The United Nations General Assembly voted 93-24 with 58 abstentions to drop the Russian Federation from membership on the UN Human Rights Council, based on allegations and grisly videos and photos appearing to show execution-style slayings of civilians in Ukraine by Russian troops.
While there are calls for independent investigations into those allegations, the U.S. and NATO member state governments have been pushing the claim that Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine including the major war crime of invading another country, the unasked question in the U.S. media is: Why hasn’t the U.S. been kicked out of the Human Rights Council for similar war crimes that aren’t at all allegations, but are well documented fact? Why indeed, for all the accusations that Russian President Vladimir Putin is himself a war criminal responsible for all these crimes, haven’t a number of U.S. presidents still living been accused of war crimes?
Let’s look at some of those crimes:
First and biggest, there is the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Iraq posed no immediate threat to the U.S. Not even close the way Ukraine shares a 1300-mile border with Russia, Iraq had no navy, no long-range bombers or missiles and is located 7000 miles from the nearest U.S. border.
That war, completely illegal, went unpunished, as did the people who ordered it: President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The same is true of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The excuse for that was was that the U.S. wanted to hunt down and capture or destroy the Al Qaeda terrorist organization which was primarily based in Afghanistan, guests of that country’s Taliban government, which claimed not to know that the group and it leader, the Saudi Arabian Osama Bin Laden, were plotting a terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. Because this was not an attack by Afghanistan, and because the Taliban was ready to surrender Bin Laden and his accomplices if offered assurances that they would not be executed — an offer the U.S. refused — there was no justification for that invasion o the 20-year war and occupation that followed it, whose aim shifted from pursuing Al Qaeda to ousting the Taliban from power.
The U.S. invasion of Libya and the overthrow and murder of its leader Muammar Qaddafy in 2011 was similarly a war crime, as, like the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq before it, was never sanctioned by any UN Security Council Vote, and because Libya posed no threat to the U.S., imminent or otherwise, as required under international law. President Obama, who ordered that war, is also as much a war criminal as is President Putin.
It should also be pointed out that while the number of civilians killed in the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, horrible as they are, are being tallied in the tens of thousands at most to date. The U.S., according to a conservative estimate, by the Brown University Watson institute is directly responsible for 363,000 civilian deaths — many of them children — in the years since September 2001, most of them in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in numerous other illegal bombings of other countries targeted in what the U.S. government has called the War on Terror. A string of presidents has been responsible for those criminal killings but none has even been charged.
President Trump, with his Tomahawk missile attacks on Syrian targets and his military attacks inside Syria is also a war criminal, as Syria too poses no threat to the U.S. and military action against that country too has never been authorized by the United Nations.
Even the destruction we see every day on the news about Ukraine pales compared to the destruction that has been inflicted by the U.S. upon Iraqi cities like Baghdad, Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq, or Raqqa in Syria.
Since neither the U.S. nor Russia has ever agreed to accept the jurisdiction of the World Court, none of these criminal leaders — Putin nor Bush, Cheney, Obama or Trump — will ever face a war crimes tribunal.
It must also be noted that, although the us media almost totally blacked the story out, that Ukrainian forces are also committing war crimes. Here’s one article from the British Guardian newspaper, that includes a video of one such incident of Ukrainian troops shooting captive and injured Russian troops and shooting them in the legs, then letting them bleed to death, while mocking them. A second shows them shooting captives, which itself is a war crime. These videos and photos, posted to YouTube, have been blocked by the company which attributes the decision to “community objections, ” which in the current propagandized US environment, is circular logic and amounts to improper censorship. The story did appear in the NY Post, a Murdoch-owned NY City tabloid, but its video is currently blocked too.
I understand that reality in the U.S. media and the public, but the servile and ignorant howls of U.S. citizens calling for sanctions and criminal proceedings against Russia and its leader Putin, while ignoring our own war-criminal leaders, who should be held to account for the far vaster war crimes that they have perpetrated in our names (and falsely declaring to be in defense of our freedoms) over the last more than two decades, is an outrage.
If nothing else, at least the U.S. media, which boast of their supposed freedom, tenacity and integrity, should reference the home team’s crimes while they’re condemning the villain of the moment. It’s embarrassing to be a journalist these days in the U.S. where a 1960s Pravda-like squad of lickspittle stenographers posing as reporters dutifully report on Russia’s latest crimes in Ukraine, while ignoring even the current crime of genocide being perpetrated with U.S.-supplied planes and bombs against the people of Yemen, which for years now has been targeted by neighboring Saudi Arabia.