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Can an American Commit War Crimes?

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Amerpie Donating Member (380 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:34 PM
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Can an American Commit War Crimes?
Well the easy answer to that is "yes". One needs look no further than Lt. William Calley and the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Members of one company in the Armys Americal division killed hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese women, children and elderly men with rifles and grenades.

The reason that I oppose war so vehemently is because it opens an opportunity for things like this to happen. Our government puts our sons in situations so bizarre that needless killing is bound to happen. I dont say this as some ill-informed liberal with a shock, gasp outlook on life. I served in combat arms, although not in combat. My experience with tough decision-making came while I worked as a guard in a state prison. I know what it is like to have only a split second to plot a course of action in a violent situation. I know what it is like to be second guessed by people who have all the time in the world to figure out how I should have handled a violent felon intent on harming me.

We have demonized (and rightly so) the Germans of the Nazi generation. I think we need to remember that pre-war Germany was a society that in many way paralleled out own. The mindless nationalism, support for a spuriously elected leader, culture of military obedience dont exactly mirror the modern US but there are similarities.

Lets face it. Young men with rifles, bullets and a shoot to kill policy will make mistakes. Governments that play politics with something as serious as war will kill people who dont deserve to die.

History is full of examples of governments that killed without moral justification. To think that the US is exempt from this pattern is nave. To think that there doesnt exist an officer unwilling to issue illegal orders is nave. Our soldiers are allowed under the UCMJ to refuse illegal orders but they dont receive adequate training in how to do so.

I see too much, Support our commander in chief and Obey the orders of the officers appointed over me. I dont see enough personal responsibility.
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daveskilt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:38 PM
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1. good book -modernity and the holocaust
I think by stephen bauman? its on a bookshelf in my daughters room where she is asleep so I cant check. but fits well with what you are saying. damned scary but the US is ripe for what happened in germany to happen here.
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:40 PM
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2. It would serve us well to remember what we told the Germans in Aug, 1945

We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it.

And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy

(snip)

No one excuses Germany for launching a war of aggression because she had grievances, for we do not intend entering into a trial of whether she had grievances.

If she had real grievances, an attack on the peace of the world was not her remedy.... Launching a war of aggression is a crime and ... no political or economic situation can justify it."

-- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Jackson
Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg Trials
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DulceDecorum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:49 PM
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3. Game Over
And there will be no replays.

Britain and the Us were forced to give up on slavery after ever one else in the world refused to condone it.

That little courthouse in the Hague is going to be awfully busy very very soon.

And I would strongly advise Kerry NOT to interfere.
The civilians have put up the RED flag.
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