Talk:United States war crimes

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Other wars[edit]

The case of Nicaragua vs The United States in the ICC should be mentioned, as the U.S. was actually ruled guilty of what amounted to state sponsered terrorism. This prompted our ignominious withdrawal from the ICC. There should be another section for war crimes in other wars, such as Operation Michigan in 1993 Somalia, and the invasion of Panama.Royalcourtier (talk)

Atomic bombs[edit]

A reliable source states that the bombings were war crimes. XXzoonamiZZ, unless you are suggesting that using the source in undue weight, I really don't see where you are going with this. In any case, please raise your issues here before blanking the text. Vanamonde93 (talk) 02:52, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Could you point out for us where the source states that the bombings were war crimes? Please be specific. Regards, AzureCitizen (talk) 03:14, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
This is ridiculous.
Aside from the reference not actually calling it a war crime, saying that "some" characterize it as one doesn't make it one.
War crimes are serious violations of the laws of war. The key words here are "laws" and "war." Unless one lives in a corrupt town, laws are made by legislatures, or in this case ratified by them, after being written and argued over by diplomats in consultation with their military's generals. The laws of war were written with the understanding that killing large numbers of people may be a legitimate and necessary part of that process. The laws of war were not written by corrupt and ignorant peaceniks sitting around dreaming up what they think would be moral.
I'm deleting this section. It's not salvageable.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 15:41, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
The wording was poor. It presents the bombings as one would present a war crime, that is, giving details of what happened. It then says some sources say it was a war crime. An unbiased approach would be to say that some sources consider it a war crime, then explain why they say that, opposing views and what most sources say. Randy2063, the sources that say it was a war crime say that it would meet the definition in U.S. law. Rarely however do governments prosecute themselves for actions they take. War crimes however do not need to be in violation of the laws of the country carrying them out, particularly when they are carried out in other countries. And at Nuremburg, war criminals were prosecuted and convicted of crimes that were not on the books in Nazi Germany. TFD (talk) 18:05, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
It may not need to be war crimes within the definition of the country being prosecuted, but it should be crimes in the sense that some treaty recognized it as such. Making up new "laws" after the fact, and especially when the critics are safe in their homes, isn't the way this works. War crimes should be taken more seriously than that.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 19:52, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
TFD, national law is extremely irrelavant to the matter since Principle II of the Nuremberg Principles clearly stated that it is no defense if national law permits acts that are clearly illegal under international law. Many people in World War II feel that killing parachuting enemy airmen was a war crime, but that doesn't make it like one, since there was no international law against the practice. And yes, war crimes do need to be in violation of international law or laws created retroactively on an agreed international level, in which the Holocaust really was, since it was done to kill as much ethnic people in the camps that were competely under control in the same manner that it would have done as killing large numbers of captured enemy soldiers in belligerent POW camps. This link gave explicit information on why aerial warfare that was deliberately set out to target non-combatants or recklessly took no steps to spare the lives of non-combatants (i.e., excessive collateral damage) weren't war crimes, both in positive or customary terms, and therefore not fit in WP NPOV. http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1975/nov-dec/terry.html XXzoonamiXX (talk) 21:42, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Your source says, "it is clear that when an airman is able to discriminate between lawful and unlawful targets, he must do so." Under U.S. law, all treaties become domestic law. Anyway, this discussion is not relevant to the section. The issue is not whether or not bombings can ever be war crimes but whether some people think they can be, specifically people who claim the atomic bombings were war crimes. TFD (talk) 22:23, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
TFD has it right. I agree that the structure was poor, and I am not wedded to the wording. As editors, our job is not to determine whether the bombings were a war crime. Our job is to summarize and present what reliable sources say on the subject. When weighty opposing views exist, we present them both. The laws themselves are not directly relevant to us, and the discussion about whether retroactive ones apply is moot. Vanamonde93 (talk) 01:19, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

I strongly agree with Vanamonde93. The atomic bombings and the related debate should be mentioned in this page.Yogurto (talk) 13:55, 16 January 2015 (UTC)


Another source claiming it was a war crime. https://books.google.it/books?id=ew0pAwAAQBAJ&pg=PT6&lpg=PT6&dq=Jacob+Hornberger+Hiroshima+War+Crime&source=bl&ots=p9DEuKtXNc&sig=72P9Xcuv2Cy5-Hj4GC8fW8eB_bs&hl=it&sa=X&ei=vxm5VMSkIJX3aoibgkA&ved=0CCoQ6AEwBA

Yogurto (talk) 14:05, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Doesn't sound particularly authoritative.
But keep trying. I'm quite sure you're going to find plenty who agree with you.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 03:58, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Doesn't sound particularly funny.
The author (Jacob G. Hornberger) is a professor, a defense attorney and the founder of Future of Freedom Foundation. We have a source. May i add sourced informations oin wikipedia? I think so
-- Yogurto (talk) 17:08, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

A link to the debate on the atomic bombings should also be present in the article. Yogurto (talk) 17:13, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Funny? Ostensibly objective sources throwing the laws of war into a dumpster and then pretending to oppose war crimes.
Sometimes, laughing is all you can do.
Maybe you're unaware that it doesn't take much (other than a name that doesn't upset this current administration) to start a non-profit foundation in a (reasonably) free country.
Well, your "Future of Freedom Foundation" does have a quote by Robert E. Lee. As funny as some people may think that is, I do think he opposed war crimes more than do the critics of today's U.S. military.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 20:09, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Here are IMO some war crimes for the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as per the International Criminal Courts 2011 Elements of Crimes (on top of obvious grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions Article 51):

  • War crime of wilful killing
  • War crime of inhuman treatment
  • War crime of wilfully causing great suffering
  • War crime of atacking civilians
  • War crime of attacking civilian objects
  • War crime of excessive incidental death, injury, or damage
  • War crime of killing or wounding a person hors de combat
  • War crime of destroying or seizing the enemy’s property
  • War crime of attacking protected objects

Maybe some of the above are not applicable to international conflict, anyway it's another thing to argue that there is no war crime at all. --2.85.137.141 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 22:47, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

You should use secondary sources that summarize the debate, point out who the best known writers are and explains the degree to which their opinions are used. It is usually wrong to just report someone's opinion because of possible weight problems. The Failure of America’s Foreign Wars is not a reliable source and its overall worldview is fringe. Hornsberger has a B.A. in economics and a law degree and was an adjunct professor which often requires little background. Some teach courses that would be part of secondary education in most countries. TFD (talk) 23:49, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
You misunderstood the document, which covers elements of the crime, not whether an act is part of a crime. Read point 8 under General Introduction of your source "As used in the Elements of Crimes, the term “perpetrator” is neutral as to guilt or innocence. The elements, including the appropriate mental elements, apply, mutatis mutandis, to all those whose criminal responsibility may fall under articles 25 and 28 of the Statute." Referring to the Roman Statute Roman Stature, part 3 covers significant articles relating to guilt or innocence. I draw your attention to Article 31 paragraph 1 subparagraph c:
"The person acts reasonably to defend himself or herself or another person or, in the case of war crimes, property which is essential for the survival of the person or another person or property which is essential for accomplishing a military mission, against an imminent and unlawful use of force in a manner proportionate to the degree of danger to the person or the other person or property protected. The fact that the person was involved in a defensive operation conducted by forces shall not in itself constitute a ground for excluding criminal responsibility under this subparagraph;"
Considering Japan had attacked the United States of America (USA) especially in light of no state of war and technically normalized diplomatic relations if strained before said attack (The Japanese ambassadors really screwed that one up), it is possible to surmise that it was a defensive war and the actions were justified. As evidenced by the USA's rebuilding of the Japanese infrastructure and government, it is reasonable to also surmise it was a defensive war against an unlawful aggression. In addition, the targetted cities had significant military value Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Considering that the tactics of the day, remembering this was a war fought almost 72 years ago, would have been repeated heavy bombing, including incendiaries, the results would have been considered similar, especially if considering how poorly understood radiation was at that time. It could be reasonably believed that the commanders viewed this as just a really large bomb, which would apply under the Roman Statue Article 30 paragraph 3. Nmourfield (talk) 13:28, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Bush is "innocent" according to U.S. Law[edit]

The very last paragraph on the page says "under U.S. and international law former President Bush is criminally responsible." That's patently false, no U.S. president is ever culpable for the acts the committed as president, just as Nixon. I don't care how good your source is, it's wrong. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 107.212.12.111 (talk) 19:46, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

It does not say that at all. It quotes someone who says that. Incidentally, Nixon could not be charged with any crimes only because Gerald Ford pardoned him. TFD (talk) 02:31, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

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Other topics[edit]

I'm a foreign policy novice, but I don't quite understand why our misadventures in South and Central America are missing from this article (Allende, anyone?). Woodshed (talk) 10:48, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

If you bring RS and write it without POV, then I support you adding it into the article. Just remember that this article covers things the US military did, not necessarily things that governments supported by the United States did, those are covered in different articles. - SantiLak (talk) 17:59, 19 September 2016 (UTC)