Law Offices of Bruce Fein

The Double Standards of Empire

By Bruce Fein, Jan 24 2023

An editorial in today’s Washington Post (“How to dole out Justice to Mr. Putin”) clamors for a Nuremberg-style tribunal to prosecute Russian President Vladimir Putin for the international law crime of aggression. (The International Military Tribunal (IMT) established by the victors in World War II, the United States, the USSR, Great Britain, and France, prosecuted senior Nazis for crimes against peace: namely, initiating or waging a war of aggression not in self-defense).

The idea of a Nuremberg tribunal sequel is wonderful. The IMT declared: “To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” War legalizes first degree murder and annihilates the rule of law. The United Nations Charter also prohibits wars of aggression, as does the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The latter defines the crime to include:

“Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State.”

But why did The Washington Post bugle only for a Nuremberg-style tribunal to prosecute Mr. Putin for conducting a war of aggression against Ukraine? President Barack Obama conducted a war of aggression against Libya in 2011 to overthrow Muhammar Gaddafi. President George W. Bush conducted wars of aggression against Iraq in 2003 and Somalia in 2006. Under Presidents Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden, the United States has participated with Saudi Arabia in a war of aggression against Yemen. President Bill Clinton conducted wars of aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

The subtext of the editorial was that while all nations are equal, some are more equal than others; and, that international law amounts to no more than the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. It is the signature of all Empires.

The Washington Post is no aberration. The mainstream media has become the drum major of the American Empire. Remember Judith Miller of The New York Times and Iraq. When is the last time you have seen on the OP-ED pages of the Post, the Times, or the WSJ a column denouncing chronic crimes of aggression by the United States pivoting on John Quincy Adams’ electrifying July 4, 1821 address to Congress: We do not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy?

The mainstream media’s war propaganda is not as compromised as RT’s on behalf of Russia, but it is competitive.