David Shayne’s otherwise excellent column defending the IDF against the truly scurrilous charge of war crimes has a statement that I strongly object to (“Dishonest message could have promoted hate crimes,” Jan. 14). He writes, “If the IDF deserves to be singled out, it is for having a remarkable absence of the kind of incidents that plague other militaries engaged in warfare, including our own U.S. military, which has its own shameful record of war crimes against civilians (My Lai, Haditha).”
I am a combat veteran of the U.S. military. Our record is not shameful, it is exemplary and every American should be proud. The attack on Poland in 1939, the bombing of English cities and the Holocaust were war crimes, as were the Rape of Nanking and the treatment of captured combatants and civilians by the Japanese. These atrocities were carried out on a national scale as a matter of policy and cannot be compared to an infinitesimally small number of isolated cases of individual soldiers whose character was not up to the stress of war.
Shayne’s comment adds to the clatter on the left, especially in our educational system, to damn the U.S. as an evil empire and an aggressor nation. That is an intolerable revision of history and a complete loss of perspective. America is a nation with a moral purpose that fights against war criminals to preserve freedom and peace in the world, and I will not sit quietly while anyone slanders our military.