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Friday, 04 December, 2020

War and the Body Politic

Date: 21 May, 2001

By: Chief

Imagear is nothing, more or less, than a clash of wills. The will of one country versus the will of another. It is also the ultimate use of political power. The ability to conquer, to lay waste to another country for gain — be it land, treasure, oil or increasing the winner's political power — with no possible retribution to the winners. At least to those within the political sphere — the body politic.

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, they are the ones who shall do the conquering, the laying waste of another country. These same men and women are also the very same ones who shall experience the horrors of war. The death and destruction of their comrades in arms. The killing and mutilation of innocent civilians. The returning home to their families, in pieces. Dead or alive. Indeed, those who return home alive and physically whole are still partially dead. For you cannot kill without slightly dying yourself.

The problem, or certainly one of the problems, with war is that war, no matter how well planned, how well thought out, how well executed, tends to go wrong. The best laid plan goes straight out the window the minute the first shot is fired. Our war fighters know this all too well. The body politic, unfortunately, does not. Hence, while the body politic commenced a war against another nation, for whatever reason — normally political gain, all of a sudden their grandiose idea is rearing its ugly head, baring its fangs and striking at them. Consider Bosnia. Consider Iraq. Consider Lybia. Consider Lebanon. Consider Vietnam. Consider Korea. Finally, consider World War I. To be sure, there are others, less infamous, but those listed are the main ones of the Twentieth century.

Certainly each president, starting with the Truman administration, has not hesitated to use military force to hopefully achieve their particular political end. We are still at war with North Korea. No cessation of hostilities has ever been signed. No treaty. No instrument of surrender. No nothing. Our current president, G. W. Bush, is still fighting a war his father started when he was president. Iraq. We are still in Bosnia. We have a huge force in Korea, indeed, we have artillery batteries, locked, loaded and pointed at the North - right on the DMZ. Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, is still in power and doing as he sees fit.

To be sure, subsequent to World War II no president has requested the Congress of the United States to pass a resolution or enact a law declaring war on another nation. Congress probably wouldn't. Yet our presidents still commit and commence war. Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines shed their blood and bodies obeying the orders of our president, their commander-in-chief, who has no constitutional authority to commit our men and women to war — without Congressional approval. Congress refuses to take any action against the president for committing such a heinous act. Further, Congress refuses to act in a capacity to protect our war fighters, for that is what they are, from being squandered for political gain. Yet, it is our collective body politic, the Congress and the president, who go to sleep in nice warm beds every night protected by other agents of the government and sleep, one would assume, quite soundly. Not to be held responsible or accountable for the travesty, tragedy and horror they themselves ordered.

U.S. Senator Robert Kerry (D-Mass.) is just one very recent example of the travesty, tragedy and horror of war. Kerry, in the 1960's, was in the military. In fact he was a Navy Seal Team commander in Vietnam assigned to a special boat unit (SBU). Over the past month (April 20th) the New York Times and other newspapers have run articles that Kerry's unit committed atrocities against innocent civilians in Vietnam. Whether or not Kerry or members of his unit committed atrocities against innocent civilians I do not know. Indeed, I don't even care. For the people who are ultimately responsible for Kerry and every other member of our military being sent to fight in Vietnam are all dead. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. Further each member of Congress during the Vietnam time frame are responsible. Most of them are either dead or out of office. Those still alive shall never be held to answer. We won't resurrect the Nuremberg Tribunal against our own. Though, in all fairness, we certainly should.

Congress during the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations had several options available to them:

But did the Congress of the United States do any of those. Of course not. What they did was to pass the "Gulf of Tonkin" resolution giving the president full authority, power and funding to conduct an unlimited war against North Vietnam. So, as one can plainly see, if atrocities were in fact committed do not cast hateful eyes on or scream for punishing the war fighter. Remember, it was We the People who made the war fighter what he his. We train him. We pay him. I submit to you to cast your eyes upon those who violated their oaths of office. The body politic.

After Germany and Japan had surrendered, thus ending World War II, the Allied forces consisting of France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States ordained and subsequently convened two tribunals. The most famous tribunal of course is the Nuremberg Tribunal. The other lesser known, but nonetheless important one was the Tokyo Tribunal. These two courts tried the senior political and military leaders of Germany and Japan. The body politic. The vast majority of these leaders were convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. There was no appeal. The sentences were carried out by members of the U.S. Army after the tribunals completed their final trial. There were plenty of witnesses on hand for the hangings as well, including newsmen. The lesson was if you, the body politic, commit to war you shall be held accountable for your actions.

As I wrote earlier in this story, perhaps this country should reconvene the Nuremberg tribunal in our own country. The public hangings of members of Congress, presidents, senior staff and cabinet members ought to go a long way in keeping our nose where it belongs — in our own country. The Russians have a saying:

"Harsh lessons make for long memories."

Quite apropos says I.

The final question is: how do you tell if a politician is well hung? The answer: when you can't get your finger between his neck and the noose.

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