- An amendment to the 3,000-page budget bill before the
House of Representatives would punish countries, even close allies in
the war on terrorism, that have joined the International Criminal
Court and have declined to promise they would not send American
citizens to the court without US permission.
Since 2002, the US government has withheld military aid from countries that refused to sign such a bilateral agreement. But the new amendment in this year's budget bill goes a step further, revoking other nonmilitary assistance to governments. The amendment targets an economic support fund designed to foster democracy and human rights around the world, as well as promote the rule of law in Muslim countries to bolster counterterrorism efforts.
Jordan would be hit hardest. It stands to lose $250 million in a two-year old program to foster pluralism and secular education, potentially undermining the Bush administration's declared goal of spreading democracy in the Mideast.
But let's not accuse them of too narrow a vision. It isn't just Americans to whom they want to extend the benefits of this shield:
- The agreements that Washington is seeking also provide protections from prosecution for non-US citizens who work for US intelligence agencies, according to [ICC proponent William] Pace.
Because when we're recruiting thugs and drug lords, it's a whole lot easier if we can offer them a get-out-of-jail-free card.
For other reasons why they might want to keep third parties from investigating possible war crimes by Americans, see this other much-blogged article, also from Sunday's Boston Globe, on possible American military actions aimed to keep control of Falluja, which apparently include press-ganging the male citizens, in clear violation of international law...