Syria: Treaty Obligations, War Crimes, and Accountability

a study in American hypocrisy – Published on Dissident Voice, by Nima Shirazi, August 31, 2013.

Between 1963 and 1973, the U.S. military dropped nearly 400,000 tons of napalm on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In 1980, the United Nations declared the use of napalm gel in densely-populated civilian areas to be a war crime.

Agent Orange, a chemical weapon derived from herbicides, was also used by Americans during the Vietnam War. Between 1962 and 1971, the U.S. military sprayed nearly 20 million gallons of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia, as part of Operation Ranch Hand.  

A 2008 Globe and Mail article reported that “Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed by the defoliants, 500,000 children have been born with defects from retardation to spina bifida and a further two million people have suffered cancers or other illnesses. Yet they have received no compensation from those who produced the chemicals and those who made them a weapon of war.”

According to the the United Nations, Agent Orange is “one of the most toxic compounds known to human,” and the Vietnamese Red Cross has estimated that “as many as one million people in Vietnam have disabilities or other health problems associated with Agent Orange.”

A recently published report in Foreign Policy revealed that, during the Iran-Iraq War from 1980-1988, “America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen.” Among the findings, the report stated that, in 1988, “U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent,” and that “Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence” … //

… Since no allusion to either Syria or Nazi Germany is allowed to pass in the mainstream media without making erroneous comparisons with Iran, Matthews added that, based on Assad’s alleged use of weapons of mass destruction, “It makes you wonder what the mullahs will do if they have a couple of nuclear weapons, just a couple.”

Well, first off, Iran isn’t building nuclear weapons and, even according to U.S. intelligence assessments, hasn’t even made a decision to do so. It has also routinely denounced the acquisition, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons for the past three decades.

Moreover, that Matthews would think Iranian leaders would instigate atomic Armageddon for absolutely no reason is bizarre. But then, again, with a history of promoting misinformation and demonstrating utter ignorance about the Iranian nuclear program, it is no surprise Matthews is pushing such shameless propaganda.

Second, Matthews fails to point out here that, in fact, only one single solitary nation in world history has ever actually used nuclear weapons: the United States of America, which dropped them on a civilians, slaughtering hundreds of thousands.

As Robert McNamara recounted to filmmaker Errol Morris in The Fog of War, “[U.S. Air Force General Curtis] LeMay said, ‘If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.’ And I think he’s right. He, and I’d say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?”

McNamara wondered, “Was there a rule then that said you shouldn’t bomb, shouldn’t kill, shouldn’t burn to death 100,000 civilians in one night?”
(full long text including many quote and hyper-links).

Links:

U.S. military officers have deep doubts about impact, wisdom of a U.S. strike on Syria, on The Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-military-officers-have-deep-doubts-about-impact-wisdom-of-a-us-strike-on-syria/2013/08/29/825dd5d4-10ee-11e3-b4cb-fd7ce041d814_story_1.html
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has warned in great detail about the risks and pitfalls of U.S. military intervention in Syria …;

U.S. military officers have deep doubts about impact, wisdom of a U.S. strike on Syria, on The Washington Post: Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has warned in great detail about the risks and pitfalls of U.S. military intervention in Syria …;

in german: Historische Blamage: Meuterei der US-Militärs zwang Obama zum Rückzug, aus Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, 1. Sept. 2013;

Welcoming the Vote of the British Parliament while Supporting the Syrian Uprising, on ZNet (first on Open Democracy), by Gilbert Achcar, September 01, 2013;

John Kerry’s Big Lie Syndrome, on Dissident Voice, by Phil Greaves, September 1, 2013: US secretary of state John Kerry has just delivered what may turn out to be his most shameful moment in history. Kerry has been handed the baton of sabre-rattler-in-Chief by a President that has much vested interest in upholding his facade of “reluctant warmonger” …;

Syria: the US public faces a grim reality TV choice, on The Guardian, by Jonathan Steele, Sept. 1, 2013;

UN remains deeply divided as Obama poised for Syria attack, on Belfast Telegraph, by Colin Francis, Sept 2, 2013;

Pentagon says yes: Pentagon officials say strike won’t be hurt by delay, on USA Today,

(see also: Welcome to our new blog: politics for the 99%).

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