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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Why Not The International Criminal Court?

On the very same day Saddam Hussein was captured, General Wesley Clark was testifying in the Hague at the trial of Slobodan Milosovich, the former despot of the former Yugoslavia.

His timing couldn't be better. It underscores the difference between that war effort and this one:

1. Wesley Clark and Bill Clinton directed a multilateral war effort; our allies from Nato were supporting us. Bush and General Tommy Franks presided over a sham coalition featuring stalwart allies Eritrea and Honduras.

2. Wesley Clark and Bill Clinton directed a successful campaign that resulted in not one single American combat fatality. The selected president's neocon tunnel vision has claimed countless lives, including the lives of about 500 Americans and counting.

3. The War in Kosovo began in response to Serbian ethnic cleansing. This reaction to ethnic cleansing came immediately after these acts occurred; the Bush administration's indignation over Saddam's ethnic cleansing came twenty years after the Regan administration provided them with chemical weapons. We were given one convincing argument for war by Clark and Clinton; Bush gave us twenty disingenuous ruses to cover a grandiose vision of conquest.

War should be a last resort. In my opinion, both presidents fell short of that ideal. The actions of the Bush administration violate even the most basic principles of international law, and gain the emnity and suspicion of even our most steadfast allies.

How can we regain the support and respect of our allies?

By subjecting Saddam Hussein to the same judgement faced by Milosovic. It would proclaim a committment to multilateralism, would strengthen the rule of international law, and draw the international community in to the process of finding a way to move forward with the mess in Iraq.

If the Bush Administration were serious about bringing peace to Iraq, this would be the path to follow.

Of course, I legitimate trial would call into question the role of the U.S. in Iraq prior to 1991, and that would be unthinkable.

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