opinion

COLUMN: Obama's war crimes



World-renowned linguist, activist and MIT professor Noam Chomsky has long asserted that every post-World War II president could be indictable for war crimes — mainly those set out in the Nuremberg Principles. Yet, despite sharply expanding the Global War on Terror, President Obama has somehow received the smallest amount of public scrutiny for United States crimes than all of his predecessors combined. In the following list, I will apply statutes from the Nuremberg Principles, Geneva Convention and other precedents for war crimes that Obama may have violated. Everyone loves a countdown, so here we go:

5) According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Obama administration has overseen the deportation of about 1.2 million people accused of being “non-criminal immigration violators.” The act of deportation is considered a Crime Against Humanity in the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal, which set forth the Nuremberg Principles. In paragraph 6 (c) of the charter, Crimes Against Humanity are defined as “Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population.”

4) During the Arab Spring, the Obama administration oversaw the NATO bombing campaign against Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. Though the Gaddafi regime had been massacring civilians, Obama’s air campaign instantly lost all credibility as an operation intent on protecting civilians. Although estimates differ, there is little doubt that NATO airstrikes frequently killed civilians. By October 2011 alone, up to 100,000 people may have died in the conflict, and no one knows what the figure is at today now that ISIS controls part of the country.

Obama’s actions almost certainly constitute a war of aggression. A war of aggression is one waged without a justification for self-defense and is classified as a Crime Against Peace by the Nuremberg Tribunal, which prohibits “planning, preparation, initiation of a war of aggression.” The responsibility for the bombing of civilians and the collapse of Libya into a failed state lies right at Obama’s feet, and undoubtedly is one of the most significant war crimes of this century.

3) President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, one of the largest war crimes in human history, shattered Iraqi society and plunged the Middle East into lasting chaos — the effects of which have been felt globally. The Obama administration’s failure to prosecute Bush-era officials for this and other war crimes, such as torture, is itself an indictable war crime. The Nuremberg Principles do not absolve former Heads of State for their crimes, and Obama himself is complicit in these crimes by allowing the perpetrators to walk free.

2) The Obama administration has offered unwavering support of Saudi Arabia’s murderous war in Yemen. Since August 2016, Saudi airstrikes have killed 329 civilians, and other airstrikes have targeted weddings and hospitals. The Obama administration has offered more than $60 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia since 2010, and the attacks on civilians in Yemen have been carried out with these weapons. Furthermore, it has recently been discovered that the U.S. has been supplying the Arab monarchy with white phosphorus, a chemical weapon that burns skin to the bone.

The use of this chemical against the Yemini population is a gross breach of international law and the chemical weapons prohibitions of the Geneva Protocol. President Obama’s support of the Saudi’s war makes him complicit in a number of war crimes.

1) Finally, I bring us to Obama’s greatest crime, the largest terror campaign in human history, spanning several subcontinents: the global drone assassination campaign. Not only does the drone campaign go against the prohibition of summary executions by the Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention, but it utterly ignores the tenants of due process and fair trials enshrined by the U.S. Constitution and the Magna Carta. The U.S. government can now assassinate anyone in the world who is merely suspected of committing a crime with an unmanned robot. I can think of no other crime committed by President Obama more dangerous to human decency and the rule of law.

For eight years, President Obama has dodged responsibility for these crimes and many others, and it’s about time he had his day in court — a privilege not enjoyed by his thousands of victims.

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