Ralph Nader: George Bush a 'recidivist war criminal'
Mike Sheehan
Published: Monday March 17, 2008

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Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, reflecting on the quick exit of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, wonders aloud in a new essay how President George W. Bush has escaped the same fate despite Bush's role in considerably more damning and damaging crimes.

In the piece entitled "Country of Laws," Nader blasts Bush for fictionalizing his Iraq war actions and for saying that he'll leave office with no regrets. While Spitzer resigned within days of his admission to indiscretions, "Bush remains," writes Nader, "disgracing his office for longtime repeated violations of the Constitution, federal laws and international treaties to which the U.S. is a solemn signatory."

Nader contrasts Spitzer's legal and personal transgressions, and the price the now ex-governor is rapidly paying for them, with Bush, who "violated federal laws against torture, against spying on Americans without judicial approval, against due process of law and habeas corpus in arresting Americans without charges, imprisoning them and limited their access to attorneys." He adds that Bush has "committed a massive war of aggression, under false pretenses, violating again and again treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter, federal statutes and the Constitution."

Despite this, and the human, financial and infrastructural cost of the war, Bush is, as Nader writes, "effectively immune from federal criminal and civil laws because no American has standing to sue him and the Attorney General, who does, is his handpicked cabinet member.

"Moreover," continues Nader, "the courts have consistently refused to take cases involving the conduct of foreign and military policy by the president and the Vice President regardless of the seriousness of the violation."

Nader says that judges readily and repeatedly dismiss such cases as "political" and say Congress is the way to pursue grievances, specifically via its authority to impeach. Yet only Rep. Kucinich (D-OH) has publicly called for impeachment, Nader notes. (Nader curiously fails to acknowledge that in December 2006, now-former Rep. Cynthia McKinney--a rival 2008 White House candidate running on the Green Party ticket--introduced articles of impeachment against President Bush as one of her final legislative acts before leaving Congress.)

Meanwhile, rues Nader, "the American people have no authority to challenge [Bush's] governmental crimes, which are committed in their name, and are rendered defenseless except for elections, which the two Party duopoly has rigged, commercialized, and trivialized. Even in this electoral arena, a collective vote of ouster of the incumbents does not bring public officials to justice, just to another position usually in the high paying corporate world."

Nader says that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will leave office as "fugitives from justice without any sheriffs, prosecutors or courts willing to uphold the rule of law."

What lessons are to be learned from the differential treatment of Spitzer, asks Nader, and Bush, "a president who behaves like King George III did in 1776 and commits the exact kinds of multiple violations that Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other founders of our Republic envisioned for invoking the impeachment provision of their carefully crafted checks and balances in the Constitution?" Nader mockingly says that Bush and Cheney only need to stay out of a few towns in Vermont and avoid shoe-tapping in airport men's rooms.

Concludes Nader, "We certainly can do better as a country of laws, not men."

The complete post by Nader can be seen at his official website.