There ought to be some kind of American federal criminal statute for fabricating the reasons for war, as well as completely mismanaging the same war -- a war which has produced nearly 30,000 American casualties -- then brazenly resisting honorable and proven exit strategies while lying about the progress of the war when it's clear that the cause is lost. If there is, in fact, a federal law against these things, then why hasn't it been enforced?
If an American citizen is caught cheating on their taxes, they're fined and imprisoned; if an American citizen races up to a yellow light and it turns red just as they're passing under it, they're photographed without their permission and fined; if an American citizen talks about farting or nipples on the radio, they can be fined $325,000 by your federal government. Holy hell, it's a federal offense to make a copy of a DVD or CD, whether you plan to sell it or not!
But the last four years have proved that it's perfectly legal to go to war based on lies, fabricated evidence, propaganda, media manipulation; then to lie about its progress every step of the way; then to allow massive unregulated -- practically encouraged -- war profiteering at the taxpayer's expense; then to ignore the international rules of warfare by permitting torture; then to ignore rational solutions for redeployment; then to cut the budget for veterans; and the list of trespasses against morality, decency, the Constitution, and the American way of life goes on and on and on.
Sure, to the forgiving among us -- to those who see these un-American acts through the cynical eyes of politics-as-usual -- it can all be dismissed as basic incompetence and stupidity, neither of which are crimes in and of themselves. However, euphemizing the last four years in Iraq with those words only serves to belittle the extreme nature of the would-be crimes. Some people have become so jaded and exhausted from outrage-fatigue due to four years of Iraq and seven years of Bush that simply listing the broad-stroke issues surrounding the occupation bears little weight.
Yet they remain simply that: issues, and not crimes. Individually, as with the Scooter Libby trial, smaller crimes and misdemeanors vaguely connected to the war might rise to the surface but there isn't a blanket federal criminal charge for bungling warfare to the degree Iraq has been bungled. When President Bush leaves office less than two years from today, he'll return to his multi-million dollar estate in Crawford. He'll make millions more in speaking engagements in which he'll stubbornly repeat with that 45-degree-angled-smirk how history will prove him right on Iraq. He'll bask in his denial and repeat the same delusions about how history will vindicate his dismal presidency and he'll, for all intents and purposes, live happily ever after. The same goes for Vice President Cheney and all the rest of the suspects.
Hell, Richard Perle, one of the principal masterminds of the invasion, was on Meet the Press Sunday and was allowed to repeat the willfully ignorant phrase: redeployment is cut-and-run.
Perle had the balls and the comb-over to say this in the presence of a 30-year Navy veteran, Congressman Joe Sestak, who knows, like any historian or military expert, that redeployment is an ages-old proven military strategy. In a larger sense, Richard Perle was elevated once again to a national platform on which he could further discuss his inaccurate and incredible views on the failed war which he aided and abetted. Meanwhile, William Kristol continues to be paid as a political expert by Fox News. Every time I see these two, I can't help but to say, "They're still at large?"
If there can exist a civil authority which is charged with the duty of tapping our phones, reading our mail, tracking the content of our internet activity and then disappearing us based on "evidence" found in these illegal searches and seizures -- AND a large percentage of Americans support this -- then why can't their be an American legal penalty against war crimes? We have the will to endorse criminal penalties of all sorts including a crime against showing a partially obscured human nipple on television, but the political and social will to treat the extreme mismanagement of a war and the resulting loss of 28,000 American casualties isn't within our law enforcement priorities?
I'm not talking about electoral accountability here. Sometimes it works, as it did in 2006, but most of the time it fails (Nixon in 1972, Bush in 2004, for example). It seems to me as if an activity in which human beings can be killed on a large scale ought to bear criminal consequences if the process is handled ineptly.
At the very least, future egocentric schmendricks cut from the cloth of Richard Perle and Dick Cheney might be more inclined to actually take the time to consider the personal consequences of their actions (if not the larger global ones). That is unless they turn out to be wackaloons, maniacs or serial killers. (A serial killer, by the way, can be defined as someone who's committed a horrible crime in which a person dies for no rational justification other than pathological whimsy -- and who is willing to do it again.)
It's time for Congress to step up. If Senator Clinton, for example, wants to prove her quality then she ought to drop the ridiculous video game violence crusade and introduce a law making it illegal to engage in certain forms of real life violence.
So in addition to resolving this fiasco, Congress should be tasked with the duty of making this and similar wars illegal by passing a bill forming a wholly non-partisan branch of law enforcement responsible for arresting leaders who commit war crimes like the ones listed at the top of this article. We could call it the War Crimes Commission or WCC for short.
How about we start with a fine equal to the FCC fine for broadcast indecency? Every elected or politically appointed official found partly or mostly responsible for botching the war must pay $325,000 for each and every time they lied about the reasons for- or progress of the war. That might not seem like a lot to rich guys with rich guy pinkish-hued skin like Vice President Cheney, but it adds up, and, all idealism aside, it's a start. Plus, with the WCC in place, the Democrats in Congress aren't faced with the scary political notion of putting together impeachment proceedings (however effective and justified impeachment might be). For the really brutal offenders, I think a stay in the gen-pop at Guantanamo might be appropriate, no?
But it's been four years in Iraq and not a one of the wackaloons responsible for Iraq have faced the legal consequences of their actions, simply because for some insanely unjustifiable reason, their actions continue to remain perfectly legal, while you and I can be arrested -- maybe even disappeared for life -- for far less serious offenses.