Genocide, War Crimes and the West: History and Complicity


Genocide and war crimes are increasingly the focus of scholarly and activist attention. Much controversy exists over how, precisely, these grim phenomena should be defined and conceptualized. Genocide, War Crimes and the West tackles this controversy, and clarifies our understanding of an important but under-researched dimension: the involvement of the US and other liberal democracies in actions that are conventionally depicted as the exclusive province of totalitarian and ...
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Genocide, War Crimes and the West: History and Complicity

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Genocide and war crimes are increasingly the focus of scholarly and activist attention. Much controversy exists over how, precisely, these grim phenomena should be defined and conceptualized. Genocide, War Crimes and the West tackles this controversy, and clarifies our understanding of an important but under-researched dimension: the involvement of the US and other liberal democracies in actions that are conventionally depicted as the exclusive province of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This exceptionally well selected, brilliantly edited collection of writings provides the most comprehensive treatment of Western responsibility for mass atrocity yet published. The cumulative impact of the volume is a devastating indictment of state terrorism as practised by the West, both historically, and now after September 11 in the name of 'anti-terrorism.'" - Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

"In the names of millions of forgotten victims, from Wounded Knee to My Lai, a brilliant tribunal of scholars assail the himalayan hypocrisy of 'Western humanitarianism'." - Mike Davis, author of Late Victorian Holocausts

'Like communist and third world regimes, Western states have been opponents, bystanders, accomplices and perpetrators of genocide and war crimes. In different cases, they have also variously ignored, denied, covered up, re-examined, recanted, and refused to apologise for their roles. Is there a pattern here? "Genocide, War Crimes & the West" is definitely worth reading. In case studies and thematic essays, the authors offer a variety of answers and raise important new questions about democracy, foreign policy, and international law, uncovering the complexity along with the complicity in the West's relationships and approaches to genocide and war crimes.' - Ben Kiernan, Director, Genocide Studies Program, Yale University, and editor of Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia.

"This book documents one of the darkest chapters in recent history. It tells the story of what the 'First World' - the Western democracies, most prominently the United States — have done mainly against countries and peoples in the South and in the former socialist world. It is a history of aggression, indiscriminate bombing, war crimes, and massacres since the 1970s, the story of Western complicity in genocide in the South and East, and worse, it is about genocide committed by these democracies themselves. This path-breaking book fills a huge void; it carefully accounts for serious crimes that others have shamefully avoided, omitted or denied." - Christian P. Scherrer, Professor of Peace Studies, Hiroshima Peace Institute, Japan; author of Genocide and Crisis.

d 'A revealing compendium of studies regarding the crimes against humanity committed by "Western democracies." This book should give citizens a better sense of those parts of our history that remain largely unexamined and untaught.' - Michael Parenti, author of The Terrorism Trap and The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842771907
  • Publisher: Zed Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Jones is currently Professor of International Studies at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. He is author of Beyond the Barricades: Nicaragua and the Struggle for the Sandinista Press, 1979- 1998 (Ohio University Press, 2002), and editor of Gendercide and Genocide (Vanderbilt University Press, forthcoming). His scholarly articles have appeared in Review of International Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Genocide Research, Journal of Human Rights, and other publications. He is Executive Director of Gendercide Watch.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction : history and complicity 3
Ch. 2 Shades of complicity : towards a topology of transnational crimes against humanity 31
Ch. 3 Imperial Germany and the Herero of Southern Africa : genocide and the quest for recompense 59
Ch. 4 Genocide by any other name : North American Indian residential schools in context 78
Ch. 5 The allies in World War II : the Anglo-American bombardment of German cities 116
Ch. 6 Torture and other violations of the law by the French Army during the Algerian War 134
Ch. 7 Atrocity and its discontents : US double-mindedness about massacre, from the Plains Wars to Indonesia 146
Ch. 8 Bob Kerrey's atrocity, the crime of Vietnam and the historic pattern of US imperialism 164
Document 1 Inaugural statement to the Russell Vietnam War crimes tribunal 181
Ch. 9 Charles Horman versus Henry Kissinger : US intervention in 1970s Chile and the case for prosecutions 186
Ch. 10 The wretched of the nations : the West's role in human rights violations in the Bangladesh War of independence 201
Ch. 11 Indicting Henry Kissinger : the response of Raphael Lemkin 214
Ch. 12 Crimes of the West in Democratic Congo : reflections on Belgian acceptance of 'moral responsibility' for the death of Lumumba 230
Ch. 13 In the name of the Cold War : how the West aided and abetted the Barre dictatorship of Somalia 241
Ch. 14 The Security Council : behind the scenes in the Rwanda genocide 260
Ch. 15 US policy and Iraq : a case of genocide? 264
Document 2 Criminal complaint against the United States and others for crimes against the people of Iraq 270
Document 3 Letter to the Security Council 273
Ch. 16 The fire in 1999? : the United States, NATO and the bombing of Yugoslavia 276
Ch. 17 Collateral damage : the human cost of structural violence 276
Ch. 18 Institutional responses to genocide and mass atrocity 327
Ch. 19 International citizens' tribunals on human rights 346
Ch. 20 Coming to terms with the past : the case for a truth and reparations commission on slavery, segregation and colonialism 361
Document 4 Declarations on the transatlantic slave trade 377
Ch. 21 Afghanistan and beyond 383
Ch. 22 Letter to America 404
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    Excellent (if depressing) read

    It looks like the main problem the first reviewer ("Anonymous", January 13, 2005) had with this book was Eric Langenbacher's essay. Rather than looking at the whole book, he focuses on but a small part that he has a personal problem with (one almost senses a zionist undertone, but whatever).

    Regardless of whether one thinks the allied bombing of non-military and civilian areas of germany was good or bad, the book as a whole is excellent. There is no way one single book can cover every instance of western war crimes (another complaint the first reviewer had, and in my opinion an unreasonable one, being beyond the scope of one book), but this book serves as a good introduction to further reading. Rather than talking exclusively about subjects that are already adequatly covered in other works (such as Vietnam, the Holocaust, the slave trade - although this book does touch on these subjects), its strength lies in bringing to light some of the lesser known (but no less repugnant) atrocities committed by the west. Even the native american holocaust, of which most people are aware, is looked at from a different light than is traditionally taught in american history classes (in this case, the boarding school system, of which I was not aware of until I read this book, and which is one of the most shameful and despicable episodes in Canadian and United States history). In my opinion this book is worth it for this latter essay alone.

    North and latin america, africa, southeast asia, europe - this book covers various regions in different continents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2005

    Muddled account of war and its causes and results

    There is useful material in this book, but its definitions are muddled. Under the UN Charter, aggressive war is the supreme crime. So colonial conquests - stealing nationsf rights to self-determination - are criminal. Most of the essays are about colonial conquests, for example, the German destruction of the Herero in 1904-08, Francefs assault on Algeria 1954-62 and the USAfs attack on Vietnam in 1963-75, killing three million people. But there is no mention of the crimes committed abroad by the British ruling class, the slave trade, the recurrent famines in British India, its endless colonial wars, nor of the US-British attacks on China and King Leopoldfs pillage of the Congo in the 19th century, Japanfs assault on China in the 1930s, the USAfs attacks on Korea in 1950-53, killing two million civilians, or apartheid South Africafs wars against its neighbours. The editor includes Eric Langenbacherfs misguided essay describing the Allied bombing of Nazi Germany as genocide. Yet it cut Germanyfs industrial production in 1944-45 by a fifth. Albert Speer, Hitlerfs minister for munitions, called the bombing the ecause of all our setbacksf. It was a legitimate contribution to the just war against Nazism. The US and British states backed the slaughters in Guatemala from 1954, in Indonesia in 1965 (a million killed), Chile in 1973, Somalia in 1988, Rwanda in the 1990s, the sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s (killing an estimated 1.5 million people), Colombia now. In the 1991 US-British attack on Iraq, US forces used 940,000 DU shells and 62,000 cluster bombs, all illegal under the Geneva Conventions. The US-British attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 included attacks on civilians and the use of 31,000 DU rounds and 1,400 cluster bombs. The attack was illegal under the UN Charter and the US Constitution. The recent US-British attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan have killed respectively at least 100,000 and 3,600 civilians. As Marx wrote, capitalism was born in eplundering, piracy, kidnapping slaves, and colonial conquestf. Now it is dying in eplundering, piracy, kidnapping slaves, and colonial conquestf. Only by destroying capitalism will we end war.

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