America's conduct of the Persian Gulf war, including its devastating bombing of Iraq, will be scrutinized in grass-roots war crimes hearings across the country, former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark says.

"If you don't insist on your government obeying the law, then what right do you have to demand it of others?" Clark said Thursday.He charged that more than 125,000 Iraqis, including tens of thousands of civilians, were killed in the gulf war.

Clark, who was attorney general during the Johnson administration, said panels will be convened around the country in the coming months to hear and publicize charges the United States was guilty of war crimes.

At the first hearing, scheduled for May in New York, a panel will review photographs, videotapes and newspaper stories and hear witnesses speak about the effects of the gulf war on Iraq, Clark said.

The goal is to present evidence to "the ultimate arbiter of all human affairs, that is, the court of public opinion," Clark said.

"And we hope that remedial action will be taken so that the cities of this earth will never be subjected to the type of bombing that we saw devastate the men and women and children of Iraq," he said.