The United Nations General Assembly voted 93-24 with 58 abstentions to drop the Russian Federation from membership on the UN Human Rights Council, based on allegations and grisly videos and photos appearing to show execution-style slayings of civilians in Ukraine by Russian troops.
While there are calls for independent investigations into those allegations, the US and NATO member state governments have been pushing the claim that Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine including the major war crime of invading another country, the unasked question in the US media is: Why hasn’t the US been kicked out of the Human Rights Council for similar war crimes that aren’t at all allegations, but are well-documented fact? Why indeed, for all the accusations that Russian President Vladimir Putin is himself a war criminal responsible for all these crimes, haven’t a number of US presidents still living been accused of war crimes?
Let’s look at some of those crimes:
The first and biggest, there is the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Iraq posed no immediate threat to the US. Not even close to the way Ukraine shares a 1300-mile border with Russia, Iraq had no navy, no long-range bombers or missiles, and is located 7000 miles from the nearest US border.
That war, completely illegal, went unpunished, as did the people who ordered it: President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The same is true of the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The excuse for that was was that the US wanted to hunt down and capture or destroy the Al Qaeda terrorist organization which was primarily based in Afghanistan, guests of that country’s Taliban government, which claimed not to know that the group and it leader, the Saudi Arabian Osama Bin Laden, were plotting a terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. Because this was not an attack by Afghanistan, and because the Taliban was ready to surrender Bin Laden and his accomplices if offered assurances that they would not be executed — an offer the US refused — there was no justification for that invasion o the 20-year war and occupation that followed it, whose aim shifted from pursuing Al Qaeda to ousting the Taliban from power.
The US invasion of Libya and the overthrow and murder of its leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 was similarly a war crime, as, like the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq before it, was never sanctioned by any UN Security Council Vote, and because Libya posed no threat to the US, imminent or otherwise, as required under international law. President Obama, who ordered that war, is also as much a war criminal as is President Putin.
It should also be pointed out that while the number of civilians killed in the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, horrible as they are, are being tallied in the tens of thousands at most to date, The US is directly responsible for 363,000 civilian deaths — many of them children — in the years since September 2001, most of them in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in numerous other illegal bombings of other countries targeted in what the US government has called the War on Terror. A string of presidents has been responsible for those criminal killings but none has even been charged.
President Trump, with his Tomahawk missile attacks on Syrian targets and his military attacks inside Syria, is also a war criminal, as Syria poses no threat to the US, and military action against that country too has never been authorized by the United Nations.
Even the destruction we see every day on the news about Ukraine pales compared to the destruction that has been inflicted by the US upon Iraqi cities like Baghdad, Fallujah, and Mosul in Iraq, or Raqqa in Syria.
Since neither the US nor Russia has ever agreed to accept the jurisdiction of the World Court, none of these criminal leaders — Putin nor Bush, Cheney, Obama or Trump — will ever face a war crimes tribunal.
I understand that reality, but not the servile and ignorant howls of US citizens calling for sanctions and criminal proceedings against Russia and its leader Putin, but not for our own war-criminal leaders who should be held to account for the far vaster war crimes that they have perpetrated in our names (and falsely declaring to be in defense of our freedoms) over the last more than two decades.
If nothing else, at least the US media, which boasts of its supposed freedom, tenacity and integrity, should at least reference the home team’s crimes while condemning the villain of the moment. It’s embarrassing to be a journalist these days in the US where a 1960s Pravda-like squad of lickspittle stenographers posing as reporters dutifully report on Russia’s latest crimes in Ukraine while ignoring even the current crime of genocide being perpetrated with US-supplied planes and bombs against the people of Yemen, which for years now has been targeted by neighboring Saudi Arabia.