It’s Love-All in the Blame Game

U.S. and Swiss officials are reportedly meeting in secret to work out details of a possible extradition exchange of film director Roman Polanksi for ex-U.S. President George W. Bush.

Bush recently canceled his planned February 12 talk to a Swiss group after international organizations pressured the Swiss government to detain Bush on charges of torture and other human rights violations. Last year Swiss authorities refused a request by U.S. officials to send Roman Polanski back to California to face decades-old rape charges.

Vigilantes on both sides of the Atlantic have been left frustrated by this stalemate.

“Why should criminals be allowed to go free simply by avoiding the jurisdictions where they committed their crimes?” wondered Bernard Schittkopf, legal counsel for many ex-Nazis brought back from foreign hidey-holes to face justice in Israel or The Hague.

Bush told an interviewer last week that he was through with politics. “Hell, after invading two countries, toppling a dictator, breaking new ground in wiretapping and renditions and detentions without charges, not to mention having a Supreme Court decision named after you, what more is there to do?” Critics complain that his retirement came a dozen years too late.

Some Republican lawmakers have objected to the secret U.S.-Swiss talks, claiming the torture of the Bush-Cheney years was justified to fight terrorism and that anyway there really is no such thing as rape.

“None of this is actually anyone’s fault,” said Georgia Assemblyman Clarence Thomas, who is no relation to the U.S. Supreme Court justice of the same name. “Stuff happens.”

James is the author of Shooting the Truth: the Rise of American Documentaries (Praeger 2006), and Acting Like It Matters: John Malpede and the Los Angeles Poverty Department, (2015). He lives in Quito, Ecuador. Read other articles by James.