I just got back from watching the Inauguration on the really big main screen at the Tivoli Theater here in town, where I was the first person to show up and was sitting front row center. (I may have made the local news, we'll see. When Rick Warren came on, one other person and I got up and stood in the aisle with our backs to the screen. Only after a bit did I notice I was being filmed.)
After the ceremony was over, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and their wives personally escorted George and Laura Bush to the helicopter that was flying them to the airport on their way out of town. As the six of them were coming down the stairs, between the twin rows of rifle-bearing US servicemen and women in formal uniform, I could clearly hear a police siren in the distance, coming vaguely in the direction of the camera. And it gave me this sudden, overwhelmingly powerful fantasy: "Oh, please," I was thinking. "Let this turn out to be a trick, not a gesture of respect but a perp walk. Please tell me that George Bush isn't going to make it onto that helicopter, that the President and all those soldiers are there to arrest George Bush, to make him stand trial for war crimes and for conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity."
But no, as announced, George Bush got on the chopper and flew out of town. It's a pity. Hopefully someone, somewhere will arrest him and the rest of his dirty crew, they'll spend the rest of their natural lives in Spandau Prison, and justice will be served. But whatever unease it would have caused in parts of this country, I for one think would have found it deeply reassuring if the new President had fulfilled his just-taken oath to defend the Constitution, if he had fulfilled his new duty as our nation's number one federal law enforcement official, by arresting a war criminal on live global television scant minutes after being sworn in. It would not only have been deeply symbolic of what "rule of law" means, it would have been really awesome.