Letterman: 'Bush's Administration is Clearly Guilty of War Crimes?'

David Letterman, who a month ago doubted George Bush and Dick Cheney have any “humanity,” on Wednesday's Late Show pushed a guest to confirm “that George Bush's administration is clearly guilty of war crimes.” Far-left “journalist” Jane Mayer of the New Yorker was invited onto the Late Show to plug her new book, 'The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.' Late in her second segment, Letterman recalled how “about a year ago” a Democratic presidential candidate was a guest and during a commercial break Letterman had wondered:
“What do you think George Bush's legacy might be?” And he says, “well, I tell you what ought to happen to him, he should be arrested and tried for war crimes.” And we all sort of thought, well, he's being wacky, he's being funny. But now, you wonder...
After Mayer suggested “I don't think they're laughing about it in the White House” and relayed how “in Congress there are people who are at least pushing for truth commissions,” Letterman pressed her: “But can a case be made that George Bush's administration is clearly guilty of war crimes? That's easy enough to make that case, or.” Mayer demurred: “I'm not a lawyer.”

About a year ago two Democratic candidates were Late Show guests: Dennis Kucinich on Friday, June 29, 2007 and Joe Biden on Tuesday, July 31, 2007. Calling for Bush's arrest sounds a lot more like Kucinich than Biden.

Last week, Mark Finkelstein noticed, CNN's Jack Cafferty had highlighted Mayer's “war crimes” allegations: “A new book titled The Dark Side, by New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, suggests top administration officials, including President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and others, may be guilty of war crimes.”  

Back in 1994, Mayer wrote the anti-Thomas screed, Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas.

My June 12 NewsBusters item, “Letterman on Bush & Cheney: 'Is There Any Humanity in Either of These Guys?'” recounted:
Channeling Keith Olbermann, David Letterman on Wednesday night proposed to guest Scott McClellan that President Bush and Vice President Cheney “just couldn't care less about Americans” since “all they really want to do is somehow kiss up to the oil people so they can get some great annuity when they're out of office,” and so he marveled: “Is there any humanity in either of these guys?” Letterman's conspiratorial rant:
My feeling about Cheney, and also Bush, but especially Cheney is that he just couldn't care less about Americans. And the same is true of George Bush. And all they really want to do is somehow kiss up to the oil people so they can get some great annuity when they're out of office. [audience applause] “There you go Dick [hand motion of distributing cash], nice job. There's a couple of billion for your troubles.” I mean, he pretty much put Halliburton in business and the outsourcing of the military resources to private mercenary groups and so forth. Is there any humanity in either of these guys?
The discussion about “war crimes” on the Wednesday, July 23 Late Show with David Letterman on CBS:
DAVID LETTERMAN: About a year ago we had a guy on who was running for President of the United States – is out now -- but was campaigning and during the commercial I said to him, “what do you think-” -- and he's a Democrat -- I said, “what do you think George Bush's legacy might be?” And he says, “well, I tell you what ought to happen to him, he should be arrested and tried for war crimes.” And we all sort of thought, well, he's being wacky, he's being funny. But now, you wonder, what was he talking about?
            
JANE MAYER: Well, I don't think they're laughing about it in the White House, anyway, right now. There are people talking about war crimes trials. I, you know, in Congress there are people who are at least pushing for truth commissions, they want to see what happened in this program. There are all these dark secrets, still. I mean, I got as many as I could get into this book, but there's a lot that we still don't know.

LETTERMAN: Well we believe that a trial will never happen, but can a case be made that George Bush's administration is clearly guilty of war crimes? That's easy enough to make that case, or-

MAYER: Well, you know, I'm not a lawyer, also, but I think that what they did was they said that the Geneva conventions don't apply to terrorists. so when that happened they basically said war crimes are just not applicable, so-

LETTERMAN: Is that spelled out in the Geneva convention, “oh by the way none of this applies to terrorists?”

MAYER: No, it's not. It took special lawyers to come up with special answers, which is what they did here.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center