Several sites around the web are eagerly proclaiming in their typical fact-less fashion that former American President George W. Bush and former Vice-President Dick Cheney are afraid to travel outside the United States because they believe that there is a chance that they might be arrested for war crimes. Now, as usual, our friends at sites like Pak Alert Press report this as pure fact, when the real story is that they are making a deduction that works in their favor.
For example, Dick Cheney recently cancelled a speaking engagement in Toronto because of “security concerns.” All the conspiracy sites (except Common Sense of course) touted this as an obvious tipping of his hat to the “fact” that he might be arrested if he sets foot on foreign soil. However, in September of 2011, Dick Cheney did indeed go to Vancouver for a speaking engagement. A large protest against him and torture in general broke out, with some violent skirmishes breaking out. The incident probably has caused Dick Cheney to think twice about hanging out in Canada, but if he were going to be arrested as soon as he set foot on Canadian soil, then he would have been taken into custody back in September. What really could have changed in the last six months to make him more likely to be arrested now when we are talking about events years in the past now?
George W. Bush had a speaking engagement scheduled in Switzerland the previous year that he cancelled. The supposed reason was that human rights groups were pressuring the government to arrest Bush for war crimes stemming from torture allegations. This was in close proximity to the release of Bush’s memoirs, Decision Points, in which he admitted by his own hand that he approved waterboarding as an acceptable interrogation technique. While it is technically true that Switzerland could legally arrest Bush on these allegations, there are a few facts that always get left out of these stories. Former presidents of the United States still enjoy Secret Service protection wherever they go. Bush would have had his own security detail dispatched with him to Geneva, where he was to speak (ironically enough, considering the Geneva Convention), and if they were bold enough to try to arrest him, no doubt a terrible international conflict would have broken out. Throw in the fact that the Swiss are famously neutral where war is concerned, and it is hard to imagine them making such a move knowing what consequences it would bring. It is much more likely that Bush didn’t want his first trip to Europe since the waterboarding disclosures to be marred by protests and violence, not to mention more international media attention. Bush has done a pretty good job avoiding media attention since he left office, even staying quiet during Osama bin Laden’s death announcements and celebrations.
This is not a political statement on whether we believe Bush and Cheney should or should not be under this kind of fire. We understand the worldwide sentiment toward some of the actions of the Bush administration, but what we are speaking out against here is the way other conspiracy sites report these things as if they are fact when they simply have no basis in facts when given further scrutiny.
Yes, it is true that it is possible that Bush and Cheney could be arrested for war crimes and the like on foreign soil. And it’s a fascinating topic, fun to debate and think about the incredible fallout if that was to happen. However, being realistic, there is almost zero chance that ever happens. But if you were Bush or Cheney, wouldn’t you probably stay home too? Just in case?