Calling George Bush to account

Some time ago at Dublin City Council, my motion referring George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Condaleesa Rice to the International Court of Justice on the basis of crimes at Guantanamo Bay, the detention centre at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad committed by US forces and approved by his regime was passed without opposition. Bush approved international kidnap and we in Ireland never inspected suspected planes using Shannon Airport. Pragmatic as usual – we have moved a long way from de Valera’s independence. I will rekindle this motion and ask what did the City Manager refer this motion to the Hague.

Today, A letter from the retired surgeon John Robb is published in the Irish Times. I agree entirely with all his sentiments. My motion was passed when the Bush Regime was still in office. Nothing will happen despite his admissions and the comments of President Obama condemning the use of torture by the US. To the victor the spoils. It has ever been thus. In 1942, Churchill and the British cabinet ordered Bomber Command and Bomber Harris to area bomb German cities in World War 2. Hamburg and Leipsig suffered thousands of civilian casualties as a result of a purposeful firestorm. Was this legal?????

Irish Times from John Robb
• Madam, – George W Bush should be tried before an international court of justice. We don’t know what he thought about internment without trial in Ireland, yet we do know that many of his fellow countrymen rightly objected very strongly to it. What will they have to say about his recent pride in attempting to justify support for heinous acts of torture on kidnapped citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan (World News, November 10th)?
Yes, years after the reaction to our internment without trial, citizens from Iraq and Afghanistan were being kidnapped, perhaps blindfolded, transported by air across the world to find themselves disorientated and deposited in the Guantánamo prison in Cuba. There, many of them were subjected to all manner of vile and degrading treatment. According to the former US president, he was assured that “waterboarding” was “not illegal”. Who gave him such advice? As a means of attempting to elicit information, lack of awareness and blind ignorance may be added to his indictment.
Far from obtaining valuable information to keep us all secure, it is much more likely that the terrified persons subjected to such horrendous experience would have been so confused that they might well, in a state of intense panic, have given utterly false and bizarre information in the hope of receiving some respite.
The distinguished Irish Timesjournalist, Lara Marlowe mentions that this torture was used 183 times on one victim. Either his answers were judged unsatisfactory or the sadists were enjoying the experience. Mr Bush suggests that this form of barbaric treatment is keeping us secure. It is not! We in Ireland know only too well the lethal and destructive consequences of long-living folk consciousness. Mr Bush’s action and attitudes will bring ignominy, insecurity and bitter prejudice to bear on our future generations.
The former president of the United States has used the removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq to justify retrospectively his invasion of that sorry and fragmented state, sadly with the former British prime minister in tow. Does he really believe that the killing and disabling of all those young US and UK service personnel can be retrospectively justified by the capturing and execution of a tyrant along with a few of his henchmen? There is little hope for humankind if the deaths, bereavement and disablement of those trapped in the Twin Towers had to be multiplied so many-fold in order to “achieve justice” for them and their families.
Finally, if all the invading forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq and the finance which is being used up by two armies fighting an apparently unwinnable war against tribesmen and that money diverted singlemindedly to intelligence and security at home, would we not have a much better chance of peace and security in the long term? Or are more and more people to be killed to satisfy some misguided belief in “victory”? – Yours, etc,
JOHN ROBB,
Hopefield Avenue,
Portrush,
Co Antrim.

— “The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example.” President Bush on UN Torture Victims Recognition Day 26 June 2003
— “Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law … Many have been detained, arrested, thrown in prison and subjected to torture by regimes that fail to understand that their habits of control will not serve them well in the long term.” Statement by President Bush released by the White House on June 26, 2005
— “We do not torture.” President Bush to reporters during a visit to Panama in November 2005
— “The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror — the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives.” President Bush on his veto of a bill that would have outlawed waterboarding in March 2008
— “I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved … I told the country we did that. And I also told them it was legal. We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it.” President Bush in an interview with ABC about interrogation tactics used on detainees in April 2008