Richard Clarke, the nation’s top counterterrorism official under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, accused Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney of committing war crimes in their 2003 invasion of Iraq during an interview Tuesday with Democracy Now! that will air next week.
"I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have,” said Clarke, who resigned in 2003 after the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq. “But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried.”
In the first-ever judgment of its kind, Bush and seven other top members of his administration were convicted in absentia of war crimes in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2012 for the unlawful invasion of Iraq.
“So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration,” Clarke continued. “It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did -- in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes."
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, also accused Cheney of war crimes in 2011, citing the former vice president's affinity for enhanced interrogation techniques.
"Waterboarding is a war crime, unwarranted surveillance ... all of which are crimes," Wilkerson said in 2011. "I don't care whether the president authorized him to do it or not, they are crimes."