Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where Are They Now?

by Philip Giraldi, June 23, 2009

"After the Second World War, the victorious Allies believed it was important to establish accountability for the crimes that had been committed by officials of the Axis powers. The judges at the Nuremberg Trials called the initiation of a war of aggression the ultimate war crime because it inevitably unleashed so many other evils. Ten leading Nazis were executed at Nuremberg, and 93 Japanese officials were executed after similar trials staged in Asia. Those who were not executed for being complicit in the launching of war were tried for torture of both military personnel and civilians and crimes against humanity, including the mass killing of civilians and soldiers who had surrendered or been captured.

No matter how one tries to avoid making comparisons between 1939 and 2003, the American invasion of Iraq was a war of aggression, precisely the type of conflict that the framework of accountability provided by Nuremberg was supposed to prevent in the years after 1946. High-level U.S. government officials knew that Iraq represented no threat to the United States, but they nevertheless described an imminent danger posed by Saddam Hussein in the most graphic terms, replete with weapons of mass destruction, armed drones sailing across the Atlantic, terrorists being unleashed against the homeland, and mushroom clouds on the horizon. Meanwhile, the U.S. was waging a largely secret "long war" against terrorists employing torture and secret prisons. The American people and most of the world bought into the lies and half-truths. Is there much difference between what the U.S. government did when it went to war on a lie in 2003 and what Hitler’s government did in 1939 when it falsely claimed that Polish troops had attacked Germany? Was torture by the Gestapo any different than torture by a contractor working for the CIA?

Many Americans now consider leading figures in the Bush administration, aided and abetted by many enablers in Congress from both political parties, to be unindicted war criminals. Together they started a conflict that is still running strong six years later with a tally of more than 4,000 dead Americans and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis. Not content with the war itself, they tarnished America’s name by also initiating a comprehensive counter-terrorism program that featured torture both by proxy through "extraordinary rendition" and directly by American intelligence officers. The stalwart crew that brought Iraq home to America will likely remain unpunished as long as the Obama administration maintains a policy of "looking forward" rather than backward as an excuse......

So yet again, no one is guilty and no one is punished. Everyone is, in fact, richly rewarded for their dedication to their country. Can there be any wonder why ambitious people who are ethically challenged flock to start wars and torture for Uncle Sam? It is because they know they will never be held accountable for anything they do and will reap the financial rewards that they think they deserve. Until that culture is eradicated by something like a Nuremberg trial, the United States will continue to be a place that the rest of the world quite rightly regards as preaching respect for laws and values while rewarding just the opposite."

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