Anatomy of a War

Video of a forgotten tribunal against US crimes in Vietnam.

In 1966, two of Europe’s most distinguished philosophers, Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre, issued a call for a War Crimes Tribunal to try the United States for crimes against humanity in their conduct of the war in Vietnam. A number of us were sent to North Vietnam to observe and record the attacks on civilians. I spent six weeks under the bombs, an experience that shaped the rest of my life.

The tribunal convened in Stockholm in 1967. The jury members included Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Isaac Deutscher, Vladimir Dedijer, Mahmud Ali Kasuri, and David Dellinger, among others. The gathering was either ignored or denigrated by the mainstream media. The aim was not legal but moral. To bring the crimes to the notice of the public.

A year later Seymour Hersh exposed the My Lai Massacre, one of many carried out by US troops in Vietnam. There was no video record of the tribunal until the emergence, a few years ago, of this film by a Swedish activist, Steffan Lamm. It should speak to us strongly today as we watch the crimes being committed in Gaza.