U.S. Vows to Hunt Russian War Criminals — but Gives a Pass to Its Own

U.S. Vows to Hunt Russian War Criminals — but Gives a Pass to Its Own

By The Intercept

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Ukrainian Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova, meet in Krakovets, Poland, on June 21, 2022.

Photo: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

“There is no place to hide,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during a surprise trip to Ukraine this week, announcing that a veteran prosecutor known for hunting down Nazis would lead American efforts to investigate Russian war crimes. “We will pursue every avenue available to make sure that those who are responsible for these atrocities are held accountable,” he added.

Garland didn’t need to travel 4,600 miles in pursuit of war criminals. If he wanted to hold those responsible for atrocities accountable, he could have stayed home.

In a suburban Maryland neighborhood, just over an hour away from Garland’s office, I once interviewed a U.S. Army veteran who confessed to shooting, in Vietnam, an unarmed elderly man in 1968. He didn’t just tell me. He told military criminal investigators in the early 1970s but was never charged or court-martialed. He retired from the Army in 1988.

The United States is awash in war criminals. Some are foreigners who fled accountability in their homelands. Most are homegrown. They live in places like Wheelersburg, Ohio (a confessed torturer), and Auburn, California (a West Point grad who presided over a massacre). Like these veterans, most have never been charged, much less tried or convicted. If Garland or Eli Rosenbaum, whom he tapped to lead the Ukraine War Crimes Accountability Team, want to find them, I can provide addresses.

I located those veterans through the records of a secret war crimes task force set up by the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. Today, even that bare modicum of accountability has vanished. It’s now anathema for the Defense Department to mention U.S. personnel and “war crimes” in the same breath.

Last month, a Pentagon investigation of a 2019 attack in Syria that killed dozens of people, including women and children, found “numerous policy compliance deficiencies” in the military’s initial review of the airstrike, but ultimately held that no one violated the laws of war and no disciplinary action was warranted.

The anonymous personnel involved in the Syria strike — including the F-15 pilot, drone crew, lawyers, analysts, and…

Read Full Story At: The Intercept

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