Recently the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Russian officials including President Putin for allegedly kidnapping and interning thousands of Ukrainian children.
The U.S. has not signed on to the ICC (nor have Russia or Ukraine) and in fact at one point the U.S. threatened to arrest and sanction ICC judges if anyone in the U.S. were to be indicted for war crimes in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, the corporate media that serve as stenographers to the government have widely promoted the ICC news and President Biden used it as a pretext for further vilifying Putin.
Eva Bartlett, a Canadian journalist who covers the war in Ukraine from on site, interviewed a refugee mom in Russia about the alleged kidnappings. The woman shared that her own mother-in-law had heard such claims circulating in Ukraine (where the older parent remained) and was alarmed about her grandchildren’s safety. The kids’ mom reassured grandma that they were fine and allowed to move freely in and out of the refugee camp where they’re staying now.
Link to tweet with video if embedded version doesn’t work for you: https://twitter.com/EvaKBartlett/status/1607465857386414081
War propaganda often spreads claims of harm to children by evildoers on the other side. Claims of kidnapping, atrocities, or babies thrown out of incubators are bread and butter propaganda tropes that warmakers never tire of using. Because inflaming emotions with assertions about alleged harm to kids work on an audience driven by sentimental thinking but lacking a clear analysis of facts on the ground.
One of the reasons I have little interest in examining war atrocities reported on either side in the Ukraine war is that I know 1) truth as seen through the fog of war is murky at best; and 2) all armies commit atrocities against civilians in warfare. Just ask the villagers who survived the U.S. Army’s My Lai massacre.
Let’s talk about another real harm to children: recruiting them to fight in wars for conquest.
AOC, a Democrat who represents some of the low income youth of color who reside in the Bronx, is advertising her desire to “be of service” by connecting them with military recruiters.
One of the best essays I’ve read about this was featured in the military publication Stars & Stripes, “The First Casualty Of War Is Truth: Iraq 20 Years Later” by retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Joe Plenzler. An excerpt:
a former U.S. Central Command commander, recently retired,.. at a closed door meeting in a large, empty conference room with the [1st Marine] division’s officers..shocked many of us when he said, “Marines, there is no ongoing WMD program in Iraq, but you are going to war anyway.”
He paused, and with an exasperated look on his face, said gravely, “The administration is cooking the books on the intel about WMD in Iraq.”
This was a leader who had been in charge of all U.S. military activities in the region for more than three years and had the highest of security clearances.
He let that thought hang for a moment — that the administration was cooking the books — and then continued, “But if you don’t go through the Iraqi Army like a hot knife through butter, I’ll disown every one of you.”
So who’s really guilty of harming children — those who throw them gleefully into the gears of the imperial war machine, or those who escort them and their parents out of war zones?
My friend Pat Taub who lives in Maine wrote to me this morning, “the local NPR station announced for a future series on the military they were soliciting stories from locals re: their military service. I had fantasies of the Pentagon sending out a directive to all NPR stations to broadcast these stories.”
I suspect the mechanism is more likely one of the many new narrative management agencies that Matt Taibbi has been reporting on, but the end result is the same.
Let’s hope the ICC considers who has been shelling civilians in the Donbas since 2014 (that would be the government of Ukraine) as they examine the inflammatory claim of wartime kidnapping.
Then they might move on to indicting someone for half a million Iraqi children dying as the result of sanctions. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, heard here, is dead now, but plenty of the neocons responsible are free, and none have been held responsible for this war crime of mammoth proportions.
Link to video if embedded version doesn’t work for you: https://youtu.be/RM0uvgHKZe8
Or the ICC could still indict someone for “Operation Babylift” in which 3,000+ Vietnamese children were flown to the U.S. and put up for adoption.
Now that we’ve emerged from the fog of those wars, what’s stopping the ICC from seeking justice? Unless they’re just a NATO political tribunal as some people claim.