President George W. Bush has embarked on his "Farewell Tour" of European capitals. He will meet with heads of state and other national leaders. He will be received cordially and diplomatically and treated like a powerful foreign dignitary. But this European trip better be Bush's last trip across the Atlantic because if he travels there as a civilian after January 20, 2009 he stands a good chance of being detained and charged with war crimes. (Remember Augusto Pinochet?) All that is needed is one gutsy judge or magistrate from any of the nations that have signed on to the long-standing prohibitions against war crimes.
There exists no statute of limitations on war crimes; if there were then Klaus Barbie ("The Butcher of Lyon") and other aged Nazis would have been left alone to retire in peace. There are no international boundaries or sanctuaries for war criminals; again, if there existed such "war-crime-free-zones" then Klaus Barbie and others like him could have easily sought asylum in any number of nations governed by sympathetic dictatorships. And a war criminal does not have the power to "pardon" himself or others under his command; if he had such power then every tyrant and genocidal monster in the world would simply issue pardons to himself and all his co-conspirators on the way out of power, (the Nuremberg Trials never would have gotten off the ground).
Representative Dennis Kucinich's 35-count impeachment resolution that is currently being read into the Congressional Record is the most thorough chronicling of the many crimes (and war crimes) of the most venal, mendacious, and corrupt president in American history. It is an important document because it establishes for the record the litany of abuses of power and high crimes and misdemeanors of George W. Bush's nearly eight years of misrule. It is an official Congressional statement of fact that will come in handy in the future.
We all know the Democrats who control the Congress do not have the courage to pursue articles of impeachment against Bush. They long ago made a cynical political calculation that to do so would only bring the opprobrium of the Right and its allies and make the pivotal elections in 2008 more difficult for Democrats. That is their judgment call. But it is the wrong call because the republic cannot bear for long a succession of imperial presidents who build on the Bush record to upset the balance of Constitutional powers permanently. We may be looking back at the Congressional acquiescence in Bush's crimes as a step toward fascism in this country.
Dennis Kucinich has done the country an enormous service with this attempt to keep the record straight about this horrible "Decider." I can appreciate the Democrats' political hesitation, but I don't agree with it. The key question is this: If George W. Bush does not deserve to be impeached then what does a president have to do to be impeached?
Let's hope that sometime in the distant future that Bush lets his guard down and decides to take a vacation in England where he can be collared just like Pinochet.