Posted February 7, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
“We must say what everybody knows but does not venture to say. We must say that by whatever name men may call murder – murder always remains murder… They will cease to see the service of their country, the heroism of war, military glory, and patriotism, and will see what exists: the naked, criminal business of murder!”
– Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
Syria is a crime scene. If you or I made the unfortunate decision now to go and kill one or more of our neighbors we would face life in prison, or the death penalty in some states (in America), for committing the crime(s) of murder. The simplest logical abilities of human beings allow men and women to see that those who are behind and responsible for the deaths of Syrian men, women, and children are no different from you or I when it comes to paying for the crime of murder.
Put aside all the media reports which never make the point that Syria is a crime scene, and that persons, whether on one “side” or the other, or both, are guilty of mass murder.
This writing intends to issue a challenge to the most powerful leaders in the world. It is to challenge those world leaders, whether they be political, religious, academic, civil society, business, or law, to make strong demands for a trial to find out who the mass murderers are, and exposing evidence and testimony from witnesses served subpoenas – at the International Criminal Court (ICC). In essence, this is a challenge to prosecute war criminals for their crimes against humanity.
This is a challenge to end the historical consequences of failing to hold accountable those who are, in every logical way – as related to Leo Tolstoy’s words – murderers on a mass scale. International laws have been broken in Syria and those who broke/are breaking them must become identified and charged, in a legal process conducted by the best attorneys and judges on Earth. The United Nations has issued reports pointing out that war crimes were committed by both the Syrian government and the so-called rebel groups.
These crimes need to first become investigated, witnesses to those crimes are issued subpoenas, and the trial begins as soon as possible. It is time to settle the conflict in a court of law, in the same way as crime is handled on an individual level. After more than three years of tragedies beyond human comprehension the time has arrived where tinkering around the edges is over. When a single person has committed murder there is no action such as illustrated by the recent Geneva II talks, where the murderer and his family sit at a table with the victim’s family to talk about possible resolutions.
When a crime has been committed, the crime is handled legally within a court of law: crimes of the most barbaric nature have occurred in Syria, so deal with those crimes in the proper court of law. That court of jurisdiction is the International Criminal Court (ICC). Call in the witnesses from every nation involved in the conflict: Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Turkey, the United States, and Russia. Schedule the trial, call the witnesses to the stand to raise their hands and swear to tell the truth, and allow the finest legal minds on Earth to get to the bottom of the crimes – to the bottom of the conflict.
If during testimonies one person becomes identified as responsible for mass murder, so be it. If ten persons, or more, become identified as mass murderers, so be it.
The person who murders one human being goes to jail for life; the persons who murdered one million human beings walk free on this Earth
How is this possible in the year 2014? How is it possible that men and women are serving long prison sentences for victimless crimes, while those who are responsible for actions leading to tens of thousands – millions – of men, women, and children becoming victims, either killed or forced to leave their homes, continue to walk freely and unmolested – exempt from punishment?
If there is no deterrent that will make wealthy and powerful people to think twice before unleashing military forces in wars of aggression, then unwarranted, unnecessary, and illegal killing will continue to occur again, and again… and again. The question which is very important to consider side-by-side with this challenge is this: Are those who pay lip service to the concept of peace advocating/calling for deterrent measures which will help bring war to a halt?
Men and women around the world understand this idea without having earned law degrees from the most prestigious universities. The time has arrived where there are no longer separate forms of justice for the so-called “haves” and “have-nots”. Frankly, that time arrived at the beginning of mankind, but humanity is finally becoming aware and demanding peace and justice; humanity has experienced enough of the pain and misery caused by the few who have allowed themselves to become possessed by greed and lust for power.
On the issue of war and peace this is the heart of the matter
“The conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience… In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) Farewell address / January 17, 1961
(The Milwaukee Journal, February 27, 1970, accused the Pentagon of suppressing the famous paragraph in its display of an Eisenhower memorial)
There will be debate as to whether the most powerful and wealthy individuals on Earth will face punishment for their actions of mass murder and immense harming of innocent men, women, and children. Many will have doubts about the “big boys” ever having to face the consequences for their actions – some don’t believe that the big boys will be dealt with just like the average person after committing criminal acts. However, there is a great need to think deeply about continuing to allow the wealthy and powerful – of any nation or region on Earth – to commit crimes with impunity.
In Syria, because previous generations haven’t acted to deter mass murder and crimes against humanity, more than 130,000 Syrians have lost their lives. Millions have had to flee their homes in Syria – the lands of their ancestors.
War criminals have to be investigated, apprehended, prosecuted, and punished commensurate to how severe are their crimes – wherever they reside on this Earth.
The urgent aspect of this collective human effort to finally deter crime of the most destructive nature – war – is not difficult to understand or act upon. To overcome inertia which has delayed the taking of concrete steps that will decrease war crimes in the world necessitates the actions which have resulted in the major societal changes through history. These actions are directly related to the next major societal change – the greatest societal change ever created/accomplished in world history – the end of war.
Consider what the human race can accomplish with the $2 trillion spent every 12 months on preparations for war. Approximately $170 billion per month… $5,600,000,000 (5.6 billion) per day… It is within the realm of possibility to reduce by 50% the amount spent on “defense” by the world’s nations. This means that $2,800,000,000 (2.8 billion) per day… approximately $85 billion per month… or $1 trillion every 12 months will become available to eliminate starvation, eliminate hunger and homelessness, build schools, build and repair infrastructure, send students to college, allow tax cuts for ordinary citizens, build massive solar, wind, and other renewable energy architecture, allow billions of people to grow food, etc….
“People want peace so much that governments better get out-of-the-way and let them have it.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
(Thanks to StopTheWarCoalition @ YouTube)
Please visit World Beyond War.org for more information.