themcglynn.com

17 Feb

Will Obama Reverse ‘Invasion of the Hague’ Act?

The Dutch Still Wince at the Symbolic Bush-era ‘Invasion of The Hague Act’

By ROBERT MARQUAND

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, Feb. 14, 2009

Full Article

In 2002, Congress passed a law enabling United States forces to unilaterally storm into peaceful Holland to liberate American soldiers held for war crimes.

Coming in the early days of the war on terrorists, and as the International Criminal Court was being formed here, the measure provoked controversy and seemed to the Dutch  stout US allies  an absurd example of America’s “with us or against us” foreign policy.

The law is still on the books.

Formally titled the American Service Members Protection Act, the measure is widely and derisively known here as the Invasion of The Hague Act.

Odd as it may seem, the law allows the US to constitutionally send jack-booted commandos to fly over fields of innocent tulips, swoop into the land of wooden shoes, tread past threatening windmills and sleepy milk cows into the Dutch capital  into a city synonymous with international law  and pry loose any US troops.

Today, the Dutch mostly treat the issue as a joke, a cowboy American moment. But it is widely felt that if President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team wants to achieve a symbolic break with the previous White House, it could rescind the invasion law.

As a Dutch Ministry of Justice official put it, “I wouldn’t overstate how seriously we take this any more, but it does seem a bizarre symbol.”……………………………………………….

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