Monday, February 7, 2011

Persona Non Grata

George W. Bush at Super Bowl XLV
Former President George W. Bush looked like he was having fun at the Super Bowl, sitting in a luxury suite with his wife, Laura, and football icon John Madden.  Don't expect to see him at the 2012 Olympics in London.  On advice of counsel, Bush will likely limit his public appearances to the United States, or at least to countries that have not ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Bush was scheduled to appear in Geneva, Switzerland next week to deliver the keynote address at a fund-raising gala for Keren Hayesod.  However, according to Reuters, the trip was canceled because Bush feared he could be subject to legal action for the torture of Guantanamo detainees.  The Center for Constitutional Rights and several European human rights groups are filing a complaint against Bush on behalf of two of men, Majid Khan, who remains at Guantanamo, and Sami El Hadjj, a former Al Jazeera cameraman who was released.  The Reuters article notes that "pressure has been building on the Swiss government to arrest him and open a criminal investigation."  Dominique Baettig, a member of the Swiss parliament called last week for Bush's arrest for war crimes if he entered the country.

This would have been Bush's first European trip since leaving office. Whether it was canceled because he is "avoiding the handcuffs," as Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch claims, or for security reasons because of anticipated protests, as the event's organizers contend, it is good to know that at least in other countries Bush is considered a persona non grata.   As El Hadjj put it:  "I think George Bush's world is a very small place at the moment.  He may enjoy some kind of impunity in the United States, but other countries will not treat him so indulgently."


Stephen said...

Not unrelated to today's topic, are you familiar with the story of Bush telephoning French president Jacques Chirac with a wacky Bible-based rationale for invading Iraq? While accounts of this credibly incredible conversation are not new, it was under-reported to the point of non-existence.

Lovechilde said...

Holy Gog and Magog.

David said...

Brings new meaning the the phrase "Dick Cheney is in an undisclosed location". Gotta Lovechild it.

lonbud said...

George the Lesser certainly does enjoy "some kind of impunity in the United States," as El Hajj put it... Maybe one day all these creeps will be called to answer for their crimes but until that day comes, I hope foreign governments will cow them into staying away from their shores and citizens here in the US will berate them with catcalls and disrespect wherever they go.

I can't imagine what Madden was doing in that box. Was he serving some kind of punishment? Did he lose a bet? Or do I now have to put him permanently in the black hat category?

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