Earlier this week, John Bolton—Trump’s national security adviser and basically the president of US foreign policy—told the Federalist Society he would see to punitive sanctions if the International Criminal Court at The Hague moves to charge American soldiers who “served” in Afghanistan with war crimes.
“If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly,” said Bolton. He said the US is ready to impose financial sanctions and go so far as to arrest members of the court.
“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system,” he said.
France 24 reported:
Bolton pointed to an ICC prosecutor’s request in November 2017 to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by the US military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan, especially over the abuse of detainees.
Neither Afghanistan nor any other government party to the ICC’s Rome Statute has requested an investigation, Bolton said.
The US has occupied Afghanistan and handpicked its government for the last seventeen years, so obviously it will not bite the hand of its master.
Ashraf Ghani, the current president, will follow orders to the letter. The alternative is to be strung up by the Taliban.
Ghani isn’t a peasant who came up through the ranks. He was educated at Johns Hopkins University, worked for the World Bank, and gave a TED talk a few years back. Ghani was considered as a candidate to replace Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations in 2006.
As the exceptional nation, the indispensable nation, the United States believes it is above the law and arrogantly violates it in broad daylight.
The US was a serial violator well before the Geneva Conventions. It committed war crimes during the Philippine-American war in 1898 (most notoriously, executing children).
During the Second World War the US attacked rescue vessels, executed prisoners, and soldiers routinely raped women. Of course, this pales in comparison to firebombing Tokyo and Dresden, and dropping atomic bombs on civilians.
In Korea, the US is responsible for the No Gun Ri Massacre and other atrocities. The country was bombed back to the Stone Age.
In Vietnam, the brutality of the US was exposed with the My Lai Massacre (many of the victims were mutilated and raped). Of course, this might be considered a small incident when compared to the organized destruction of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The US organized death squads under Operation Phoenix.
But this was a long time ago, and the memory of the American public is short. Primary example: the late John McCain, a US pilot who bombed civilian targets in North Vietnam, is considered a “hero.”
The “war on terror” consists of non-stop crimes against humanity. Neocons in the George W. Bush administration flaunted international norms all over the place.
In 2002, Bush issued a memorandum permitting the military to deny protections under the Geneva Conventions. The Supreme Court challenged the internment of detainees and military tribunals held at the Guantanamo Bay gulag. But not even the court can put a stop to such psychopathic behavior.
Legal proceedings were held in Germany. Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, George Tenet, and others were accused of torture and prisoner abuse.
This behavior was subsequently legalized by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which retroactively rewrote the War Crimes Act and abolished habeas corpus for detainees.
The Bush (actually the Reagan era) neocons had nothing but contempt for international law.
“When trying to disguise the emptiness of the ‘bomb them and just see’ approach, the neocons still like to appeal to the depth of the great 20th century German-Jewish emigre philosopher Leo Strauss,” writes Robert Howse. “In one attack on the supposed weakness of Obama’s foreign and security policy, Bill Kristol cited Strauss’s remark ‘the sorry spectacle of justice without a sword or of justice unable to use the sword.’”
The sword of justice—nukes (Hiroshima and Nagasaki), firebombing civilians (Tokyo and Dresden), killing one third of Korea’s population, slaughtering countless peasants in Vietnam, and the atrocities and illegality of the war on terror, the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, “special operations” in Africa and shipping jihadi maniacs and weapons into Syria, thus far resulting in over half a million dead.
John Bolton is undoubtedly well aware of these violations of international law, but can the same be said for the president-in-waiting, known for his ignorance of international affairs? And if he did understand, it wouldn’t matter. He has advocated “bombing the shit” out of small, recalcitrant nations, while knowing practically nothing about those nations.
Finally, as Russia has demonstrated, sanctions are not an effective form of punishment for defying the exceptional nation and its neoliberal globalist objectives. The only thing that works for the neocons is bombing and mass murder.
So, when will Bolton bomb The Hague?