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.