I don’t believe that one is simply brain-washed by Xtian or other theologies to believe that retaliation is not the way to go when one is attacked.Â We have accumulated some centuries of collective wisdom that have moved us beyond retaliation as a model for justice.Â One can even go back as far as the ancient Babylonians to discover the relatively crude and simplistic lex talionis (“an eye for an eye”) response to wrong-doing which at least limits retaliation by the measure of equality!
What is really getting to me with both the Bush administration and the Israeli/Palestinian and Iraqi outbreaks of violence is the brutal and self-defeating notion that one may indiscriminately annihilate members of a society from which some wrong doers have attacked one’s own.Â Let’s call this notion for what it truly is — crude racism, bigotry, and ethno-centrism.Â ‘My group is more valuable than theirs, so I am justified in slaughtering/torturing any and all of theirs in retaliation for the wrong doing of one or a few of THEM against me or mine’.Â By this logic we should have nuked Saudi Arabia following upon the 9/11 event carried out by 15 dissident Saudis and 4 others.
Any of us trained either in serious theology — not the cheap con version of the Falwells and ilk — or in law know that tit for tat is not the way to go.Â It simply generates an endless serious of retaliations — all too often escalating towards some sort of catastrophic apocalypse.Â Lest we forget, it was the Allies during WW2 who destroyed hundreds of thousands of innocents — men, women and children with drastic attacks on cities — Dresden and Tokyo with fire bombing and Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear weapons.
Let us not buy the argument, then, of those who propose tit for tat — they did it to us so that we are justified in doing it to them and theirs.Â This is criminal behavior and the ultimate violation of the standards of human rights, rules for just wars, and just plain basic human morality.Â We have every reason to be outraged with such perpetrators — particular when our own — some Republicans running for the U.S. presidency,Â as well as the murderers in the Middle East.
Intentionally killing innocent people is a crime for which there can be no good excuse!Â Don’t buy the “collateral damage” obscenity.Â Those doing the killing know full well that they are targeting innocent peopleÂ — they are clever psychopaths!
“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
Ed KentÂ 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]