From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib
After World War Two the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal declared:”Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience…and have the duty to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.” The defense of “I was just following orders” was judged to be legally unsupportable and morally reprehensible. The Geneva Conventions have specific rules about the treatment of prisoners. In Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. has tortured detainees. Who pays the price for gross violations of basic morality, human rights and international law? Only low level American soldiers, the proverbially few bad apples, are being held accountable. The top military and the civilians who direct them are insulated. They have, in that infamous phrase from the Iran/Contra era, “plausible deniability.” Hersh gave the Eqbal Ahmad lecture at Hampshire College.
Seymour Hersh is a legendary investigative journalist. He catapulted to fame when he broke the story of the infamous My Lai massacre of Vietnamese civilians by U.S. troops. He has won practically every single award in journalism. Author of many books his latest is Chain of Command. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker where he broke the story of U.S. torture of prisoners.