JUAN COLE: The US would be on firmer ground declaring Putin a War Criminal if George W. Bush had been Tried / Aditya Chakrabortty: Western values? They enthroned the monster who is shelling Ukrainians today

The bombing campaign targeting Baghdad, a civilian city of 6 million, constituted indiscriminate fire, which is a war crime. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a direct result of events kicked off by the US invasion. Millions were wounded. Four million lost their homes, with a million and a half exiled abroad... Brown University’s Costs of War Project estimated that all the Bush “War on Terror” campaigns over the past 20 years resulted in the deaths of at least 900,000 people from guns, bombs and other direct violence, and this does not count those who died from exposure on being chased into refugee camps.

NB: Yes sir, and the criminals include Tony Blair, not to mention those who have passed on, like Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, who laid waste to millions of lives in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Henry Kissinger is still alive, he had his finger in many atrocities, including the 1976 military coup in Argentina. And the ongoing 'western' alliance with the bloody Saudi monarchy deserves attention as well. Enough of your hypocrisy. DS

If George W. Bush had been Tried..

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – NPR reports that on Wednesday, President Biden called Russian dictator Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” for the first time. The report notes that this outburst is unusual for Biden, who prizes personal diplomacy and must know that such a charge would make it more difficult to negotiate with Putin down the road. When reporters pressed Biden on the matter, the president said, “I think he is a war criminal.”

The observation came, Moira Warburton reported for Reuters, as the US Senate passed a resolution declaring Putin a war criminal, which was introduced by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC). She writes that the resolution called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to open an investigation of Russian military officers’ conduct in the Ukraine invasion. Graham initially called for Putin’s assassination but now says he’d be pleased to see him on trial in the Hague.

Putin is certainly a war criminal. The International Military Tribunal after World War II, operating under the Nuremberg Charter, considered a war of aggression a war crime. Judge Robert Wright wrote, “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”......

The UN Security Council distinctly did not authorize Bush’s war. So I hope someday to see Putin tried in the Hague. It may be the only thing Lindsay Graham and I agree on. 

But I also hope to see George W. Bush there alongside him.


Aditya Chakrabortty: Western values? They enthroned the monster who is shelling Ukrainians today 

Western values. The free world. The liberal order. Over the three weeks since Putin declared war on ordinary Ukrainians, these phrases have been slung about more regularly, more loudly and more unthinkingly than at any time in almost two decades. Perhaps like me you thought such puffed-chest language and inane categorisation had been buried under the rubble of Iraq. Not any more. Now they slip out of the mouths of political leaders and slide into the columns of major newspapers and barely an eyebrow is raised...


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