as white phosphorous, the wrongful deaths of up to 1.2 million Iraqi and Afghan civilians, illegal domestic spying, and probably a host of other things as yet undisclosed.
Will an Obama Administration seek to restore justice?
Or will it indulge in the familiar American proclivity to retreat into self-delusional denial? And please note that we’re not just talking about President Bush here, but a huge number of enablers from the top right down to the actual torturer or sniper or pilot dropping white phosphorous on living human beings, including children. It’s Ashcroft and Rice and Rumsfeld and all their minions. It’s John Yoo and a bunch of law-breaking lawyers. It’s generals and colonels and functionaries and aides. America sees fit to put Osama’s chauffeur on trial. So why not those who drove America along such a long low road? In Hitler’s Germany Adolph wasn’t the only sadistic maniac committing war crimes. This was recognized at the Nuremburg trials. Even if Bush and Cheney express contempt for Nuremburg (as well as Geneva conventions and habeas corpus), most civilized people and nations consider it as a template with which to judge human conduct in wartime.
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