by Philip A. Farruggio
September 23, 2003
In any republic, the government should reflect the voice of the people. In these times, our government has become the 'arbitrary' voice to the people. Lost in the shuffle are the countless lives sacrificed for dreams of empire and individual gain. We view on CNN, each and every day, our youth in uniform marching in harms way for an action that growing numbers of Americans now question. Millions throughout the globe dissented against this terrible preemptive action, ironically since America has always been thought of as the modern 'cradle of liberty and personal freedom'.†† Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi have gone without electricity and viable drinking water for months -- yet just a few hours of blackout here at home can cause such an uproar (and rightly so).
Go to your library or video store and get "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961). The film focuses on the 1948 US Military Tribunal trial of four German judges. Itís more than just a tale of the prosecution of four guilty parties- itís an indictment of what lack of dissent offers any ruthless regime. The moral of the story is how not only a culture, but a whole world, turned a blind eye to injustice and persecution. The film infers that many profited from the 'high crimes and misdemeanors' of a government, while others in positions of judicial power thought it to be but a 'passing phase', to be followed by an era of 'peace and order' (New World Order?).
Is this beginning to sound all too familiar? History, sadly put, does have this nasty habit of repeating itself. In the closing scenes of the film, Spencer Tracy portraying the presiding judge on the tribunal is ready to pass sentence. Before doing so, he states the majority opinion. Viewers should close their eyes and inhale his thoughts: "there are those in our own country today who speak of 'protection of country, of survival'.... then it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to wrest survival through what is expedient . . . then what does our country really stand for?" Our George II took that same path on his road to war with Iraq -- the expedient road. Yet, he could not have done so without consent of Congress -- and give it they did! Four of the nine candidates for the Democratic (mind you) nomination gave their consent, their right and power as Congress to wage war, to this President. It was the 'path of least resistance', charted by an administration and navigated by a willing media. Dissent thus became 'anti-American' or 'pro-terrorist', and we who demonstrated were 'crackpots and malcontents' -- not fit to carry or wave the flag. Simply put, this government, the voice of the people, decided to 'shoot and ask questions later'.
Back to the movie (art imitates life and all that). In the film, the Maximillian Schell character, defense attorney for the accused judges, makes a stirring closing statement. In it, he reminds the court (and all who would listen) how, as late as 1938, Hitler was publicly praised by Winston Churchill as a leader the British would be 'lucky to have'. He then goes on to state that many U.S. companies made fortunes financing German industry in the 1930's, well AFTER the Nuremberg Racial Laws were enacted -- well AFTER the concentration camps were in full operation. Finally, he reminds the court how the Soviet Union entered into a non-aggression pact with Germany in 1939, oblivious to all the horrors that the Nazi regime was undertaking. Stalin was obviously too busy burying his own corpses.
Fast forward to the mid-1980's, Baghdad. Saddam Hussein, the soon to be labeled "Butcher of Baghdad", was already a decade into his reign of terror on Iraqi dissidents and the Kurds. He used biological and chemical weapons (aka WMDs) on those aforementioned folks and yes, also on the Iranians, newly hated enemies of the US of A. Of course a few years prior to that, the Iranians, under our pal the Shah, were our 'friends'. So much so, that the U.S. and the Israelis helped train Iran's dreaded SAVAK (Secret Police), who were doing to their dissidents what Saddam's boys were doing to his. Whew!! No nation should willingly and with purpose ignore atrocities committed by another nation -- then, whenever it chooses, go full thrust against those same outrages.
Wake up American people, and be the voice that our constitution deemed you to be. Itís later than we realize!
Philip A Farruggio is a true progressive thinker.† This Brooklyn NY born, bred and educated (Brooklyn College '74) son of a longshoreman, has had over 35 columns posted on progressive sites and newspapers since the 2000 election, including NewsInsider.org. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ††††††