Poll: 44% of Democrats think Bush officials committed 'war crimes'
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Monday January 26, 2009

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Update: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture tells CNN: There is enough evidence to prosecute Donald Rumsfeld

A new survey of Democratic voters has found 44 percent believe President Bush and members of his administration committed war crimes during their term, which ended Jan. 20.

On the same day, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, told CNN that the International governing body already has enough evidence to prosecute former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for specifically ordering war crimes.

Among the general populace, just 25 percent agree with the assessment that the Bush administration is guilty of war crimes. By contrast, 70 percent of Americans believe it would be "bad" should these officials be brought up on charges, including 53 percent of Democrats.

The poll was released Monday through Rasmussen.

Whether Americans believe it or not, the former President and Vice President have both admitted to approving torture -- or, as they call it, "enhanced interrogation tactics" -- in direct contravention to the Geneva Conventions.

"I supported it," said Vice President Cheney, regarding the practice known as "water-boarding," a form of simulated drowning. After World War II, Japanese soldiers were tried and convicted of war crimes for water-boarding, a practice which the outgoing Bush administration attempted to enshrine in policy.

"I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do," he said during a Dec. 2008 interview. "And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it."

"My view is the techniques were necessary and are necessary," President Bush told Fox News with little more than a week to go in his administration.

Additionally, a secret Red Cross report, delivered to the CIA in 2007, determined the Bush administration's authorized techniques were "categorically" torture, implicating war crimes.

"It is really amazing because Congress -- including the Democrats -- have avoided any type of investigation into torture because they do not want to deal with the fact that the president ordered war crimes," said Constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley during an April 2008 appearance on MSNBC. "But evidence keeps on coming out .... What you get from this is this was a premeditated and carefully orchestrated torture program. Not torture, but a torture program."

"I'd never thought I would say this, but I think it might in fact be time for the United States to be held internationally to a tribunal," Turley told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann in July. "I never thought in my lifetime I would say that."

"Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation" to bring proceedings against Bush and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, said the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak, in remarks to be broadcast on Germany's ZDF television.

He noted Washington had ratified the UN convention on torture which required "all means, particularly penal law" to be used to bring proceedings against those violating it.

"We have all these documents that are now publicly available that prove that these methods of interrogation were intentionally ordered by Rumsfeld," against detainees at the US prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Nowak said.