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War Crimes Redux
March 4, 2023
by William P. Meyers

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Lately in the news there has been a lot about war crimes. Specifically, Russian war crimes, committed in Ukraine. Very bad Russians. Invaded a foreign nation. That is a major war crime. Targeted civilians. That is a war crime. Tortured and killed prisoners of war (POWs). That is a war crime. Bad, bad Russians. Bad, bad Vladimir Putin.

It must be Black History Month, because on March 3, 2023 President Joe Biden corrected an oversight, an incident where a man classified as black was treated in a racist manner, back in 1965. The President presented Paris Davis with the Medal of Honor. What a great story. Even the NewsHour of the Public Broadcasting System ate it up, leaving out all context.

There was no single day when the United States of America invaded Vietnam, the way Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. There was a gradual buildup, but a full-scale American invasion did not begin until 1964. American apologists tell many lies to conceal the fact that the invasion was a war crime. Notably, they pretend there were two nations, North Vietnam and South Vietnam, and that the North invaded the South, so the U.S.A. was just an invited ally of the South. The fact is there was only one nation, Vietnam, and the French and Americans had installed an unpopular dictatorship in the south of the nation. The invasion in 1964 was to prop up that dictatorship, and it was indeed a war crime.

None of that in the March 3, 2023 ceremonies and news reporting. Geoff Bennet interviewed Paris Davis at length. Not one word of the war being wrong. Not one word of sorrow for the brave Vietnamese soldiers who died or were wounded there, defending their country from evil invaders. No comparison to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It will be difficult for me ever to trust Geoff Bennet's reporting in the future.

I cannot blame Paris Davis very much for fighting in Vietnam. The fault was with John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and other major war criminals. They misled the vast majority of Americans. It took years for even a substantial minority of Americans to realize the war was wrong. Clearly Mr. Davis was a brave man who cared about his fellow soldiers. No doubt his nomination for the Medal of Honor getting lost was suspicious, almost certainly because he was a black man in a racist U.S. Army. But he has had time to reflect. He had time to connect racism in the U.S. to the racist attitude of the American leadership towards the Vietnamese people. He had time to study the Nuremberg trials and learn the definition of war crimes. He had ample opportunity to take the spotlight and remind Americans that the Vietnam War was criminal at that the criminals were never punished. So he was brave at a particular moment, but no brave enough to speak out against the war or join with Vietnam Veterans Against the War (which has a slogan: Honor the Warrior, Not the War).

To stop wars between nations the people of the world need a real international government. True, the United Nations has intervened at times, but usually because the most powerful nations wanted to kick the shtt out of smaller nations. We also need a an international government to fight global warming and the rest of the environmental crisis. It should be a democratic government, giving representation on a one-person, one vote basis. It should also have representatives specifically for non-human classes of life, and for ecosystems. How do we get there from here? I do not see it evolving from the U.N. Perhaps, as with the First Continental Congress, which was a provisional government of what would later become the United States of America, it could start with a provisional government. History has shown that making a provisional government into a real government is a difficult process. It has never been done on an international scale. But those who realize the corrupt current governments of the world, and their U.N., are not solving the earth's problems, are in fact allowing the world to sink into a global environmental and eventually human disaster, should not be deterred by any difficulty.

Since the Vietnam War the United States has invaded several other nations, most notably Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Panama. There is no end in sight unless we apply the same high standards to ourselves that we so love to apply to rival nations. All war criminals should be prosecuted, even if they are or were Presidents of the United States.

A few dead civilians in Vietnam
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