Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Israeli War Crimes


The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert has promised to give legal shielding to soldiers who fought in the recent offensive on the Gaza Strip which claimed the lives of 437 children among others.

Olmert speaking on Sunday said "The commanders and soldiers sent to Gaza need to know that they are completely safe from different tribunals and Israel will help and protect them."

The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, recently demanded that those responsible for bombing UN buildings should be held accountable and Amnesty International says it is "undeniable" that war crimes were committed in the use of white phosphorus.


This raises the question about the American soldiers sent to Iraq. Did our soldiers or Marines also commit 'war crimes?' The larger question that needs to be raised is whether Olmert and Bush ought to be so charged. After all, they ordered the troops into battle and equipped them with the weapons.

After the Abu Ghraib photos were released, most Americans were angry with those prison guards, but few worried about the chain of command upward. It seems that it is always the grunt on the ground who is the subject of inquiry while those above him remain unscathed.

So it has been throughout history: mad men rise to the top of governance who send the young men into battle for some 'cause' that often is nothing more than vengeance, greed, or power on behalf of the king, ruler, dictator or president. Millions of young men [and now women] lie in cold graves having been sent to wage war for some lofty goal or patriotic fervor on the part of their nation. Their government is always right; naturally, God is on their side.

Does 'God' pick and choose the better side to protect and guide? Those who rammed the planes into the Twin Towers cried out that they did it in the name of God. The American troops in Iraq pray for God's blessing as did the Israeli soldiers in Gaza. Surely the people of Gaza City and Baghdad raised prayers to God as bombs were falling on their homes.

We humans ought to let God off of the hook on these war games and take responsibility, as adults, for the idiotic choices we allow and encourage from our national leaders.

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