|Online Journal offers another analysis, placing the announcement squarely in the "self-interest/self-protection" realm: |
...Bush asked Congress to amend the War Crimes Act in order to retroactively protect him and other U.S. officials from prosecution for these crimes, and from civil lawsuits arising from them. He justified this on the basis that "our military and intelligence personnel involved in capturing and questioning terrorists could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act . . . ," and insisted that “passing this legislation ought to be the top priority” for Congress between now and the election in November.
...Military personnel charged with war crimes have always been, and continue to be, prosecuted under the Universal Code of Military Justice rather than the War Crimes Act; and the likelihood of CIA interrogators being identified and prosecuted under the act is remote -- they are protected by the secrecy that surrounds all CIA operations.
The only real beneficiaries of such amendments to the War Crimes Act would be Bush himself and other civilian officials who have assisted him in these crimes -- Rumsfeld, Cheney, Gonzales, Rice, Cambone, Tenet, Goss, Negroponte and an unfortunately long list of their deputies and advisors.
It goes on to itemize Bush's requested changes: specific can/cannot lists for means of questioning, "... asking Congress to replace the straightforward prohibitions in Common Article 3 with the provisions of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, which includes extraordinary protections for U.S. officials," and legally declaring terrorism suspects as something other than prisoners of war (thus removing them from Geneva protections).
“Third," Bush said, "I’m asking that Congress make it clear that captured terrorists cannot use the Geneva Conventions as a basis to sue our personnel in courts, in U.S. courts. The men and the women who protect us should not have to fear lawsuits filed by terrorists because they’re doing their jobs.”
This would protect U.S. officials from civil liability for human rights violations. Prisoners released from Guantanamo have already filed such lawsuits against the U.S. government, Bush, Rumsfeld and other officials, which might help to explain why these amendments are Bush’s “top priority.”
There's more at the link.