I am a veteran of World War II. I remember the Nuremberg Trials when Nazi leaders were prosecuted for war crimes, crimes not much different than the Bush Administration is responsible for. I remember the beginnings of the United Nations, one of whose purposes was to enforce international law with an armed force made up of all nations that could be equal to that of the U.S. The possibility that there would be such an armed force was inimical to America’s imperial designs and the desire of the U.S. to police the world on behalf of U.S. interests. So from the very inception of the United Nations, the United States plotted to undermine the authority of the U.N.
Before the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, the Japanese knew they were beaten and had put out peace feelers. General Eisenhower himself opposed the use of the atomic bombs, but President Truman decided to go ahead with their use, fearing Russia as a rival to U.S. power at the end of WWII, even though Russia had been prostrated by the war, having lost 20 million people. The unprecedented destructiveness of nuclear weapons and the willingness of the U.S. to use them signaled to the world that this country would tolerate no rivals.
General Eisenhower was a man of peace, unusual among military men. In 1961, leaving office, he warned us against what he called the military-industrial complex: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Among crimes against peace listed in the Nuremberg Principles is the planning, preparation and the initiation or waging of wars of aggression. This crime has been committed by the United States against Viet Nam, Grenada, Panama, and twice against Iraq. Many of the Nazi leaders were prosecuted in the Nuremberg trials for this crime.
During the Mountainfilm Festival I attended the panel on foreign policy in which Richard Holbrooke participated. After listening to Holbrooke and members of his panel attempting to justify the use of military force in foreign policy, the question I wanted to ask him was, “What is the difference, morally and lawfully, between the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands in which I fought, and the Nazi occupation of European countries during WWII?” We are now paying the price for our hubris by our loss of moral standing in the world. We have revealed our nation as a criminal among nations by our destruction of property and the mass murder and displacement of the people of Iraq. We have given justification to terrorists. We have impoverished our society because of the cost of the war and the unjustifiable expense of a huge and unwarranted military, whose purpose is to maintain almost 200 military bases in the world and police the world in behalf of U.S. corporate interests. If we don’t hold those responsible, it will happen again as it has five times since World War II.
– Phil Miller