Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Great Non-dilemma

What a country is the USA! Now that a blue-ribbon bi-partisan committee has made it quite clear that ex-President George W. Bush (and others in his administration) are guilty of war crimes, especially the authorization of and use of torture, we are confronted with a massive non-dilemma. I say non-dilemma because it is obvious nothing is going to happen. There is no doubt about his and other's guilt in this matter and there is also no doubt that he and his henchmen should be tried for their obvious war crimes. But of course they won’t be. President Obama made it clear from the very beginning there would be no investigation and no punishment for whatever the Bush administration did. So for the past few years Bush and Cheney have openly boasted of what they did and claim they would do the same thing over again if given the opportunity.
At least part of this potential dilemma concerns what is to be done, or even what could be done, to prevent future Presidents from doing the same thing…namely, whatever they damn well please (as I guess Obama is currently doing with his drone campaign and claims of murderous Presidential powers). Thus, if Bush, et al, are not punished for their criminal acts there is no way of preventing future Presidents from doing the same, but Bush, et al are not to be punished. U.S. hypocrisy here seems to have reached an all-time high, we go around the world demanding trials for war criminals in other parts of the world but refuse to even consider them for our own war criminals. And of course we actively support all Israeli war crimes no matter how egregious they may be.
I guess the most frustrating part of this non-dilemma is that it is perfectly understandable why Obama would not have tried to bring Bush to justice. Think of the outrage of the Republican Party, think of the already terrible divisions in our society that would have been exacerbated by any attempt to bring Bush/Cheney to justice. Republicans would be quite happy to defend these blatant war crimes for a variety of reasons I won’t mention but have to do with American jingoism, racism, religion, and, unfortunately, basic  ignorance in general. What should be a fundamental national dilemma with a possible legal solution has become an impossible non-dilemma with no possible solution, legal or otherwise. Why it took so long for a commission to tell us what we already knew years ago I do not know. It’s the American way.
I suppose the ethnocentrism of the American news media is understandable, after all they are mainly reporting on things that happen here at home. But I cannot help but notice than when a story breaks here, like the Boston bombings,  that is virtually all you hear about for hours and days on end. It’s as if nothing of any importance might have happened anywhere else in the world, like massive earthquakes, other bombings and killings, potentially significant political events, or whatever. I agree, of course, that the bombings in Boston were terrible, I sympathize completely with the unfortunate victims and their families, and I agree it was important to find and bring the perpetrators to justice. But, really, did we have to hear from so many witnesses, learn that our newspersons knew some of the families personally, once went to the same school as one of them, and up-to-the minute reports that nothing was happening?  When any significant event occurs in the U.S. you can be sure you will hear about nothing else for days. I suppose this is partly due to the fact that the major news outlets no longer want to pay for foreign correspondents, preferring instead to just get whatever there is from the same sources, for after all they are, like everyone else, in it for profits. It’s so much cheaper just to report whatever you are told than to actually investigate anything. And now, of course, when you can depend on some of the news outlets to just print lies so the others have to correct their lies, you don’t have to worry about actual news at all. It’s the American way!
I will resist the temptation to comment on our absolutely shameless, unconscionable, disgusting, and completely stupid policy in the Middle East, especially as it relates to Israel, Palestine, and Iran. Rest assured peace will never come to that region as long as the U.S. has anything to do with it.

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