One of the lessons of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials of Germans after Germany's defeat in WW II was that obeying orders is no excuse for war crimes. US prosecutors took the position that the German military should have refused to obey Hitler's orders.
Chief US prosecutor Robert Jackson established that military aggression was a war crime.
US Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada took the Nuremberg lesson to heart. He refused to deploy to Iraq on the solid grounds that the war is illegal, which it is under the Nuremberg standard, and that he cannot order troops under his command to commit illegal actions.
Watada is correct. If the US general staff had the integrity of Lt. Watada, America and Iraq would have been spared the pointless and bloody conflict. Bush was able to illegally initiate the conflict, because the American military behaved exactly as the German military and followed the orders of a criminal commander-in-chief. Watada must be court-martialed in order to protect Bush and his obedient commanders from war crimes charges.
By prosecuting Lt. Watada, the US military has demeaned the Nuremberg trials and demoted them to merely the revenge of the victorious. Watada's prosecution demolishes the illusion that the Nuremberg trials established a civilized principle of international law. All it did was to reaffirm that might is right. Germany's ideology of domination was a war crime, but America's ideology of domination is not.
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Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow's Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.