Is former President George W. Bush a war criminal?
That was the question posed by MSNBC guest Dave Zirin during an episode of "Melissa Harris-Perry" on Saturday morning.
Host Melissa Harris-Perry opened the segment up with a discussion of Bush's legacy. (The dedication ceremony for Bush's presidential library was held Thursday.)
Zirin, the sports editor for left-leaning features magazine The Nation, said he doesn't understand why Bush hasn't been tried for war crimes relating to the death of former professional football player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
"Pat Tillman was someone who thought the war in Iraq was illegal and I agree with Pat Tillman about that," Zirin said. "And his family was lied to by the Bush administration about the circumstances surrounding his death, and George W. Bush gave speeches about Pat Tillman and his heroism that were lies.”
Tillman was killed in 2004 in Afghanistan. Although military officials knew Tillman had been killed by friendly fire, they withheld the information until after the media built him up as a war hero, the Los Angeles Times notes.
“Every time I hear about George W. Bush and staying the course and his principles, I keeping wondering why he’s not on trial for war crimes for lying to the family of Pat Tillman, for lying to the families of the people who are crippled at Walter Reed, for the families that have died in the Middle East,” the columnist continued.
Zirin's critique, while controversial, is not entirely new. In 2012, anti-apartheid crusader and Nobel Peace Prize winner retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu called out Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"Those responsible should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in The Hague," Tutu said, according to the BBC.
Likewise, on the 10th anniversary of the war in Iraq, British lawyer Michael Mansfield wrote a column for CNN in which he detailed why he believed both Bush and Blair should be charged with war crimes under international law.