American War Criminals

America is unbelievably polite to it’s war criminals. For starters, we never call them “was criminals”. We don’t let their great failures preclude them from going on television news shows as experts about the very things they should be in jail for. Our media, considerate and deferential to power, goes to great lengths not to bring up their crimes. Instead of sending them to jail, we send them to the private sector to run schools, think tanks and consulting firms, to parlay their failures into successful careers where they amass vast personal fortunes safe in the knowledge that they will never be brought to justice for their war crimes.

 When one looks at the post WW II prosecution of government officials on war crimes and apply those same standards (Nuremburg Principals and Geneva convention) to the way wars have been conducted by the United States it’s worth wondering (it begs the question) what makes Hermann Goring a war criminal and not Robert McNamara or Donald Rumsfeld? Why Omar al-Bashir and not George W. Bush? Why Charles Taylor and not Dick Cheney? Why Milosevic and not Kissinger?

 Slobodan Milosevic was one of the great monsters of the late 20th century. The Yugoslavian president started 4 wars that killed more than 200,000 and displaced 3 million people. Henry Kissinger oversaw the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos which may have killed as many as 950,000 during the already bloody Vietnam war. Milosevic died during his trial in the Hague and Kissinger appeared on the Colbert Report. Certainly, if we held them both to the same standards of the Nuremburg principals and Geneva conventions we would come to the same conclusion.