From Think Progress.
Former President George W. Bush canceled a February 12 visit to a Jewish charity gala in Switzerland, reportedly out of fears that legal action would be taken against him for his role in authorizing torture. Human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Human Rights, and Center for Constitutional Rights, said they had intended to submit a 2,500-page case against Bush in Geneva “on behalf of two of men, Majid Khan, who remains at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Sami al-Hajj, a former Al Jazeera cameraman who was released in May 2008.”
The Jewish charity group, United Israel Appeal, said it was canceling Bush’s invitation on security grounds, not due to legal action. “The calls to demonstrate were sliding into dangerous terrain,” Robert Equey, a lawyer for the organization, said. Protesters urged attendees of the rally to bring a shoe, recalling the moment when an Iraqi journalist threw one at Bush.
The human rights groups had a different interpretation. “Whatever Bush or his hosts say, we have no doubt he canceled his trip to avoid our case,” the Center for Constitutional Rights and others said in a statement. “He’s avoiding the handcuffs,” Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.
Oh, sure. There is a bunch of chaff throwing and excuses being made to make it just possible that this isn’t the reason that George W. Bush, who admitted to war crimes, isn’t making this trip. But I wouldn’t put much money on it.
How extraordinary is this? Very, I would say. This would put George Bush in the same category as, say, Augusto Pinochet or Jean Bertrand Aristide.
I am of the opinion that it will take a very long time for the country as a whole to come to grips just what was done in the eight years that George Bush was president. If we aren’t rewriting history or pretending unpleasant things didn’t really occur that undermined who we are as a nation, then we seem to be trying to convince ourselves these things really were for the “protection of the country.”
Self-reflection isn’t a strong suit for us right now.