United States War Crimes Policy Is Duplicity Of The
By Ted Sampley
U.S. Veteran Dispatch
U.S. Secretary of State Madeline K. Albright has been talking tough about war crimes. She says it is President Bill Clinton's desire to hunt down and prosecute those who commit war crimes _ that is as long as they are Bosnian and not Vietnamese.
In Washington recently, Albright declared that time was running out for fugitive former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, a NATO indicted war criminal.
Karadzic is accused of issuing orders that resulted in the execution of over 5,000 Bosnian moslem men, women and children and the systematic torture and murder of prisoners of war.
"It is the policy of the United States to make sure that Mr. Karadzic goes to the Hague. That is where we believe war criminals belong," she told reporters. "The statute of limitations on war criminals does not run out, and Mr. Karadzic's day will come."
Oh, really Ms. Albright?
In that case, the United States should be rounding up the Vietnamese communists responsible for murdering of over 5,000 men, women and children during the 1968 Tet offensive in the ancient city of Hue, South Vietnam.
Relatives of some of the 5,000 South Vietnamese men, women and children that were murdered by the North Vietnamese during the 1968 Tet offensive in the ancient city of Hue, South Vietnam, offer prayers over human remains that had been retrieved from the "killing field." .
North Vietnamese Army Regulars, on orders from Vietnam's infamous "war hero" General Vo Nguyen Giap, rounded up and marched the civilians to a dry river bed and summarily executed them with bullets, bayonets and clubs. Some were buried alive with their hands tied behind their backs. Their only crime they believed in democracy or they were Christians.
Ms. Albright, you obviously were speaking for the Clinton administration when you defined a war criminal as someone who murders civilians or tortures or murders prisoners of war, and according to what you have said, "there is no statute of limitations regarding the indictment and prosecution of war criminal."
So, let's get it on.
The record is absolutely clear. Beginning in the 1950s and continuing until the fall of Saigon in 1975, communist leaders in both North and South Vietnam orchestrated as official policy the use of terror as a weapon targeted directly at the non-communist population of Vietnam. Communist terrorists blew up churches, schools and bridges, and murdered thousands of South Vietnamese civilian officials. In some cases, the communists murdered the wives, children and even livestock and pets of the officials.
After North Vietnam violated the Paris Peace Agreements and took over South Vietnam by bloody military force, they murdered thousands more civilians. Those that were not executed were taken from their homes and jailed for years in forced labor concentration camps. Some are still being held today.
There is no question about the intentional deprivation, beatings, torture and murder that U.S. and South Vietnamese prisoners of war were subjected to by the communist Vietnamese during the war. Many of the torturers are easily found today. They are still running the Vietnamese government.
Ms. Albright just returned from a trip to Vietnam. Instead of searching for war criminals, she was there seeking a more warm diplomatic atmosphere there and a more lucrative trade relationship. She warmly embraced that nation's leaders, many of whom should be indicted for war crimes according to her own definition and her own declaration that the statute of limitations does not run out.
Although President Clinton has not pledged one thin penny to seek out the Vietnamese war criminals who brutalized American POWs and South Vietnamese servicemen and civilians, it is a matter of record that he has paid at least seven million dollars of U.S. taxpayer money to the United Nations for the purpose of seeking out and indicting Bosnian war criminals. ,
The duplicitous standard President Clinton (who we must not forget left the United States to dodge the draft rather than fight against the Vietnamese) applies to communist Vietnamese friends is nauseating.
It is obvious that neither Clinton, Albright nor anyone else in the current administration would dare do or say anything that might upset the Vietnamese. Quite the contrary, it is crystal clear that the United States government cannot bow low enough for their Hanoi friends.
Clinton's personally appointed ambassador to Vietnam, former Air Force pilot and prisoner of war Pete Peterson, told the international press that Americans should be concentrating on forgetting the war so that they may learn to forgive and love the communist Vietnamese.
Ironically, Peterson has first hand knowledge about Vietnam's policy of using torture and murder against U.S. prisoners of war. He admits that when he was their prisoner, the Vietnamese brutalized him on a daily basis during the entire six and a half years he was a prisoner. He even witnessed some of his friends being beaten to death by some of his Vietnamese guards.
Peterson, a loyal Clinton democrat, went so far as to say that the Vietnamese interrogators and guards who tortured U.S. POWs were men who were just doing their jobs.
If what Peterson says is true, then why are U.S. taxpayers spending seven million dollars to prosecute Bosnians who did to the Moslems nothing more than what the communist Vietnamese did to U.S. POWs and the South Vietnamese military and civilian population?
If Karadzic can be held responsible for torture, murder and ethnic cleansing, then so too should the Vietnamese responsible for the torture, murder and ideological cleansing of Hue and the brutalizing of American prisoners of war.
Alas, don't hold your breath and don't expect any help from Republicans. Of course, they all when campaigning declare how much they care about veterans and their issues. But there are only a few Republicans and Democrats in government who really mean it. For all the others, their pledges of support for veterans are campaign rituals, cliche nothing more than window dressing.
For example, second term Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-NC), who during his last election campaign used a former Vietnam prisoner of war to tout the merits of a War Crimes Bill he planned to push into law.
Jones said the United States government needed the legal authority to hunt down and punish those guilty of torturing and murdering American prisoners of war and that his War Crimes Act would do just that.
Hey, that is great news!
Not so fast!
After Jones was re-elected last year, Jones bowed to pressure from some of Vietnam's Capitol Hill friends and lobbyists and gutted his War Crimes Act of 1996 of all language making it retroactive to the Vietnam War. Today, because of Jones' War Crimes Act, the United States has the authority to seek out, indict and prosecute war criminals from every conflict except the Vietnam War.
Jones' "altered" bill sailed through Congress.