Prosperous Shill

Monday, March 07, 2005

Prosperous Shill

As I mentioned in my Daily Darfur post, the Brookings Institute recently held a forum to discuss the genocide in Darfur. I was reading over the transcript of the event and was completely flabbergasted by the remarks from Pierre-Richard Prosper, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues.

Much of his introduction was dedicated to laying out the Bush administration's position as to why it prefers an ad hoc tribunal for dealing with the situation instead of referring the crimes to the International Criminal Court. Prosper didn't discuss the real reason for such opposition (a mostly irrational fear that US citizens or soldiers might some day be indicted by such a court) and instead portrayed the US position as one committed to ensuring "a lasting and long-term benefit to the continent and to the [African Union]" by helping it build "the institutional capacity so that the African Union can deal with these problems in the future itself."

Considering that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was created by the UN Security Council and is paid for by the General Assembly, rolling any Darfur court into the existing criminal tribunal would in no way accomplish any of the things that Prosper cited as justifications for sidestepping the ICC.

As I read his remarks, I simply shook my head in disbelief, marveling at how someone could spew such obvious bullshit fully aware that he was sharing the stage with knowledgeable panelists like John Prendergast and Jemera Rone.

John Prendergast spoke next and, in a less than subtle way, made it pretty clear that Prosper doesn't really believe anything he said but, as a member of the Bush administration, he is obligated to lie through his teeth
He's a compelling guy, but I have to say a couple of other things. Last night Stuart sent us a nice e-mail in which he said that Ambassador Prosper--it's hard for me to call my basketball buddy "ambassador," but I'll try. He said that he would lead off and, you know, give an overview of the situation in Sudan and then make a defense of the Bush administration's record, and have about 10 minutes to do so. Well, of course I could only respond that it would take a hell of a lot longer than 10 minutes to defend that record. And then I asked Pierre if he would allow me to tell you all what his reply to my response was, but he declined to give me permission.
It seems pretty clear that Prosper doesn't buy the Bush administration line and, if that is the case, he really ought to resign and make his position known rather than further embarrass himself by continuing to make ridiculous arguments such as the ones made at the Brookings event which have the unfortunate effect of simply further delaying justice.

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