In recent days, the world has been transfixed upon the horror of a crime against humanity as it has been described by our government and the media. The press is clamoring for more details, sordid stories and catchy anecdotes to report in search of attention and sensationalism. People are expressing their opinions and views on whether or not to retaliate in kind or to just stand by and not act at all.
We are here today to make clear our position and to remind us all of what we are really obliged to do in this remarkably abhorrent situation.
It seems that an adversary nation has decided to take the barbaric course of engaging in genocide, that is, the wholesale murder of innocent civilians - men women and even children of their own culture and nationality – by the use of artificial and deadly nerve agents of mass human destruction. It is becoming readily apparent that this is an established fact now with the evidence to date supporting the case and proving incontrovertibly that this actually occurred. Although the empirical forensic data has not yet been scientifically confirmed, the circumstantial evidence is already overwhelming.
These acts were authorized and committed as a part of the propagation of a civil war in a foreign nation by those in offices of “leadership,” i.e., presidential, bureaucratic, military, defense and otherwise. No anonymous entity or agency actuated or ordered these strikes. Rather, it was borne out by human beings, individuals in authority, who made conscious choices and decisions to so act. No unknown or artificial body or undescribed municipality commanded or carried out these acts. Instead, men of alleged power concluded that this would be perpetrated and then instructed others to implement their orders, as is done in all conflicts and engagements of war and war time.
In response now to these acts and the carnage that has resulted from the use of these agents of death, it is been determined by the supposed world powers that be, that we shall respond accordingly and drop bombs, shoot missiles, deploy “conventional” arms and punish this foreign nation for its breach of an “international norm,” as it is called, which frowns upon the use of such gasses and agents. It has been otherwise described as a violation of international law, and a flagrant one at that.
So the sanctions to be imposed now are intended to “deter and degrade” this nation from the further use of these weapons and to force compliance with this code of international covenants which expressly prohibits such acts. And the proposed methodology to accomplish this is more destruction, possibly more “collateral” or intended deaths and the desire to summon fear and respect in the process.
It is stated that some 1,429 human beings were savaged in this one attack and that 426 of them were children, as if this supposed to lend more strength or support for the prospective course of retaliation now. Or, as if this is somehow a watershed moment where some inviolate moral law has been transgressed and that we may now pummel and maim in kind because of it. This is very sad and is unbecoming of an elevated society and is likewise an act of regression, and not progress, as the terrible irony here is that over one hundred thousand human beings have already been slaughtered in this very same nation thus far as a result of this intra-national, internal cultural and social conflict there.
Yet only now, when the indiscriminate and unjustified decimation of scores of civilians in an unconcealed act of genocide has been revealed, with almost one third of them being under aged children, by the “illegal” use of nerve agents which cause paralysis, scorching, burning, asphyxiation and ultimately death, only now is it deemed permissible to take retaliatory military action calculated to be punitive in nature.
We propose however that this reaction and suggested course of conduct is likewise impermissible, illegitimate and universally wrong. An intelligent and reasoned analysis of this situation begs and cries for an obvious and different solution, one based in logic and fact as opposed to ego based expressions of dominance and subjugation. For who are we to scorn and to ridicule and criticize when we, too, have scarred the earth with tons of napalm and have wounded and killed vast numbers of both our “enemy,” their civilians and even our own civilians turned soldiers, some decades ago, in the midst of another foreign “civil war”?
Consider that these current acts were commissioned by human beings, men, individuals who planned and calculated and who ordered other men under the guise of governmental, bureaucratic and military authority to remove these weapons form storage, to place them upon guided missiles, to strategically aim them at specific targets and to deliberately fire them to accomplish their distorted and perverted goal of suppressing and killing other human beings.
Consider next that these conscious, intentional acts are in direct abrogation of settled codes of human protocol and human law, imposed by several other nations and in accord with common principles, stated within the purported conduct of death and war, as laid out by other men. Extrapolating further, understand next that those who violated these accords have now broken this law and have committed a criminal act in so doing.
Taking this reasoning to the next level, it is apparent then that these specific individuals who chose to violate this accepted code of conduct, this codified law, should now be subjected to punitive action pursuant to provisions this law. It is logical then that they themselves should be held accountable for their actions, their crime here, their transgressions against humanity, not withstanding whether they have murdered their own citizens, or anyone else by the use of these prohibited chemical agents.
While there are in place these so called “rules of war,” these controlling ordinances and laws, these procedures by which one may lawfully kill and therefore eliminate their enemies, it would be sheer hypocrisy to ignore them now and opt for mass destruction of a conventional kind upon the land mass and upon edifices and infrastructures which bear no relation or responsibility for the actions of a handful of individuals who perpetrated this barbarity.
It is more their institutions that have to be dismantled and not the buildings or structures that house them. We must disassemble not the form, but the substance of their ideologies and actions. And to do this effectively, they must be publicly tried and exposed in order to facilitate a higher example founded in a higher law than even their human, man made law.
Otherwise, why then do we have these laws? Are these written codes of conduct nothing more than just paper tigers to be ignored and circumvented for the aggrandizement of political leaders who would stoop so low as to wreak more havoc upon an already saturated civilization, or to merely advance some banal political policy or posture? What then is the acceptable course here in dealing with this foreign “civil” war? Isn’t there an independent, neutral tribunal already in place and operating for more than a half a century which is designed to investigate, accuse, prosecute and punish those who violate such inter-national laws?
So, why then are we not abiding by this procedure and law and bringing those individuals who ordered these acts to justice in this court of international criminal law as we have done after our second worldly war; as we did after we corralled that foe from the gulf; as we did by indictment and prosecution of the recent slavic leaders who amassed untold amounts of deaths by purging? Is that not what this very judicial body was created and conceived for – this very specific purpose? And not coincidentally, isn’t this court of very competent jurisdiction also located precisely where these investigators of this heinous act emanate from and report to, as well?
Please explain if possible, what then is the problem here, where is the issue? Why is this not being done instead of some unilateral or bipartisan coalition of further embarrassing and unmitigated destruction? Why then is this any different? We do not have to fight fire with fire, although some in positions of decision making here believe this is the proper route to take. It is not! What about the “rules of peace” for example at this most critical time? Are we not on the precipice of another global conflict here? Is this pure ignorance or just blind retribution? Or is it simply a primal response to an even more primal act?
In this regard, we say to once again indict – don’t incite; litigate – don’t incinerate; apply the human law here and now, or no law at all. If we cannot adhere to the universal law prohibiting war and violence in the first instance, then at least we should attempt to employ more humane actions and reactions instead.
Nor can we use the excuse that this is a necessary step to disrupt a civil war, as there is nothing civil about a war at all, but at least we can take a more civilized approach here and set a higher example by implementing an orderly trial process and a verdict based upon uncontroverted evidence, the credible testimony of witnesses and the meting out of just punishment – but only upon the individual human beings who are responsible here and who are in need of deterrence and whose ability to repeat such acts must be degraded and stopped. For if they cannot learn by their own hand, then they must be taught by the hand of another, and thus this primitive and inhuman regime will then be relegated to the pages of history as another step in the course of our human growth and development on this planet.
The nerve of them to do this to other human beings – and the nerve of us to think otherwise than to abide by the very human law we implemented for this very reason and purpose.