Switzerland, that beautiful, peaceful, mountainous, neutral country. The country that couldnâ€™t find it in itself to oppose Nazism, or do anything about the Holocaust in World War II. Because after all, they were a tadpole, and would have gotten run over by Germany. So better not to say anything. Whether it is ever right or moral to remain neutral in the face of evil is a discussion better left for another day. But today, that Switzerland has finally stood up for a moral cause, or at least has allowed others to stand up for a moral cause on their turf, with their legal system. What great moral cause?That President Bush must be jailed. For what? For agreeing to allow water boarding of terrorists while he was president (a total of three men were water boarded, for the record. Read about them here .) Â The possibility of arrest was apparently serious enough that President Bush cancelled his trip to Switzerland to speak at a fundraiser.
I have studied World War II history quite a bit, and my father fought from Normandy all the way to Germany to the end of the war (I guess he decided not to remain neutral). I donâ€™t recall reading about demonstrations against Hitler, or the Holocaust, or the invasions of Poland, or Czechoslovakia, or Austria, or Russia, or England, or anywhere else. Sure, there were some newspapers that condemned Nazism. But the government was thought by many to be too pro-Nazi. But now? The Swiss are outraged by President Bush and his endorsement of â€śtorture.â€ť Not only the Swiss, who were planning large demonstrations, with each demonstrator armed with a shoe to throw at Bush, but also by The (US) Center for Constitutional Rights. You can read ABCâ€™s story here. A Swiss Justice Department spokesman said that after itâ€™s â€śinitial assessment of international lawâ€ť, Bush would have enjoyed immunity from the criminal prosecution. Hmmmmm. â€śInitial assessment.â€ť Those are words we in the practice of law call non-binding. And based on the â€śfinal assessmentâ€ť, once he arrives, it turns outâ€¦he can be prosecuted! Who knew! Predictably, Bush cancelled his trip.
What is this Center for Constitutional Rights? They are the self-appointed human rights activists (attorneys) who blaze with righteous indignation for their causes. This cause, against President Bush, has been joined by sixty other â€śHuman Rightsâ€ť organizations to put Bush in prison for accepting the advice of his legal advisors. You can see how proud they are on their website here. Â Or read the op/ed on CNN yesterday, by Michael Ratner, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights here. Â He states clearly that he believes Bush violated the Convention Against Torture and therefore international law (the treaty though simply requires that each country pass laws against torture under their own jurisdiction, it is not self executing) by authorizing water boarding, among other things. The â€śother thingsâ€ť are not identified, so letâ€™s deal with water boarding.