Our War Criminals

excerpted from the book

Rogue State

A Guide to the World's Only Superpower

by William Blum

Common Courage Press, 2000


Any number of countries would be justified in issuing a list of Americans barred from entry because of "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity". Such a list might include the following:

William Clinton, president, for his merciless bombing of the people of Yugoslavia for 78 days and nights, taking the lives of many hundreds of civilians, and producing one of the greatest ecological catastrophes in history; for his relentless continuation of the sanctions and rocket attacks upon the people of Iraq; and for his illegal and lethal bombings of Somalia, Bosnia, Sudan and Afghanistan.

General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, for his direction of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia with an almost sadistic fanaticism..."He would rise out of his seat and slap the table. 'I've got to get the maximum violence out of this campaign-now!"

George Bush, president, for the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, including many thousands of children, the result of his 40 days of bombing and the institution of draconian sanctions; and for his unconscionable bombing of Panama, producing widespread death, destruction and homelessness, for no discernible reason that would stand up in a court of law.

General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his prominent role in the attacks on Panama and Iraq, the latter including destruction of nuclear reactors as well as plants making biological and chemical agents. It was the first time ever that live reactors had been bombed, and ran the risk of setting a dangerous precedent. Hardly more than a month had passed since the United Nations, under whose mandate the United States was supposedly operating in Iraq, had passed a resolution reaffirming its "prohibition of military attacks on nuclear facilities" in the Middle East. In the wake of the destruction, Powell gloated: "The two operating reactors they had are both gone, they're down, they're finished." He was just as cavalier about the lives of the people of Iraq. In response to a question concerning the number of Iraqis killed in the war, the good general replied: "It's really not a number I'm terribly interested in."

And for his part in the cover up of war crimes in Vietnam by troops of the same brigade that carried out the My Lai massacre.

General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, for his military leadership of the Iraqi carnage; for continuing the carnage two days after the cease-fire; for continuing it against Iraqis trying to surrender.

Ronald Reagan, president, for eight years of death, destruction, torture and the crushing of hope inflicted upon the people of El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Grenada by his policies; and for his bombings of Lebanon, Libya and Iran. He's forgotten all this, but the world shouldn't.

Elliott Abrams, Assistant Secretary of State under Reagan, for rewriting history, even as it was happening, by instituting Iying as public policy. He was indispensable to putting the best possible face on the atrocities being committed daily by the Contras in Nicaragua and other Washington allies in Central America, thus promoting continued support for them; a spinmeister for the ages, who wrestled facts into ideological submission. "When history is written," he declared "the Contras will be folk heroes."

Casper Weinberger, Secretary of Defense for seven years under Reagan, for his official and actual responsibility for the numerous crimes against humanity perpetrated by the United States in Central America and the Caribbean, and for the bombing of Libya in 1986. George Bush pardoned him for Iran-Contra, but he should not be pardoned for his war crimes.

Lt. Col. Oliver North, assigned to Reagan's National Security Council, for being a prime mover behind the Contras of Nicaragua and for his involvement in the planning of the invasion of Grenada, which took the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians.

Henry Kissinger (who has successfully combined three careers: scholar, Nobel peace laureate, and war criminal), National Security Adviser under Nixon and Secretary of State under Nixon and Ford, for his Machiavellian, amoral, immoral roles in the US interventions into Angola, Chile, East Timor, Iraq, Vietnam and Cambodia, which brought unspeakable horror and misery to the peoples of those lands.

Gerald Ford, president, for giving his approval to Indonesia to use American arms to brutally suppress the people of East Timor, thus setting in motion a quarter-century-long genocide.

Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, a prime architect of, and major bearer of responsibility for, the slaughter in Indochina, from its early days to its extraordinary escalations; and for the violent suppression of popular movements in Peru.

General William Westmoreland, Army Chief of Staff, for the numerous war crimes under his command in Vietnam. In 1971, Telford Taylor, the chief US prosecutor at the post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunal, cited the "Yamashita" case as grounds for indicting Westmoreland. Following the war, a US Army Commission had sentenced Japanese General Tomayuki Yamashita to be hung for atrocities committed by his troops in the Philippines. The Commission held that as the senior commander, Yamashita was responsible for not stopping the atrocities. The same ruling could of course apply to General Powell and General Schwarzkopf. Yamashita, in his defense, presented considerable evidence that he had lacked the communications to adequately control his troops; yet he was still hung. Taylor pointed out that with helicopters and modern communications, Westmoreland and his commanders didn't have this problem.

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