Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Ambassador Prosper

Pierre Prosper, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, spoke at Pepperdine today. His comments addressed Sudan, the special tribunal in Iraq, and (briefly and superficially) the Guantanamo detainees. I had the opportunity to respond to Ambassador Prosper's talk and took the opportunity to discuss torture in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Gardez, and Mosul, issues that have been covered in posts on this blog. I also took the opportunity to suggest that Ambassador Prosper ought to resign. Here are the concluding paragraphs of my remarks:

I understand that some people in the United States don’t care about the rule of law in the international system. That is not, I assume, Ambassador Prosper’s position.

I understand that the Department of Defense, not the Department of State, is in charge of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. So perhaps Ambassador Prosper was never consulted about what constitutes torture or told about what is being done under the heading of "harsh interrogations." But Europeans–including those in the "coalition of the willing"–know what’s going on in Guantanamo and in Gardez, Afghanistan. Surely some of them have spoken to the Ambassador for War Crimes Issues about American crimes.

I believe Ambassador Prosper to be a decent man concerned about human rights and international justice. I am, however, having increasing difficulty squaring that belief with the fact that he has not resigned his office.

I have to ask, in conclusion, just what would have to happen, Mr. Ambassador, for you to conclude that you could no longer serve this Administration as Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues?

Much to my surprise, Ambassador Prosper did not announce his resignation on the spot. I'm sure, though, that it will happen soon.