Does something new need to be said about the Middle East?
Needed: a U-turn
During the recent fighting involving Israel and Hezbollah,
a congressional resolution one-sidedly backing Israel's response raced
through both houses of Congress with hardly any opposition at all.
Another resolution (sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich) calling for an immediate cessation of violence in the
Middle East languished, with at last count 33 co-sponsors.
It's clear just from reading the news that both sides committed war crimes, substantial war crimes: firing rockets or dropping
bombs on innocent civilians, with reckless disregard for human life, with
casualties in the thousands -- not to mention the people made homeless and
houses demolished. There are other sources which
will give you good information about what has and still is happening; my
favorite is Juan Cole's "Informed
Comment." (And this
doesn't even get into the question of whether the American invasion of
Iraq was an "aggressive war.")
After the Nuremburg trials, the allies
executed Germans for doing exactly these sorts of things in the Second
World War. True, the Allies did some of the same things (Dresden
and Hiroshima come to mind); and the scale of the atrocities in the Second
World War, or even the Vietnam War, was much larger. But how many
have to die before questions are raised about war crimes? Should we
remain silent if there are only a thousand innocents dead? Ten thousand?
A hundred thousand?
Now I'm not heavily into the vengeance thing, so I'm not
that concerned about meting out punishment here. I'm concerned with
the question, does someone actually need to say, "war crimes are a
bad idea"? Or, "we shouldn't vote in favor of acts of war,
especially those resulting in the deaths of thousands of
innocents"? Or, "when senseless violence occurs, we
should speak out against it"?
The actions of the U. S. Congress on this matter are not
acceptable. If our representatives or the American
people (depending on whom you feel like blaming) want to regain the trust
of compassionate people,
this situation needs to be corrected.
August 21, 2006