It is a phrase that we hear from time to time, depending on what we read, watch or listen to, that no one is above the law. The law that is being discussed is either civil or criminal law, it is the law of and for citizens. Every country, just about, has these laws on both a national and local level. In my watching, listening and reading experience, when this phrase is used, no one is above the law, it is in the political arena. It becomes apparent in the debate that this term is commonly applied to our political leadership and or our captains of industry. For instance, the term war criminal gets bandied about one political or corporate leader here or there. Kissinger, George W Bush, Barack Obama and soon, I am sure, Donald Trump will all stand accused of one crime or another the most interesting being a War Criminal. Who is accused is largely partisan although there are some dissident voices from both extremes, left and right who seem to apply the term with an even hand. There is a problem though, with the term, as it has little to do with civil or criminal law. It deals with the laws of and between Nations, International Law.
This is where the weird and illuminating difficulty lies hiding. There is the same problem with in International Law that there is with in national law. That problem is that some nations are above the law and others under it lay. It is evident that great nations or powers benefit from the laws of nations while weaker nations or states find that they are bound by these laws. This becomes most apparent with respect to War Crimes. The side that wins the war, the most powerful, in American vernacular the winners, have never be tried for war crimes, they will never be seriously accused, in effect war crimes and the laws that define them do not apply. In other words, regardless of lofty rhetoric War Crimes are exactly that, words designed to get a response and nothing more. These Crimes are for the Losers, also a term common in American phraseology.
This may seem cold at first but there is a point. While good citizen’s of the United States worry over serial killers and wax rabid about the crimes of great corporations horrendous things, criminal actions are being undertaken in our name. At the very least that is how the victims of these actions see it. The United States is not alone hear, it is in interesting company to say the least. China, Russia and a couple of key members of that group of nations collectively known as the west, principally England and France. Notice that The United States, Russia, China, England and France all have one thing in common, they are the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Nothing passes with out their agreement, each has the ability to veto any measure the general assembly tries to pass and none of these nations has ever had to have any of its leaders, civilian or military face the charge of War crimes with the possible exception of France. Instead they prefer the charge of treason.
Why am I talking about this?
We talk about peak oil, terrorism, global warming, nuclear war and other threats to our liberty and our lives. The system, even the internet system, has away of putting our fears and problems on another level like a land separate or better yet a distant planet. The secrecy that national security requires and our own elite notions of ourselves as a nation has put us in an unusual position. We have faced the abyss and closed our eyes instead of taking the leap, letting our own eye wander inwards to survey our own inner world not only as individuals but as a people. We as a people, I am beginning to believe that this a problem that effects all of humanity, have been put to the test and found lacking. We are Morally corrupt and have no grasp of ethics while at the same time, we are sitting on a pile of the most destructive weapons ever conceived in written history. Nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional weapons that until now were unimaginable in the hands of corrupt, confused or simply stupid politicians leading a populations dazzled by bright lights and shiny things or lost in the shadows. People worry about global warming or rising opiod addiction as the war drums begin to bang and sabers rattle. The idea of War Crimes like the death penalty, is as a deterrent to violent acts of aggression. If a person or group of people are above this law then they have no consequences to worry them.
That’s real power, the lack of consequences. So when the Trump haters and the Trump lovers are dukeing it out in the street and as the war over what words are legal and which are not continue just try and keep that in the back of your mind. The current President is the type of leader that can find himself trapped in his own rhetoric and then boom.
It won’t be the end, just major set back with lots of pain all around.
That is the thing about Power. It isn’t the wealth, the admiration of the masses, all the free or cheap stuff, the comfort, multitudes of people to boss around, markets to establish, resources to exploit or the access to the worlds best medical care, it is the absence of consequences. Real power can kill and rape on a scale that would make Ted Bundy or Charles Manson’s eyes turn green with envy. Like the old saying goes, Kill one man and you are a murder, kill a million and you are a conqueror. That is the problem with power. That is why so many desire it and why it will be our undoing.
We are entering an interesting time. I can only offer this advice, mostly to myself. When the abyss finally opens at my, our, feet don’t close your eyes and I won’t close mine either. Always give those you love a hug. Finally always try and remember that you are blessed.
Have a better than average day.