FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
January 24, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
A Letter From Iowa
Jim Kavanagh
Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Camp by the Lake
Chuck Churchill
The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?
Robert Hunziker
A Climate Time Bomb With Trump’s Name Inscribed
Andrew Levine
Trump: The King
Jess Franklin
Globalizing the War on Indigenous People: Bolsonaro and Modi
James Graham
From Paris, With Tear Gas…
Rob Urie
Why the Primaries Matter
Dan Bacher
Will the Extinction of Delta Smelt Be Governor Gavin Newsom’s Environmental Legacy?
Ramzy Baroud
In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding
Vijay Prashad
What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq
Louis Proyect
Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie
Nick Pemberton
AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Promtheus’ Fire: Climate Change in the Time of Willful Ignorance
Linn Washington Jr.
Waiting for Justice in New Jersey
Ralph Nader
Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Don’t Kill 72 Grizzly Bears So Cattle Can Graze on Public Lands
Joseph Natoli
Who’s Speaking?
Kavaljit Singh
The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic
Cesar Chelala
The Coronavirus Serious Public Health Threat in China
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare
Robert Fantina
Impeachment as a Distraction
Courtney Bourgoin
What We Lose When We Lose Wildlife
Mark Ashwill
Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American
Daniel Warner
Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times
Manuel Perez-Rocha
How NAFTA 2.0 Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters, Particularly in Mexico
Dean Baker
What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity
Mel Gurtov
India’s Failed Democracy
Thomas Knapp
US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?
Winslow Myers
Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”
Jeff Mackler
U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?
Sam Pizzigati
Braggadocio in the White House, Carcinogens in Our Neighborhoods
Christopher Brauchli
The Company Trump Keeps
Julian Vigo
Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue
Ramzy Baroud
These Chains Will Be Broken
Chris Wright
A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution
Thomas Barker
The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend
Nicky Reid
It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again
Michelle Valadez
Amy Klobuchar isn’t Green
David Swanson
CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Jill Richardson
‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty
David Yearsley
Watching Star Wars in Berlin
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail