War Criminals: Theirs and Ours
I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. Fortunately, we were on the winning side.
– US General Curtis LeMay, commander of the 1945 Tokyo fire bombing operation.
On December 3, 1996, the US 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. Oddly enough, after the war the man in charge of the Unit 731 program – whose test subjects included captured American soldiers – General Shiro Ishii, along with a number of his colleagues, had been granted immunity and freedom in exchange for providing the United States with details about their experiments, and were promised that their crimes would not 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”.
Apart from the hypocrisy of the Justice Department including Unit 731 members on such a list while protecting its leaders, we are faced with the fact that 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, of those still alive in 2005, might include:
William Clinton, president, for his merciless bombing of the people of Yugoslavia for 78 days and nights in 1999, 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 H. W. Bush, president, for the death of more than a million innocent Iraqi citizens, the result of his 40 days of bombing in 1991, the deliberate ruination of the public water supply, the widespread use of depleted uranium weapons which has brought continuing suffering to many thousands of American servicemen and to many more Iraqis, and for the institution of draconian sanctions against Iraq, which lasted 12 years.
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