Richard Clarke is a Washington insider. He was national coordinator for security and counterterrorism and thus chief counter-terrorism officer in the White House when George W. Bush was president. He was also selected by president Obama as part of the team to review the workings of the NSA in light of Snowden’s revelations. He now tells Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! that he thinks that some of the things that Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld did in office were war crimes.
Amy Goodman: “Do you think President Bush should be brought up on war crimes [charges], and Vice President Cheney and [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld, for the attack on Iraq?”
Richard Clarke:”I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have. But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration. It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes.”
Notice that he adds that he does not think that it might be ‘useful’ for Bush to be taken before the Hague. Why not? Because war crimes trials are only for war criminals who are not friends of the US? When it comes to American war criminals we are advised, in the words of our Nobel-prize winning, constitutional law professor president, to ‘look forward, not backward’.
But we have to be thankful for Clarke saying what should be obvious, that the US has committed war crimes. It is rare for insiders to speak so frankly.