It’s Time for America’s 21st Century Nuremberg Trials

Hermann Goring, Rudolf Hess, Alfred Jodl and others were among 200 defendants at Nuremberg.

After World War II, the remaining leaders of Nazi Germany were held to account in the city of Nuremberg, where trials were conducted judging the guilt of those who held responsibility for government conduct and programs. Hundreds of former Nazi administrative, judicial and military leaders were prosecuted, and sentences imposed ranged from prison to death. Some Nazis evaded judgement through suicide, such as Hermann Goering, who as commander of the Luftwaffe organized and conducted the air raids over England.

Hitler’s henchmen committed acts of terror and crimes against humanity, costing the lives of millions of innocent civilians. The Nuremberg trials, conducted by a consortium of Allied powers, were an attempt at closure, and intended to send a message to the future about accountability: there is no excuse for genocide, period. The trials were famously recreated in the movie Judgement at Nuremberg, starring Spencer Tracy as a mid-western judge from America.

Today, we condemn the crimes of the Nazis unambiguously; I’m looking forward to our own 21st century American Nuremberg Trials. What’s happened during the past four years is as unambiguously criminal as acts committed by Hitler and his henchmen before and during WW2. The scale and scope of the crimes may be different, but they deserve to be exposed and the perpetrators punished just as surely.

The crimes include massive financial corruption, cruel treatment of minors, the creation of modern concentration camps, environmental damage, and pandemic policies that have resulted in the needless death of well over 130,000 Americans to date. The people responsible for these crimes include the President, cabinet members, administration appointees, and some members of congress.

The recent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is just one example of massive financial fraud. Intended to help small and medium-sized businesses continue to pay their employees, it was corruptly administered, and allowed members of the Trump administration, congress and wealthy campaign supporters to receive billions in free taxpayer money. Speaker of the House Mitch McConnell’s wife, Cabinet Secretary Elaine Chao, was a major recipient. That members of congress and the administration were allowed to apply and receive PPP funds is scandalous.

The separation of thousands of minors from their parents and their incarceration in for-profit internment camps is an act of cruel terror from which many of these children will never recover. It is a crime against humanity, and the architects and enablers of this program should be brought to justice just as Adolph Eichmann was for enabling Nazi death camps.

The utter disregard for human life is exemplified by the way Trump and his henchmen have botched the coronavirus pandemic, and through incompetence and political expediency allowed millions to become infected and caused unnecessary deaths. These actions are nothing short of criminal, and charges must be brought so that discovery and investigations can proceed; justice demands it.

There will be those who say that shining light on such depravity further polarizes society and makes martyrs; I respectfully disagree. If crimes against humanity are not prosecuted, it gives the green light to such acts and encourages those whose greed for power knows no bounds.

If we are governed by the rule of law, then that rule must be applied to those who misuse the reins of power. Absent that is the rule of the mob; just ask Italy’s assassinated Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who ended up in a public square hanging from his heels.

2 thoughts on “It’s Time for America’s 21st Century Nuremberg Trials

  1. Does that include crimes against the environment that fail to act to deal with climate change? Without justice, societies invite anarchy and authoritarian rule. It is a false narrative to believe there is any such thing as a benevolent dictator. There are many many crimes that need to be reckoned with. The problem is deciding where to draw the line.

  2. You wrote, “The recent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is just one example of massive financial fraud. Intended to help small and medium-sized businesses continue to pay their employees, it was corruptly administered…..”

    I was saddened to read the list of some of those in our own Sonoma Valley who received grants of these funds. The list read like a Sonoma Social Register of our more affluent citizens who doubtlessly had access to legal and accounting experts in their employ to file for these grants. Doubtlessly, as well, there were other small and medium-sized businesses in our community without deep pockets who may have also benefitted but the funds were completely allocated early.

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