Nov. 22, 2016 (EIRNS)—The following statement, by Republican Senator Richard H. Black of the Virginia Senate, came in response to a warning from Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) that United States support and collaboration with Saudi Arabia in the criminal war against Yemen was putting U.S. military personnel at risk of prosecution for war crimes. Senator Black was the former Chief of the Criminal Law Division in the Office of the Judge Advocate General at the Pentagon.
I agree with Rep. Lieu’s legal analysis. However, I believe the more practical aspect of this is the legal exposure of our most senior officials, who directed our servicemen’s actions. Under the precedent set by the American War Crimes Tribunal of Japanese General Yamashita following World War II, the senior commander is criminally liable for generalized criminal misconduct by his subordinates. This applies to conduct of which he knew or should have known.
America has widely flouted international norms of conduct in its wars of aggression against Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now Yemen. Some acts appear to constitute common law crimes—such as our refusal to accept the surrender of Col. Kaddafi when he offered to leave Libya. The U.S., Great Britain, and France reportedly conferred before deciding to ignore his offer to abdicate, and facilitated his murder instead.
By flouting settled norms of wartime conduct, the U.S. has severely undermined its moral authority and diminished its power across the globe. While I support a robust defense, we gain nothing by fighting wars to advance globalism—particularly when such wars violate the Law of Land Warfare.