Friday, January 6, 2012

War Crimes and the American Conscience Part III

During downtimes for my training with Farmers, I was able to read an interesting book from 1970 entitled “War Crimes and the American Conscience.” The book was an analysis of US war crimes committed in Vietnam in the light of the principles of the Nuremburg conference; the recorded notes of the 1970 Congressional Conference on War and National Responsibility. Below are some excerpts.

“Yet [most Americans] should recognize that vigorous objections to policies which the individual regards as unwise is the very stuff of which democracy is made. The true patriot follows the whole of Carl Schurz’s admonition, ‘My country right o wrong; if right to be kept right, if wrong to be put right.’ – Senator George C. McGoveren Pg. 167

“There is a strong emotional argument for supporting our soldiers on the line with everything they need. But they are best supported by actions designed to bring them home and to limit the power of the Executive to demand their sacrifice in an ignoble venture. I have stopped voting for Vietnam war appropriations, and I shall not do so again. – Senator George C. McGoveren Pg. 168

“But a new idea for the United States – a central one for empire – developed after WWII: The matter of winning any particular war, or of losing it, became secondary to the quest for constant military engagement and the display of American power. War became a continuous way of life. War is no longer attached to interests, purposes, or objectives. It became an end in itself, prepared and conducted at the pleasure of national security institutions.
“Since WWII, indeed, the primary activity of national security institutions has been to police the world. Law is subservient to the club, to napalm, to the bribe, to the rolling thunder of the B-52. The United States has executed scores of agreements, assigned hundreds of thousands of troops around the world, placed tactical and strategic nuclear weapons hither and yon, bought and sold governments. National security activity has become a criminal enterprise without political accountability or human motive.
– Senator George C. McGoveren Pg. 172

“As the administration pursues its doctrine of ‘low profile’ involvement around the world, using the CIA or foreign troops rather than American soldiers for intervention, the need for close and continuing public scrutiny becomes more urgent. There is a need, for example, for development of a new standard of bureaucratic responsibility. Would it change the decisional process and the causal view of war if Government officials were personally responsible in a LEGAL sense for their policy actions?
If such questions are to be answered in a positive manner, the Congress and the people must redefine legitimacy, put another way, rather than the internal and national security institutions spying on the people, it is now time for the process to be reversed. – Marcus Raskin Pg. 170

“This is to say that the imminent danger to a democratic society is not the specter of overt military control of national policy, but the more subtle one of a military isolated from the general citizenry, allowing for greater international irresponsibility by its civilian leaders. It is only when the consequences of such irresponsibility are uniformly felt throughout the body politic that we can begin to hope constraints will develop on the use of violence to implement national policy. – Charles C. Markos, JR.
Pg. 181

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