The Shrinking World of George W. Bush
You probably will not see this story in the United States because we all hate to think that a U.S. President is considered a criminal by the rest of the world, but in news outlets like Reuters, you will see it posted on the front page.
The world is shrinking for George W. Bush. The threat to arrest and possibly extradite Bush if he sets foot in Switzerland is a real possibility if he were to tempt fate and travel there. With this very public and real threat to the former President on the basis that Switzerland is one of the countries that ratified the treaty against torture in the United Nations.
The basis for this claim is the act of “Waterboarding”. Human rights experts consider the practice a form of torture, banned by the Convention on Torture, an international pact prohibiting torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. The countries who signed this treaty stated that they agree with this ideology. The map below shows the nations that have signed on to ban torture. Interestingly the United States is among 147 countries to have ratified the 1987 treaty.
The dark green countries have signed the treaty, the light green countries have rejected the treaty and the gray countries have not claimed one side or the other. This basically shows that the world that Mr. Bush is able to travel to has shrunk to the United States, India and a few rogue countries that are not part of the modern world. If he does, he will be in danger of immediate arrest due to his own statements on torture and the pile of evidence surrounding his handling of prisoners.
In his own words:
“Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed…I’d do it again to save lives.” — Former President George W. Bush, during a speech and question-and-answer period at the Economic Club
“Three people were waterboarded, and I believe that decision saved lives,” he told the paper, which is serializing Bush’s new book, “Decision Points.”
“We created alternative procedures to question the most dangerous al-Qaeda operatives, particularly those who might have knowledge of attacks planned on our homeland.” Bush said. “If we were to shut down this program and restrict the CIA to methods in the [Army] field manual, we could lose vital information from senior al-Qaeda terrorists, and that could cost American lives.”
While Mr. Bush does have some level of immunity to criminal prosecution within the nations who consider themselves close allies to the United States, due to the potential [political and economic problems that the U.S. could cause their country if they detained a former president, this immunity wanes with each year that passes and with each reduction of importance the U.S. has in the international community. In other words, as economic power shifts from the U.S. to China, more and more nations will no longer stand up for immunity for Mr. Bush.
So for now, Bush remains the anomaly within the confines of the United States. A globally known torture criminal in a country that still claims to be the advocate for a torture free world. You can bet that this will come to a head some day in the future when Bush goes against common sense and travels abroad. We have not heard the last of this story.