Thursday, April 23, 2009

War Crimes And Why History Matters

Yes, agents of the government of the United States committed war cimes. I believe that the major fact that not enough of them stood up to those illegal and immoral orders was that they were ignorant of the history of war crimes perpetrated against us and by us in the past.

The excuse "I was just following orders" was negated after World War II during the Nuremberg and Japanese War Tribunals. Germans and Japanese military and civilians were hung because of what they did to various civilian populations (Jews & Chinese(Nanking Massacre) in particular) as well as prisoners-of-war. In addition, American soldiers were also courts martialed for water-boarding Japanese prisoners and were jailed as a result.

Treating prisoners and "other natives" has never been approved by the military and the offices if the Judge Advocate General. Lt. Calley was justly convicted by court martial of ordering the deaths of an entire villiage of South Vietnamese civilians. And, to this very day, this type of behaviour by our forces has been rightly condemned for what it is.

The problem, though, is the fact that it was not the military that ordered these acts. It was our civilian government. Therefore, the government at the time that these acts were committed should be prosecuted for their acts. At the very least , the lawyers in the Department of Justice who authored the memos, the former Vice President and the Secretary of Defense should all be indited. Federal Court Judge Bybee should also be impeached by the House of Representatives and brought to trial in the US Senate. Only by doing these things can we, as a nation, hold our heads high and resume the moral leadership of the world that we claimed be had before these horrific events.

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