War Crimes Organizations and Nuremberg Article 9
Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry
Are you a member of the Democratic Party or the Republican Party? Then you had better hope that the military of the United State of America keeps the world at bay. Which is not likely to last forever, given that the U.S. government will become bankrupt if interest rates on its debts ever rise above an average of about 5%.
There is a precedent from the Nuremberg trials that allows Democrats and Republicans to be tried simply for being in those parties. Article 9 clearly states that for Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity:
Thus it would only take one conviction of a Democratic Party or Republican Party official, living or dead, to turn all party members into criminals. As criminals they would lose their right to vote, which would allow non-war crimes political parties to gain the ascendancy, much as the Republican Party gained dominance after the Civil War by preventing Democratic Party leaders (who mostly had also been Confederate State leaders) from voting and running for office.
The Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity of the United States Government, and hence of her leaders and citizens, loom large in history, and not just in the distant past. It is too big of a topic to begin to compass in a short essay. But to illustrate, we need look no further than the events that provided the context for the Nuremberg trials of German political leaders, the losers of World War II.
Defendants at Nuremberg Trial, Franz von Papen standing
First, let's touch on the arguments against the legality of the Nuremberg trials, their sentencing and convictions. The U.S. Constitution (in article 1, section 9) prohibits ex post facto laws, but the entirety of the Nuremberg apparatus was created without the traditional legislation involving statutes with clear punishments for clear crimes. The trial was conducted without a jury and with no appeals apparatus, and the trial judges belonged to the injured parties. Despite war crimes being widespread during the period concerned, the charter of the tribunal specifically limits itself to prosecuting members of the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan). Because the very legal propriety of the Tribunal should have been the main question, Article 3 states: Neither the Tribunal, its members nor their alternates can be challenged by the prosecution, or by the Defendants or their Counsel.
Nevertheless, the way of the Law, and particularly Common Law, is that Nuremberg established a precedent. If other nations can hold a kangaroo court and prosecute (and execute) people for war crimes, then the United States of America can legally be subjected to such a court, should our defensive arsenal ever allow it. Or should we have the wisdom to constitute one ourselves.
After the first round of leading Nazi (National Socialist German Workers' Party) officials and government leaders were convicted and hung until dead, the Nazi Party was declared a criminal organization by the tribunal. 8.5 million German citizens had been members, and many were soon tried in the Denazification Campaign, which was also ex post facto in nature.
The Nuremberg Trials were careful to not look too closely at how World War II actually started, repeating the lack of care of Allied historians for timeline of events leading up to World War I. The judges refused to allow the defense to bring up that it was France that first declared war on Germany or that the Germany invasion of Norway at the beginning of of the war only managed to get there ahead of a British invasion by a few days. There was some small success, however, in the defense pointing to certain British and American war tactics, notably unrestricted submarine warfare, to push back against certain of the charges.
But, as is so often the case in the law, some mighty big fish got away because they were doing the prosecuting. The level of German bombing of British Empire targets in England was doubtless criminal, but nothing new, and nothing the British themselves had not done in 400 years of empire building. The unprecedented war crimes of World War II were Allied affairs: the complete destruction of cities by bombing, in particular firebombing, and eventually the atomic war waged against Japan.
Americans are so used to excusing their attacks on Japanese cities that they seldom can think clearly about war crimes. They excuse these attacks as military necessities. "Millions of U.S. soldiers would have died if we had been forced to invade Japan." But the U.S. was not being forced to invade Japan. The diplomatic history of the war is one of nearly continuous peace initiatives by the Japanese before, during, and right up to the end of the war, all spurned by President Franklin Roosevelt and his Secretary of State Cordell Hull. [Before the U.S. officially entered the war Roosevelt frequently decried bombing cities as a crime.]
If killing civilians is excused as a war crime because it saves lives of combatants, then the entire Nuremberg prosecution was flawed. The defense lawyers could have argued that Jews, foreign civilianans and and German political prisoners who died in or were murdered in the concentration camps were impediments to military success, and that would have been true. The blitz against London could be interpreted as legally justified because it would have saved German lives in the invasion of England, had it taken place.
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes plain and simple. President Roosevelt had died, so President Harry Truman made the ultimate decision. His advisors were all members of the Democratic Party. Only General Douglas MacArthur, who was a Republican and no bleeding heart, argued against the use of the atomic bomb on cities filled with civilians. He believed, correctly, that it stained the honor of American soldiers.
I see no reason for there to be a statute of limitations on war crimes organizations. The Democratic Party and Republican Party should be declared criminal organizations based on their past actions. Living leaders, mostly Presidents, who have committed war crimes, crimes of peace, or crimes against humanity should be prosecuted and punished appropriately.
The only real question is: what constitutes membership in these parties? Many more Germans voted for the Nazi Party in elections than actually belonged to the party. Party membership was clear: one paid one's dues and received a membership card. In the U.S. the parties don't keep membership rolls. It is hard to say if registering to vote in the primary of a political party actually constitutes becoming a member of a party. Certainly donating money to a party should be held as the rough equivalent of paying membership dues to the Nazi Party.
I guess we'll have to sort that out when be set up our Peace and Justice Tribunal. I'd like to hold it in Philadelphia, to remind us that crimes against humanity are in the U.S. DNA, and that restitution has never been made for the wars against native American tribes or for slavery, indentured servitude, or the more subtle crimes of the ruling class of this nation.
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