Jon Stewart of the Daily Show recently battled verbally with Cliff May over the question of whether America’s use of waterboarding, and other interrogation techniques defined as torture under the Geneva Conventions, could or could not be excused as acceptable, given the terrorist threat to America.
Resulting from that exchange, Stewart last night apologized on the show for calling US President Harry Truman a war criminal.
It’s impossible to know the pressures exerted on Stewart to force this retraction, but one can guess they were great. Stewart was wrong to apologize.
Can any one person unleash a destructive force so great it destroys two great cities and much of the surrounding area, inflicts unimaginable suffering on the population of those cities, sow the seeds of death and destruction that continue to devastate those who lived through it, and their children, and their children’s children still born mutilated, still dying from horrible radiation diseases sixty or more years after the event – can any one person responsible for such an atrocity escape the label of ‘war criminal’?
Harry Truman did.
So did Winston Churchill after his part in sanctioning the fire-bombing of Dresden and other German cities, in the greatest act of unnecessary revenge against an innocent people that has ever been unleashed by a military power.
Both were war criminals. That neither stood trial is due solely to the fact they were the victors.
Victors never stand trial for their crimes. Only the losers are punished.
The victors are no less guilty for that.
Jon Stewart was right to label Truman a war criminal. He was wrong to apologize for doing so.
 The Daily Show Website
Filed under: Off the hook