FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War Crimes: John Kerry’s Really Got Some Kind of Nerve

US Secretary of State John Kerry opined (in an October 7 appearance with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault) that Russian military actions in Syria “beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes.” French President Francois Hollande echoed the sentiment.

Kerry might want to keep the fate of his German predecessor, Joachim von Ribbentrop, in mind when making such statements. Ribbentrop, Hitler’s Foreign Minister, was hanged after trial at Nuremberg.

Kerry complains that Russian forces — in Syria helping that country’s government put down a rebellion backed by the United States and al Qaeda (yes, that al Qaeda) — are pursuing a “targeted strategy to terrorize civilians and to kill anybody and everybody who is in the way of their military objectives.” Maybe he’s right. I certainly harbor no love for Vladimir Putin or Bashar al-Assad.

But where, one might ask, has John Kerry been for the last 15 years as the US has pursued a “targeted strategy to terrorize civilians and to kill anybody and everybody who is in the way of their military objectives” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia at the cost of hundreds of thousands, possibly more than a million, civilian lives?

Why did Secretary Kerry’s conscience go untroubled by possible war crimes repercussions when US forces killed at least 42 civilians in an AC-130U gunship attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan a year ago this month?

Where has his deep concern over war crimes been during the decade-plus US terror campaign of drone assassinations across the Middle East, Africa and Asia? Jeremy Scahill, writing for The Intercept, reports that in a two-month sampling of drone strikes in Afghanistan, nearly 90% of those killed were not the actual targets. For some reason, US drone killers seem particularly attracted to wedding parties and other noncombatant civilian activities.

Did the whole war crimes thing perhaps come into perspective for Mr. Kerry on October 12, when US Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) notified him in a letter that the US may be (read: is) culpable for its involvement in Saudi war crimes in Yemen (the US provides arms and aerial refueling support to the Saudi invaders)?

There seem to be plenty of potential war crimes investigations to go around, don’t there? Maybe enough to merit renting a hall in Nuremberg.

Fortunately for Russia, Syria and the US, those three regimes haven’t ratified the Rome Statute and placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for war crimes. The US also lucks out with Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia, none of which are party to the ICC treaty either.

Afghanistan, however, is a Rome Statute party. War crimes there come under ICC jurisdiction, regardless of who commits them. Perhaps an investigation of the Kunduz attack will fulfill Kerry’s desire to see war crimes punished.

And perhaps pigs will fly. Every nation’s ruling class considers itself exceptional and proves it by sheltering its own war criminals from justice whenever possible. Here’s hoping they all end up like Ribbentrop.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail