BUGLIOSI IS GOING FOR THE BIG ONE
By Rosemarie Jackowski
Consider the following questions: “Who is responsible for the deaths of more than 4000 U.S. military and countless innocent Iraqis? Is every war crime worthy of indictment or should some be given a free pass? Should the accused face justice in an open court which will send a message to the world and, more importantly, to future U.S. administrations?”
In the upcoming election, voters will have the opportunity to change the course of history. Across the country, the office of state attorneys general will be more important during this election than at any time in the past. County prosecutors and district attorneys will also have a significant role to play. The time for war crimes trials has finally come. We can stop holding our collective breath. The second shoe is about to drop.
The Bush Indictment Project has begun. The difference between impeachment and indictment is like the difference between night and day. The call for impeachment looks like a Sunday School picnic by comparison. Impeachment has its flaws. It trivializes the war crimes. It is better than nothing, but not by much. Impeachment can result in removal from office. The criminal prosecution of George W. Bush could result in a life sentence or the death penalty.
The Bush Indictment Project is not perfect. One of the important criticisms is that it tends to place all of the responsibility for the war and the war crimes on the Executive Branch. That view exonerates the Congress. In fact, only the Congress has the power to declare and finance war. The complicity of the Congress is an important issue that should not be overlooked. The public has excused the congressional crimes, and has focused only on the Bush administration. Hopefully history will get it right and report that more Iraqi children were killed during the Clinton administration than under both Bush administrations and that always, the Congress has had constitutional authority to wage or prevent war. Most complicit of all are the voters who put the accused war criminals in office in the first place.
Another deficiency of the Indictment Project is that the deaths of the Iraqis might be overlooked and find no justice in a U.S. court. Some predict that only U.S. military deaths will be considered. What impression will that leave in the rest of the world? It has been estimated that possibly three million Iraqis have been killed by the U.S. since the bombing started in 1991. Those deaths should not wait for justice in an international court.
In spite of the obvious flaws, the Indictment Project is supported by many -- former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Vincent Bugliosi among others.
In his book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi makes a strong case for the prosecution of Bush. Speaking in Venice, California on June 25, 2008, Bugliosi says, “. . . I am not going to be satisfied until I see George W. Bush in an American court being tried for first-degree murder . . .” Bugliosi assures the audience that he has established jurisdiction in all fifty states.
In addition to laying out a convincing legal case, Bugliosi offered his services as a special prosecutor. That is important for two reasons. First, Bugliosi has an impressive record as a prosecutor. During his career, he prosecuted 106 felony jury trials, and lost only one of them. The second reason, is that voters across the country are concerned about diverting resources from the usual duties of the offices of the state attorneys general. With Bugliosi on board, the effect on other prosecutions would be minimized.
The ball is now in the voters’ court. No longer is it necessary to bow down to Congress and beg for action. Now the voters have the power. If the voters want justice for all who have died in the war their choice will be made clear at the polls. All voters must inform themselves on the position of the candidates for state attorney general and district attorney/prosecutor in their voting districts.
Imagine Nuremberg. Imagine hundreds of indictments all across the country. Approximately one thousand public officials have the legal authorization to bring forth an indictment -- fifty state attorneys general, and nine hundred-fifty county prosecutors. No criminal action can be brought by a private citizen. The citizen’s power to act is limited to the voting booth; therefore, the most important vote cast in the upcoming election will be for the candidate who is authorized to take legal action -- your state attorney general.
It is really very simple. Get the facts which are clearly laid out in The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. Find a candidate who supports your view. Pull the correct lever. Get the popcorn ready. The war crimes trials will be televised.
--Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont.