World Insights: As "No.1 warmonger," U.S. takes atrocities against civilians for "unintentional mistakes"

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BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhua) -- In its more-than-two-century history, the United States has been obsessive about building a system of permanent war. Since the end of WWII, the sabre-rattler, with a burning ambition for perpetuating its global hegemony, has frequently provoked or engaged in wars here and there.

From the Korean War and the Vietnam War to the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, the United States, referred to as "the No. 1 warmonger" by former President Jimmy Carter, has committed mass atrocities against innocent civilians time and again and created numerous human rights catastrophes.

Nonetheless, these despicable crimes against humanity have been shrugged off and justice has yet to be done. Let's have a look at what the so-called "liberal peacemaker" has perpetrated.


The No Gun Ri massacre, one of the deadliest assaults the U.S. army had committed during the Korean War, had been buried deep in history, until The Associated Press uncovered the horrible tragedy in 1999.

After the outbreak of the war, U.S. troops soon suffered setbacks while forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) were marching forward. On July 26, 1950, out of the fear that the DPRK guerrilla troops might disguise themselves as refugees, U.S. commanders ordered units retreating through South Korea to shoot civilians.

A throng of refugees, many of them women and children, were killed in an air attack and by small- and heavy-weapons fire of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment at a railroad bridge near the village of No Gun Ri in central South Korea, said the AP report.

Some 400 refugees were killed in the massacre, according to a series of petitions by Koreans calling for a U.S. probe into the killings.

In 2001, the U.S. Army conducted an investigation and acknowledged the killings, but described the three-day slaughter as "an unfortunate tragedy inherent to war and not a deliberate killing."

Besides the massacre, the U.S. military had also conducted covert germ-warfare operations in the northern DPRK and some parts of northeast China, ordering American planes to drop virus carriers such as insects and rats infected with yersinia pestis and vibrio cholerae.

In the three-year war, more than 3 million civilians were killed, with about 3 million others becoming refugees.

Bruce Cumings, a U.S. historian of East Asia, likens the U.S. troops' indiscriminate bombing in the Korean War to genocide. In terms of civilian slaughter, he said, "our ostensibly democratic ally was the worst offender."


On March 16, 1968, a company of U.S. soldiers invaded the Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai on a search-and-destroy mission, and brutally killed some 500 unarmed civilians, most of them seniors, women and children, including approximately 50 under the age of four.

In 1989, in an interview for the British documentary Four Hours in My Lai, Varnado Simpson, a U.S. soldier who had participated in the massacre, claimed to have killed about 25 people and added scalping and bodily mutilation to his description of the events.

However, in that election year of 1968, the My Lai massacre was covered up for 20 months by the U.S. Army, who had hidden the act of barbarism and misrepresented it as "a resounding victory" at the Vietnam battlefront.

Declassified files of the U.S. Army, as part of a once-secret archive assembled by a Pentagon task force in the early 1970s, also detailed 320 alleged incidents that had been substantiated by army investigators, the Los Angeles Times revealed in 2006.

Moreover, the U.S. military sprayed approximately 20 million gallons of the defoliant known as Agent Orange in Vietnam, killing 400,000 Vietnamese and leaving 2 million others suffering cancers or other diseases.

The Vietnam War lasted for nearly 20 years, during which 2 million civilians were killed and more than 3 million became refugees.

In his work "Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam," the author, Nick Turse, posed a troubling question: Why, with all the evidence collected by the U.S. military, were the atrocities in Vietnam not prosecuted?

"As I came to see," Turse wrote, "the indiscriminate killing of South Vietnamese noncombatants -- the endless slaughter that wiped out civilians day after day, month after month, year after year throughout the Vietnam War -- was neither accidental nor unforeseeable."


On Nov. 19, 2005, a roadside bomb killed an American soldier in the western Iraqi town of Haditha. Some U.S. marines then broke into two houses near the bombing site and massacred at least 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children.

In March 2006, the Time Magazine was among the first media to piece together the Haditha story, in which its correspondent said "the corpses I had seen, unzipped from the U.S.-issue body bags, were wearing pajamas."

However, such atrocities were whitewashed as "legitimate engagement" and "bona fide combat action" by U.S. military officers, according to a published memo. "We don't know what you're talking about when you say 'killings,'" the officers retorted, when asked about how many marines were involved.

Along with its allies, Washington invaded Iraq in March 2003, claiming the Middle East country had weapons of mass destruction. After crushing Iraq nearly to dust and causing around 200,000 to 250,000 civilian deaths, including 16,000 directly killed by U.S. forces, the invader withdrew, finding no trace of those lethal weapons but leaving deep scars behind.

A study from the Dutch peacebuilding organization PAX found that the United States and Britain have acknowledged firing 116,000 kg of depleted uranium ammunition in the 2003 Iraq War. With an estimated 20 million landmines underground, according to the United Nations Development Programme, Iraq is still one of the most contaminated countries.

Former U.S. army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who provided WikiLeaks with classified documents regarding the war, told the New York Times what she saw during her service in Iraq: "bloody American soldiers, bullet-ridden Iraqi civilians."

"Being exposed to so much death on a daily basis makes you grapple with your own mortality," she said.


On Aug. 29, 2021, just one day before the completion of the U.S.-led forces evacuation from Afghanistan, an unmanned drone attack killed Zemari Ahmadi and nine members of his family in Kabul, including seven children, which the Pentagon regarded as "an honest mistake" with no punishment attached.

Though the U.S. Central Command said "an imminent ISIS-K threat" was their real target, many media outlets, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, found Ahmadi was not a terrorist at all, but a longtime worker for a California-based aid group.

"All of them were innocent," said Emal, Ahmadi's brother who also lost his 3-year-old daughter in the tragedy. "You (Americans) say he was ISIS, but he worked for the Americans."

According to a report from the Costs of War Project at Brown University, the two-decade war in Afghanistan, also the longest in American history, has claimed the lives of 47,245 Afghan civilians and 66,000-69,000 Afghan soldiers and police officers.

Between 2015 and 2020, the London-based non-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism calculated that the United States launched over 13,000 drone strikes in Afghanistan, killing up to 10,000 people.

"Incidents like the strike that killed Ahmadi's family were not the exception but the rule," the U.S. magazine Newsweek commented. "The U.S. reiterated the message that it sent over 20 years of war in Afghanistan: it does not value Afghan life."

Considering the U.S. villainy against civilians over the past decades, one can conclude that the United States has never genuinely cared about human rights. The topic is simply a tool it used to deflect its own guilty and interfere with others.

"It is too convenient for Americans to criticize others for their crimes against humanity while they themselves refuse to look in the mirror -- and every one else can see right through it," observed the Foreign Policy magazine in an opinion piece. Enditem

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