By Dave Lindorff
In international relations and international law, the same applies.
How then to explain the casual way that civilian and military leaders of the US and Israel are talking openly about plans and threats to attack Iran?
The supposed casus belli or justification for such an attack is that Iran, which has a uranium enrichment program underway which it claims is to produce nuclear fuel for its new nuclear reactor (a completely legal activity for any nation under international law), secretly plans to further enrich uranium to make an atomic bomb.
That alleged threat, even if it were real, doesn’t even come close to constituting an “imminent” threat of attack of the kind which might justify a pre-emptive strike on Iran, as is being publicly contemplated and threatened by the US and Israel.
The simple fact is that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, and his top generals and cabinet officers, are committing a war crime every time they threaten Iran with attack.
What is absolutely stunning is that this massive criminality at the highest levels of the US government is going on totally unchallenged by the US mainstream media.
There is not one word in the Times or anywhere else in the corporate media about the reality that such an attack would constitute the commission of a supreme war crime.
President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney have all publicly warned that “all options” are “on the table” in dealing with Iran’s supposed threat to construct a nuclear weapon -- a clear reference to their being ready to attack Iran if necessary.
But all the war talk and saber rattling, the only debate in the US media seems to be over whether the US is really planning to attack Iran, or whether it would join in attacking Iran if Israel were to launch an attack, not on whether such an attack by either nation on Iran would constitute a horrific war crime.
There are polls, some of which show a majority of Americans to favor an attack on Iran by the US, but again, there are no pollsters asking Americans whether they think such an attack would be a crime against humanity.
I suppose we should not be surprised at this sorry state of affairs. After all, the most brutal war that the US engaged in since World War II, when it became the only nation to ever use atomic weapons, incinerating two large cities in Japan in the waning days of that conflict, was the Indochina War, and North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia never posed the slightest threat to the United States.
Never have the US media suggested that these past horrors were war crimes deserving prosecution (though at least the House Impeachment Committee did consider charging President Richard Nixon with a war crime for invading Cambodia).
So why should we expect things to be any different now?
Well, perhaps because the consequences of this latest war crime in the making could have far more serious consequences, even, than the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, not just for American military personnel, and not even just for America, but for the entire world.
Iran is decidedly not Iraq. It is a country of 74 million, not 24 million. It is a country with a long history and a strong national identity, not a group of disparate, feuding tribes and regions cobbled together by a departing colonial power as was Iraq.
As well, an attack on Iran would shut down oil shipments not just from Iran but from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states of Kuwait and the UAE, all of which have to ship out their oil through the narrow Strait of Hormuz.
One would think that the magnitude of the unknown and dangerous potential consequences of a criminal attack on Iran by the US and its client state Israel would lead at least some news organizations to look into the very legality of such an attack.
But no. Apparently calling the leaders of this nation criminals is beyond the imagining of the so-called chattering class and its paymasters.
I’ll do it here though:
President Obama and his key advisors, as well as Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Panetta, are all currently war criminals for threatening Iran with attack. And if the US does attack Iran, either on its own or in support of an Israeli attack, they will be even worse war criminals, and will be deserving of the same fate met by Japan’s Imperial Army General and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, and by Nazi Germany’s Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop and Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel.
Dave Lindorff is an investigative reporter. He received two Project Censored awards in 2004 and 2011. www.thiscantbehappening.net