The United States has committed terrible war crimes which haven’t been investigated since World War 2. We’ve assembled a small list of US war crimes that haven’t been investigated since 1945 to refresh the Ukrainian president’s memory.
- 1 No Gun Ri Massacre, July 1950
- 2 Operation Speedy Express, December 1968 – May 1969
- 3 Highway of Death, February 1991
- 4 Bombing of Albanian Refugees at Koriša, May 1999
- 5 Second Battle of Fallujah, November 2004
- 6 Bombing of Kunduz Hospital, October 2015
- 7 Bombing of al-Aghawat al-Jadidah, March 2017
- 8 Siege of Raqqa, June – October 2017
During a speech to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia was guilty for “the most terrible war crimes in the world” since World War II, and requested that Russia be expelled from UN bodies.
Zelensky was alluding to images provided to the council of dozens of bodies in Bucha, a Kiev suburb, that the Ukrainian government claims were murdered by Russian soldiers before they retreated from the city last week.
The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed the claims as a provocation, pointing out that Ukrainian artillery had previously bombarded the town and that Ukrainian police had conducted an operation in Bucha to “clear the area of saboteurs and accomplices of Russian troops” prior to news of the alleged massacre, both of which could have contributed to the deaths.
Regardless, the assertion that the Bucha tragedy is the worst war crime since World War II ended in 1945 is clearly exaggerated, especially given Ukraine’s backer, the United States, who is constantly at war.
We’ve assembled a few examples of US war crimes that haven’t been investigated since 1945 to refresh the Ukrainian president’s memory.
No Gun Ri Massacre, July 1950
At a railroad bridge near the village of No Gun Ri, US forces from the 7th Cavalry Regiment attacked a large group of South Korean refugees early in the Korean War. The No Gun Ri Peace Foundation estimates that between 250 and 300 individuals were slain, the majority of whom were women and children.
The massacre went unnoticed until 1999, when an Associated Press story revealed it to the public, citing US and North Korean evidence that showed US troops were ordered to fire at all evacuees because they suspected North Korean infiltrators were among them.
The people butchered at No Gun Ri were far from the only ones killed by US troops; allegations of more than 200 different events surfaced when a South Korean inquiry committee was established in 2008.
Following the probe, then-US President Bill Clinton issued a statement of regret, but the White House refused to issue an explicit apology or offer compensation to the survivors. The US investigation has been dubbed a “whitewash” by South Korean investigators.
Operation Speedy Express, December 1968 – May 1969
The 9th Infantry Division of the United States Army was in charge of “pacifying” a vast portion of the Mekong River Delta in order to limit Vietnamese National Liberation Front activities near Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam (today Ho Chi Minh City).
During the six-month campaign, US troops massacred Vietnamese villagers indiscriminately, using air assaults and midnight riverine strikes to kill as many civilians as possible. Commanders in the field were apparently told not to return until they had killed a certain number of civilians, and so-called “free-fire zones” resulted in a large number of civilian casualties.
According to an internal investigation by the US Army Inspector General, the operation resulted in between 5,000 and 7,000 civilian deaths, as well as the deaths of another 10,899 fighters. During the Vietnam War, however, the contrast between warriors and civilians was frequently exaggerated in favour of the fighters in order to make US commanders appear more effective.
Highway of Death, February 1991
During the last days of Operation Desert Storm, US planes destroyed up to 2,000 vehicles on Highway 80, which runs north from Kuwait City to Basra, Iraq. During two days of bombings from February 25 to 27, a mixture of people fleeing the conflict and Iraqi military units fleeing from military operations were hit. According to former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the fleeing soldiers were not valid military targets because they were not engaged in battle.
Estimates of the number of people killed range from 200 to over 1,000. Furthermore, eyewitnesses in the United States claimed that a US armoured unit opened fire on a group of 350 disarmed Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered after fleeing the carnage, killing an unknown number of them.
Bombing of Albanian Refugees at Koriša, May 1999
On May 14, 1999, US aircraft attacked a gathering of hundreds of Albanian refugees hiding in the hills near Koria, Kosovo, who had been hiding for weeks. The strike claimed the lives of 87 migrants, according to Yugoslav authorities. The US claimed the Yugoslavs were using them as human shields, but offered no evidence to back up its assertion.
Second Battle of Fallujah, November 2004
In November 2004, the US Marine Corps, along with Special Operations forces, US air forces, and the British “Black Watch” regiment, launched a huge attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, destroying nearly the whole city. The claimed goal was to suppress the Iraqi insurgency against the US-UK occupation, but significant civilian casualties followed from the extensive use of artillery, airstrikes, chemical weapons including white phosphorus and incendiary bombs, and depleted uranium.
The Red Cross approximated that 800 civilians were killed in the battle, while Iraqi NGOs and medical workers estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed, according to the Guardian, which was a higher death rate than the British cities of Coventry and London experienced during Germany’s Blitz bombing campaign in 1940.
Bombing of Kunduz Hospital, October 2015
A US Air Force AC-130U gunship circled the Kunduz Trauma Center in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz on October 3, 2015, for 30 minutes, firing artillery and machine gun fire. Medecins Sans Frontieres, which ran the hospital, refuted US assertions that Taliban members were hiding there. The attack killed 42 individuals and left another 33 people missing, including MSF employees and patients.
The Pentagon first tried to conceal the strike by saying that there may have been some collateral damage as a result of nearby fighting. However, after it was revealed that the hit had been ordered directly by US commanders, then-US President Barack Obama apologised and gave $6,000 to each victim’s family. By attempting to excuse the attack by saying Taliban members were inside, MSF accused the US of committing to a war crime.
Bombing of al-Aghawat al-Jadidah, March 2017
During the nine-month siege of Mosul, Iraq, by Iraqi forces and the US-led anti-Daesh coalition, an estimated 40,000 people were killed, owing in large part to the city’s non stop artillery bombardment. However, one episode stands out: a US airstrike on the al-Aghawat al-Jadidah area in western Mosul on March 17, 2017.
A week after the strike, the US revealed that it had targeted “the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties.” According to Amnesty International, up to 150 civilians were killed in the attack when US officials ordered them not to escape the city, despite Iraqi estimates claiming more than 300 were killed.
Siege of Raqqa, June – October 2017
The siege of Daesh’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, began as the struggle for Mosul drew to a close. The city was bombarded continuously by US Marine Corps artillery, which fired 35,000 rounds in five months, more than were deployed in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Marine Corps Times reports that US M777 155 mm howitzers burned through their gun barrels twice during the bombardment, which is an exceptionally rare occurrence.
20,000 munitions were dropped by US air forces across Iraq and Syria at the same time, the majority of which fell on Raqqa. According to Amnesty International and Airwars investigations, more than 1,600 civilians were killed in Raqqa.