Bush and Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?

This afternoon, I will be one of the moderators as part of “Debating Taboos” series of the Center for Study of Responsive Law. This series, organized by consumer rights icon Ralph Nader, is designed to foster dialogue in areas where politicians and even reporters tend to avoid substantive discussion. This part is entitled “Bush and Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars – Debating Taboos.” I will be asking questions from the perspective of those who view torture as a war crime while Stuart Taylor of Newsweek will ask questions from the other side of the debate. The event is open to the public.

Here is the line up:

Debaters arguing for the proposition that Bush and Obama engaged in war crimes

Bruce Fein is an attorney and constitutional scholar, and has consulted foreign nations on matters ranging from constitutional revision to telecommunications and cable regulation, and human rights. He appears regularly on national and international television, cable, and radio programs as an expert in foreign affairs, terrorism, national security, and has testified over 200 times before Congressional committees. .

Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer is a highly experienced U.S. Army intelligence officer, and is nationally known as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for intelligence collection and policy, terrorism, data mining, situational awareness and adaptive/disruptive technologies. He is also a senior advisor to multiple organizations on terrorism and counterinsurgency issues and a member of the US Nuclear Strategy Forum.

Debaters arguing against the proposition that Bush and Obama engaged in war crimes

David B. Rivkin is a member of Baker & Hostetler Law Firm’s litigation, international and environmental groups and co-chairs the firm’s appellate and major motions team. He served in the White House Counsel’s office and the Department of Justice under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Prior to embarking on a legal career, Mr. Rivkin worked as a defense and foreign policy analyst, focusing on Soviet affairs, arms control, naval strategy and NATO-related issues, and served as a defense consultant to numerous government agencies and Washington think tanks.

Lee Casey a partner at Baker & Hostetler, focuses on federal environmental, constitutional and international law and Alien Tort Statute issues. He served in the Department of Justice under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He also advises clients on compliance issues under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), U.S. trade sanctions regimes, and federal ethics requirements. Mr. Casey’s practice includes federal, district and appellate court litigation, as well as matters before federal agencies. From 2004 through 2007 he served as a member of the United Nations Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Here are the details:

When: Friday, November 18, 2011 at 12:30 p.m.
What: Bush/Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?
Where: 1530 P St NW, Washington, DC – Carnegie Institution building

61 thoughts on “Bush and Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?”

  1. Sharon D,

    And your point is that Bush got approval….Come on…….set in motion a series of events…and if you vote against it…you are soft on crime…vote against the Cop budget…You are a criminal at heart….Vote against Wall Street bills and you are unamerican…. hmmm…Maybe the real criminals are really on wall street or live in Northwest Dallas or Wyoming…..and of course one at 1600 Pennsylvania…

  2. I also recommend (Charles Manson prosecutor) Vincent Bugliosi’s well-researched book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

    1. The murder by President Obama of a US Citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki is a clear cut violation of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. The murder of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16 year old son by President Obama is a clear cut violation of the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution.
      This is a another count, among many more, to be brought forward in the impending Bill of Impeachment of President Barack Obama.
      How many more people, including US Citizens, are on the list President Obama has drawn up to murder?? Are you on the list? How would you know if you were or weren’t??
      Perhaps some day, after Barack Obama is Impeached or Resigns or is Tossed Out Under the 4th Section of the 25th Amendment, Mr. Vincent Bugliosi can add a chapter to his above book, called “The Prosecutution of Barack Obama for Murder.”
      After all, how many people knew when they voted for Obama, they were getting a continuation and a worsening of Bush’s policies by Obama,
      The Would Be King George III……….

  3. Actually, it’s an older interview. My apologies…, but worth watching nonetheless…

  4. Chris Hedges interviewed by Thom Hartmann yesterday:

    “In this week’s conversations with Great Minds Thom Hartmann talks with Chris Hedges, journalist and author of “The Death of the Liberal Class”. Chris Hedges says, “The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product of bankrupt liberal institutions, including the press, the church, universities, labor unions, the arts and the Democratic Party.””

  5. Paramilitary Policing of Occupy Wall Street: Excessive Use of Force amidst the New Military Urbanism


    An article by Norm Stamper:


    (“Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief. He is author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing. He recently wrote an article for The Nation magazine titled “Paramilitary Policing from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street.””)

  6. Bush did not “lie”. Or at least you have no proof that he did. The fact that it rhymes doesn’t make it true. Many claimed Iraq had or were seeking WMDs. Kerry, Albright, both Clintons, Gore, Lieberman, Daschle, Lantos, Kennedy, and more. Fact is he did get approval so it was lawful. I won’t go so far as to say it was justified or proper however.

    Libya was 100% unlawful in my opinion. We had zero business going there.

    Obama’s war in Uganda and the rest of central Africa is not unlawful despite the claim that some are making. The War Powers Act does allow for 60 days of troop activity and 30 days for withdraw. It will become unlawful in my opinion despite the all-too-often-used lie about “advisors” soon, but now it is legal.

  7. Sharon,

    You’re correct that Bush got his authorization. However, it is important to note that he got it under false pretenses. He lied, many have died. In no case were the former or current troop deployments lawful, justified or proper.

    Both Obama and Bush have engaged in multiple illegalities and told Congress to F- off about it. So the real question to me is, why do “we the people” allow presidents to break the law and how can we return to the rule of law?

  8. At the very least Bush got congressional approval for Iraq.

    Obama neither got nor requested approval from Congress. He basically told congress to f off as he’ll do what he wants.

    Were any of the wars, or troop deployments if you’d rather justified or proper? I have no idea. I just know that some were not authorized by Congress.

  9. Jill 1, November 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm


    I don’t see Obama and Bush as being all that different as people. They are both not that bright and strongly authoritarian. They are ruthless while, to their own constituents, they appear personable and likable. They are equally ready to serve the incompetents who run things as long as they get to have a little actual power and lots of pretend power.

    That’s my take. But I think you make a good point …

    The new census data and analysis of it supports your good post.

  10. I was talking with an engineer for KBR yesterday and I have concluded that they are profiteers….

  11. wygard, agreed.

    UC Davis Friday, amazing video, amazing brutality at the beginning, amazing win at the end. Watch it all, the crowd dynamic is … amazing!!!!

  12. There should be a similar debate about all the “war crimes” of various and sundry police against the defenseless American citizens (=OWS protestors). Experienced attorneys need to come to the aid of these citizens, who are doing the dirty work of we who do not wish to get out of our comfort zone. It is happening daily and no one seems to care.

  13. Gyves,
    Have one on me as I sip my Tequila Patron Gold. I can finally drink again! By the way I do like Reisling, which I imagine does give me something in common with LL, who loves all things Germanic.

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