Are we all war criminals?


I am amazed. Our government has tortured in our names, and the streets are empty, the campuses are calm. Our President wants only “torture-plus” investigated for possible prosecution. Arguably, not to investigate credible claims of torture is itself a war crime. But hardly a peep.

Oh, a few people — Bill Egnor on Firedoglake, Jonathan Turley on MSNBC, for example — have not given up. But interest in the issue waxes and wanes. When new reports come out, there is a flurry of posts on sites such as this one. But we hardly keep the pressure on full throttle.

I know there are other issues. I know that tens of thousands die needlessly every year because of a morally bankrupt health care system. I know hundreds of millions are imperiled by our head-in-the-sand approach to global warming. But when our government officials proudly proclaim we have committed war crimes, and the current administration refuses to investigate, something is fundamentally wrong. We have crossed a line that cannot be crossed. Civilization itself is imperiled. Maybe Hippocrates should have said, “First do no torture.”

I was there when President Obama came to my city to deliver a rousing address on health care. I have high hopes for him. It never occurred to me that I should have attempted to make a citizen’s arrest of the President for war crimes. Instead I stood up and dutifully applauded loudly when he mentioned “public option.”

Are we all war criminals?