As someone who has written about multiple wars the US has engaged in, I’d have to say the US has no moral authority to condemn another nation on civilian casualties. I don’t think there is another nation on this planet, in our more ‘modern times’ that has killed more civilians than the US. That’s just reality.
President Biden and his Secretaries of State and Defense have all condemned Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine.
Before the Ukraine war took over public attention, the issue of civilian casualties in recent U.S. actions in the Mideast became major news. The reliability of official statements had been questioned in press conferences.
The issue was not novel. Fifteen years ago, CBS’s “60 Minutes” ran a sequence on the slaying of civilians by the U.S. military.
The TV program showed that innumerable civilian fatalities were not “accidents,” contrary to published reports. Rather, the military had made calculated attacks on innocent people in hopes of hitting a few “bad guys.” When raids were not calculated, commanders decided if they were worth the cost in civilian lives.
I highly doubt we know the full truth of what occurred there. But we know enough to understand it was brutal, horrendous and completely unwarranted. We also know it was just one incident among many in which the US intentionally targeted civilians in Vietnam.
NYT’s– revisiting the the massacre, it’s cover up and the crime against humanity
The report of the investigation was not declassified and released until November 1974, some four years after its submission. Since then it has been obtainable from the Government Printing Office. Two other volumes have not been declassified, and a third consisting of seven books is apparently available to the public only at the Army Library in the Pentagon.
The editors have reproduced the Peers Report (which they have rechristened the “Peers Commission. Report”) with a short introductory essay and a supplement of documentation about the treatment of war crimes during and after World War II and in Vietnam. Most of the Vietnam material consists of various court opinions dealing with the Lieut. William Calley case.
The Peers Report rightly dominates the volume. Once the Department of Defense was roused, a military operation was mounted to gather and sift the evidence; the investigative team reached a peak of 86 persons at one point. The accumulation of detail is massive and relentless, hammering home allegations of murder, torture, rape, sodomy and infanticide during the three days of the My Lai operation.
History News Network:
Last January 27, RAND Corporation issued a report faulting the Department of Defense (DoD) for mishandling matters of civilian protection. The same day, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered an “action plan” for limiting and responding to civilian casualties.
International law? What’s that?
Asked about Iraq and international law, in late 2003, President George W. Bush answered, “International law? I better call my lawyer. He didn’t bring that up to me.”
The illegality of aggressive war mattered none to Bush when he unleashed “shock and awe” on Iraqis (supported by Joe Biden as Senate Foreign Relations chairman). Nor does law enter into most military decisions.
By the way, following the 2003 attack on Iraq, officials and media emphasized its “surgical precision.” Yet innocents were struck and some bombs landed in Arabia, Syria, and Turkey.
However the system is refined, the fact remains that DoD knowingly kills civilians.
Intentionally and knowingly
The Geneva Conventions’ two Protocols Additional (1977) ban any military attack on civilians, or any indiscriminate attack on both civilians and a military target. Although signed by the U.S., they never reached the Senate for ratification, yet are customarily considered part of international humanitarian law.
A 2019 DoD manual, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Land Warfare, disregards them. It does not forbid indiscriminate attacks.What is ‘excessive’?
In Korea, Indochina, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, I figure that as many as 10 million civilians may have succumbed to U.S. force. If that toll is not excessive, what on earth is?
Did the alleged war crimes below not cause excessive casualties?
The Air Force’s attack on a Baghdad shelter killed at least 408 civilians with “smart bombs” in 1991 during the first U.S. war on Iraq, under President Bush Senior.
In two 2004 battles in Fallujah, Iraq, U.S.-led forces were accused of (1) killing 3,000+ civilians by targeting homes, those fleeing the city, and anything moving; (2) bombing a hospital and barring medical aid to the wounded; (3) imposing collective punishment for four contractors’ deaths.
The predominantly U.S. bombing of Raqqa, Syria, in 2017, killed or wounded thousands of civilians. Many thousands of air raids and 30,000 artillery rounds, supposedly directed at ISIS, laid waste the city.
Let’s talk Raqqa. Were the US supposedly battled ISIS. Lies and more lies. Plain and simple. What occurred there was intentional targeting of civilians. Syrian civilians to ethnically cleanse the land in order allow for it to be annexed and occupied by the US and it’s Kurdish (PKK) proxies.
I’d written extensively about this at my big tech censored blog- Several reports were presented to my readership all gleaned from multiple media sources. I will share one below:
Via the internet archive
Sadly the internet is far more heavily censored then most westerners know or care to know. Those of us who’ve been shut down are painfully aware of this reality. Makes it easier to control narratives all around.
Final few paragraphs from HNN
The Constitution (Article 6) regards U.S. treaties as federal law. They include The Hague rules of war on land (1907). These prohibit, among other misdeeds, “the attack or bombardment by whatever means of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended….”
It did not stop the U.S. and its NATO underlings from two decades or air and ground attacks on peaceful Afghan communities and their unarmed residents. Starting with bombing raids on major cities (10/7/01), that undeclared war climaxed with the aerial slaughter of a family of 10 in Kabul (8/29/21). Reaction to it may have awakened DoD to the need for reform.
The main Geneva Conventions (1949) prohibit murder of civilians, among other atrocities. Yet wars result in massacres, and, they go largely unpunished.
To rely on military commanders for decisions affecting human rights is to accept orders like “Fire on all taxicabs” (in Iraq), Shoot anything that moves” (in Vietnam and Iraq), and “Kill ‘em all” (in Korea).