Skip to comments.European Morality? We should look at what our allies do rather than say.
Posted on 07/12/2002 9:06:48 PM PDT by aculeus
The United States once again is at odds with Europe and our closest allies. Just as we chose to forgo the environmental and racial protocols drafted at Kyoto and Durban, now we are also apparently passing on the utopian idea of a world court that might subject all our military personnel stationed in peacekeeping missions to trial by international barristers. The arguments for and against are old and lead nowhere because they involve the brutal truth of American exceptionalism that we cannot openly expound for fear of being dubbed chauvinistic, imperialistic, unilateralist, haughty, or far worse.
Yet the United States in some ways by its very Constitution and Bill of Rights is above such laws enacted by international councils; its vast military ensures that it is not one among equals, but possesses might far above the collective resources of both its enemies and friends. It is rare for lethal military to be coupled with humane government, but such is the case with the United States and its unusual position in historical terms should be so acknowledged. Europe, which collectively has a population and economy as great as America's, has chosen not to field a commensurately powerful military a choice in and of itself rife with moral implications, and explicatory as well of its strenuous efforts to place American soldiers abroad under international control.
America's past record overseas suggests that it does prosecute and punish its own felons, is largely fair to foreign nationals and aliens, and so is quite different from the United Nations that allows frightening states like Cuba, China, Syria, and Iran often to have a voice in its policy. And as a general rule, American soldiers are far better behaved overseas than are U.N. troops and other personnel. Similarly, I never quite understood why countries such as Egypt, China, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinians, or Syria sometimes refer to their own favorite United Nations resolutions passed by majority vote when they would never allow such democratic machinery such as the General Assembly to operate in their own countries.
But the United States is not merely apprehensive that a Chinese or Syrian prosecutor who has never brought an indictment under a free and independent judiciary might decide to charge an American soldier as a "war criminal" should he find himself in a shoot-out with quasi-civilians, or at a future date conclude that an American general in some past fighting in Panama, Grenada, Kuwait, or Afghanistan was once too reckless.
No, it is the Europeans themselves who can be scary. We all remember the recent storm of suits, writs, and indictments that faced Mr. Pinochet when he ventured to England. No one wishes to defend such an unattractive character; but why were the Europeans so eager to put him on trial when literally thousands of much worse war criminals roamed their continent? Whatever Pinochet did, it pales in contrast to the tally of corpses on the hands of eastern European and Russian commissars. Where are the European indictments to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 1956 Hungarian slaughter, or the executions in Czechoslovakia after 1968? Cannot we find a few dozen who ordered all those killings at the Berlin Wall? Ghastly things were done in Cyprus in 1974 that have never been fully investigated. Surely, Europeans should not allow some ex-Soviets to enter their airspace when such operatives helped to butcher thousands during the last five decades. Neither Mr. Ortega nor Mr. Castro has clean hands; are they indictable should they cross into Europe? If Iraqi government agents are in France or Germany, it is more likely that they are buying weapons than fending off EU writs over the gassing of thousands of Kurds. Many of the al Qaeda operatives who planned Sept. 11 organized themselves right under the noses of European policemen.
One of the more depressing aspects of the recent disclosures from the Palestinian Authority archives has been the direct link between European Union funds and expenditures for a corrupt elite that subsidized suicide murdering. Surely, EU officials must have known as recent German media investigations have shown that money from Europe went to Arafat and then on to terrorists?
Will the new international high court indict the Dutch officers in the Balkans who knowingly did nothing while a few miles away Muslims were butchered? Throughout the 1990s, right on Europe's doorstep, tens of thousands of innocent civilians were shot and tortured often right in the midst of European "peacekeepers." Are these criminally negligent officers to remain free? And should not such an international court first prove its own bona fides by indicting all the geriatric Nazis still puttering around Europe, or at least some Swiss financiers who made fortunes off the Holocaust? Instead this new court will more likely indict an American for what he purportedly did in cases of a few deaths, rather than Europeans for what they clearly did not do in the case of thousands killed. Jailing a G.I. might bring headlines and kudos; while storming into Bosnia to root out Serbian paramilitary killers in hiding earns little attention and much danger.
When there is anti-Semitic violence in France, Germany, or Austria, we in America do not really believe European courts either can or will stop it. Instead, government prosecutors will either ignore it, deny its existence, or advise Jews not to walk around publicly with any telltale sign that they are in fact Jewish. The real crime in Durban was not that the United States boycotted that arena of anti-Semitism, but rather that any Europeans at all attended the hate-filled conference.
We in the United States have this unpleasant suspicion that the record of European jurisprudence more scrutiny and concern given to those caught on the battlefield and detained in Cuba than to the Sept. 11 terrorists who planned their murdering while roaming free in Europe is both biased and opportunistic. Europe will go after a decrepit Pinochet when he flies thousands of miles from home in his dotage, but wait years to do much about a robust and dangerous Milosevic right next door who killed more in a month than Pinochet did in a lifetime. It will lecture the United States, which is a civilized and humane state, about everything from its death penalty to internment of prisoners of war, but say nothing about real murder that is a daily occurrence in China and much of the Arab world. It will remonstrate with Israel about morality when it seeks out murderers in Jenin, but remain mum about the real proof that Iraq and Saudi Arabia subsidize with cash bounties suicide-murdering, and that Mr. Arafat condones and at times abets it with German and French money.
After watching Black Hawk Down I could imagine a judicial circus in five or six years that would bring post facto indictments against scores of U.S. Rangers for reckless shooting, strafing, and bombing with demands for reparations, apologies, and jail time each time the judges reviewed the videos. Panama would be a field day. And the recent mess in Afghanistan that saw charges that Americans bombed a "wedding" might subject all involved to lengthy proceedings at the Hague.
What the Europeans, in their well-intended efforts, have confused is war and peace. In war and its immediate aftermath, soldiers cannot be either prosecuting attorneys or juries who weigh evidence before shooting. Instead, they are mostly young men, often frightened and in a strange landscape, increasingly unsure who or what is the enemy. The United States Army with its long history of conflict realizes these difficulties and so has plenty of statutes to prosecute overzealous commanders and enlisted men who steal, rape, or murder without need of help from either other nations or the United Nations. The Europeans know a great deal about law, but not so much recently about soldiers in battle; other countries in the world community know a lot about bloodletting, but very little about law. We should be worried about both in control of a court that adjudicates the fates of American soldiers sent abroad to keep peace.
The Europeans have more important security worries than errant American soldiers such as terrorism and rising anti-Semitism. But if they are worried about issues of morality and law, they should look to their own immediate past and round up all the present legions of ex-communist officials and fellow-travelers still safe in their midst who just a few years ago brought misery and death to millions.
Bravo! This cannot be said too often
but wait years to do much about a robust and dangerous Milosevic right next door who killed more in a month than Pinochet did in a lifetime.
Milosevic defending his countries' sovereignty and rooting out 'terrorist' like we are in Afganistan is brutal but necessary. Facts are the EU under a NATO umbrella 'killed' innocent 'Serbs' and 'Albanians', Milosevic did no such thing as being proved in the 'kangaroo tribunal' going on now.
It will lecture the United States, which is a civilized and humane state
It was not civilized when chosing 'terrorist' as allies and 'humane' when imposing 'silly sanctions' and punitive 'bombings'.
Stupid is what stupid writes.
Evidently, you were once a devoted NR reader. National Review, Wm. F. Buckley Jr.
I liked National Review.com way back when they had a outstanding 'reader comment' section. Now that's gone as in most sites I visit. Seems like your're always being talked down to. They lack an 'editorial' section to balance the 'media' framing and push.
I was a regular reader of National Review and viewer of Firing Line. Even read a few of Bill's books but not his mysteries, they were yawners.
I stand by what I said. National Review went over the edge, It's no longer is a serious conservative dot.com 'magazine'. Goldbergs' last ramblings and this one by Hanson proves it.
He is wrong when he insinuates that the ICC is fine for others but not the USA. IMO the ICC and especially the ICTY is totally illigitimate.
He's wrong in believing in NATO's demonizing of Milosevic. He mentions everything in history except the crutial problem of the Islamists, their heinous crimes, pass and present.
Finally, he rambles and indicts like a God so much so that I don't really know where he's headed. The same goes for the 'new' National review.
Since the question of Hanson's qualifications has been raised in this thread, Victor Davis Hanson is a classical scholar with a specialization in ancient warfare. He has broadened from that starting point to become one of the most respected living military historians. He has also been a sharp critic of today's politicized and trivialized academy. His recent works of military history especially takes on the postmodernist cynicism with which war and soldiers are treated in the post-Vietnam academy.
Every conservative should read Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power ; The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny (caution: the Surgeon General has determined that Neo-Confeds may succumb to apoplexy reading this one); and Who Killed Homer? : The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom (co-authored with John Heath).
Hanson began to write for NR regularly about a week after 9-11; his collection of columns since then constitute some of the most insightful commentary on the war and will be published as a book this Fall.
As for NRO, it is not perfect but the smearing it has gotten in this thread is undeserved. It has regular reports on Iran from Michael Ledeen, a first-rate Middle East scholar; reports on the political scene by Byron York, one of the best political reporters in the country; columns on religion and society from the distinguished theologian Michael Novak; commentary on strategic and military issues by James S. Robbins, Mackubin Thomas Owens, and Frank Gaffney. NRO's Melissa Seckora broke the story on Michael Bellisles' (spelling?) fraudelent anti-gun scholarship; and recently NRO's Joel Mowbray exposed the State Department "get your US visa through your Saudi travel agent" scandal.
Anyone who can't learn anything from that line-up, or denies that NRO makes a substantial contribution to conservative journalism, didn't really want to learn anything in the first place.
But of course, NRO writers have occasionally doubted the holiness of St. Slobo, which no doubt damns the whole enterprise to Paleo Hell where there is nothing to read but Pravda and Lew Rockwell.
Nothing in Hanson's article suggests that he believes that the ICC is "fine for others but not the USA" as duckln peculiarly charges. The article is not about the legitimacy of the ICC but about the morality of the Europeans (hint: titles are sometimes a clue) whose brainchild the ICC is. The point is that, whether the ICC is legitimate or not, the Europeans' track-record gives us no reason to believe that it will will be used even by them (much less by barbarian states elsewhere) in a rational and just fashion:
We in the United States have this unpleasant suspicion that the record of European jurisprudence more scrutiny and concern given to those caught on the battlefield and detained in Cuba than to the Sept. 11 terrorists who planned their murdering while roaming free in Europe is both biased and opportunistic.
The fact that the Euros hyperventilate at the chance to indict Pinochet, but let Communist killers live in comfy retirement, indicates their moral confusion.
duckln writes that Hanson "rambles and indicts like a God so much so that I don't really know where he's headed." What's really hard is to find any meaning whatever in duckln's rambling godlike indictments, but since duckln apparently already knew before reading that NRO is no damn good, and since Hanson failed the Slobo test, which divideth the children of light from the children of darkness, I think we may well doubt that he tried very hard to understand Hanson's point.
Then of course duckln by his own statement agrees with Chomsky and Robert Fisk that America is not a civilized and humane country, so it may be that he is just on the other side.
Problem is NRO writers are not reporting on the trial, they are part of the coverup 'curtain' keeping the facts from the people. They don't have a Anne Coulter, they can't take the 'heat'.
So the Slobo trial was billed as the biggest of the 'century'. Is it getting a look see by National Review. No, it talks about everything else.
The article is not about the legitimacy of the ICC but about the morality of the Europeans
We have a demonstration live about the morality, going on in a 'kangaroo' tribunal, and from all the Mags on the 'net', it's being shunned into nonexistence.
Hanson failed the Slobo test
Hanson never took the test. Let him report on the 'tribunal'. Transcripts and Video's are all there, but no one in this countries' media is taking it on.
Just watching the 'tribunal' has convinced me, so far, that Ole Slobo has a better case, and that's why it's not being covered. When you have to hunt to find out what's going on then someones not doing their job and that includes NR.
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