Noam Chomsky: America Is the World Leader at Committing 'Supreme International Crimes'
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The front page of The New York Times on June 26 featured a photo of women mourning a murdered Iraqi.
He is one of the innumerable victims of the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) campaign in which the Iraqi army, armed and trained by the U.S. for many years, quickly melted away, abandoning much of Iraq to a few thousand militants, hardly a new experience in imperial history.
Right above the picture is the newspaper's famous motto: "All the News That's Fit to Print."
There is a crucial omission. The front page should display the words of the Nuremberg judgment of prominent Nazis - words that must be repeated until they penetrate general consciousness: Aggression is "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
And alongside these words should be the admonition of the chief prosecutor for the United States, Robert Jackson: "The record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well."
The U.S.-U.K. invasion of Iraq was a textbook example of aggression. Apologists invoke noble intentions, which would be irrelevant even if the pleas were sustainable.
For the World War II tribunals, it mattered not a jot that Japanese imperialists were intent on bringing an "earthly paradise" to the Chinese they were slaughtering, or that Hitler sent troops into Poland in 1939 in self-defense against the "wild terror" of the Poles. The same holds when we sip from the poisoned chalice.
Those at the wrong end of the club have few illusions. Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of a Pan-Arab website, observes that "the main factor responsible for the current chaos [in Iraq] is the U.S./Western occupation and the Arab backing for it. Any other claim is misleading and aims to divert attention [away] from this truth."
In a recent interview with Moyers & Company, Iraq specialist Raed Jarrar outlines what we in the West should know. Like many Iraqis, he is half-Shiite, half-Sunni, and in preinvasion Iraq he barely knew the religious identities of his relatives because "sect wasn't really a part of the national consciousness."
Jarrar reminds us that "this sectarian strife that is destroying the country ... clearly began with the U.S. invasion and occupation."
The aggressors destroyed "Iraqi national identity and replaced it with sectarian and ethnic identities," beginning immediately when the U.S. imposed a Governing Council based on sectarian identity, a novelty for Iraq.
By now, Shiites and Sunnis are the bitterest enemies, thanks to the sledgehammer wielded by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney (respectively the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and vice president during the George W. Bush administration) and others like them who understand nothing beyond violence and terror and have helped to create conflicts that are now tearing the region to shreds.
Other headlines report the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Journalist Anand Gopal explains the reasons in his remarkable book, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes.
In 2001-02, when the U.S. sledgehammer struck Afghanistan, the al-Qaida outsiders there soon disappeared and the Taliban melted away, many choosing in traditional style to accommodate to the latest conquerors.
But Washington was desperate to find terrorists to crush. The strongmen they imposed as rulers quickly discovered that they could exploit Washington's blind ignorance and attack their enemies, including those eagerly collaborating with the American invaders.