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The Obama Administration didn't only not prosecute Bush Administration war crimes, they squashed Spain's attempt to prosecute them and represented Rumsfeld in court against torture charges. The Obama Administration left the door wide open for us to be lied into war again.

"Look forward, not backward" doesn't apply to the rest of us. Ask Chelsea Manning. Does it mean that we should only arrest people if we can catch them before they commit a crime? Obama saying that nobody should be above the law in his "look forward" statement was at best complete and blatantly obvious hypocrisy. I believe it was an outright lie and he really does believe presidents are above the law. Why did Obama doom us to be lied into war again?

There are some more obvious possible explanations. I for one was surprised at the veracity of anti Obama derangement syndrome. Right away, conservatives cheered that we didn't get the Olympics. They or their kids might be stuck in low paying jobs, or not have jobs at all, but they still vote for politicians who block jobs bills. Imagine what the backlash would have been if Obama had prosecuted Bush Administration officials? Even if you can't imagine division being any worse than it is, it is understandable that Obama wouldn't try to make it worse. Presidents try to unite the country, especially soon after elections, which is when he made his "look forward" statement.

Fear of the power of the elite and the military industrial complex is another possibility. And Obama might not want to set a precedent that could someday end up being used against him. But I want to speculate on a more theoretical rational. Those in charge believe starting wars is in the realm of presidential responsibilities.They consider it to be part of the job description. At worst they see the war crimes as a bad decisions, but they were the types of decisions that Bush was responsible for making. Wars can gain territory or resources. Some people think that's justified. Maybe a war only keeps us armed for the next war that we really do need to fight. The Gulf of Tonkin false flag and Vietnam War escalation that followed it might have slowed the spread of communism. The domino theory was the conventional wisdom at the time. Maybe it would have come true if less had been done to fight the spread of communism.

But the best example I can think of is Pearl Harbor. Overwhelmingly, Americans didn't want to get in to WWII before Pearl Harbor was attacked. If we hadn't, we'd be speaking German now. Some people believe Roosevelt knew Japan would attack Pearl Harbor. I personally lean toward a belief that there was too much false information mixed in with the intelligence for him to know. But I'm nowhere near positive about that. If Roosevelt did let Japan attack, and maybe even egg them on, it was the historically correct decision. It got us into the war while there were still allies in the fight. If we hadn't helped gang up on the axis countries there wouldn't have been anybody else left when they came for us. Roosevelt might not have know it at the time, but Germany very likely would have developed the atomic bomb instead of us. A lot more people would have died and we would have been taken over by the Nazis. Roosevelt sacrificed a relatively few people to save the whole country. Roosevelt didn't know it would turn out to be the right decision. Just like Bush didn't know attacking Iraq (against international law) would turn out to be the wrong decision. At least I think that might be how people like Obama rationalize not prosecuting war crimes. Too them, it wasn't criminal. It was a bad decision.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Germ of a diary for me... (8+ / 0-)

    ... from a sociological standpoint, I've been observing WalkerChristie/"Gate"... I am of the sad opinion that America has changed morally and ethically, and neither does time... Pessimistic, to be assured, but I'm old enough to remember "Water"gate and the the decades long attempts to rehabilitate Nixon and Reagan... Cheney served under both and has pounded Imperial presidency doctrine home, and I'm of the opinion that the RW Wurlitzer has triumphed... IOKIYAR is not a joke... PLEASE!!! Somebody talk me out of it.... :(


    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 04:47:50 PM PDT

    •  I have a different, less popular take on this: (19+ / 0-)

      I was serving in the Navy overseas in the early 70s and had to field some very intense conversations with foreign nationals about the quality of American leadership. I confess to having to stammer and stutter in some of my responses to queries such as, "How can an American politician be discovered having masterminded criminal activity and still avoid prosecution according to the laws that are supposed to apply to every American? That was what I thought made America a special place in the world." How in hell could a 20-something kid in the U.S. military - with a good education and a background in the study of U.S. history, no less - answer a question like that without feeling like a chump?

      Gerald Ford set the modern precedent for using "the healing of the Nation" as an excuse for allowing criminal behavior at executive levels to be absolved of consequences. Nixon, in my opinion, should have been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and serve prison time for his role in developing the Watergate break-in and obstructing justice; anyone else other than the POTUS at that time would have felt the full fury of J. Edgar's wrath and be given an all-expense-paid accommodation in Leavenworth.

      This country did NOT need "healing"; it needed to be spanked, and spanked hard for sending a petty political hack with paranoid tendencies and a proclivity for duplicitous criminal behavior to the highest elected political office in the country. It needed to know and reaffirm that nobody - not even a sitting president - was above the Law.

      In pardoning Nixon, Ford sent a clear message to every politician, huckster, fixer, mob cretin and gangland thug that the only thing you need to beat a rap  - no matter how much evidence is working against you - is a good connection or a lot of wealthy "friends". And soon thereafter, the undisputed modern paragon of hucksterism - Ronald Reagan - got to spend 8 years setting the stage for the train wreck we now experience called 21st century America. Even sedition and corporate tax evasion is now legal... of course, they're now known by other terms such as "patriotism" and "preserving shareholder value".

    •  All governments are protectors. (11+ / 0-)

      Most are protection rackets.

      The US is run as a worldwide mafia.

      The citizens will continue to fund War Crimes and the looting of their treasury as long as no-one firebombs their own pizzerias.

      The wheel will turn, but I don't think America will ever be on top — morally, socially, with that "can do, one-for-all"  democratic idealism — again.

      We are tomorrow's Great Britain, sinking into our place in that sunset-red sea alongside the shoaled and rotted ships flying the banners of the Romans, the Ottomans, the Persians, the French, the Dutch, the Russians, the Brits, and all the rest ... .

      Vote rape. Vote torture. Vote War Crimes. Vote with the American top 1%.

      by Yellow Canary on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 06:09:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not to mention (4+ / 0-)

    if the executives of war were found guilty of war crimes,  wouldn't it also tarnish the glow of the armed forces who carried out the mission?

    That is a no-no driven by media-influenced public sentiment, which serves to insulate the executives of war from the harsh reality of prosecution.

    I'm comfortable with Obama in charge as our chief war executive. This is about as good as it will ever get.

    •  This is, imho, the gravest moral crime ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... committed by Bush and his puppeteers:  ordering others to commit war crimes.

      Vote rape. Vote torture. Vote War Crimes. Vote with the American top 1%.

      by Yellow Canary on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:26:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama (0+ / 0-)

      Obama has done a fantastic job with his commander in chief decisions, like bin Laden, Somali pirates, Syria, and Gaddafi. And you are probably right that it won't get better when it comes to things like punishing war crimes. Hillary won't. The corporate media might not allow someone who would do something like that to get elected. They told us Dennis Kucinich was an extremist kook, and they played Howard Dean's scream over and over. A Democrat probably has to be something of a moderate Republican to get elected.

  •  Two big problems. (6+ / 0-)

    1.  Crimes are not based on (mostly) decisions.  They are based on acts.  The invasion of a weak country that was not and could not be a threat to the United States (and that did not and could not be shown to have been involved in the successful Saudi attack on 9/11/2001{during the Bush administration}) was planned as, and sold so as to avoid charges of being, the war crime of Aggressive War, legally codified in the aftermath of the atrocities of WWII and called "the crime of all crimes".  The US is guilty of the crime of Aggressive War.  Whether waging Aggressive War was a "bad decision" is legally moot, and, imho, morally corrupt.

    2.  Counter-factual history may help us think about history, and in that may be useful, but it is, from top to bottom and side to side, bunk.  We cannot say what "might have happened".  Had Roosevelt not farted one night after dinner, Hitler might have chocked to death on a pretzel in 1943.  We don't know.  Particularly grotesque is this statement "If Roosevelt did let Japan attack, and maybe even egg them on, it was the historically correct decision."  Who knows?  Life is not a board game.

    What we do know is that in 1998 a well-funded group of powerful men (many of whom played key roles in launching the War of Aggression against Iraq) issued a statement that called for extreme intensification of US military control of foreign lands, and read, in part:

    "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor"
    We know that the invasion was opportunistic (Iraq had nothing to do with the Saudi attack.)  We know that the invasion was a War Crime.  We know that Bush ordered it, supported it, and benefitted from it.  And we know that Obama could have done something — even something small — but what he did was to, in literal effect, protect War Criminals from prosecution and hide War Crimes.

    I'm very much looking forward to Meteor Blades Sunday diary tomorrow.

    Vote rape. Vote torture. Vote War Crimes. Vote with the American top 1%.

    by Yellow Canary on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 05:50:00 PM PDT

  •  I don't know about the Nazis and the Bomb: (3+ / 0-)

    The top brass over there, including Hitler himself, considered nuclear science to be "Jewish Science", which is one of the reasons Einstein and others were over here in the first place. Albert Speer makes this quite clear in his memoir, and he should know: he was not just in the inner circle, but had been Minister of Armaments, among other positions. Interestingly, he was a convicted of war crimes and spent quite a stretch in prison after the war. I think he should have been hanged, personally.

    The only reason we declared war on Germany was because we pretty much had to they were Japan's ally, and it was a good excuse to get into the war to help our allies in Europe. I don't get the impression that Germany was interested (or capable) of invading us, though they did try to get the Mexicans to do it. They were going to be licked in the end one way or another, the same way Napoleon was and for essentially the same reasons.

    War crimes should be prosecuted, even if it's one of our countrymen or women who commit them.


    by commonmass on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 06:27:00 PM PDT

    •  Roosevely desperately wanted to enter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the war in Europe, and Pearl Harbor made it easier.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 06:48:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wasn't the Mexican incident... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueMississippi the time of the First World War? One of Kaiser Bill's brain farts, IIRC.

      This is the landscape that we understand, -
      And till the principle of things takes root,
      How shall examples move us from our calm?

      (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

      by sagesource on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 07:45:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think Obama knew part of the ODS that was (4+ / 0-)

    going on around him. And he also knew the media was in the right's pocket. With the history of Bush v Gore, if a Democratic administration started indicting Republicans--especially Bush and Cheney, it would be played out in the media as vindictiveness. No matter how airtight the cases or how clear the evidence of war crimes.

    That's how much Republicans have poisoned this country.

    And we don't give up our citizens to international tribunals for war crimes.

    Because we know what we have done.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 06:53:06 PM PDT

  •  I think Obama knew the country was in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Limpbaugh, Stripe, NM Ray

    trouble at the beginning of his Presidency and didn't want to have the country and himself mired in that bog when there was so much work to be done. I bet if he looks back on it now, knowing what he knows now, he thinks he made the right choice. I think he'd be wrong.

    The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. Mark Twain

    by BlueMississippi on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 09:32:10 PM PDT

    •  I wonder what he would have done, if. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He had known that Republican party leaders were plotting their conspiracy of obstruction even as he was planning his attempts to reach out in a spirit of reconciliation.

      If Money is Speech, Speech isn't Free! I wonder what it is about that that Antonin Scalia cannot understand?

      by NM Ray on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 08:17:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cheney/Bush didn't care; it's what they wanted (0+ / 0-)

    to do because they're evil monsters.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 06:03:01 AM PDT

  •  About FDR pre-Pearl-Harbor... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I did my Masters professional research paper on preparedness for climate change and in so doing I painted a picture of what the US did before and during WWII.  Quoting here from myself:

    The United States' armed forces had already experienced industrial mobilization in World War I but after the war, they set about executing plans to ensure preparedness for a future conflict, albeit haltingly at first.  Initially, the National Defense Act of 1920 made the Secretary of War responsible for wartime industrial mobilization planning and the War Department's procurement functions and an advisor to President Woodrow Wilson, Bernard Baruch, would subsequently recommend that mobilization be placed on a broader footing.  However, the US' post-WWI isolationism and the assumed unlikelihood of another similarly involved conflict kept any serious effort to centralize mobilization planning from occurring.  But starting in 1924 with the establishment of the Army Industrial College (considered to have been co-founded by Baruch), military officers began studying mobilization and over time, the curriculum developed there led to the development of mobilization plans that were gradually implemented throughout the 1930s.  These plans stipulated that the government may in fact reconfigure the nation's industry and economy and by 1939, the plans featured multiple tools for wartime economic control – preference lists, priorities for facilities and commodities, control of foreign trade, and even the establishment of government corporations, price controls, and seizures.  Mindful of his upcoming election and the isolationist sentiment, President Roosevelt did not want to initiate an overt war preparedness drive but he instead chose a more modest approach that focused on beefing up the strike capability of the Army Air Corps with a $575 million authorization.  After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Roosevelt declared a limited emergency that called for an increase of 227,000 troops for the regular Army and 235,000 for the National Guard.  As Germany's military conquests continued, Congress' appropriations to the army went from the aforementioned half-billion to over $8 billion in 1940 and $26 billion in 1941 (Schubert, n.d.)⁠; by the time Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (perhaps ironically made into an ideal target in part due to such largesse), Congress had spent more for the Army during this buildup than it had for the Army and Navy combined for all of World War I.  
  •  I don't understand this.. (0+ / 0-)

    Wouldn't war crimes be those committed against the more than a million dead Iraqi's and their families? And, wouldn't the U.S. government be responsible, rather than one administration? After all, the entire government knew what was going on. How would the US government provide compensation to the Iraqi's? Cede some land, like empires do when they start to fall?
    I am certain any type of investigation in this country would go nowhere. Top secret classified material, national security etc, etc., the government defending the government. Would make for great theater, but other than that..I guess I just don't get it.

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