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Bush and Cheney are war criminals, says former Bush counterterrorism official

Richard Clarke, the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for President George W. Bush, said in an interview with Democracy Now which was previewed today and will air in full next week, that Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld all committed war crimes during the Iraq war.

Former President George W. Bush, Former Vice President Richard Cheney, and former Sect. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Former President George W. Bush, Former Vice President Richard Cheney, and former Sect. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Getty Images

Democracy Now’s Amy Goodwin asked Clarke if he thinks that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be charged with war crimes “for the attack on Iraq”.

“I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes,” Clarke agreed. “Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have.”

“But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing,” he pointed out. “And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration.”

“It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes.”

In a 2011 interview with Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who was Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Col. Wilkerson tells Amy Goodwin that he would be "willing to testify" against Bush if there was a trial for war crimes.

“I’d be willing to testify, and I’d be willing to take any punishment I’m due,” Wilkerson told Goodman.

When President Barack Obama first took office in January 2009, he stated that he would not seek criminal charges against the former President, or any of those on his staff who said it was not illegal to use torture methods such as waterboarding, which was illegal before Bush changed the rules.

Obama’s Department of Justice is currently involve in a case that seeks immunity for Bush and his administration for any and all war crimes that they have committed. Obama inherited the two wars started by Bush, so he too would have to worry that war crimes could be pursued against him by any future President.

A preview of Democracy Now’s interview is posted with this article.