Blogs > HNN > George and Bashar: Not Exactly Two Chips off the Old Block

Oct 28, 2005 11:17 am

George and Bashar: Not Exactly Two Chips off the Old Block

After a detailed report by the German Prosecutor Detlev Mehlis to the UN that seems clearly to implicate the highest levels of the Syrian government in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, pressure is growing from the US, UK and France that Syria turn over anyone implicated in the report to international justice to stand trial for the crime.

This is an important precedent, and certainly no one, not even the President of a country--in this case President Bashar al-Assad of Syria--should be above the law. If he or his underlings planned and executed the Hariri killing, which claimed 22 lives in a huge blast last February, they should all be tried and convicted of this horrific act of terrorism.

But as someone who's just returned from Beirut, and who also saw many similar bombings in Baghdad, the following thing crossed my mind as I watched the political jockeying unfold over how to use the Mehlis report to pressure Syria:

- The US, UK and France pushed the UN to appoint an investigative commission into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

- We are now pushing for a Security Council Resolution and demanding anyone clearly implicated in the crime be turned over to face trial.

- By the same logic, wouldn't it be fair of the international community, whether initiated by Iraq itself or, as has been the case with the US, UK and France--who are technically uninterested and uninjured parties in the assassination of Hariri--via one or more countries, to demand that the UN appoint a similar commission to investigate who exactly is responsible for what the Secretary General himself called an"illegal war": the US/UK invasion and occupation of Iraq.

- Shouldn't the world body demand that any member of the US government, up to and including the President, who is found to be responsible for the war and the over 100,000 Iraqi deaths (that's roughly 5,000 the number of people who died in the Hariri assassination) and 2,000 US deaths, and the near total destruction of Iraq's infrastructure, be turned over to a special UN tribunal for trial under international and US war crimes statutes.

- Doesn't the same thirst for justice that's prompting such outrage against President Assad require unrelenting pressure on President Bush to turn over whoever is behind the illegal and disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq?

Perhaps we could start with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the other members of what former Sec. of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, has just called the" cabal" who secretly ran US foreign policy in the lead up and after the invasion?

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