U.S. government officials concede that a barrage of cruise missiles against Syria could result in collateral civilian deaths, possibly exceeding the numbers allegedly killed by chemical weapons. Such an assault also would violate international law and risk widening the Syrian conflict, note Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer.
Official Washington often lectures other countries on the need for accountability, especially when governments have engaged in war crimes. Yet, one of the clearest cases of a U.S. war crime – the mass spraying of Vietnam with Agent Orange – has escaped any reckoning, note Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer.
The cruel irony of how the United States has addressed post-9/11 war crimes, including President Bush’s invasion of Iraq and his use of torture, is that no major government official has been held accountable, yet whistleblowers have faced harsh reprisals, most notably Pvt. Bradley Manning, as Marjorie Cohn explains.
The Military Commissions for trying alleged al-Qaeda terrorists always had the risk of becoming Kafkaesque kangaroo courts with little credibility among people around the world, a danger that has become more and more acute as the process moves forward, Marjorie Cohn writes.
Despite U.S. government pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin is balking at demands that he extradite Edward Snowden from Moscow to face espionage charges for leaking secrets about America’s global surveillance operations. Still, Snowden’s status remains dicey, as Marjorie Cohn explains to Dennis J Bernstein.
Official Washington’s “tough-guy-ism” – no one wanting to look “weak” on “terror” – has stopped sane and humane policies toward Guantanamo. Members of Congress have blocked President Obama’s efforts to close the prison and he has shied away from a political battle to do so, as Marjorie Cohn explains.
The tenth anniversary of the Iraq War has understandably focused on the thousands upon thousands of people killed and the chaos unleashed. But the war also dealt a harsh blow to the legal principles that U.S. leaders helped enshrine after World War II, as Marjorie Cohn noted in this excerpt from “Cowboy Republic.”
With the Iraq invasion’s tenth anniversary just days away, one of its darkest legacies is how the perpetrators escaped accountability and how the innocent and the truth-tellers suffered punishment, including Pfc. Bradley Manning who acknowledges trying to expose war crimes, writes Marjorie Cohn.
From the Archive: The hunt-for-bin-Laden film, “Zero Dark Thirty,” portrays torture as a key element in that search. But the filmmakers distorted the facts and ignored the reality that torture is illegal, immoral and dangerously ineffective, wrote Marjorie Cohn.
President Obama’s defenders note he ended the Iraq War, is drawing down forces in Afghanistan and has resisted a new war in Syria. In other words, they say drone attacks on al-Qaeda suspects have ratcheted down the levels of violence left behind by President Bush. But critics say the drone attacks are still war crimes.