Official Washington honors international law when it’s politically useful, such as in condemning a global adversary, but then dismisses it as useless if it gets in the way of some desired U.S. action. This “international law a la carte” undermines the concept’s fundamental value, says Lawrence Davidson.
Even as the Obama administration continues to ignore the worst crimes of George W. Bush’s presidency– including torture and aggressive war – authorities in Poland are investigating its alleged hosting of a CIA “black site” prison. An inquiry that may be the best hope for some measure of truth, writes Nat Parry.
After a decade of “war on terror” rhetoric – and President Obama’s failure to reverse many of George W. Bush’s extrajudicial policies – the U.S. public has come to accept that American “exceptionalism” puts the nation beyond the reach of international law, as Nat Parry explains.
Though the World War II victors promised that the Nuremberg principles would apply not just to the Nazis but to everyone, today’s reality is that international law follows two standards: a lenient one for the West and its friends and a stringent variant for adversaries. This hypocrisy is now being institutionalized, Lawrence Davidson notes.
In 1773, when the British blockaded Boston in retaliation for “terrorist” acts against agents of the Crown, the Thirteen Colonies decried this collective punishment of Massachusetts, setting the stage for the Revolutionary War. However, 238 years later, the United States is intervening on behalf of a comparable Israeli blockade of Gaza, as Lawrence Davidson notes.