Injustice, imbalance reign

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I am a retired U.S. Army officer. For 27 years in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, I served as a prosecutor, a defense attorney and an operational law attorney, among other roles. During that time I taught countless courses on the law of war and rules of engagement for use of force. So I think I know a war crime when I see it.

Since 9/11, I’ve been sickened by the systemic erosion of the rule of law in our nation and across the globe. I’ve been disgusted by the misuse of my fellow soldiers to wage unjustified, illegal wars, and horrified by the specters of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

Far too often our leaders have turned a blind eye to mankind’s most heinous offenses, if committed by our own or our “allies.” We’ve overthrown governments and launched wars of aggression with impunity. The president even conceded recently that “we tortured some folks,” yet holds none accountable.

Now we dismiss Israel’s conduct in its latest attack on Gaza. But Israel cannot justify bombing civilian infrastructure and protected places – e.g., schools and hospitals. Merely warning noncombatants to evacuate, in order to bomb their homes, does not make it proportional or permissible under the law of war. Such acts are illegal and, above all, immoral.

But who will stop the Israeli juggernaut? Not the United States, which protects its own war criminals and mercenaries with all its might. Not Europe, now distracted by the havoc cranked up in Ukraine. And not the United Nations, which has been emasculated by the United States over the years.

The United States fuels the worldwide arms race, perpetuating the spiral of violence that’s bringing misery to Earth. And since we provided money and weapons for the Israeli Defense Force’s Gaza crime spree, we are specifically complicit in Israeli crimes against humanity. Isn’t this the same standard many apply to Russia, for allegedly supplying the Ukraine separatists with weapons that downed a civilian airline?

The world, it seems, has lost its moral compass. And while perhaps there seemingly is no functional justice system left on Earth, there remains yet a divine, cosmic one. Some call it karma, and some say that “the measure you give is the measure you shall receive.”

Some balance in the universe must be restored. Until then, the still, small voices of reason and justice will cry out for peace.

Lorraine Barlett

Augusta

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carcraft
25886
Points
carcraft 08/07/14 - 02:59 am
14
9
Ms. Barlett, thank you for

Ms. Barlett, thank you for your service! I do believe enemy combatants have an obligation to avoid restricted facilities. While the US ethos of war is commendable not all countries have, nor can follow our ethos. The Palestinians fired thousands of rockets into Israel. The Palestinians constructed elaborate tunnel systems under Israel to target civilians for kidnap and assassination. Rockets were found stored in school buildings and tunnel entrances were often located in densely populated neighborhoods. Hamas started using the rockets and tunnels in violation of rules of war long before Israel reacted. Israel told Hamas to stop and Hamas refused. Hamas even broke a cease fire agreement hours after they had agreed to it. Hamas is a terrorest group the people of Gaza were dumb enough to elect to run things. Will if you poke a bear long enough!

Riverman1
84020
Points
Riverman1 08/07/14 - 03:18 am
23
7
Contempt of Court

As a lawyer would you find fault with someone protecting himself using deadly force if another were trying to kill him? You failed to mention it was Hamas firing thousands of missiles at Israel from Gaza that triggered the Israeli counter attacks.

While you sat in your JAG office for 27 years drinking coffee and eating donuts there were men and women fighting for their lives in places where beheading swords were displayed instead of law books.

You think America is an evil aggressor; why don’t you tell that to the men and women who went flying out of the windows, falling to their deaths, at the World Trade Center?

nofanofobama
6825
Points
nofanofobama 08/07/14 - 06:12 am
15
7
the prisioners at gitmo were

the prisioners at gitmo were non-uniformed combatants, they are their because of their threat...non-uniformed combatants pulled off the battle field are not afforded the geneva conventin rights of POWs...in WW2 they were shot...you hide behind child and women you deserve no better...

RMSHEFF
16001
Points
RMSHEFF 08/07/14 - 07:28 am
16
7
If you had to many people

If you had to many people like this in the military we would have lost WW2. The objective in war is to beat the enemy and this requires killing people and breaking things thus causing the enemy to surrender. Throughout history civilian areas have been targeted and that is what brought an end to the war. Israel efforts have gone far beyond any reasonable to avoid civilian casualties. I hope this woman is no longer in our military.

RMSHEFF
16001
Points
RMSHEFF 08/07/14 - 07:31 am
16
8
Riverman

I agree completely with your post. It is sad to see such a person being paid by our military. She should be working for the UN.

RMSHEFF
16001
Points
RMSHEFF 08/07/14 - 07:34 am
16
8
carcraft

You should thank her for her disservice. I would feel sorry for any combat soldier have to go before a person like this. She has no idea what it is like to be in combat.

deestafford
27674
Points
deestafford 08/07/14 - 07:56 am
17
8
All I can say is I'm glad I did not have JAG...

All I can say is I'm glad I did not have JAG officers such as this advising me during my 27 years in the Infantry commanding nine units, three of which were in combat.

This type of advice is what you get from people who have never heard a shot fired directly at them in anger and had to be involved in hand-to-hand combat.

Lord help our education system which produces this type of thinking. And Lord bless the souls of the soldiers who may have died as a result of this type of advice to commanders on the ground and at higher levels developing rules of engagement.

RMSHEFF
16001
Points
RMSHEFF 08/07/14 - 08:01 am
14
6
Dee

Exactly Dee..I do thank you for your service but I view the letter writer as the enemy within. I am sure they could find a place for her in the Obama administration. She could be the poster child for the hate America crowd.

myfather15
55706
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myfather15 08/07/14 - 08:12 am
16
8
RMSHEFF

Attitudes like this, are the EXACT reason America's power and influence are deminishing, and we haven't CLEARLY won a "War" since WWII. Because to the left, there are no "winners" and they use polictical correctness (confusion) as a WMD to remove peoples spines!! People don't know the difference in right and wrong; because of "experts" like this!!

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/07/14 - 08:21 am
17
6
The previous commentors have already mentioned it...

But I want to mention is again.

"Such acts are illegal and, above all, immoral."

Yet, Mrs. Barlett doesn't mention a single time, the illegality of Hamas launching rockets, DAILY against Israel, not just in War!! This War is a direct result of Hamas' daily attacks on Isreal!!

People like this diguise themselves behind the banner of compassion; yet it's my opinion they are in complete support of terrorist organizations!! They are against anything American or Israeli, but they simply can't outright admit this, they must disguise their true agenda, behind the facade of "real" compassion for the innocent women and children!! Another emotional and political WMD!!

I mean........what barbaric animal doesn't want to have compassion on women and children? Obviously, Hamas knows this and uses this to gain international sympathy!!

Again, you want to know TRUTH?? Look up Megyn Kelly's interview of the son of a Hamas founder!! I think he would know more about Hamas than Mrs. Barlett!!

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 08/07/14 - 08:28 am
15
7
GEEZ...another one

Articles like this almost make me upchuck...

Why glory be, let us sit in a circle & sing songs of togetherness while they bomb us to smithereens....we will soon be lost forever, because we don't have the GUTS that Israel has.

southern2
6142
Points
southern2 08/07/14 - 08:37 am
14
5
Ms. Barlett

"The world, it seems, has lost its moral compass."

No, Ms. Barlett, the US has lost its moral compass, but the world has never had one.

Maybe we can all be made better by the cosmic KARMA you speak of. Hopefully, then the Islamic jihadist, that desire death to all who do not bow to Allah the right number of times a day, will hear the "small voices of reason and justice and will cry out for peace."

In the meantime I am ordering a bouquet of yellow daisies to place in the gun barrels and rocket launchers of the enemy.

justthefacts
21896
Points
justthefacts 08/07/14 - 08:35 am
15
7
I wonder

I wonder if Ms Barlett has children. I wonder how she would feel if her 17 year old was kidnapped by Hamas, tortured, brutally murdered, and left in the street. I wonder if she would want her President to sit by and do nothing. Personally, I would want my President to carpet bomb a 500 mile radius of Israel.

ralphinga
1230
Points
ralphinga 08/07/14 - 08:38 am
14
7
Seek counseling....

The irrational concepts expressed by the veteran compel me to recommend that she seek assistance from a mental health professional very soon. When you concoct a peaceful solution to attacks by Hamas and Islamic terrorist around the world without eliminating Jews or Christians or Hindus or any non-Islam believer, write another letter, and share it with the world.

dahreese
4717
Points
dahreese 08/07/14 - 08:57 am
0
0
To the editor and editorial staff of the Augusta Chronicle
Unpublished

I am aware that comments I make here are not seen by others who make comments here each day. (Apparently my comments do not meet the "Christian" standards of your intentionally misleading editorials).

I have just read the opinion letter of Lorraine Bartlett, "Injustice, imbalance reign" (which is not a bad led, by the way).

And there follows (at this moment) thirteen comments - all missing the point of Ms. Bartlett's letter.

The ignorance and misunderstanding of Ms. Bartlett's letter, in part, can be laid at the feet of the Augusta Chronicle itself via its one-sided, far right-wing editorials appearing everyday on its editorial page.

Has the Augusta Chronicle editor no shame for this?

Has its editorial staff no shame for this as well?

(And I often wonder if the journalistic staff are afraid of loosing their jobs if anything center or left of center is printed in/on the AC's editorial page)?

Dennis A. Rice
Athens, Ga

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/07/14 - 09:19 am
13
5
Seenit

"Why glory be, let us sit in a circle & sing songs of togetherness while they bomb us to smithereens...."

That's EXACTLY what they want us to do, is sit back and do NOTHING, until it's too late!! It irritates the mess out of them, that Israel and America would actually defend themselves!! They would rather destroy us with political correctness and propaganda; because they know they can't defeat us with force!! So, Israel and America using force to defeat the enemy, is unacceptable to them!!

We are blessed with tremendous technology and power; by the true God!! They are blessed by THEIR father with great ability to deceive, because HE is the ultimate deceiver and has taught them well!! Again, they must win with deception!!

faithson
5158
Points
faithson 08/07/14 - 09:28 am
4
11
Well said

Truth comes from all kinds of sources. As to whether one can see the forest through the trees makes no difference, Truth WILL find its way. When one who has lived the experience expresses their ideas on the subject, it behooves us to 'listen', take what we find that supports our experiential, and move on.

afadel
494
Points
afadel 08/07/14 - 10:08 am
7
19
Beautiful, Well-Written Letter

Ms. Barlett has hit the nail on the head: injustice cannot bring justice and violence cannot bring peace. We should cease our military actions abroad and cease supporting other countries' military adventures and human rights abuses.

justthefacts
21896
Points
justthefacts 08/07/14 - 10:16 am
12
3
Fine afadel

Good plan. Do you think Hamas will stop their violence?

RMSHEFF
16001
Points
RMSHEFF 08/07/14 - 10:24 am
13
4
myfather

I have talked to many that have served on the front lines in very dangerous areas and they all tell me the reason we have so many casualties is because of the rules of engagement. They are not allowed to engage the enemy until being fired upon. Those that are fighting in these areas fear being charged by our government for violating these rules and this put our soldiers at much greater risk. I have no problem saying that people like this letter writer are the direct the cause of many of the casualties but then again we must ultimately put the blame on the commander and chief for allowing this to continue.

RMSHEFF
16001
Points
RMSHEFF 08/07/14 - 10:27 am
12
3
afadel

Yes, no more money to countries that hate us....let them eat sand!

afadel
494
Points
afadel 08/07/14 - 10:28 am
4
13
Do the Rules of Engagement Cause Casualties or Occupation?

If we did not invade and occupy other countries, there would be no casualties, regardless of the rules of engagement.

justthefacts
21896
Points
justthefacts 08/07/14 - 10:31 am
10
2
afadel

So when it is appropriate for the US to use military action?

RMSHEFF
16001
Points
RMSHEFF 08/07/14 - 10:33 am
11
3
afadel

If tomorrow we followed your prescription for peace: " injustice cannot bring justice and violence cannot bring peace. We should cease our military actions abroad and cease supporting other countries' military adventures and human rights abuses".

How long would Israel last if they lay down their weapons today?

Dixieman
14948
Points
Dixieman 08/07/14 - 10:38 am
12
3
Thankfully

I was a soldier first (Signal Corps) in Vietnam before I went to law school and not a JAG officer.* Lawyers do not win wars; soldiers do. Fools like this impede our ability to defend ourselves and do much harm to our country and our people.
================
*Perhaps because of my being a soldier first, whenever I watch A Few Good Men I find myself rooting for the Jack Nicholson character and despising the Tom Cruise character! COL Jessup in the movie nailed it when he talked about what he did enabling our citizens to sleep peacefully at night after spending the day despising and criticizing him.
===============
"Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries"

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth’s foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

-Rudyard Kipling

(who knew what he was talking about).

jimmymac
39881
Points
jimmymac 08/07/14 - 10:46 am
0
0
WW2
Unpublished

During WW2 the allies bombed cities like Dresden Germany to do nothing other than to destroy the people will to fight. Nagasaki and Hiroshima were nuked to prove to the Japanese that to continue to fight would be futile. Military people like this letter writer would have condemned those actions resulting in many more people being killed. I'd assume that would suit the delicate sensibilities of the letter writer. War is hell but you have to fight to win. There's no Marquis of Kingsbury rules when it comes to fighting a war. I for one am glad you're no longer in the military.

Bizkit
31463
Points
Bizkit 08/07/14 - 11:07 am
11
3
Obama's drones have killed

Obama's drones have killed hundreds of innocent women and children in Somalia,Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan yet no one condemns him for the same thing Israel is condemned. We are killing terrorist targets and it is collateral damage-no difference yet the same people who condemn Israel are silent with Obama.

dichotomy
32984
Points
dichotomy 08/07/14 - 11:08 am
12
5
I suspect the writer's

I suspect the writer's "fellow soldiers" breathed a sigh of relief when she retired. I'm sure they were happy to be rid of an officer who considered their sacrifice a "misuse of my fellow soldiers to wage unjustified, illegal wars". As we learned from Fort Hood, there are plenty of the "enemy within".

If the writer considered what the military was doing was unjustified and illegal, if she had any integrity at all she should have resigned her commission instead of sticking around for the paycheck and hamstringing her "fellow soldiers" with ridiculous "rules of engagement" that got more of them killed. She apparently hates this country, everything we've done, everything our allies have done, and everything we stand for....but she stuck around for the retirement check. In my view, that's a hypocrite....particularly for a military officer. She might as well take her retirement check and move to Gaza and help HAMAS launch rockets into Israel. I'm sure she would be much happier there fighting the "juggernaut" that is merely defending itself against decades of rocket attacks, terrorist attacks, and broken cease fires.

Bizkit
31463
Points
Bizkit 08/07/14 - 11:14 am
8
1
Correction in the last five

Correction in the last five years over a thousand innocent civilians killed by Obama drones of which hundreds and hundreds children.

Bizkit
31463
Points
Bizkit 08/07/14 - 11:15 am
10
1
I personally take the stance

I personally take the stance of peace, but I'm realistic to know it is delusional to expect peace on earth.

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