Member Rara Avis
There are, I think, two issues at question here.
Should non-Americans be afforded the same considerations as Americans?
Personally, I see no reason why a French or Brazilian citizen shouldn't be allowed to hire a lawyer and sue an American. And if they find a lawyer, or group of lawyers, willing to file the suit pro bono, I have no problems with that either. Of course, this isn't about France or Brazil, is it? It's about Iraq and Afghanistan, two countries that are occupied by and controlled by American forces. Some might argue that imbues more responsibility, not less?
Should leaders be held responsible for what is done in their name?
Imagine that the CEO of Sara Lee had told those sales clerks he wanted them to get twenty percent more money from all patrons. The clerks were never told to beat you senseless in the store, but neither were they told they couldn't, and as long as no one complained, store policy served to reward the clerks for getting their twenty percent in any way they chose. Still think the CEO isn't responsible for the beating?
That certainly doesn't mean Rumsfeld or Bush is responsible for everything every soldier under their watch has ever done. It does, however, mean they are responsible for far more than just direct orders given. "The buck stops here" has no meaning unless our leaders can be held accountable.
How to decide? Sounds like a job for the courts to me. If Rumsfeld is innocent and without blame, being sued is simply an inconvenient. Some might even say the possibility of being sued is part of the cost of being an American.