August 6, 2006

Brutal History Evermore

Extraordinary levels of brutality are what we see in the declassified files of B Company. The LATimes has printed (and Truthout has posted) horrifying and sad accounts of violence against Vietnamese civilians by American GI's. This archive of war files is a crystal ball that reflects our current quagmire in Iraq. We see the torture, orders to murder civilians, and the rape of young girls.

Like the current war, very few were held accountable. This is part of a system that is out of control, one that makes it impossible for mere men be truly responsible for what happens in a state of hellish war. It is a system of legal absolution, and it is best described by former investigators who said:

"We could have court-martialed them but didn't."
"I don't remember why it didn't go anywhere."
"Everyone wanted Vietnam to go away."

By virtue of being part of the system of war, crimes against humanity are only punishable if the criminals are of the losing side in conflict (as in Nuremberg.) Today, as exactly 62 years ago, victors can do what they please, and for whatever reason.

No comments: