Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Blood on Their Hands

George W. Bush has blood on his hands. So does Dick Cheney. So does Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and every other member of the Bush administration who actively or passively guided this nation over a precipice and into an unholy quagmire. They have the blood of 3,400 (and counting) American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians on their callused hands. And the vermilion tide flows unabated, stiffly lapping at their heels.

As public discontent with the Iraq War grows in lockstep with the casualties, and as the debate over here rages along with the conflict over there, the reckless ideologues who caused this conflagration and continue to fan its flames go unpunished. Why? By any reasonable definition, have they not committed war crimes? Ought they not be held accountable for their terrible misdeeds? Aside from being less overtly bloodthirsty and more discriminate about—and removed from—the terror and violence they have wreaked, how are Bush, Cheney, et al. any different than rogues like Osama bin Laden, Abu Ayub al-Masri, or Muqtada al-Sadr? They all have the blood of innocents on their hands. They all rationalize the irrational and employ violence as a means to an end. They all claim that their cause is righteous and take shelter behind a perverted ideology. They all deserve to stand for their crimes.

Unfortunately, such justice will remain as elusive as peace. Bush and Cheney will not be called to account for their crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. They will not be impeached by Congress for high crimes and misdemeanors. In 612 days (and counting), they will walk away from the offices they have sullied and hold their heads unjustifiably high, never once glancing down or back to see the gore that they have tracked everywhere. They will leave the stains for another administration to clean up and go home to write their biographies and rewrite history.

In the end, only history will stand in judgment of these feckless thugs, and they will not be spared. The blood they have washed their hands of will be reapplied by future generations. But that is meager consolation now, when justice and accountability are so lacking. And the wrongs persist. And the innocents crumple. And the streets are spattered in vermilion.

Blood in the streets and on their hands