The vagaries of international justice: our readers write

Our February issue featured the story “Presidents in the Dock: An End to Africa’s Reign of Impunity?” by Michael Fleshman, a reprint from the UN publication Africa Journal. Our February Exit Poll was: “Why are Africa’s ex-dictators Charles Taylor (Liberia) and Hissène Habré (Chad) facing the dock, while Guatemala’s equally genocidal ex-tyrant José Efraín Rios Montt is free to run for that country’s congress? Extra Credit: How is it possible that Taylor and Habré face the dock, while the Darfur genocide continues and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir remains in power, raking in petro-dollars and aspiring to lead the African Union? Extra Extra Credit: Would it merely be juvenile to even bring up George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George H.W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara, etc.? And, oh yeah, Vladimir Putin?” We received two responses:

From Mantxo Martinez, who runs a very interesting Basque solidarity website in the UK, Euskalinfo:

i don’t know much of the Taylor / liberia affair

i guess it’ll be like the S. Hussein issue, where a dictator is hanged and others are backed. When Pinochet dies old and when witnesses [against] Argentinean generals dissapear, and the US doesn’t invade the country.

WW4 Report responds: Thanks for taking note of the horrific recent cases in Argentina. Another very good example. Although at least Jorge Videla is under house arrest.

From JG, New York City:

I would trot out the old saw: History is written by the victors (Churchill?)

Extra Credit: Africa’s a mess.

Extra Extra Credit: It is required that we keep bringing up Kissinger so he can’t go to Europe. Didn’t McNamara end up feeling bad about the whole thing? Putin is old-school Russian scary. All I want for Xmass is Dick Cheney hung for treason (but I’ll settle for resignation).

Aside: I used to think Papa Bush was puppet-mastering the whole thing but now I wonder if the Haliburton+religious crazies alliance is going their own cocaine/oil/power fueled way.

WW4 Report responds: Yes, Churchill. But we’re not sure how much the quote applies in this case. It has been a long struggle for the victims of Taylor and Habré, and even if they were eventually on the outs with US imperialism, France backed ’em both to the hilt. McNamara’s bad feelings came too late to save three million Vietnamese.

We are very disappointed that we only received two answers this month. Did this question go over our readers’ heads? Too many obscure place names? Or do our readers just not care about genocide in places like Africa and Central America? When we tackle such questions where Bosnia is concerned, we sure get a big response… Why is that?

See our last post on genocide in Africa. See our last Exit Poll results.