Stop the 'War Crimes' Nonsense

Stuart Taylor, a respected liberal analyst at the National Journal, has called on his ideological soulmates to stop the witchhunts with regard to "war crimes" trials that many vindictive lefties wish to pursue once President Bush leaves office.

Taylor makes a sound case that you can't prosecute people whose actions were dictated by the 9/11 atrocity:

Some of the Pentagon-approved methods do appear to violate the 1949 Geneva Conventions' ban on "humiliating or degrading treatment." And as of 2002, the War Crimes Act of 1996 provided criminal penalties for violations of that Geneva provision.

But until the unprecedented June 2006 Hamdan decision, administration officials reasonably believed--as did a federal Appeals Court and four of the Supreme Court's nine justices--that the Geneva Conventions were not intended to protect stateless terrorists such as Al Qaeda. The president had so determined, based on a plausible (if debatable) Justice Department reading of the treaties' language and history. That determination was binding on all executive branch officials. In Hamdan, however, a bare majority of five justices held that Geneva did protect Al Qaeda.

It would be a grave injustice to prosecute any official who had relied before Hamdan on the executive branch interpretation of Geneva. And in the Military Commissions Act of October 2006, Congress effectively barred any such prosecutions.

Critics such as Levin claim that pressure for harsh interrogations originated from high-level political appointees including Haynes, rather than from Guantanamo. The evidence suggests some of both. But the important question is not which people took the lead in pushing coercive methods. It is whether they acted with criminal intent. The answer is no.

Evidently the #1 target for war crimes prosecution is a relatively low level (as compared to Bush, Cheney, and Rumsefeld) executive department employee, Pentagon General Counsel William J. (Jim) Haynes II. It begs the question; if Haynes is guilty, why not Bush et al? Taylor speculates that those pushing for war crimes trials want to appear to be rational in their targets.

In other words, they don't have the courage to go after people who they believe are the true war criminals. I would say that's par for the course when dealing with these pansies. It's what we've seen for the last 8 years. They accuse the president of horrific wrongdoing and then don't have the guts to take their case to Congress. If true, why not work like the devil to get the president impeached? The reason is simple; they talk a good game but when the showdown comes, they wilt like marigolds in the heat.

Taylor should be commended for adding some logic and reason to what could become a very ugly and contentious issue when the new president takes office.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky