There is useful material in this book, but its definitions are muddled. Under the UN Charter, aggressive war is the supreme crime. So colonial conquests - stealing nations' rights to self-determination - are criminal.
Most of the essays are about colonial conquests, for example, the German destruction of the Herero in 1904-08, France's assault on Algeria 1954-62 and the USA's attack on Vietnam in 1963-75, killing three million people. But there is no mention of the crimes committed abroad by the British ruling class, the slave trade, the recurrent famines in British India, its endless colonial wars, nor of the US-British attacks on China and King Leopold's pillage of the Congo in the 19th century, Japan's assault on China in the 1930s, the USA's attacks on Korea in 1950-53, killing two million civilians, or apartheid South Africa's wars against its neighbours.
The editor includes Eric Langenbacher's misguided essay describing the Allied bombing of Nazi Germany as genocide. Yet it cut Germany's industrial production in 1944-45 by a fifth. Albert Speer, Hitler's minister for munitions, called the bombing the `cause of all our setbacks'. It was a legitimate contribution to the just war against Nazism.
The US and British states backed the slaughters in Guatemala from 1954, in Indonesia in 1965 (a million killed), Chile in 1973, Somalia in 1988, Rwanda in the 1990s, the sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s (killing an estimated 1.5 million people), Colombia now.
In the 1991 US-British attack on Iraq, US forces used 940,000 DU shells and 62,000 cluster bombs, all illegal under the Geneva Conventions. The US-British attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 included attacks on civilians and the use of 31,000 DU rounds and 1,400 cluster bombs. The attack was illegal under the UN Charter and the US Constitution. The recent US-British attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan have killed respectively at least 100,000 and 3,600 civilians.
As Marx wrote, capitalism was born in `plundering, piracy, kidnapping slaves, and colonial conquest'. Now it is dying in `plundering, piracy, kidnapping slaves, and colonial conquest'. Only by destroying capitalism will we end war.