One of the lessons of the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials of Germans after Germany’s defeat in WW II was that obeying orders is no excuse for war crimes. US prosecutors took the position that the German military should have refused to obey Hitler’s orders.
Chief US prosecutor Robert Jackson established that military aggression was a war crime.
US Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada took the Nuremburg lesson to heart. He refused to deploy to Iraq on the solid grounds that the war is illegal, which it is under the Nuremburg standard, and that he cannot order troops under his command to commit illegal actions.
Watada is correct. If the US general staff had the integrity of Lt. Watada, America and Iraq would have been spared the pointless and bloody conflict. Bush was able to illegally initiate the conflict, because the American military behaved exactly as the German military and followed the orders of a criminal commander-in-chief. Watada must be court-martialed in order to protect Bush and his obedient commanders from war crimes charges.
By prosecuting Lt. Watada, the US military has demeaned the Nuremburg trials and demoted them to merely the revenge of the victorious. Watada’s prosecution demolishes the illusion that the Nuremburg trials established a civilized principle of international law. All it did was to reaffirm that might is right. Germany’s ideology of domination was a war crime, but America’s ideology of domination is not.
Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail] wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is author or coauthor of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholar journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He is also coauthor with Karen Araujo of Chile: Dos Visiones — La Era Allende-Pinochet (Santiago: Universidad Andres Bello, 2000).