Forum for assaulting Israel and US

Complaint filed against Bush and others should surprise no one.

george bush 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
george bush 224.88
(photo credit: AP)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has becomea forum for assaulting freedom and the rule of law. It should surpriseno one - and distress anyone who cares about democracy - that acriminal complaint has been filed against former US president George W.Bush, vice president Dick Cheney and much of the former USadministration.

Thecomplaint was filed by a radical professor from the University ofIllinois College of Law, Francis Boyle, whose obsequious appeal to theICC's prosecutor expresses "doubt... that the accused would haveinflicted these criminal practices upon 100 white Judeo-Christian men."

Boyle, who has previously argued that the US should stopillegally occupying Hawaii, that Iran should sue the US to prevent anattack on its nuclear facilities and sanctions, and that Israelpractices genocide, accuses US officials of extraordinary rendition andtorture, among other things.

The US is not a party to the ICC precisely because politicalconsiderations would make Americans the likely target of absurd attackslike Boyle's. Ridiculous as it is, however, because the complaintalleges that illegal acts occurred within nations that are parties tothe ICC, the court's prosecutor could technically consider launching aninvestigation and eventually try to assert jurisdiction.

While it is unlikely that the US would everextradite American officials to The Hague for trial, one never knowswith the current administration. And either way, it puts formerAmerican officials, who must contemplate, at the very least, whether tohire legal counsel or to provide any sort of response, in a difficultposition.

The Obama administration has taken a far more sympathetic viewof the ICC and other international bodies that are critical of the US,while opening the door to possible domestic prosecutions for allegedtorture. Yet, it would be a huge mistake not to condemn the latesteffort to slander America at The Hague - not the least of which isbecause Obama is likely to face similar charges someday for the same"extraordinary rendition" practices.

Moreover,complaints like Boyle's are an attack on American sovereignty, ourConstitution and the legitimacy of our legal system. The executivepossesses certain constitutional Article II powers ascommander-in-chief to wage war, and no foreign court should pronouncewhat the limitations of those powers are.

THE ICC craves credibility and legitimacy, which it cannot getwithout some degree of US support. The current administration shouldmake it crystal clear that if the ICC pursues Bush officials, Americawill not cooperate with any investigation and it will preclude anypossibility of future US cooperation or ratification of the RomeStatute.

Thus far, the administration, however, hasrefused to do so or to publicly speak out against efforts to use thesame tactics against Israel, which has also refused to join the courtdue to political fears. The same left-wing post-colonialists who blameAmerica for the world's ills, have been urging the court to prosecuteIsraelis for responding to terrorist attacks with military force inGaza last year.

The campaign against Israel, embodied by the UN-sponsoredGoldstone Report and the UK arrest warrant issued for former foreignminister and current Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, attempts to weakenIsrael where political and military efforts have failed. No accusationis too bold for these armchair prosecutors to make or fact tooinsignificant to ignore in their attempts to isolate and discreditAmerica and its most important ally.

In the end, this lawfare campaign is most likely to discreditbodies like the ICC for political and legal overreach, as well as theindividuals attempting to use law as a political sword. At the veryleast, hopefully, it will awaken freedom-loving persons everywhere whobelieve in the sovereignty of nations and the inherent right of them toforcibly protect themselves from terrorism. Make no mistake, they areunder attack.

The writer is an attorney and author in New York City.