His invasion of Iraq caused the deaths of at least 100,000 (and almost certainly more) innocent Iraqis: vastly more than bin Laden could have dreamed of causing. It left millions of people internally and externally displaced for years. It destroyed a nation of 26 million people. It was without question an illegal war of aggression: what the lead prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials — as Ferencz just reminded us — called the “the central crime in this pattern of crimes, the kingpin which holds them all together.” And that’s to say nothing of the worldwide regime of torture, disappearances, and black sites created by the U.S during the Bush years.
Yet the very same country — and often the very same people — collectively insisting upon the imperative of punishing civilian deaths (in the bin Laden case) has banded together to shield George Bush from any accountability of any kind. Both political parties — and the current President — have invented entirely new Orwellian slogans of pure lawlessness to justify this protection (Look Forward, Not Backward): one that selectively operates to protect only high-level U.S. war criminals but not those who expose their crimes. Worse, many of Bush’s most egregious crimes — including the false pretenses that led to this unfathomably lethal aggressive war and the widespread abuse of prisoners that accompanied it — were well known to the country when it re-elected him in 2004.