Man discovers severed hand
in backyard; previous owner explains
it’s just a medical school souvenir.
Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu gets it right! But what of it? Netanyahu says that all nations should reject the U.N. Gaza War Crimes Report because it might lead to other nations being accused of war crimes. Think of this for a moment. It’s fascinating. First, one might well argue that just because others have done something terrible doesn’t mean you should do it and get away with it. On the other hand, Bibi is surely right in claiming that other nations have committed war crimes. Indeed, it should go without saying that in all wars there are almost certainly war crimes. Indeed, we know for certain that the Bush/Cheney administration was deeply involved in war crimes. And there are those, following the same logic as Netanyahu, think they had best be ignored because to investigate them would only cause divisions in the body politic and no one knows for certain just where it would all end. For example, it might lead to a situation where any new incoming administration could open criminal proceedings against the previous one, something that has been generally avoided up until now. There are, however, few, if any cases quite as egregious as is the Bush/Cheney case. This might be the perfect time to set a precedent for holding individuals and administrations accountable. But why, some would immediately ask, stop here and now. The Clinton administration probably committed war crimes as well, in Bosnia and wherever, and what about the first Bush administration? And why not go back to Teddy Roosevelt’s war in the Philippines, or our Indian wars, or…? Anyway, you get the picture, and it’s not a pretty one.
Of course we did hold the Nazis responsible, even hanging some of them. But war crimes by the U.S., Britain, and Russia went unpunished. This is why it is said that only the defeated can be found guilty of war crimes, a pretty kettle of fish indeed. If this is allowed to stand, we are still basically living in the law of the jungle, where only the strong survive. And following Bibi’s line of reasoning, there can never be an end of this, as anyone who engages in warfare is just as guilty as anyone else. Curiously, at the same time Netanyahu is making his claim that we are all guilty, Israel is claiming they are not guilty. So why would they warn others not to accept a report in which they should not have to fear being guilty. If they are not guilty, why worry about it? Of course they know they are guilty, but, then, so is everyone else, so let’s just move on. Moving on in this way is simply promoting perpetual non-acountability and perpetual war.
It seems to me the only hope of any way out of this unfortunate situation, ever, is if the United States puts an end to it now. That is, investigating and prosecuting our own known war criminals, and thus making it clear to the rest of the world that we, at least, are not going to stand for any of this from this moment on. We can acknowledge and admit there were terrible things done in the past, virtually by all nations, but as they are past, and extend back in time so far, it is completely impractical to now pursue them. We are starting over as a species that recognizes our past behavior has been totally unacceptable, and that if we wish to live in peace and harmony, we simply must not continue as we have in the past. Would this completely violate our basic human nature so much as to be impossible? It might seem so.
As I do not believe for an instant we are going to give up our past behavior when it comes to war, killing, murder, arson, rape, plunder, greed, short-sightedness and all the other terrible things we seem to be obsessed with, I have another suggestion. I think we should ignore Bibi entirely and set about seriously holding each other accountable. Given our litiginous inclinations, and refusals to believe that we, ourselves, are ever guilty of anything, this would almost certainly keep us occupied for so long we would not be able to find the time for killing each other. It’s true we would have to find something to replace the military/industrial/political complex that keeps our economy going, so I suggest we train thousands, nay, even perhaps millions, of new lawyers, judges, and politicians, all subsidized by the corporations that are causing all this trouble in the first place. In this way we could replace our constant fighting with constant bickering (no violence allowed) and many lives would be saved, for what reasons I do not know.
Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
In pre-Columbian Peru, holes were cut into the skulls of the living so diseases would have an avenue of escape.