One of the lessons of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials of Germans after Germany’s defeat in World War II was that obeying orders is no excuse for war crimes. U.S. prosecutors took the position that the German military should have refused to obey Hitler’s orders.
Chief U.S. prosecutor Robert Jackson established that military aggression was a war crime.
U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada took the Nuremberg lesson to heart. He refused to deploy to Iraq on the solid grounds that the war is illegal, which it is under the Nuremberg standard, and that he cannot order troops under his command to commit illegal actions.
Watada is correct. If the U.S. general staff had the integrity of Lt. Watada, America and Iraq would have been spared the pointless and bloody conflict. Bush was able to illegally initiate the conflict because the American military behaved exactly as the German military and followed the orders of a criminal commander in chief. Watada must be court-martialed in order to protect Bush and his obedient commanders from war crimes charges.
By prosecuting Lt. Watada, the U.S. military has demeaned the Nuremberg trials and demoted them to merely the revenge of the victorious. Watada’s prosecution demolishes the illusion that the Nuremberg trials established a civilized principle of international law. All it did was to reaffirm that might is right. Germany’s ideology of domination was a war crime, but America’s ideology of domination is not.