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(DV) Zingh: Walking the Line Between Justice and Reconciliation







Walking the Line Between Justice and Reconciliation 
by Zbignew Zingh
January 6, 2007

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The late accidental president, Gerald Ford, was eulogized for being a "healer," for bringing the nation together after Watergate, and for pardoning Richard Nixon before he could be prosecuted for his crimes. Those like Mr. Cheney who praised Mr. Ford the most are, undoubtedly, pressing their own cases for presidential absolution when Mr. Bush's regime ends. 

Conservative reactionaries have also used Mr. Ford's funeral to stroke American liberals' soft spot for 'peace and reconciliation'. Liberals beware: it is a ruse to avoid responsibility for the devastation wrought by America, its leaders and our government. 
The only praise that Mr. Ford deserved is for not being as god-awful as his predecessor. His pardon of Richard Nixon was absolutely not praiseworthy. Reconciliation can come only after the truth is laid bare. After Mr. Nixon had been indicted, tried, bared the truth and confessed the errors of his ways, only then -- perhaps -- could the nation have begun the "healing" process.  
The US did not "heal" after it lost the War in Vietnam because it never got to the root problem: why was the United States in Vietnam in the first place? Because the illness was never properly diagnosed or treated, the agents of disease became dormant, survived, and finally erupted in lethal sickness during the Reagan Administration's war on Central America and during the current Administration's Global War on Terror. Indeed, the Bush Administration is lousy with Typhoid Marys (both male and female) whose history of geopolitical plague includes the carpet bombing of Cambodia, the defoliation of Vietnam, the de-democratization of Central America, the repeated attacks on Haiti, Panama, Grenada, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Many of them recycled from earlier presidencies, these disease-carriers have been some of the highest ranking officials in, and outside advisers to, the Bush Administration.  
That is why in post-apartheid South Africa there could only be reconciliation after there had been investigations, full disclosure, genuine repentance and repudiation of the government's violent, racist and discriminatory policies. 
You do not "heal" a boil on the body politic by just plastering over it. You have to lance the boil, get the pus out, disinfect it. 
The chorus of pundits calling for the Democratically controlled Congress to "work with" President Bush and to lay aside "politics" want to poultice a very large and dirty wound. 
Remove the gangrene or it will spread to other parts of the body. In the federal scheme of the US Constitution, gangrenous infections are expunged by impeachment. There is no other way short of the more fundamental cure described in the Declaration of Independence. 
More than 650,000 Iraqis are dead with countless thousands more severely wounded. Iraqi society, the most modern and secular of all Arab states, has been utterly crushed through decades of deliberate, systematic US foreign policy that spans both Republican and Democratic administrations. More than 3,000 American soldiers are dead with another 31,000 GIs whose war-related injuries or illness required them to be medically air-evacuated from Iraq. Add to that thousands more civilians killed in Afghanistan, hundreds more dead American soldiers in "Operation Enduring Freedom" and thousands of GIs requiring medical air evacuation from that theater of the Global War on Terror. 
We need an answer: that "noble cause" that everyone and Casey Sheehan died for, was it all so that America could hang Hussein? 
But it is not just the human death and misery for which our leadership has to account. It is also the murder of the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights whose cadavers we demand that the 110th Congress raise up, Lazarus-like, to life again. It is the death of New Orleans, the demise of domestic comity, the evisceration of Americans' health care, the strangulation of public schools and libraries, the assault on the aged and the poor and the down-and-out, the billyclubbing of labor and small local businesses, the rape of the environment, the brass-knuckled punch in the face of privacy, all of which require full disclosure, truth, repentance before there can be reconciliation. 
It is not yet time for bipartisan cooperation. It is not yet time for handshakes. First, non-partisanship, not bipartisanship is the issue, because there is much more at stake than whether Democrats and Republicans can "work together" as usual. The fact that they "worked together" is what got us into Iraq in the first place. Second, you cannot shake a bloody hand or it stains you, too, with its deeds. It is not necessarily punishment we are seeking, and certainly not the lynch law that Bush's America metes out. Rather, we are seeking justice. We are demanding disclosure. We are asking that future generations be spared our apoplexy, our collective amnesia and our afflictions by a full airing of what has happened. 
There are some reactionaries, however, who coyly suggest that we should now turn the other cheek and embrace the Bush-demons who have tormented us. This is a tempting appeal to the spiritual hubris that leads some well meaning people to believe that even murderous, psychopathic despots can experience apotheosis if only we shower them with the love and understanding that stimulates 'good people'. Love might be the answer, but it is the answer to a different question than that posed by the quest for justice. 
To paraphrase the famous line from Bertolt Brecht's Three Penney Opera: First comes accountability, then comes morality.*  In that sequence, first justice and then reconciliation will facilitate the eventual rejuvenation of the people. 
Zbignew Zingh can be reached at: Zbig@ersarts.com. This article is CopyLeft, and free to distribute, reprint, repost, sing at a recital, spray paint, scribble in a toilet stall, etc. to your heart's content, with proper author citation. Find out more about Copyleft and read other great articles at: www.ersarts.com. copyleft 2007. 
* "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral" (loosely translated: First comes eating, then comes morality). Die Dreigroschenoper by Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht (1928)

Other Articles by Zbignew Zingh

* Deep Tooth: A Mol(ar) in the White House
* The Iraq Study Group Study Group
* Zamole Zingh: One Size Fits All Universal Politician for Every Office
* Ask Not For Whom the Wall is Built (It's Built For You)
* Halloween Without End
* Will Pakistan's Musharraf Have His Ears Trimmed by the Bush Administration?
* Plan C -- The People's Morning-After-the-Elections Contraception
* Snakes On a Plane, Bush in the White House
* Prepare Your Stakes and Fires
* How the Left Repeatedly Gets the Wind Knocked Out of Its Causes
* The Daze of the Living Dead
* Garden Variety Politics
* The Subsurface World of Inflation, Cannibalism and the Plight of the Squeezees
* Cracks in the Coalition of the Crackpots
* Dear George... Have I Told You How Much I Appreciate You?
* Facilitating Fascism
* Detroit Dialectic: The Irony of the Super Bowl in a Supercilious Nation
* The Nuclear “Threat” At the End of the Age of Petroleum
* Roberts' Rules of Order
* Project for the New American Colonies (A Neoconned American Revolution)
* Pat Robertson's Fatwah and the Emergence of Medieval America
* The Neocon Cookbook: Savory Recipes for the Power Hungry by the Power Elite
* President Bush Supports Alternative Fuels Research Instead of Conservation
* Bush Wants Answers: Did Chavez, Castro and Bin Laden Lead Embassy Siege in Iran?
* The University's Biocontainment Lab: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You!
* The Convergence
* The Political Descent of Mankind
* Soviets “R” US
* November Strategy
* New Dogs for the New American Century
* Vive la Difference
* Dennis, We Hardly Knew You
* The 2004 Political All-Star Game
* George Bush, Destroyer of the Faith
* Zbignew's Inferno
* The Statue of Liberty is Missing
* Monuments To The New American Century
* What Are We Trying To Achieve?
* Bush Administration Relents: American Style Elections Promised for Iraq
* E.U. Researchers Publish Findings of Widespread Mad Cow Infection
* The Declassified Ads