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GIs Who Invaded Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Are Criminal Under International Law and US Army’s Own Law

GIs Who Invaded Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Are Criminal Under International Law and US Armys Own Law

dissidentvoice.org
By Jay Janson



Memorial Day will someday mean a double mourning, a mourning for the violent deaths suffered by of millions of American military and a much more agonizing mourning for the deaths, maiming, destruction and suffering these Americans in uniform brought to millions of innocent men, women and children by committing crimes against humanity in their own beloved countries for the lies of their government and media.

Regarding any order to invade and or kill in another country: An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders — if the order was illegal.1

“I was only following orders,” has been unsuccessfully used as a legal defense in hundreds of cases (probably most notably by Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg tribunals following World War II). The defense didn’t work for them, nor has it worked in hundreds of cases since.

Here below copied are the very clear Nuremberg Principles of International Law, which former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark unequivocally states are part of the law of the land by Article Six of the US Constitution.

Principle I
“Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.”

Principle II
“The fact that an internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.”

Principle III
“The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.”
This paraphrases to, “even if you are head of state you still can be tried under international law.”

Principle IV
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him”.
This principle could be paraphrased as follows: “It is not an acceptable excuse to say ‘I was just following my superior’s orders’”.

Principle V
“Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.”
Principle VI “The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes Against Peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(c) Crimes Against Humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population,

Principle VII
“Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

Memorial Day 2017, like Memorial Days over the last sixty odd years, have been used to herald US invasions, bombings and military occupations as fighting for freedom to distract from the horrific truth of continuing US crimes of against humanity and crimes of genocide in more than a dozen smaller nations.

Regarding what US GIs did to the soft spoken Buddhist Vietnamese, the United States of America dropped more than twice the amount of bombs on them that were dropped during all of the Second World War in Europe, Asia and Africa by all sides. This was after the US government first brought back in the formerly fascist French Colonial Army in US ships, and financially supported their attempt to recolonize Vietnam for eight bloody years. (Vichy France had turned its colony over to the Japanese during WWII.)

Martin Luther King cried out one year before his assassination:

They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps. So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords…What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? …We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing — in the crushing of the nation’s unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.2

How many African American veterans would continue to wear proudly their I am Vietnam Veteran caps if they read or listened to the video of Kings sermon “Beyond Vietnam: a Time to Break Silence,” which has been blacked out of US monopoly media since 1967?2

The reason six US Presidents and US mainstream media gave for the many millions of deaths in French Indochina was seeking to prevent a communist government in Vietnam, but in spite of all the six or seven million deaths, maiming, and malformed births throughout Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Vietnam has had ever since a communist government and is, presently, like the Chinese communist government, a favorite trading partner of the United States of America. How do the families of fallen American GIs who know this feel about their sons and daughters having given their lives for this abject failure of the US government and military in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Iraq which took the lives of so many innocent millions and achieving nothing but death and destruction.

Regarding what American servicemen and women accomplished in Iraq,3 namely the taking of more than a million lives, many of which were children, we recall a’TV interview of President Bush, jokingly peering under his desk for the missing weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq was accused of having as a reason for invading that prosperous oil rich nation which provided good health care to its citizens, and presently is a destroyed country. No compensation, indemnity, reparations were ever given, not even an apology.

Indian writer Arundhati Roy captured the humanity of the victims of US militarism:

Each of the Iraqi children killed by the United States was our child. Each of the prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib was our comrade. Each of their screams was ours. When they were humiliated, we were humiliated. The U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq — mostly volunteers in a poverty draft from small towns and poor urban neighborhoods — are victims just as much as the Iraqis of the same horrendous process, which asks them to die for a victory that will never be theirs.4

Not this during this year, nor during most probably many years to follow, but in some year future year, when the economic power of the USA wanes and China and other formerly victimized nations supplant the USA as more influential, will law be restored. And because there is no statute of time limitations for aggression and genocide, the USA, Europe and the UN Secretariat should be sued for reparations in such mega colossal amounts that Wall Street investments in past illegal and unconstitutional use of US Armed Forces will turn out to have been worse than just unprofitable.

  1. See “Obeying an Unlawful Military Order,” The Balance, Oct 18, 2016. []
  2. Beyond Vietnam,” a blistering sermon by Martin Luther King in New York, 1967. [] []
  3. Iraq’s health care system
    Iraq had developed a centralized free health care system in the 1970s using a hospital based, capital-intensive model of curative care. The country depended on large-scale imports of medicines, medical equipment and even nurses, paid for with oil export income, according to a “Watching Brief” report issued jointly by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2003.

    Iraq developed a Westernized system of sophisticated hospitals with advanced medical procedures, provided by specialist physicians. The UNICEF/WHO report noted that prior to 1990, 97 percent of the urban dwellers and 71 percent of the rural population had access to free primary health care; just 2 percent of hospital beds were privately managed.

    Infant mortality rates fell from 80 per 1,000 live births in 1974, to 60 in 1982 and 40 in 1989, according to government statistics. A similar trend characterized under-five mortality rates which halved from 120 per 1,000 live births in 1974 to 60 in 1989. (Later studies have questioned these optimistic Iraqi government figures.)

    With the 1991 Gulf War that followed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the situation changed dramatically. The war damaged hospitals, power generation, and water treatment facilities; foreign nurses left the country; and the health budget was slashed. From US$500 million in 1989, the import budget plummeted to US$50 million in 1991 and then to $22 million in 1995. Spending per capita fell from a minimum of US$86 to US$17 in 1996.

    In the eight months following the 1991 war, mortality rates for children under five shot back up to 120 per 1,000 live births, the highest recorded increase for any country in the world in the 1990s, according to the UNICEF/WHO report.

    From Pratap Chatterjee, “Health Care in Iraq Was Better Under Saddam Hussein,” January 18, 2007. []

  4. Arundhati Roy, “Tide? Or Ivory Snow? Public Power in the Age of Empire,” August 23, 2004. []

Jay Janson, spent eight years as Assistant Conductor of the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra in Hanoi and also toured, including with Dan Tai-son, who practiced in a Hanoi bomb shelter. The orchestra was founded by Ho Chi Minh,and it plays most of its concerts in the Opera House, a diminutive copy of the Paris Opera. In 1945, our ally Ho, from a balcony overlooking the large square and flanked by an American Major and a British Colonel, declared Vietnam independent. Everyone in the orchestra lost family, “killed by the Americans” they would mention simply, with Buddhist un-accusing acceptance. Jay can be reached at: [email protected]. Read other articles by Jay.

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