No Person Ever Deserves Special Privileges Against Others
Bush's "Solution" to Torture Scandal -- Legal Immunity
Instead of taking action to bring America back from the shame of violence and torture in Iraq, the U.S. government is acting to declare a special privilege of legal immunity for past/present/future criminals.
Here are portions of a Washington Post article along with our own edits, outlining the special privilege grab.
The Bush administration has decided to take the unusual step of bestowing on its own troops and private mercenaries, immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts for killing Iraqis, torturing them, raping them, maiming them, or destroying local property after the occupation ends and political power is transferred to an interim Iraqi government, U.S. officials said.
The administration aims to declare complete immunity from any "local criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction and from any form of arrest or detention other than by persons acting on behalf of their parent (non-Iraq) states."
Iraq's dictator, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer, is expected to extend Order 17 as one of his last acts before June 30, U.S. officials said.
Bush's top foreign policy advisers, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, are still debating the exact scope of immunity to be granted.
U.S. officials admitted Washington's act could also create the impression that the United States is not turning over full sovereignty -- and giving itself special privileges.
Torture Scandal Makes Immunity a "Sensitive" Issue
The administration's move comes when issues of immunity are particularly sensitive, in light of the torture scandals.
The issue of immunity for U.S. troops is among the most contentious in the Islamic world, where it has galvanized public opinion against the United States in the past. A similar grant of immunity to U.S. troops in Iran during the Johnson administration in the 1960s led to the rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who used the issue to charge that the shah had sold out the Iranian people.
"Our honor has been trampled underfoot; the dignity of Iran has been destroyed," Khomeini said in a famous 1964 speech that led to his detention and then expulsion from Iran. The measure "reduced the Iranian people to a level lower than that of an American dog."
Ironically, Khomeini went into exile in Iraq, where he spent 12 years in Najaf -- the Shiite holy city that is now home to Sistani and his followers and where Iraqis still remember the flap that led the shah to deport a cleric who later led Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
Oops, U.S. Forgot About Democracy
In Iraq, Washington had originally hoped to achieve a formal Status of Forces Agreement to grant immunity, but that was effectively vetoed when Sistani and Iraqi politicians pointed out that no unelected Iraqi government could enter into a treaty with other countries.
Also see -- US Trying to Destroy the Rule of Law? Bush Sides With Slobodan Milosevic and Nazi War Criminals, Against International Court
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