Sixty years ago the Western world decided “we were just following orders” is no justification for war crimes. When I wrote this series, I figured Obama looking the other way was throwing out decades of wisdom earned with the suffering of our own people and millions of innocents. The feedback has been mostly positive. Most people got the point and didn’t read too much into it. But the negative feedback has me wondering if we ever really had any wisdom to squander in the first place, because it can all be summed up in the following sentiment: “Our war crimes weren’t anywhere near as bad as their war crimes.”
Where do these people think barbarism begins? The Japanese hadn’t always been butchers. The Germans hadn’t always been butchers. It started with people accepting small injustices in the name of security. Then, years later, they’d accept just a little more. Then a little more after that. Before long, they were turning a blind eye because they no longer saw their victims as human beings. Then came the blood. It happened gradually, most of them didn’t think it
was possible, and many to this day can’t accept the reality of what
their nations did.
Sixty years ago, the civilized world decided never to let it get that far again. International laws we championed mandate that member states investigate their own citizens when accused of even the smallest of war crimes, and prosecute them if warranted.
For some reason, President Obama is acting like he has a choice in the matter, when his hands were tied more than fifteen years before he was born. But it’s nothing new. We still haven’t investigated Kissinger.