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Genocide, War Crimes and the West

Genocide, War Crimes and the West

Doctor Adam Jones


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Genocide and war crimes are increasingly the focus of scholarly and activist attention. Much controversy exists over how, precisely, these grim phenomena should be defined and conceptualized. Genocide, War Crimes & the West tackles this controversy, and clarifies our understanding of an important but under-researched dimension: the involvement of the US and other liberal democracies in actions that are conventionally depicted as the exclusive province of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. Many of the authors are eminent scholars and/or renowned activists; in most cases, their contributions are specifically written for this volume. In the opening and closing sections of the book, analytical issues are considered, including questions of responsibility for genocide and war crimes, and institutional responses at both the domestic and international levels. The central section is devoted to an unprecedentedly broad range of original case studies of western involvement, or alleged involvement, in war crimes and genocide. At a moment in history when terrorism has become a near universal focus of public attention, this volume makes clear why the West, as a result of both its historical legacy and contemporary actions, so often excites widespread resentment and opposition throughout the rest of the world.
Adam Jones is currently Professor of International Studies at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. He is author of Beyond the Barricades: Nicaragua and the Struggle for the Sandinista Press, 1979-1998 ( 2002), and editor of Gendercide and Genocide (forthcoming). His scholarly articles have appeared in Review of International Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Genocide Research, Journal of Human Rights, and other publications. He is Executive Director of Gendercide Watch (, a Web-based educational initiative.
'This exceptionally well selected, brilliantly edited collection of writings provides the most comprehensive treatment of Western responsibility for mass atrocity yet published. The cumulative impact of the volume is a devastating indictment of state terrorism as practised by the West, both historically, and now after September 11 in the name of "anti-terrorism." ' Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University 'In the names of millions of forgotten victims, from Wounded Knee to My Lai, a brilliant tribunal of scholars assail the himalayan hypocrisy of "Western humanitarianism." ' Mike Davis, author of Late Victorian Holocausts ‘Like communist and third world regimes, Western states have been opponents, bystanders, accomplices and perpetrators of genocide and war crimes. In different cases, they have also variously ignored, denied, covered up, re-examined, recanted, and refused to apologise for their roles. Is there a pattern here? "Genocide, War Crimes & the West" is definitely worth reading. In case studies and thematic essays, the authors offer a variety of answers and raise important new questions about democracy, foreign policy, and international law, uncovering the complexity along with the complicity in the West‘s relationships and approaches to genocide and war crimes.‘ Ben Kiernan, Yale University, and editor of Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia. 'This book documents one of the darkest chapters in recent history. It tells the story of what the "First World" - the Western democracies, most prominently the United States -- have done mainly against countries and peoples in the South and in the former socialist world. It is a history of aggression, indiscriminate bombing, war crimes, and massacres since the 1970s, the story of Western complicity in genocide in the South and East, and worse, it is about genocide committed by these democracies themselves. This path-breaking book fills a huge void; it carefully accounts for serious crimes that others have shamefully avoided, omitted or denied.' Christian P. Scherrer, Hiroshima Peace Institute, Japan; author of Genocide and Crisis. ‘A revealing compendium of studies regarding the crimes against humanity committed by "Western democracies." This book should give citizens a better sense of those parts of our history that remain largely unexamined and untaught.‘ Michael Parenti, author of "The Terrorism Trap" and "The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People‘s History of Ancient Rome"

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover cover
Contents iii
Part I: Overview 1
1: Introduction: History and Complicity 3
‘Democrisy’ and the dissident strand 8
Genocide and the West 18
Definitions, caveats and acknowledgments 20
Notes 23
References 25
2: Shades of Complicity: Towards a Typology of Transnational Crimes against Humanity 31
Complicity as a theme 32
Obligations: ending the culture of impunity? 44
Conclusion 48
Notes 49
References 51
Part II: Genocide, War Crimes and the West 57
3: Imperial Germany and the Herero of Southern Africa: Genocide and the Quest for Recompense 59
The Herero–German War 60
The ‘Blue Book’ 63
White settler unity and the ‘Blue Book’ 65
Seeking to deny the past 66
Michael Scott and Herero representations to the UN 67
Genocide and the establishment of nationalist parties 69
The Herero genocide and nationalist struggle 70
Namibian independence, Herero genocide and Herero unity 71
Regaining the international stage 72
Conclusion 72
Notes 73
References 76
4: Genocide by Any Other Name: North American Indian Residential Schools in Context 78
Form and scope of the crime 80
Genocide in North America 83
‘To kill the Indian…’ 86
Worlds of pain 105
Shaping the future 108
Notes 112
References 112
5: The Allies in World War II: The Anglo-American Bombardment of German Cities 116
Effects and effectiveness 117
Intent, international law and recognition 121
Ethics, conscience and recognition 124
Conclusion: was it a war crime? 127
Notes 129
References 132
6: Torture and Other Violations of the Law by the French Army during the Algerian War 134
‘Police operations’ in Algeria 134
Violence by the French army in Algeria: legality, legitimacy and violations of the law 138
The role of torture 142
Notes 145
7: Atrocity and Its Discontents: US Double-mindedness about Massacre, from the Plains Wars to Indonesia 146
Atrocities, seminal and responsive 146
The two Indonesias and the two Americas 149
Developing psywar 152
US psywar, Indonesia, and East Timor 155
Conclusion 159
Notes 160
References 162
8: Bob Kerrey’s Atrocity, the Crime of Vietnam and the Historic Pattern of US Imperialism 164
Mekong Delta, 1969 164
1954–65: US thwarts 1954 Geneva Accords, defies Vietnamese sovereignty and conducts illegal covert war 166
1965–75: US moves to illegal overt intervention 167
Comparison of casualties 169
Vietnam was not an aberration 169
Historical precedents of imperial behavior 170
The special intensity and reach of Western and US imperialism 171
The American Way of Life 175
Healing as an antidote to our ‘forever war’ 175
Conclusion 178
Notes 178
References 180
Document I: Inaugural Statement to the Russell Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal(1966) 181
9: Charles Horman versus Henry Kissinger: US Intervention in 1970s Chile and the Case for Prosecutions 186
The election of Salvador Allende 188
Obstructing Allende’s road to socialism 191
The US diplomatic failure 193
Conclusion: The never-ending story 195
Notes 197
References 200
10: The Wretched of the Nations: The West’s Role in Human Rights Violations in the Bangladesh War of Independence 201
Human rights and their genesis in Eurocentrism 201
Elite conflict, Bengali Muslim nationalismand the creation of Bangladesh 203
The tragedy of 1971 205
Hitchens, Kissinger, and the case for a war-crimes trial 207
Kissinger responds 209
Postscript: Musharraf ’s visit, Pakistan’s ‘apology’ 211
Notes 212
References 212
11: Indicting Henry Kissinger: The Response of Raphael Lemkin 214
Salient facts regarding Raphael Lemkin 214
Salient facts about Axis Rule in Occupied Europe 216
Indicting Henry Kissinger 218
Relevant international legislation 220
Raphael Lemkin’s response? 221
Concluding thoughts 224
Notes 227
References 228
12: Crimes of the West in Democratic Congo: Reflections on Belgian Acceptance of ‘Moral Responsibility’ for the Death of Lumumba 230
The murder of Lumumba 233
Complicity: the scholarship and the cable record 236
Conclusion 239
Note 239
References 239
13: In the Name of the Cold War: How the West Aided and Abetted the Barre Dictatorship of Somalia 241
American and Western complicity 241
Ignoring Barre’s political orientation 242
The rationale for supporting the Barre dictatorship 243
The destruction of the North 245
Overall US assistance to Barre 246
Assistance after the outbreak of the war in the north 248
Assistance from other Western countries 248
US reactions to the 1988 massacres 250
Bush abandons Somalia, then sends in the Marines 251
Avoiding responsibility for the Somalia mess 252
Conclusion 254
Notes 255
References 257
14: The Security Council: Behind the Scenes in the Rwanda Genocide 260
The crucial decisions 262
15: US Policy and Iraq: A Case of Genocide? 264
Note 269
Documents II and III: Criminal Complaint against the United States and Others for Crimes against the People of Iraq (1996) and Letter to the Security Council (2001) 270
Document II 270
Document III 273
16: The Fire in 1999? The United States, NATO and the Bombing of Yugoslavia 276
Precedents 277
The war begins 278
Unintended civilian consequences? 281
Civilian deaths 282
Depleted uranium 285
Cluster bombs 286
The KLA and regional instability 287
Regional instability 289
Assigning blame 290
US ‘war crimes’? 292
Conclusion 295
Notes 296
References 296
17: Collateral Damage: The Human Cost of Structural Violence 299
Examples of structural violence 301
Addressing the crisis 305
What is to be done? 308
Globalizing greed 315
Conclusion 319
Notes 322
References 322
Part III: Truth and Restitution 325
18: Institutional Responses to Genocide and Mass Atrocity 327
Theoretical issues 328
Empirical considerations 335
Conclusion 342
Notes 343
References 343
19: International Citizens’ Tribunals on Human Rights 346
Conceptual foundations 347
The Reichstag fire trial case 348
The Moscow show trials case 351
The Vietnam war crimes case 353
The tribunal movement 356
Suggestions for reform 358
Notes 359
References 359
20: Coming to Terms with the Past: The Case for a Truth and Reparations Commission on Slavery, Segregation and Colonialism 361
Three strategies: legal, political and mass movement 362
Truth commissions 366
The Pan-African Truth and Reparations Commission 369
Regional panels 372
Afterword 374
References 375
Document IV: The World Conference against Racism: Declarations on the Transatlantic Slave Trade 377
Part IV: Closing Observations\r 381
21: Afghanistan and Beyond 383
Targeting Afghanistan 384
‘Operation Endless Deployment’ 392
Targeting Iraq… and Cuba 394
Conclusion 397
Afterword: censored on H-Genocide 397
Notes 399
References 400
22: Letter to America 404
Note 408
About the Contributors 409
Index 413