By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Why do we as a people accept and permit one occupational group to initiate killings of other human beings on a national scale but nearly all other occupational group members, who might carry animosity against others, are penalized up to the death penalty should they kill only one person? It might sound preposterous, yet that is exactly the duality we accept as normal–that politicians at national levels especially may lay waste to others and that is simply part and parcel of “diplomacy” and the “laws of war”. Yet if an ordinary citizen dislikes his neighbor so bitterly the act of stepping on his property alone may send the citizen to jail. The animosity and will to retaliate is the same, but the domain and system of accountability could not be more vastly divergent.
The stem of this license to instigate homicide at a permissible level by national leadership has been endemic in human history to such a perverse degree, people today have come to regard the killing of others by these leaders as normal human interaction, that wars are inevitable, and that lives and societies will be upheaved.
It does not have to be this way.
Starting with home. The United States Government has been in a state of continual war since 1990. Then President of Iraq Saddam Hussein–who was just a few years earlier a “friend” of the United States Government by virtue of his want to contain Iran’s leadership who was our politicians’ enemy after ousting the Shaw who was our friend–prosecuted military action by invading Kuwait after a row over oil drilling and other grievances.
Essentially the American government and leadership of various other nations took exception to this, routed the Iraqi military at the expense of death of thousands on both sides of the Iraq / Kuwait border. No politican was harmed in the making of this war theater.
Yet, Saddam continued to exercise his privilege to attack his own people and retaliated against the “Marsh Arabs” and the Kurds to the North which resulted in the recalling of the US Military to enforce No Fly Zones. We also managed to invade Somalia, become entangled in the Balkans , Afghanistan, Round Two in Iraq, Libya, (Where Hillary Clinton was able to proudly proclaim “We came. We Saw. He Died” to win some extra prestige in showing to all she had the mettle to be tough on the world stage and drum up a few votes her way, while terrorist financing dictator Qadaffi perished at the hands of a mob.) The neighborhood bullies managed not only to wipe out one of their own, but unlike the street brawl on 34th street that affects few, Libya was upheaved tens of thousands died in the ensuing conflict. Very good show politicians!
I remember back in 1991, a cohort of mine who was employed by a local police department related how a couple years earlier he served in the military during the invasion of Panama to secure the arrest of Manuel Noriega on drug trafficking and other crimes. He said they were pinned down by a sniper and called in a strike that leveled the building the sniper took a perch within. Plainly stated, “we blew shit up” and tore up a country for a drug bust. It just seemed totally absurd. Had we made 1/1000th the damage as cops to pick up Joe the Doper we would have been hung out to dry. But since the pols got involved it became known as “Operation Just Cause”. Not that it was “justified” but rather “I’m the president so I ordered the invasion. Why? Just ’cause”.
And we continue as ordinary people in the world to grant our leadership full license to cause the death of others and the upheavals of lives. Frankly, how stupid can we be? It’s one thing for a sixteen year old born under a tyrannical government commanding domination and control over their citizens, and has no ability to speak out, but what is our excuse? We allegedly live in a democratic republic where in theory we should prevent such potential tyrants from assuming office, or bouncing them out next election cycle at the least. We have no excuse. But since it is normal and ordinary in our lives to elect miscreants to office and not hold them accountable it becomes normal and ordinary for them to abuse their power and insert themselves and us into disasters and misadventures.
Think about it. When was the last time an American or other First World city went to war with a neighboring jurisdiction? Town councils do not meet to attack the water district because it exercised eminent domain over the mayor’s cousin’s farmland and seized his reservoir. No city council here could get away from such hegemony. It is not normal. Yet it is at the federal level because presidents, members of Congress and many parliamentarians and such elsewhere enshrine themselves in immunity, privilege and whatever divine mandate they self-anoint themselves to at times wreck the lives of the less powerful, and be back by noon for another serving of tea and crumpets.
The oddity can also be seen in the latest freshmen national politicians. Before the election many profess and proffer that they came from the humblest of upbringings (Humble Bragging). After election, it seems many do everything possible to rank on the ordinary person, and bomb out the “thems” of the world of whom they take exception.
Certainly this represents cynicism on my behalf, but I cannot foresee less conflict among nations as long as we have unrestrained leadership making the rules. Human corruptibility is too great of a liability to trust with “the button”.
By Darren Smith
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