Isn’t it just a tad bit embarrassing to have the Germans deciding whether our former Defense Secretary, Director of Central Intelligence, commander of our forces in Iraq, and our current Attorney General are war criminals?

I know a few World War veterans and I don’t think they could have anticipated this turnabout. It’s still far from certain that the Germans will let the trial go forward, but there is a surprising potential witness.

A key witness for the bid to put Rumsfeld and others on trial in Germany is the former commander of US prisons in Iraq, Brig. General Janis Karpinski, who alleges she was made a scapegoat for the Abu Ghraib scandal in order to protect senior officials.

I wonder what this means for her pension?

I know that there are a lot of very principled people on the left that would be ecstatic to see our leaders convicted of war crimes. I’m not one of them. At least, I don’t want to see it done in German courts. If American courts came to that conclusion I wouldn’t have a problem.

The question of the International Criminal Court and America’s relationship to it is a complicated question that I won’t attempt to resolve here. But if a foreign court is going to stand in judgment over our military and civilian leaders, it should be the ICC and not our ally Germany.

It’s a symptom of how wide the chasm is between American politicians and the rest of the world that there is no stomach in Washington for even considering the acts of the Bush administration as war crimes. In DC the only debate is over whether we should legalize the NSA warrantless wiretapping as we did the military commissions and detention policies.

I know it wouldn’t be centrist and bipartisan enough for David Broder and Cokie Roberts if the Democrats held hearings on the issue of war crimes, but a failure to address the topic won’t make it go away in the world beyond our borders.

Rumsfeld, Tenet, et al., would be well advised to take whatever vacations they are planning sooner rather than later. It’s quite possible they will find it dangerous to travel abroad after 2008.