Obama’s War Crimes Hypocrisy

So, Obama is thinking about prosecuting lawyers for war crimes. [h/t Instapundit]

Frankly, I doubt that Obama will actually go through with it. Leftists like to talk big about how horrible and murderous America’s military and intelligence services are, but history has shown that they are just hypocritical cowards when it comes to acting on their hysterical rhetoric. John Kerry started his political career with this statement made under oath before congress in 1971:

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command….
They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

A shocking allegation but absolutely standard for the pro-communist-victory leftist of the day. It’s important to remember that for Kerry and the rest of the 25% most leftward part of the American political spectrum, America’s fight against communism in Indochina wasn’t just foolhardy or doomed but actively evil. America was engaged in an evil imperialistic war to prevent the people of Indochina from embracing the enlightened communist future they desired. Since America was a Nazi-like country that would attack and oppress innocent people, it followed that American soldiers would use Nazi-like tactics. 

This incredibly negative view of the American military and America itself wasn’t the worst thing about the far Left in the ’70s. The worst thing was that it turned out they made all these allegations and abandoned the people of Indochina to communist mass murder purely as a cynical tactic to gain political power. When they could no longer milk any additional benefit from slandering America, they suddenly discovered that “crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command” weren’t that big of a deal.

The Left won sweeping control of the federal government in 1976, in the wake of Watergate, so a naive observer who believed in leftist sincerity would assume that they would move aggressively to root out the evil that had spread throughout the American military, intelligence services and government in general. It would be insane to leave lieutenants who started their careers committing war crimes on a “day-to-day basis” in the military so that 30 years later they could rise into the ranks of top generals. 

Instead, they dropped the war crimes allegations as quickly as they could and moved to protect people like John Kerry from prosecution from the many laws he’d broken. (Kerry was a naval reserve officer at the time he made his slanders. If he actually had evidence of crimes he had a legal duty to report the specifics to national and international authorities. If he didn’t actually have evidence then he was responsible for acts against the good order of the military. Either way, he was headed for prison.)  In the process they oh-so magnanimously included an open ended pardon for just about any war crime anyone may have committed in Indochina. How big of them!

Magnanimity had nothing to do with the pardons. The leftists knew that following through on prosecutions for war crimes would have revealed virtually all of the charges to be false. The American public would have seen the leftists as the cynical hypocrites they were, and people like John Kerry could have never become senators or run for the presidency. 

Obama was mentored by these same leftists. From the beginning, he cynically exploited slanders against the current generation of Americans fighting the War on Terror to whip up support for him on the far Left. Now that he has power and following through on his slanders would cost some or all of that power, he will betray the far Left just as his mentors did. 

I predict this theater will repeat itself every generation. Slandering the American military is a safe and easy way to engage in self-gratifying moral outrage. Leftists can prove how superior they are to everyone else by attacking people who can’t fight back. Then, when it comes time to lay their cards on the table, they can further prove their superiority with magnanimous pardons. It’s a no-lose strategy for them.

[update (2009-4-23 10:30am): The left won’t engage in show trials they would lose control of the narrative that feeds their need for moral outrage. Specifically, show trials would reveal that top Democrats signed off on enhanced interrogation.  ]

16 thoughts on “Obama’s War Crimes Hypocrisy”

  1. Instead, they dropped the war crimes allegations as quickly as they could and moved to protect people like John Kerry from prosecution from the many laws he’d broken.

    Kerry did escape although I still wonder about his silver star certificate that was signed years later. Might there be a dishonorable discharge in there somewhere ? All awards are cancelled when that happens. I still suspect it was reissued after amnesty by Carter.

    Frank Church did subsequently gut the CIA so I wouldn’t say we escaped unharmed. Even worse than the consequences to southeast Asia, were the consequences to US higher education, now trickling down to elementary education. The left moved en masse into education and have dumbed down a generation of kids.

  2. Tom Crispin:
    Good call, but the last lines are also worth considering:

    “An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please,
    An’ Tommy ain’t a bleeding fool- you bet that Tommy sees!”

  3. I have to say I disagree. At this point the left half of the Democratic party is committed to the idea of convicting “war criminals” in which they will include, if they can manage it, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and various uniformed personnel. The believe that if they do this, their righteousness will be proven, and they’ll essentially be a permanent majority. Also, you have to remember…a lot of these idiots actually believe what they’re saying. They think that all of this is simple, all we have to do is “engage” with Dinner Jacket, Chavez, Osama, and the rest of them, and the world will be a wonderful, green, peaceful place.

  4. A dishonorable discharge can be awarded only as the sentence of a General Court Martial. A bad conduct discharge can be awarded by a General or a Special Court Martial. Non-punitive discharges are called “General” or “Honorable” Discharges. One must earn an honorable discharge. Since Sen. Kerry has never publicly presented an honorable discharge, (perhaps he threw it out with his medals?) and has, to our knowledge, never had a court martial, it is reasonable to assume that he received a general court martial. It was most likely because of his activity with the North Vietnamese delegation during the Paris Peace Talks, when he was still on active duty.

  5. “you bet that Tommy sees!”

    Of course Tommy sees, but there ain’t nothing Tommy can do about what he sees.

    “Frank Church did subsequently gut the CIA…” and built a “wall” between the CIA and the FBI… then came Sept 11 when the CIA was not allowed to tell the FBI that the terrorists had entered the USA…

    Tommy sees and says: “The rest is History.”

  6. This latest move is just a smokescreen designed to diffuse the Tea Party movement, which scares them more than anyone realizes. They needed to change the subject, so they seized on a wedge issue to split opponents into Bush supporters and detractors. Obama’s bankrupting of our country has huge traction even among Democrats, and a popular uprising against it is a far greater threat than pro Bush republicans. Don’t take your eye off the ball. Don’t fall for it.

  7. “they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”

    I read somewhere that these words came straight from a Soviet propaganda manual written by Yuri Andropov himself.

  8. Your comments are probably on target, but I could not help but think this may be wishful thinking, lowering the concern over this unethical Democratic Partisan push to criminalize their political opposition without any sincere basis.

    I think we should not just say, ‘it will all go away’, but make it perfectly clear how disgusting this truly is – it needs a unified, strong rebuke.

    These documents intended to embarrass for pure political gain, actually reveal the Bush Administration in this case, as well as the CIA, were actually quite professional in dealing with Terrorists, trying to stop another 9-11.

    But the unethical nature of those in the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, etc., all seem to want to prove their superior nature, and cannot help themselves. They may not actually stop where the prior zealots ‘moved on’.

    It may be a sign of ignorance, insecurity, etc., but the pure political manipulation of the DHS, led by Napolitano, is quite genuine. So is this vapid attempt to criminalize those who soundly served after the “manmade disaster” we call 9-11.

    Mr. Obama has broken every promise he used to vilify his opposition with, including vapid promises about earmarks, lobbyists, presidential signing statements, lies about bows to Kings, tax cut facades, etc. He even lied about a Catepillar CEO’s comments. He is just as unethical as the former Clinton Administration, which once made it their policy to lie about the genocide in Rwanda, for mindless political image concerns. If Obama feels his popularity slipping, which it already has, he will play the vilify the opposition to the hilt. Just as Hillary did with her dishonest Vast Right Wing Conspiracy claims when her husband was busted clearly trying to rig his own sexual harassment case.

    Obama’s vilification of the Bush Presidency helped get him to the Senate and to win the Presidency. It was baseless, even debased an admirable endeavor to bring liberty to the formerly oppressed millions in Iraq. But he had the overt help of a very powerful Partisan MSM, who will also play the vilification of the Bush Administration to the very end. They still play the game for the Clintons, and will stop at nothing to criminalize the opposition to the Democratic Party.

    A number of factors are pushing this desire to debase the Republicans with further unethical efforts. The successful growing Democracy in Iraq, is contrary to the new President’s claims that the Surge would fail, and that we should have never bothered in the first place.

    The unattractive nature of Mr. Obama’s socialist folly, the American Public’s fear of the Democrats collectivist spending, including the inability to help the Economy, are all going to call for a big distraction.

    Also, we see a complete lack of Diplomatic accomplishment, with the snobbish use of ‘smart power’. They could not even get the UN to condemn the rocket launch by North Korea.

    Perhaps even more motive, is the rabid Democratic Loyalists who fabricated a fantasy of ‘Bush is Evil’, to justify their ugly political bigotry. They might be sensing the Democratic Campaign themes, designed to gain power, were baseless, including their consistent undermining of an admirable endeavor in Iraq.

    They need some ‘justice’, to fill in for the fact that they have no case. So, to assure the Democratic Partisan facade, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Clinton and Crew, may just continue to do the very worst for the USA and the Free World to aid their own petty greed and self serving nature.

    They already caused enormous damage by releasing these classified interrogation CIA Memos. They might as well have continue with the unethical Witch Hunting, as PBS, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Rollingstone, VHI, MTV, the Dailly Show, Newsweek, Time, Vogue, Cosmo, USA Today, WAPO, NY Times, etc., are eager to do the ugly job.

  9. Roger Barnett

    I believe that it is only a dishonorable discharge that revokes “all honors and awards” and since Kerry requested his medals be “reissued” (which he did) he must have “lost” them at some point. Throwing the physical medals over the White House fence (ROFLMAO) is *not* a loss of medals. The piece of paper in your service jacket is what grants you the award and you are free to go out and purchase physical replacements whenever you need whether you spilled spaghetti sauce on them at dinner or because you “lost” them. When he said he had to request they be reissued he basically told me that hidden somewhere in his unreleased records is a dishonorable discharge.

    The “honorable discharge” shown on his website during the campaign was dated years later and under a program by Carter designed to review “less than honorable” discharges. The combination of that necessary review plus his loss of awards smells like a dishonorable to me. Of course he could always clear it up by actually doing what he promised to do over 4 years ago… authorizing the release of all his records but I am betting that even in Massachusetts he couldn’t get reelected if he did.

  10. Re: David Nicholas – I refer you to Shannon’s previous post, Obama’s New Nuremburg Defense. Relevant to your comment (and with my emphasis added):

    Given his years of opposition to “torture” and the Left’s deep psychological need to punish those who disagree with them, Obama has to hold somebody accountable for carrying out enhanced interrogations. However, the public won’t support going after the soldiers, officers and agents who actually conducted the interrogations. Putting Bush and the other elected officials on trial would be a political nightmare which could backfire badly. To get around these problems, Obama has hit on the idea of prosecuting some largely anonymous lawyers instead.

    Maybe President Obama’s fellow Dems in Congress would like to see folks from the previous administration in the dock. Maybe Obama himself privately would as well. But never forget that one of the President’s unofficial roles is that of Politician-In-Chief for his party. Obama’s first duty in that role is not to keep congressional Dems happy, but to keep them, and himself, in power, even if that means having to protect the more rabid ones from themselves.

    The reason Obama was elected in the first place pretty much begins and ends with the ongoing financial/economic crisis. That remains Issue #1 in American politics; any trial of Bush administration or military officials in the midst of the crisis would be a noisy sideshow at most. Obama’s approach toward the economy isn’t exactly giving most Americans the warm-and-fuzzies as it is; the last thing he or his party needs is to invite accusations of taking his eye off that ball, or to galvanize GOP opposition even further, for the sake of a mere sideshow trial. He would have to be crazy and/or stupid to go forward with it. There are many less-than-flattering words that accurately describe Barack Obama. “Crazy” and “stupid” aren’t among them.

  11. I served in Viet Nam and would bet that up until that time, there had never been a military organization that was more closely watched over and controlled concerning “war crimes” than was the U.S. Military. Anytime that something controversial came up, someone was made to pay some very serious consequences. I personally escorted a fellow soldier from Pleiku to Saigon where he was to spend six months in Long Bihn (sic) Prison for having taken/stolen a blanket from a Vietnamese home during a patrol. He denied having done it up until someone presented a picture to the court of him strapping it on to his ruck sack. If an incident like that resulted in prison time and a dis-honorable discharge, it’s not likely that even more serious charges would have regularly been ignored.
    Just as ex-soldiers sometimes exaggerate their exploits, those who chose to not serve, feed their egos by down-playing the contributions made by those who did.
    We now have a government run by “those who chose to not serve” and they need food for their egos….

  12. I have been thinking more and more about the DHS report on right wing extremism. Not the fidelity of the reports conclusions or even its data points but rather its topicality and timing. Is there a conscious fear among lefties, especially radical Saul Alinsky/Bill Ayres types, that a “Seven Days in May” military coup possible considering the re-ordering of the national psyche under a weak leader? Was this a preemptive strike (we know what you are thinking and we are ahead of you). This coupled with the release of CIA memos, wishy-washy talk about prosecutions and limp wristed military strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq seems to me to be putting our military in a position of either suffering the humility of Obama leadership as CinC or retiring early to pursue – what?

  13. I think the strongest protection against show trials is the fact that the Democrats would lose control of the narrative. As long as they are making accusations about secret operations they can create any narrative they wish. Once they start trials, however, all the information will come out including the fact that the congressional Democrat leadership signed off on enhanced interrogation. If those on trial can produce information that such techniques stopped another 9/11 or saved lives in Iraq or Afghanistan, they will look even worse.

    No, they’ll do what they always do. They want to keep the narrative simple in which enhanced interrogation is torture carried out by evil people for evil reasons. A trial will undermine that narrative. A trial will make them have to make a definitive public statement that they prefer to see thousands of Americans and others dead rather than waterboard 14 senior members of Al-Queda.

    Moral outrage is their real high. They never, ever do anything to bring close scrutiny to their premise on which they base their outrage. They buried the facts in the late-70’s so they could keep the narrative of their principled opposition to American evil in Vietnam and they will bury the facts to keep their narrative now.

  14. Well — all I can figure out is if the left makes the foolish move of pursuing prosecutions of anyone from the layewers who offered opinions to the former POTUS, they are in for one heck of a surpirse.

    I heard Mark Levin on Hannity yestersday and that man is livid. He personally would get involved, and using his Landmark goup, plans of deposing every democrat he can find under oath about what they knew, when, where, why, and how. Hannity threw in that he’d start a defense fund and contribute to it.

    I think there are none so blind as those who will not see, and there are some on the left who are so blinded by their own self righteous fake moralizing that they may take themselves down with the Republic. But the Republic will survive.

  15. I do not discount the possibility of some sort of tribunal. To be honest, the fact that Obama has at times said that he opposes it, makes it more likely in view of his record of flip-flopping on promises in the last 100 days.

    But there is a problem as to what venue this tribunal would be held in. Consider. It cannot be held in the courts, because a) under the law of the time, no statutory crime was committed, and b) I believe the Supreme Court has ruled that the Court does not have jurisdiction over the president’s role as Commander in Chief in wartime. It cannot be held in Congress, because the very leadership holding the hearings can be placed in the dock as having been briefed on the practices and having approved of them. Congressional hearings meaning losing control of the narrative, as you said.

    All that is left is the Executive branch. I would not rule out the installation of an Executive Volksgerechthof style tribunal, and they could control both access and coverage of the proceedings, and they could rig the process as they wish.

    However, something that the 75% of the Democrats on the extreme Left side of their party may not understand, the commencement of such a process is a bright and shining marker that will not be ignored by conservatives. The persecution/prosecution of political enemies, not for statutory crimes but for past differences in policy, means that they have no intention of ever yielding power, because they know that the same process will be applied to them, multiplied many-fold, as soon as they are out of office.

    And the process of getting them out, and the nature of that application may not be in strict accord with Robert’s Rules of Order.

    They will have sown the wind. And will have a bumper crop to reap.

    Subotai Bahadur

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