Time To Arrest Donald Rumsfeld:
Ernst Von Weizsacker was a Nazi with a conscience, or, you know, a conscience as far as a Nazi could have one. He was, in so many ways, Hitler's Colin Powell, serving as the Third Reich's state secretary of the Foreign Office from 1941-1943. He thought Germany was overreaching, he believed that rounding up Jews in other countries was wrong (mainly because of possible reprisals against Germans - he had no problem with offing German Jews), and in 1943, as ambassador to the Vatican, he even warned Jews in Rome that the Nazis wanted them deported, saving thousands of lives. Hell, Weizsacker didn't even like Hitler; he felt his duty was to Germany, and he never walked away from the job.
So he was sentenced at Nuremberg to seven years in prison for crimes against humanity because he signed off on documents that said his office didn't oppose deportations of Jews. He served eighteen months before he was released.
The bar for crimes against humanity is very low, if we use the trials of Nazis after World War II as a measure. Otto Dietrich? Vile as he was, he never actually killed anyone - he was just a propagandist for Hitler, a Tony Snow, if you will. He got seven years. Johannes Stark? Just a poin scientist who wanted to rid his field of "Jewish physics" in favor of that which served the state. He got four years of hard labor. Karl Doenitz? Commander in Chief of the German Navy, convicted of "planning, initiating, and waging wars of aggression," or, more commonly, crimes against peace. He was sentenced to ten years at Spandau Prison.
None of these men created a policy of torture, although surely their actions aided and abetted torture. None of them allowed crime to run rampant in areas Germany conquered, although surely others did. There are many names we could pull out of the Nuremberg files who were far more active in the Final Solution and for direct crimes than any of the men mentioned above. They weren't small fry, either. Dietrich was Hitler's confidante, Doenitz the Fuhrer's hand-picked successor. And we wouldn't have prevented the arrest, trial, and conviction of a single one of them.
The point of this comparison is not that Donald Rumsfeld is worse than the Nazis, although, to be sure, his acts are worse than those of some Nazis. The point here is that our collective humanity, our national conscience, our individual sense of ourselves as citizens, demands that we declare criminals to be criminals, and that they be punished accordingly.
Again, the Rude Pundit says that the message of this midterm election is that those who have led the country the last five years need to be made to suffer for their actions. Denying some re-election and stripping away legislative power from the Republicans is one step. But a purge requires boldness.
Somewhere, some country is going to want to arrest Donald Rumsfeld. International law practically compels it. Why not take him into custody now, here? The Rude Pundit understands there's some very interesting ways available to get information from him. And, after a while, of course, after his information is out of date or he's had it all squeezed out of him, then he can stand trial.
This morning, Donald Rumsfeld's head bleeds mighty prettily, impaled on the gate outside the White House, glasses still attached even as the eyes roll horribly upward. And while we may strip down and create ancient-seeming pagan dances around it, we still have yet to understand just how far into the abyss his body has dragged us.