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Nat Hentoff writes: "By executive order on August 4, President Barack Obama refused entry to the United States of war criminals and human-rights violators. He ignored, as he often does, the deeply documented factual evidence of war crimes committed by the Bush-Cheney administration along with grim proof that the Obama administration also violates our anti-torture laws and the UN Convention Against Torture we signed."

President Obama greets outgoing President George W.Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at his inauguration, 01/20/09. (photo: The Washington Post)
President Obama greets outgoing President George W.Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at his inauguration, 01/20/09. (photo: The Washington Post)

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+7 # dbrown 2011-08-20 14:16
I'm really dragged and this definitely gets me down.
+18 # Peacedragon 2011-08-20 14:57
When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?
+1 # Linda Griesi 2011-08-20 15:16
no comment, just the usual slush going on with our propaganda machine.
+29 # John Gill 2011-08-20 15:18
Thank you Mr. Hentoff for your clarity. This is a very helpful piece of writing.
+20 # Bill Clements 2011-08-20 15:27
Um, the President's oversight on our own war crime actions is deeply disturbing. What is THAT lapse about?

Does he honestly believe we don't have that problem, or is he choosing to employ selective perception?
+1 # karenvista 2011-08-23 00:35
The president says we have to" move forward not backward." Of course, that means all crimes that were committed in the past can't be punished so lets open the prisons! Unfortunately, he's still committing the same crimes as Bush, now and in the future, so I guess we can prosecute him!
+25 # wipster 2011-08-20 15:30
Not to mention the biggest crime of all, 9/11... whether they were active participants or they just let it happen it's still a crime.
+10 # oakjoan 2011-08-20 21:03
9/11 is the biggest crime of all? Give me a break! 9/11, awful as it was, pales in comparison with Hiroshima. The Vietnam war was many, many times over a worse crime than 9/11. We killed thousands of innocent villagers and soldiers in a civil war that was NONE of our business. I could go on, but you get the point.
+5 # wipster 2011-08-21 01:08
I meant committed by bush and cheney... not crimes committed by the usa in general.
+29 # banichi 2011-08-20 15:52
Not one article about this topic has ever created a stir more than momentarily. There is indeed a conspiracy of silence and denial by the government that transcends party lines. None can afford, in this run-up to the next elections, to take responsibility for the blatant disregard of basic human rights the government has practiced - and is quite prepared legally to practice on U.S. citizens as well - and risk having to admit that holding up the U.S. as a beacon of decency and human rights is nothing but a sham.

What is left? Imperialism and profit at any cost for the political and economic elites who are running things behind the curtain. None of them can imagine that such practices might one day be applied to them, after all.

God help us.
+17 # Dick HuopanaR 2011-08-20 17:15
Yes, there is "a conspiracy of silence and denial by the government that transcends party lines" to not only protect those Americans who have authorized and committed war crimes for torture but also those responsible for the mass destruction and death caused by the Bush-Cheney war against Iraq to find and destroy WMD which never existed.

Americans should also be outraged - but aren't - that our "watchdog" national news media is a key member of the conspiracy. How many times have you heard or read media editorial demands for accountability for the crimes that we all know our country has committed?

Or, for that matter, why is it that Americans, especially Republicans, seem unwilling to engage in discussions about such criminal actions explaining that the subject "is political?"
+2 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-08-21 02:33
Yes about all you said, banichi. And those of us who refuse to be silenced re. this evil sham, tell it like it is and predict and prepare for an American Revolution II, need to get ready to be quashed and done away with by the villainiare rulers and their minions, i.e. Michael Moore being threatened with being 'pushed over a cliff'.

Yes, God help us, and deliver us from evil. And, brave and determined we must be, and prepared for martyrdom, like JFK, RFK, MLKJr., all anti-war, pro-liberty and justice for all, and stander uppers against the military-indust rial-terrorism (as Colin Powell now calls it) complex.
+1 # rf 2011-08-21 07:45
Next we'll have Union bosses tortured to force them to recommend lower wages.
+1 # karenvista 2011-08-23 00:45
Quoting rf:
Next we'll have Union bosses tortured to force them to recommend lower wages.

Just like in Colombia where union members and leaders are routinely killed and Obama wants to reward them with another favorable trade agreement!
+21 # angelfish 2011-08-20 16:10
This is Disgraceful and denigrates this President's status by his refusal to even acknowledge the criminal behaviors of the former Administration much less Investigate any of them! Barry, your legacy is already tarnished but you might be able to redeem it somewhat if you let JUSTICE be done! NO ONE is above the Law! Not Bush, or Cheney, or Rumsfeld or YOU, sir! Our dead Veterans as well as the countless thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghani citizens cry out for accountability!
+5 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-08-20 19:52
Yes, angelfish, you are soooooo right on. "...our worldwide disgrace...' says it all. And yes, it definitely continues under OhBombAh, biggest disappointment on the face of this crumbling earth.

We are desperate for another, real McCoy pres. candidate in '12. No more being conned, and NoBombAh.
+8 # Activista 2011-08-20 16:35
Obama bans war criminals - who is THE war criminal starting Libya civil war?
Does Obama believes his own propaganda?
+15 # jwb110 2011-08-20 16:51
Not forcing the U.S. Gov't to confront and end the torturing and bringing all the guilty to trial makes it more possible for any U.S. citizen to simply "disappear". The issue is what can be done to us if we allow it to be done to others. We cannot be short sighted about where the slope becomes slippery for all people.
+14 # cadan 2011-08-20 16:59
Bush and Obama are guilty of course, as is much of our Congress.

But i think the mainstream media (MSM) is also responsible.

If we ever get to the point of having our own version of the Nuremberg trials, then they should be held in Washington DC or New York. (The site of the Nuremberg trials was chosen in part because of the huge Nazi rallies that were held there.)

And, if we don't manage to control our hatred of Moslems and Arabs, and don't find a way to call off our crusade, then sooner our later we will reach that point.
+16 # heraldmage 2011-08-20 17:13
Until we American accept the fact that our government has been corrupted through corporate & foreign campaign contributions & special privileged PAC's we can never expect adherence to laws or change.
We must unite all the progressive leaning independent parties into 1 peoples party so we can use their ballot access & conventions to mount a national campaign to replace every incumbent with an independent candidate or a candidate that actually put his John Hancock on the independent platform & candidate pledge.
1) Enact legislation that publically funds all political campaigns with absolutely no private funds allowed. 2) Requires news & current events to be broadcast as public service 3) To ensure all sides are heard reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine" 4) Require all discussion programs to be labelled "opinion, commentary, not based on fact" throughout broadcast & announced at the end of every commercial break.
Once we have free the press & started the task to end government corruption which will take 2 Congressional election we can go after the White House in 2016 the people hopefully will control the White House. We must legislate irrevocable oversight to prevent corruption of not only government but the financial sector as well.
Its time for the people not the privileged to run this country. Stop further thief of public assets
+6 # rf 2011-08-21 07:47
Pull the broadcast license of any show found to be broadcasting lies.
+7 # jobangles 2011-08-20 17:15
This article is just one more example of our unholy exceptionalism. Same old "do as I say, not as I do".
+9 # foxtrottango 2011-08-20 17:57
It could be that now he has become a war criminal, himself. After all, he looked the other way by siding with the Republicans and inheriting their war and making it his war, didn't he?

Politics has a way of making honest decent man dishonest and cruel.

It's time for Obama to go! The republicans are getting their wish that the first black president is a one term president. And Obama is helping them achieve that.

That is the sad part.
+26 # willem malten 2011-08-20 18:23
Growing up in the Netherlands I was taught that torture was the most despicable thing that humans can do to each other. Luckily it seemed more and more relegated to the realm of petty dictators (ala Saddam Hussein) and it seemed only a matter of time before torture would be abandoned all together and civil behavior towards prisoners would reign. Sadly this didn't materialize, and now, due to the horrible example of the largest democracy in the world. the USA, torture has once again reared its ugly head and become common place: live is cheap. Obama has done nothing to set a moral tone, nor used the courts to end the practice -- history will be harsh on him. Condoning torture is a sign of political weakness all around and the victims are not just the ones that get tortured, or in a dialectical way the torturers themselves: The true price to pay for torture is the disintegration of whole societies into a collections of roving bands pillaging and raping --and not feeling that they are doing anything wrong or unusual. Like democracy, chivalry, truthfulness, civility and enlightenment seem to be things of the past. It is hard not to live in mourning for the human race....
+5 # joyc 2011-08-21 08:20
well said willem.
+2 # brianf 2011-08-21 19:18
Hi Willem. I think I used to know you. You are right.
+13 # DPM 2011-08-20 19:36
Shielding criminals makes one complicit in their crimes, does it not?
+13 # Cabbagehead 2011-08-20 20:52
Nat Hentoff is on target here and points up the paradox facing Obama, banning war criminals while protecting those named in the article and at the same time perpetrating criminal killings of civilians in Libya and elsewhere. Of course Obama should have instructed the justice department to begin indictments and investigations the first day he was in office. By now the GOP would be up to its neck in denials and defense. But is was such a pussy, they are emboldened. Powell is always in public, the big liar before the UN. The others keep their heads down. Now Obama has his foot in the shit and can't get clean. Half his staff is Bush legacy. And the party has moved so far right it is unrecognizable.
There must be a general strike in 2012 if not before.
+6 # rf 2011-08-21 07:48
Problem is...Obama is a closet Republican.
+9 # Scott479 2011-08-20 20:52
Like bush cheney and rummy, obama will likely be arrested for war crimes if he strays too far from our borders.
+4 # Pritch 2011-08-20 21:46
Who controls Washington DC. Please note that Washington DC and Israel are one unit. Both torture, start wars for profit, and lie to their people. It's not the people of North Dakota, Wyoming, or Montana that want to attack Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lybia, Venezuela, etc. It's Zionist Washington DC that attacks innocent peoptl
0 # karenvista 2011-08-23 00:56
The United States is the client state of Israel.

Bush and Cheney took all their training, intelligence and tactics (and hatreds) to Iraq and Afghanistan. We humiliated people in those countries on purpose and reaped the whirlwind.
+3 # reiverpacific 2011-08-20 22:11
It's hard to know where to begin and this may, if the major media even addresses it, bring some home truths to roost. But I wouldn't bet the ranch on it ever getting out on anything but RSN, perhaps "Democracy Now", "Flashpoints" and "Alternative Radio", the stations that carry them and the odd "Maverick" outpost of true news, at least in the Fragmented States.
It might even be interesting to see if the BBC, Guardian or the Independent get ahold of it although the "beeb" would never probe it deeply in the name of "expediency" but the other two much more in yer face, fact-first papers just might. -And that's just in the English language! I imagine that Hugo Chavez, The Castro Bro's, Evo Morales, Lula da Silva, his recent replacement Dilma Rousseff and Rafael Correa, just for starters, might have a word or two on this subject (+ Leonard Peltier and many others at home in jail here)!
Let's take Henry Kissinger as a latter-day starting point. He's already under indictment in some countries including Germany but it went on long before that -I'm talking about people who are still breathin' here, otherwise we'd be making lists far into the night!
When you get right down to it, depends on which side of the door's peephole you are on, what?!
+6 # futhark 2011-08-21 04:34
War crimes prosecutions only occur when the accused war criminals have been militarily defeated, as the Japanese imperialists and Nazi leaders learned after World War II. If the status of "war criminal" is to have any meaning, it must be applicable to those on the "winning" side (or, at least, not the "losing" side) as well. If war criminality is exclusively to be assigned to losers, then there is little incentive for leaders to avoid committing these criminal acts. Redoubling efforts to win military victory would be a more useful strategy, often entailing additional war crimes. Surrender might be the more humane option, but one that would lay a leader open to a charge of war criminality. Mr. Obama has deeply compromised the ethics and legality of the United States by not pursuing war crimes investigations and penalties against Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, etc.

An evil precedent is being set by this president, whereby unethical and illegal behavior of one administration is automatically pardoned by the next. I'm sure Mr. Obama wishes his successor to pardon him for the drone attack atrocities he has authorized as commander-in-ch ief.
0 # Floridatexan 2011-08-21 10:30
I don't see how Obama could have prosecuted Bush and Cheney, although I certainly was among those who called for investigations into 9/11 and both the Afghan and Iraq wars. The investigation has to come from elsewhere; when a newly inaugurated President inherits two ongoing wars in which multiple international accords have been broken, disregarded, or simple written into legality, how can he possibly bring charges against the previous administration? Now...after he takes the office, these things are occurring on his watch, and there are forces whose very existence depends upon a code of silence. I'm not justifying Obama's lack of action; just trying to make it more understandable. We have to find another avenue, and there are those who won't give up. The process, however, is mired in molasses.
0 # karenvista 2011-08-23 01:23
You think that the fact that one of the first things W. did was to refuse to sign the agreement to join the World Court, which had already passed in Congress had any bearing on his behavior?

From that moment, I thought he was planning to have the U.S. commit war crimes.
+1 # karenvista 2011-08-23 01:19
Republicans pardon a Democratic president? First thing they'll do is start impeachment procedures!

He missed his chance to salve our wounded reputation and they won't have any pity on him. And he really doesn't deserve it since he's maintained the same policies, only worse for deportations and he's prosecuted more government whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than had been prosecuted, in total, in the 93 years since the Act was passed. Now that's transparency for you!!
+2 # kalpal 2011-08-21 05:15
Governments resist indicting their own even when the action were horrific and should have been beneath teh dignity of the people who instigated and carried them out.
+1 # tm7devils 2011-08-23 10:24
If your country, which includes the people you elect to run your country, commits war crimes or acts of terrorism and you profess your patriotism to said country - you are abetting the crimes and are, in the eyes of the law, legally (and immorally) a terrorist and/or war criminal. Q.E.D.

Here's my Dilemma, do I accept the mantle or decry my patriotism?

What would YOU do?

I do know one thing - the conservative republicans (and most of the liberal democrats) in this country will sit back, close their eyes and hope the whole thing blows over so they can get on with raping this country - and this planet - in their own self interest.

Doesn't it just give you a warm, fuzzy glow being a human being?

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