Veteran Rumble Email-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A forwarded “Veteran Rumble” email claims that President Obama plans to join the U.N.’s International Criminal Court and that more than 1,000 U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan in the previous 27 months to encourage veterans to vote in the 2014 mid-term elections.
Encouraging veterans to vote is an admirable cause, but this eRumor uses false information to make the case.
U.S. policy regarding the U.N.’s International Criminal Court (ICC) hasn’t changed much since President Bill Clinton left office in 2000. ICC was established in the Hague as a permanent, independent court under the Rome Statute in July 2002. Its stated purpose was to bring individuals who commit war crimes, or crimes against humanity, to justice, the Congressional Research Service reports.
Clinton signed the Rome Statute in 2000, but Congress never ratified U.S. membership. Clinton said he wouldn’t recommend ratification to the Senate due to concern that the ICC could assert jurisdiction over U.S. officials and members of U.S. Armed Forces — even if the U.S. was not a party to the Rome Statute. In 2002, President George W. Bush said the U.S. wouldn’t be a party to the Rome Statute. By the end of Bush’s second term, however, the U.S. “began to treat the ICC as a potentially effective tool for international criminal justice.” The Obama administration officials supported several ICC prosecutions and, in 2010, “reiterated the United States’ intention to provide diplomatic and informational support to ICC prosecutions on a case-by-case basis.” The American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002 forbids the U.S. government from providing material assistance to the ICC, the Congressional Research Service reports.
Still, there’s no proof to the eRumor’s claim that Obama plans to ask the Senate to ratify the Rome Statute. Even conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation have said as much.
“The most significant policy change is that the U.S. now attends the meetings of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Court,” Brian Schaefer, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation said. “No wonder conservatives are not paying the ICC much mind. U.S. policy is already largely where they want it to be, and the Obama administration, thankfully, appears uninterested in changing it.”
The eRumor’s claim that more than 1,000 American soldiers had died in Afghanistan in the previous 27 months was also untrue. There were 175 fatalities in Afghanistan from 2013 to mid 2014, the non-profit group icasualties.org reports.