Our War Criminals
excerpted from the book
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
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
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
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
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
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.