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Every living U.S. president should be tried for war crimes
October 4, 2021
On November 29, 1945, at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany, the International Military Tribunal began a trial that both succeeded in unveiling the nature and extent of the atrocities committed by Hitler’s regime and indicting many of the most prominent members of the Nazi Party in the process. The principles of the tribunal determined that an individual was indictable if they had: Participated in a plan or conspiracy in order to commit a crime against the peace, planned, initiated, and waged wars of aggression and other crimes against the peace, participated in war crimes, or committed crimes against humanity. If the same criteria applied to the Nazis in this trial were applied to the six U.S. presidents alive today, each one would be indictable. In order to reveal before the world the extent of the atrocities they have committed and to serve some semblance of justice to their millions of both living and dead victims, another international tribunal must be formed to try these men and any other high-ranking officials involved in their horrific crimes. These six men, indeed these six war criminals, need to be held accountable for the evils they have committed.
These statements may be shocking to Americans of both political parties. So in order to justify my claim that it is once again necessary for the former leaders of a nation to be tried before the global community, I will briefly discuss some of the greatest crimes they committed. The oldest living president is Jimmy Carter. In 1978, Carter radically increased the flow of U.S. advanced weapons to the Indonesian military, which was at the height of its invasion of East Timor and at the time was committing atrocities against the Timorese. The sale of weapons increased to the point in which over 90% of all arms shipments to Indonesia were from the United States, with the Catholic Church estimating over 200,000 East Timorese were killed with these weapons. Carter also increased military aid to Israel, which used the funds, weaponry, and vehicles the United States provided to launch a large-scale invasion of Lebanon and to continue establishing illegal colonial settlements in the West Bank.
The second president who is still alive today is Bill Clinton, but you may be surprised to learn that infidelity was the least of his crimes. On the onset of the Clinton presidency, his administration set the stage for their philosophy on foreign policy by declaring UN peace resolutions in the Middle East “obsolete and anachronistic”. Clinton would go on to oversee what was described as a “peace process” in the region by continuing to use taxpayer funds to illegally support both the Israeli colonization of the West Bank and the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine. Sanctions levied against Iraq by the Clinton Administration were genocidal in proportion, resulting in the deaths of millions of Iraqis, including over 500,000 Iraqi infants. Clinton also sold large quantities of weapons to the Turkish government, which used the weaponry to commit acts of ethnically motivated mass murder in Kurdish communities throughout southeastern Turkey. According to the Turkish government’s own estimates, the U.S. weapons were used to destroy over 3,500 Kurdish towns and villages. Clinton also ordered campaigns of bombings and biological warfare in Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
The brutal two-month long bombardment of Yugoslavia Clinton authorized also resulted in the deaths of an unknown number of civilians.
The two terms that George W. Bush served in office were a genocidal rampage that would have made Hitler himself proud. Bush committed the greatest war crime of the 21st century so far by way of his invasion and occupation of Iraq beginning in 2003. Bush falsely claimed to congress and to the United Nations Security Council that the Iraqi government was in possession of weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the war, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens at the hands of the U.S. military and thousands more at the hands of the terrorist factions that rose to power in the power vacuum that emerged after Saddam Hussein’s regime fell. His other major atrocity was his invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, which began the longest war in U.S. history. Over the course of the war, hundreds of thousands of people died due to the actions of U.S. forces, and hundreds of thousands more were pushed to the brink of starvation due to the occupation.
Barack Obama ran on the promise of hope and change, before taking up the presidency and revealing his true colors as just as much of a genocidal maniac as the man who preceded him. Obama quickly cemented himself as the most deadly terrorist of the 21st century so far, overseeing numerous global terror campaigns that resulted in massacred and traumatized people throughout the third world. Most infamous of these were his campaigns in the Middle East, in which he used drones to murder thousands of civilians who his administration suspected, not proved, of being involved in terrorist organizations or plots. Leaked documents from inside the Pentagon revealed the people that these drones were targeting represented only about 10% of people that were killed in the attacks, while the other 90% of people who died were merely innocent civilians, primarily women and children, who just happened to be near the targets at the time of the attack. This strategy of constantly extrajudicially assassinating people throughout the Middle East led to a reign of terror throughout the region that was so severe that children prayed for gray skies because the clouds made it harder for the U.S. military to carry out these attacks.
Finally, we have Donald J Trump, a man who needs no introduction. Aside from the hundreds of thousands of Americans that died as a result of his criminally negligent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued airstrikes and bombings throughout the Middle East, resulting in untold thousands of more deaths of targets never found guilty by any court, not to mention ordinary people who were happened to be near them. Trump also approved a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia during the Saudi forces’ ongoing genocide in Yemen. This was only one part of his larger push to distribute more U.S. weapons to regimes across the globe, which he accomplished by lifting existing restrictions on selling weapons to countries committing human rights abuses, and selling U.S. arms to far right governments and Neo-Nazi militias in Eastern Europe and totalitarian regimes in the Middle East and Asia.
All of these policy decisions constitute major war crimes, and render all six men indictable under the Nuremberg principles. While Biden’s administration is still fairly young, his involvement in the foreign policy of the Obama Administration and the bombings his administration has already carried out in Syria constitute war crimes, making him clearly indictable as well. None of these men ever deserve to see step foot outside of a prison cell ever again. Because of the scale and severity of the crimes against humanity committed by these administrations, it should be beyond doubt that both these presidents, and all officials in this administration who worked in the formation or implementation of their foreign policy, should similarly be tried in an international court of law for their role in these crimes. The sad acknowledgment that must be made however is that this is unlikely ever to happen. In 2002, Congress passed a law that would allow the United States military to invade the Netherlands if the International Criminal Court so much as hears a case against any American. The truth of the matter is that no matter what atrocities our Presidents commit, the United States is so powerful on the global stage that no one outside of the country’s boarders can hold it accountable. We, as Americans, allowed our leaders to commit these atrocities, and so it is our moral obligation not only to ensure that these crimes do not continue, but that those who committed them are held accountable for their actions. Americans are the only people in the world capable of ensuring accountability for these criminals. It is entirely in our hands.