war crimes

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Norman Solomon’s “When War Crimes Are Impossible” at AlterNet talks about journalist Robert Parry’s work at Consortium News. In “Time to Talk War Crimes,” Parry writes:

While many Americans think of the Nuremberg trials after World War II as just holding Nazi leaders accountable for genocide, a major charge against Adolf Hitler’s henchmen was the crime of aggressive war. Later, that principle was embodied in the United Nations Charter, forbidding armed aggression by one state against another. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who represented the United States at the Nuremberg Tribunal, made clear that the intent was to establish a precedent against aggressive war.

“Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions,” Jackson said, adding that the same rules would apply to the victors in World War II.

“Let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose, it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment,” Jackson said.

“We are able to do away with domestic tyranny and violence and aggression by those in power against the rights of their own people only when we make all men answerable to the law. This trial represents mankind’s desperate effort to apply the discipline of the law to statesmen who have used their powers of state to attack the foundations of the world’s peace and to commit aggression against the rights of their neighbors.”

In light of this, Solomon asks:

Is Congress ready to consider the possibility that the commander in chief has committed war crimes during the past few years? Of course not. But the role of journalists shouldn't be to snuggle within the mental confines of Capitol Hill. We need the news media to fearlessly address matters of truth, not cravenly adhere to limits of expediency.

It was only a few years ago that the media couldn’t bear to use the word “lie” in conjunction with the words that came out of Bush’s mouth; it wasn’t until his façade of veracity crumbled beyond repair that it became possible for the media to admit the obvious. The concept of war crimes will probably follow a similar timeline: a long refusal to see the evidence as the expression of torture-friendly policies, followed by a partial and grudging acceptance of the facts. Only then will the Bush administration’s war crimes become facts that the media allow themselves to see. For the time being, the concept isn’t merely invisible to them—it is completely incomprehensible.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on April 4, 2006 3:01 PM.

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