“If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.”– Noam Chomsky, 1990
The United States in addition to most of the world experienced a massive shift in foreign policy and national defense in the aftermath of World War II and the tension of the approaching Cold War. A complete transformation from a temporary state of national stockpile preparation to an indefinite position of arsenal construction on a scale outperforming and outspending the rest of the world. President Dwight Eisenhower put it best in his 1961 Farewell Address when he warned:
“Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peace time, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea. Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions … This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience … We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications … In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought of unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
President John F. Kennedy would give a similar cryptic message within his final speech before his tragic assassination in 1963. Forewarning the campaign of groups that have since succeeded in condemning the United States to remaining in a perpetual state of war and intervention since the end of the second world war. Often not even attempting to covertly infiltrate our national policy, but rather reside in plain sight. When caught in question they speak to us in a tone layered in jargon and sugar coated terminology while continuing to work covertly with the corporate media often under the payroll. Even while acting as emissaries to the American public on the possibility of a hijacked and misguided military industry, Eisenhower and Kennedy were not without their faults and their participation is well documented in history and the list here I have prepared, in order to make the case that every post-war American President can be convicted as a war criminal under Nuremberg laws as well as internationally recognized law, via what I have coined the “Noam Chomsky Observation”.
Before I make the case for convictions against each individual president ranging from Truman to Trump, we must first come to terms with the universal, mutually agreed upon definitions regarding genocide and war crimes, and what each entails.
According to international law via the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide Article II adopted by the United Nations in 1948, genocide means any and all of the following acts:
- Killing members of the group
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
Article III states that the following acts are and shall be punishable under international law for genocide:
- Conspiracy to commit genocide
- Direct and public incitement to commit genocide
- Attempt to commit genocide
- Complicity in genocide
Arguably the most obvious case in which to convict Harry Truman for war crimes would be the dropping of the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many counter arguments have been predicated concerning Trumans use of the atom bombs as the sole way to bring an end to the second world war. This narrative can be defeated when Japans state at this point of the war is realized. Not only was Japan, an island nation residing on exports, already strained on supplies from years of war, but their navy had been eliminated and strategists have made the case that a blockade around the country would have brought a slow end to the war. Truman short on time and itching for a victory in the Pacific after the Soviets had already taken Berlin, released the most devastating weapons of all time upon civilian Japanese. Death tolls range from 129,000 to 226,000 civilian fatalities. Another 25,000 would die in latter months from radiation sickness. Everyone else was left homeless and displaced as 1/3 of Nagasaki’s population was eliminated instantly and in the case of Hiroshima, 70,000 among the 78,000 buildings and homes were evaporated. If the dropping of the worlds most devastating weapons upon civilian life isn’t enough, Truman also organized and financed a massive counter-insurgency campaign in Greece that killed nearly 160,000 and left 120,000 as refugees. All acceptable under his proposed Truman Doctrine, which granted the United States the ability to intervene under any terms, whether militarily or covertly, into a sovereign nations domestic affairs in the name of countering communism. Under Nuremberg, both the annihilation of Japanese cities and intervention in Greece would convict Truman under laws pertaining to genocide provocation.
Under Eisenhower the CIA carried out a covert operation in Guatemala that resulted in the deposition of the democratically elected president in exchange for a military dictatorship that established concentration camps, the abolishment of all unions and political parties, and the death, disappearance, and torture of 70,000, all under Eisenhower’s payroll. The UN and a truth commission report condemned the support of the coup as an act of genocide contribution. Eisenhower all saw over the CIA operation that disposed of Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister in exchange for the monarchial rule of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and his brutal secret police forced SAVAK which murdered 30,000 Iranian protestors. Additionally Eisenhower militarily intervened in Lebanon in 1958 under his “Eisenhower Doctrine” which stated the U.S. would intervene to protect regimes it felt threatened by communism, even after UN investigators stated there was no threat within Lebanon.
John F. Kennedy:
Responsible for the outright aggression during the invasion of Cuba, such as needlessly bombing industrial installations, hotels, economic shipping vessels and going as far as to poison the livestock. Aggression towards the Soviet Union by placing intermediate missiles in Turkey and Italy which nearly set off certain nuclear annihilation during the missile crisis of ’62. Then there’s the decision to wage war in Vietnam residing on the assumption that it would be a quick defeat to the communists. Limited aerial strikes soon followed to become perhaps the United States biggest foreign blunder. Additionally Kennedy would use chemical weapons such as Agent Orange upon the civilian populace and crops in the aim of starving the Vietnamese into surrender. Archived as a heroic figure against secret societies, Kennedy would use the CIA to implement coups within Iraq on demand.
Lyndon B. Johnson:
Perhaps remembered as the most infamous President during the Vietnam era, as hundreds of thousands of Americas youth spawning across streets and college campuses shouted: “Hey, Hey, LBJ, How many kids did you kill today?” Johnson will be remembered as one of the worst criminals among this list for his contribution to the massive humanitarian infringements during the Vietnam war. Among the worst being the 2 million cases documented of American soldiers inflicting murder, rape, torture, dismemberment, human limb “trophy” creation, and the hundreds of napalm strikes called on entire children’s villages. The illegal invasions and blatant war crimes documented in Indonesia and the Dominican Republic are minuscule in comparison, but remain horrifying and convict-able under international law for acts of genocide and war crimes.
Entire novels have been written on the war crimes committed by Richard Nixon and his partner in crime secretary of state Henry Kissinger, here I will address what Nixon alone could be indicted for pertaining to war crimes. The covert invasions into sovereign nations Laos and Cambodia as means to disrupt North Vietnamese supply lines resulted in the deaths of over 500,000 and a rise in power to the genocidal regime known to history as the Khmer Rogue amid the 2.7 millions tons of bombs dropped on the countryside and villages. These crimes in Cambodia and Laos alone would convict Nixon, let alone the continued disastrous and murderous techniques used in Vietnam, passed down from Johnson and Kennedy that resulted in hundreds of thousands more left dead and displaced.
While only in office a very short time, assuming office in light of Nixons resignation of the presidency, Ford still had time to commit some world devastating atrocities. One being in the form of his military support for the Indonesian invasion of East-Timor which resulted in 100,000-180,000 civilian deaths.
Continued the United States military endeavors into the Indonesian invasion which resulted in numbers of casualties many agencies and investigators have since labeled as a genocide.
One of the worst in this list. Under Reagan the CIA supplied the Afghan islamic militia known as the Mujahideen to overthrow the young thriving Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in order to counter the Soviets meddling in the region. In replace of the short lived democracy, the Mujahideen installed a repressive Islamic State. Notable figures the Reagan administration admittedly funded $500 million to was Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda leaders responsible for the September 11th attacks who received their training among the Mujahideen. Reagans most infamous act and to become a major blemish on his presidency was the Iran Contra scandal. In coordination with disgraced Elliot Abrams, who has since been convicted of lying to congress about Iran Contra among other war crimes, the Reagan Administration illegally funded right wing Contra rebels through the sales of weapons to Iran, all behind Congress’s back who were told the $30 million in funds were economic aid for Nicaragua. With these funds the Contras executed 500,000 individuals in their massive campaign of rape, torture, murder, dismemberment, and kidnapping upon civilians. The International Court of Justice later charged the Reagan and Bush Administrations with multiple human rights violations, among them the training of Contra rebels on how to rationalize the killing of civilians. Reagan would go on to support and finance many more illegal coups in Latin America such as the genocide of Rios Montt, the El Mozote Massacre, Grenada, El Salvador, Argentina, Guatemala, Lebanon, and Pakistan. Many of the listed cases were condemned by the UN and ICJ as violations of international law and would fall under direct and public incitement to commit genocide as well as complicity in genocide.
George H.W. Bush:
Many of Bush senior’s war crimes would be a continuation of his predecessors including the violent coups waged in Latin America and the Middle East. Already having been condemned by the International Court of Justice under Reagan, Bush would be granted the opportunity to carry out atrocities of his own. The excessive use of force in Panama to oust past foreign ally Manuel Noriega resulted in nearly 30,000 troops invading a sovereign nation in violation of multiple treaties. Other Latin American skirmishes and violations such as “Operation Condor” would result in 60,000 deaths or “disappearances” at Bush’s hands. During the blasphemous Persian Gulf War, Bush would order the mass execution of retreating Iraqi civilians and soldiers alike in what we know as the “Highway of Death Massacre”. This massacre was charged with violating Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions, which outlaws the killing of soldiers who are out of combat.
Clinton should have listened to then Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Colin Powell when he urged Clinton not to intervene in the Balkans as the U.S. lacked any strategic interests. While the argument pertaining to a necessary form of intervention can be made in light of the horrific genocide campaigns that were being waged, Clinton’s organized NATO strikes only created unnecessary deaths and created an influx of ethnic refugees in Kosovo and the rest of the region, doing little to solve the underlying struggle. Clinton would also contribute to his predecessors brutality in Iraq with the implementation of further crippling sanctions being piled on top of the struggling Iraqi economy. Over his two terms Clinton oversaw the expansion of NATO influence and membership into Eastern Europe, despite his predecessors having already agreed with the Soviet leadership on halting NATO expansion beyond West Germany.
George W. Bush:
In my opinion and for the sake of this pieces legitimacy I believe that even among all the tragedies committed by the war mongering men listed here, George Bush is by far the most cunning, disastrous, murderous, and deceitful of the bunch. Bush Jr’s presidency began nearly 20 years ago, yet every foreign policy blunder he made is felt just as fresh in todays orbit of events. The Bush Administration used the media and our countries intelligence agencies to blatantly and ruthlessly lie to the world community on the existence of forged “evidence” that suggested “without a doubt” that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, providing chemical weapons training to al-Qaeda, and had a hand in the September 11th attacks. The facts remain that Saddam Hussein was not developing weapons of mass destruction. He was not providing any sort of aid to al-Qaeda. The existence of mobile biological weapons facilities and uranium enrichment capabilities were forged. UN officials were unable to complete their work, independent investigators findings were silenced, and any prominent skeptical voice was labeled a “terrorist sympathizer” when asking for verifiable evidence on the supposed WMD’s. Bush then used the forged intelligence to wage an illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan which has since resulted in 34 million displaced and murdered civilians over weapons that did not exist and as a result never found. Unknown thousands more were tortured over the years via illegal methods at CIA black sites. Tens of thousands of our own American lives were pawned for an illegal invasion. Hundreds of cases were filed by the International Court of Justice, Public Interest Lawyers, and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights against the American coalition forces for horrid cases of mock executions, wedding bombings, chemical weapons usage on civilians, electrocution and beating methods, rape, planting arms on innocents, and CIA black site criminal offenses despite many records being destroyed. No weapons of mass destruction of any sort were discovered in Iraq, and Bush would go on to abandon the campaign after obliterating the sovereign nation and leaving the majority of the country displaced and out of work. Later when Paul Bremmer would decommission the Iraqi army and Baathist party leaders, the groundwork for what we came to know later as IsIs would begin to form. George Bush was surprisingly able to outdo his father, and any other in this list, for blatantly lying to the world and in effect dooming millions and millions of lives, all in the name of American imperialism driven by an oil craze. A strategy our leaders since have copied in order to wage further interventions.
Obama’s foreign policy would largely be remembered as an extension of Bush’s by escalating the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Where Obama made his own great mistakes was the drastic pullout of Iraq without bothering to implement any sort of recovery effort in the nation. This decision would give rise to multiple Islamic militant groups such as IsIs, and would allow them to recruit incredible numbers of ground troops around the region and obtain territory at an abnormal pace. Obama would drastically expand the use of drone warfare in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Later he would keep the number of civilian casualties under classification when an uproar was raised. Obama was able to begin his own perpetual conflicts with the illegal interventions and meddling done in Syria and Libya. From militarily funding the various anti-Assad rebel groups that have kept the civil war raging for 8 years to aerial striking and supporting the rebels in Libya who butchered Gaddafi, Obamas foreign policy has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead civilians due to his drone warfare and bombing techniques. Additionally 10 million refugees are displaced throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Europe, open slave markets of women and children that did not exist before the western intervention have sparked attention, and a revival in terrorist cells such as Boko Haram, IsIs, Al-Qaeda, and al-Nursa operating worldwide and by all accounts, stronger in numbers than ever before. Great humanitarian catastrophes now exist where they hadn’t before, all a receipt of Obamas foreign policy crimes.
Our current commander in chief ran a campaign of promises laced in a seemingly patriotic narrative that reassured the American people that his presidency would be the first one in a long time to pull the troops home and refrain from starting any perpetual wars. Unfortunately that narrative died the moment Trump took office as he has since pushed our country to be known in the history books as the nation who was complicit in funding, fueling, and providing additional carnage to the genocide in Yemen. What is now being forecasted as the greatest humanitarian disaster of our time as 22 million Yemeni men, women, and children, are facing imminent starvation as the Trump administration and Pentagon continue funding and fueling Saudi Arabia’s proxy conflict with Iran, a partnership that has gone on to commit such atrocities with American weapons such as the bombing of weddings, medical aid facilities, and Yemeni school buses fully occupied with children. On top of being responsible for the genocide in Yemen, Trump and his Neo-Con administration have been seriously attempting to sell an American war in Iran and Venezuela, soon to undoubtedly be followed by their much desired planned interventions into Cuba and Nicaragua. Astonishingly using the exact same techniques Bush used to sell the Iraq war. Both laced in disinformation and propaganda to gain access to the largest oil reserves in the world. Yemen by all accounts would certainly fall under all acts pertaining to genocide contribution. As would his implementation of harsh sanctions and embargo on the Venezuelan people, which is the root cause of the sour period a portion of the country is facing, as no legitimate large-scale humanitarian disaster exists.
Many will only need to take a glance at the title of this piece to automatically condemn it as “unpatriotic” or “propaganda garbage”. I would only ask those people what will protecting our leaders crimes teach our successor generations? What will allowing men like these to continue their work of unilateral humanitarian disaster unchallenged cost us in partnership and internal morality?