Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hang 'em High?: Tariq Aziz & other war criminals I have known

Is this really a good time to be sentencing former Iraqi diplomat Tariq Aziz to death -- especially when WikiLeaks has just exposed a whole bunch of the dirty laundry stuffed into America's and Britain's diplomatic pouches regarding their "Coalition of the Willing" and its underhanded role in initiating and sustaining a brutal and unnecessary war on Iraq?

"But everyone knows that Aziz worked for Saddam Hussein and Hussein gassed the Kurds," you might argue, "and Aziz was also found guilty of condoning torture." Like I said, be careful about pointing your finger on that one. It could very easily boomerang back to hit certain American and British leaders in the arse. How many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been "gassed," tortured and killed due to American and British failed diplomacy? According to Information Clearing House, the current number is 1,421,933.

And speaking of executing former leaders such as Aziz, do we really want to hang former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba because he didn't stop his troops from killing all those women and children in the Central African Republic? If we do that, don't we also have to take a look at all the women and children who have been killed in Afghanistan by American and British troops too?

"Jane, just exactly where are you going with this?" I don't know. But it just seems unfair to me that Tariq Aziz and Jean-Pierre Bemba both face hanging while George W. Bush gets to go on talk shows and actually brag about how he approved torture.

PS: Speaking of war criminals, according to professor Paul Larudee in an article recently published in "Redress,", whole bunches of Israeli security guys are currently madly scurrying around all across the internet, frantically trying to block the publication of a document that names 200 alleged Israeli war criminals.

"When unknown elements in Israel leaked the name, rank, identification number and other information about two hundred Israeli military personnel who reportedly participated in the 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza, the effect was sudden and profound, according to sources in Israel. Although the first site on which it appeared was taken down by the host, it has continued to circulate via email, and has appeared on at least one other site, The Israeli military and other Israeli agencies are reportedly doing all they can to shut down every site on which it appears, and to prevent it from 'going viral.' At least one popular blog that links to the site has received a record number of death threats."

Why has this list of only "alleged" war criminals seem to have gotten so many of Israel's muckety-mucks' knickers in a twist? Let's find out. According to Larudee, "The publication of the list of two hundred changes everything. The list contains the names of a few high-ranking officers, but many of those named are in the lower ranks, all the way down to sergeant. The effect is to make ordinary Israelis concerned that they, too, may be subject to arrest abroad, and without the protection that well-connected higher officials might enjoy. They know what they have done, or been ordered to do, or have ordered others to do, and they suspect that they may be held accountable by foreign laws, over which their government has little control."

And there are other ramifications here too. If Israeli soldiers as a whole can be held accountable by the international community for their actions in Gaza and the West Bank and for agreeing to serve in a trumped-up "war" that is against Geneva Conventions, then perhaps American troops can also be held accountable by the international community for agreeing to serve in those chaotic shambles that Bush, Cheney and Obama so cheerfully call the Afghan and Iraq "wars".

PPS: World opinion is sometimes like a snake on a cold day. It moves slowly -- but it does move. And while most western media has been working its butt off for the past one hundred-odd years to try to make war seem sexy -- ever since Kaiser Wilhelm was first portrayed as a Hun back in 1914 -- way down below all their continual bombardment by war hype over the past one hundred years, ordinary people everywhere are finally and at last getting truly sick of all this war, war and more war -- no matter what the alleged justification for it may be.