Crimes of War: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological Inquiry into the Responsibility of Leaders, Citizens, and Soldiers for Criminal Acts in Wars

By Richard A. Falk; Gabriel Kolko et al. | Go to book overview

In his World War II diary, The Warriors, a subterranean classic now beginning to surface, Glenn Gray takes us to the spiritual heart of combat. We find that war itself--with its demand for numbing, its distortions of death and guilt--places one always on the verge of atrocity. But we note also that Gray's war--World War II--when compared to Vietnam, still had contours and a suggestion of rules.


ON KILLING

J. Glenn Gray

The enemy was cruel, it was clear, yet this did not trouble me as deeply as did our own cruelty. Indeed, their brutality made fighting the Germans much easier, whereas ours weakened the will and confused the intellect. Though the scales were not at all equal in this contest, I felt responsibility for ours much more than for theirs. And the effect was cumulative. . . . Because of its peculiar character, one other episode haunts my mind and may be briefly set down. It happened in southern France shortly after our invasion. One day an attractive French girl appeared at our temporary headquarters and confessed that she had worked for a time with the local Gestapo and now feared the revenge of the Maquis. The French security officer with whom I was working interrogated her calmly at some length and soon found out that she had been in love with the Gestapo captain in charge of this district and had been persuaded to aid him on occasion in his repressive measures against the Resistance. Since our unit had to move on almost at once, the French officer wrote a report of his interrogation for the civil authorities of the liberated city-- and closed it with his recommendation that the girl be shot! On the way to the city jail with the girl, he picked up some pictures of his wife and children, which he had had developed in a local photography shop during our brief stay. After showing them to me for my comment and approval, he carried them to the girl in the car ahead. Ignorant of the fate he had decreed for her (and which would almost certainly be carried out at once under conditions at that time), the girl admired the

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Crimes of War: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological Inquiry into the Responsibility of Leaders, Citizens, and Soldiers for Criminal Acts in Wars
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page vii
  • Editors' Statement xi
  • Contents xiii
  • The Question of War Crimes: A Statement of Perspective 3
  • On the Avoidance of Reality 11
  • Beyond Atrocity 17
  • A Legal Framework 29
  • 1 - Standards and Norms 31
  • 2 - The Experience of World War II 73
  • 3 - Focus on Vietnam 177
  • The Political Setting: Documents 263
  • American Atrocities in Vietnam 265
  • Chemical Warfare in Vietnam 285
  • Pacification in Vietnam 291
  • A Doctor Reports from South Vietnam 309
  • Testimony of Don Luce 338
  • Testimony of Roger Hilsman, Former U.S. Official 344
  • Over Vietnam: An Eyewitness Report 345
  • Terror for Helicopters 357
  • Son My Mothers Call for Vengeance 360
  • The Tombs of Ben Suc 363
  • Repression in South Vietnam 371
  • Anti-Vietcong Cordon Disrupts Life of a Village 386
  • The Balang an Massacre 389
  • The Face of War, December, 1969 393
  • Letters to His Parents - Captain William H. Miller 395
  • Precision Bombing Not Very Precise 397
  • Saigon "Falsifying" Casualty Figures 401
  • War Crimes and the Nature of the Vietnam War 403
  • Contributors 415
  • The Psychological and Ethical Context 417
  • Victims and Executioners 419
  • Healing in Vietnam 430
  • It Didn't Happen and Besides, They Deserved It 441
  • Cover Your Ass 445
  • The Changing Climate of Atrocity 459
  • From Boot Camp to My Lai 462
  • The Gift 469
  • The Age of Abdication 473
  • German Guilt 476
  • On Responsibility for Evil 486
  • Gandhi versus the Policing Mind 502
  • On Killing 513
  • On Dying 528
  • On Genocede 534
  • A Victory 550
  • Deadly Paradoxes 555
  • Absurd Technological Death 559
  • Contributors 576
  • Recommendations for Further Reading 577
  • Index 579
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