It is worth remembering that when the United States began bombing South Vietnam in 1962, there was almost no domestic protest. By 1968, however, there were demonstrations all over the country, mostly by students.
Nearly seven years have passed since our invasion of Iraq, and despite large gatherings before it began, there is presently no visible protest on our campus over the issue.
Some might argue that we have killed far less civilians in Iraq since 2003 than we killed in Vietnam in the late 60s. But should our protests be in proportion to body counts?
The American invasion in Iraq was a war crime of aggression under international law. The U.S. invasions were not out of self-defense against armed attack, nor was it sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council or by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.
Aggression, “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole,” was the crime for which Nazi leaders were hanged at Nuremburg. The My Lai massacres and the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib are just two examples of the evils of the Iraq war.
Historians often ponder why the German people allowed the Nazis to remain in power after Hitler invaded Poland. The American people can discover at least part of the answer if they take the time to look in the mirror.
Of course, the comparison is unfair- to the Germans that is. The people living under Nazi rule could have faced violent reprisal for speaking out. What is our excuse for standing by in silence?
Adam Bird-Ridnell is a sophomore majoring in history and philosophy. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.