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Some Tylenol for the President

January 1, 2010

Well, we are all now in the hands of the International Cheese-Instead-of-Doughnuts Police.  The President signed an executive order last week dictating that Interpol is now immune to the jurisdiction of American law enforcement.  Naturally, nobody is talking about this—the always-reliable New York Times even suggests that this order’s biggest consequence is that it “Irks Conservatives”.  Crappy headlines aside, what’s the endgame here?  Trouble is, nobody really seems to know.  Steve Schippert has a kind-of-sort-of-idea:

The pre-requisite conditions regarding the Iraq withdrawal and the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility closure will continue their course. Meanwhile, the next move from President Obama is likely an attempt to dissolve the agreements made between President Bush and other states preventing them from turning over American military forces to the ICC (via INTERPOL) for war crimes or any other prosecutions.

The most logical answer to anyone who spent the last year outside of a cave appears to be that either the President is opening the door for the prosecution of Bush administration officials and advisers (and maybe even military personnel) by the ICC, or that he is simply continuing his ever-so-gradual Europeanization of the United States.  There may, however, be a different motive on this one.

Maybe BHO does want our soldiers handed over to the ICC for prosecution.  But I’m willing to bet that he is a lot more interested in handing over to them a certain terrorist whose civilian trial is causing significant blowback amongst the citizenry (especially those residing in NYC).  It’s possible that he shares Matt Yglesias’s view that “[the ICC] would be a good venue in which to prosecute major international terrorists”.  We know BHO doesn’t want to use military tribunals because that’s too Bush, and trying KSM in New York is likely, nay, guaranteed, to be a colossal headache (What if he’s acquitted?  Would they really release him?).  Perhaps joining the ICC (and thus relenting jurisdiction to Interpol) is just a way of unloading the burden that is KSM while saving at least some face.  And his ACLU buddies wouldn’t even be mad at him.

That said, this order may have dire consequences for actual Americans, and it’s probably unconstitutional (don’t treaties have to be ratified by the Senate?).  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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