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Saturday, July 19, 2008

War Crimes: Abuses of power by the Bush Administration

“After years of disclosures by government investigations,” wrote US Army Major General Antonio Taguba, “media accounts and reports from human-rights organisations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes.”

“The American people, who are good and fair minded, have been so inured with the false ‘debate” of over whether torture is acceptable from the neoconservatives and echoed in the media that they are only beginning to awake to the damage. There is no debate. Torture is wrong and should be banned,” said Nance. “The main issue is not if the administration ordered war crimes; that will be found out in time.”

Unless it won’t. Seven years after September 11, the US is all but a rogue nation, guilty of much of the behaviour it professes to abhor in its enemies: torture, disappearances, sexual humiliation, endless wars of aggression. But the US – like all empires – has never been good about learning its uncomfortable lessons. Rather than look at how US policies in the Middle East gave bin Laden a pretext to inspire others to terrorism, Americans preferred to believe they were hated for being virtuous, for being just, for being free. As agonising as the US descent into national criminality has been, the awful truth may be that we can’t handle the truth. That usually comes – as the post-imperial experiences of Britain, France, Japan, Holland and Spain indicate – only after the empire falls.


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