War Criminals: Theirs and Ours

by William Blum


On December 3, 1996, the Justice Department issued a list of 16 Japanese citizens who would be barred from entering the United States because of "war crimes" committed during the Second World War. Among those denied entry were some who were alleged to have been members of the infamous "Unit 731", which, said the Justice Department, "conducted inhumane and frequently lethal pseudo-medical experiments -- on thousands of ... prisoners and civilians," including mass dissections of living humans. (1)

This action appeared to be rather hypocritical in light of the fact that after the war the man in charge of the Unit 731 program -- whose subjects included captured American soldiers -- General Shiroshii, along with his colleagues, had been granted immunity and freedom in exchange for providing the United States with details about the experiments. Moreover, their crimes were not to be revealed to the world. The justification for this policy, advanced by American scientists and military officials, was, of course, the proverbial, ubiquitous "national security".{2}

There is another reason the 1996 policy is hypocritical. The Japanese, if they wished to, could issue a list of Americans barred from Japan for "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity". Such a list might include the following:

George Bush, for the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, including many thousands of children, in attacks upon Iraq and Panama.

Colin Powell, for his prominent role in the attacks on Iraq and Panama.

General Norman Schwarzkopf, for his military leadership of the Iraqi carnage.

Ronald Reagan, for the death, destruction, and torture inflicted upon the people of El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Grenada by his military and political policies.

Elliott Abrams, for his key participation in Reagan's obsessive and paranoid "anti-communist" crusade.

Oliver North, for being a prime mover behind the contras, whose atrocities are legendary, and for his role in the invasion of Grenada, which took the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians.

Henry Kissinger (who has successfully combined two careers: socialite and war criminal), for his Machiavellian, amoral, immoral roles in the US interventions into Angola, Chile, East Timor, Vietnam, and Cambodia which brought unspeakable horror and misery to the peoples of those lands.

Gerald Ford, for giving his approval to Indonesia to use American arms to brutally suppress the people of East Timor.

Robert McNamara, for his responsibility in the slaughters in Indochina and the suppression of popular movements in Peru.

John Deutch, for his callous coverups of Gulf War Syndrome at the Defense Department and drug complicity at the CIA.

Bill Clinton, for his unprovoked rocket attacks upon the people of Iraq and his continual military aid to the governments of Turkey, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, which use the weapons to arm death squads and to carry out wholesale massacres of their own people.


1. Washington Post, December 4, 1996, p. A1

2. Leonard A. Cole, Clouds of Secrecy: The Army's Germ Warfare Tests over Populated
Areas (Maryland, 1990), pp. 12-14

Written by William Blum, author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions
Since World War II; email:bblum6@aol.com

William Blum page