During last month’s victory over ISIS in Mosul, northern Iraq, United States-led forces killed thousands of civilians. The devastating loss of life prompted Amnesty International to lead calls into the investigation of what “could constitute war crimes”, with “barely any city left to declare liberated”.
ISIS commanders must have looked on in awe at the US-led forces’ “disregard for human life”, racking up death tolls that the Islamic terror group could simply not match – using “imprecise and unnecessarily powerful weapons”, which must “immediately be publicly acknowledged… by the states that are part of the US-led coalition”.
It seems highly likely, based on history, that the leading actor here (the US) will not “publicly acknowledge” any possible crimes they committed – as, by unspoken rule, the US simply does not investigate its own crimes. In fact when crimes are perpetrated by the world’s leading power it is almost as if they never happened. As a result the exact numbers of casualties are never known.
For example decades on from the war against Vietnam, the exact death toll suffered by the Vietnamese was supposedly at around two million. This figure was seen to be excessive. Within the past decade reports have emerged putting the death toll at about four million – the heaviest loss of life in a conflict since the Second World War.
The average American estimates the death toll suffered by the Vietnamese at about 100,000 – 2.5% of the actual total. Such is the lack of awareness and accountability put forward by American leaders.
Meanwhile in the recent conflicts against ISIS, US-led forces widely used chemical warfare such as the dropping of white phosphorus, “gravely endanger[ing] the lives of thousands of civilians” – such as in the battles for Raqqa in Syria, and earlier Mosul. The white phosphorus which “burns to the bone” is “most likely US-made”, Amnesty International explained.
Two months prior to this, in April, the US (and allies) roundly condemned Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government for an alleged chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun – despite an absence of evidence linking the Syrian leader and his forces to the attack. Failing to provide proof US President Donald Trump said it “cannot be tolerated”, mourning the death of “innocent children, innocent babies… that crosses many, many lines”.
British Prime Minister Theresa chimed in with her own noble sentiments saying, “there can be no future for Assad in a stable Syria… we cannot allow this suffering to continue”.
Yet there was no such mourning two months later for “innocent babies” when US-led forces were clearly recorded using outlawed chemical weapons, not just in Syria, but Iraq too. The chemical assaults were conducted “in densely populated areas”, and furthermore, were backed up by indiscriminate bombardment from the air. An international outcry from the esteemed Western powers and their corporate media lackeys was absent here.
On this occasion the British Prime Minister was not heard saying, “we cannot allow this suffering to continue”. Rather, we can allow it to continue by remaining silent, or indeed actively participating in it. These heinous acts did not come under the category of crossing “many, many lines” because the US bore main responsibility.
When an enemy can be accused of crimes they enter history as crimes. When the West, their puppet dictators and leaders commit crimes they just didn’t happen. There are credible reports Petro Poroshenko’s Kiev regime used chemical weapons in its war against Donbass over three years ago. There was no outpouring of indignation from the West, with Russia virtually the only world power calling for investigations.
The US has a long and forgotten record of utilising both chemical and biological warfare – indeed it was the world’s pioneer. During the Second World War napalm killed more Japanese than the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The US Air Force dropped over 32,000 tons of napalm during the Korean War of the early 1950s. A decade later, US President John F. Kennedy authorised the use of napalm in the war against Vietnam, in which dioxin was also employed – one of the most lethal carcinogens. Vietnamese continue to die today because of these past crimes, which are simply not discussed in mainstream dialogue.
The US was also in the lead when it came to biological warfare – Cuba being the primary victim here. Cuban crops were targeted for contamination as were its sugar exports, the country’s lifeline.
In the early 1970s the CIA introduced African swine flu into Cuba, deliberately targeting pork production, a staple of the Cuban diet. The nation’s entire pig population had to be put down. In 1981 a potent strain of dengue fever was planted into Cuba by the US. Almost 275,000 people were infected with the disease, causing 158 deaths, mostly children.
The devastating air strikes Western-led forces have unleashed on civilians across the world also seems to be a long-held principal. During the latter stages of World War II, the Allies deliberately fire-bombed German and Japanese cities and towns to inflict maximum casualties among civilians (major war crimes) – far outweighing the deaths inflicted by the Luftwaffe for instance. The worst was left till last when two atoms bombs were dropped on Japanese cities, causing tens of thousands of civilian deaths.
Yet when the Nuremberg trials were held it was Nazi war criminals alone that stood in the dock there. During the proceedings German Admiral Karl Doenitz called into his defence his American counterpart, Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander-in-chief of the US Pacific Fleet.
Nimitz provided an affidavit revealing that forces under his command used similar actions to those Doenitz was accused of, such as performing “unrestricted submarine warfare” in the Pacific. Doenitz – described by Adolf Hitler as “a National Socialist through and through” – was handed 10 years imprisonment, an admittedly light sentence under the circumstances. Nimitz walked free, however.
Likewise during the 1946 Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal it was strictly Japanese military leaders and personnel put on trial, thousands of them in fact. The unspoken law that victors do not investigate their own crimes applies to the present day.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.