Sunday, June 10, 2007


This site has consistently pointed out that by the very nature of the military organization, professionals (doctors, lawyers, clergy) cannot reliably discharge their full ethical obligations in the military setting. See, for example, “Bishops Bomb” on this site from November 2006).

The matter of the USS Liberty is presently receiving long-delayed attention. Jeff St. Clair’s article “Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty, Revisited”, is only one of the many. There are others on the Counterpunch site and you are well-advised to check out the survivors’ association's hugely informative site: As an aside, let me say that even I had to pause at St. Clair’s profoundly shocking suggestion, well-founded by the facts he presents, that Moshe Dayan wanted the USS Liberty sunk – and with no survivors – in order to blame it on the Egyptians. We forget, far too often, just what the Holocaust did to elite Jewish political and moral thinking and thus later to the Israeli state. When they say that absolutely nothing will be allowed to threaten them ever again, they mean a lot more than most law-abiding people would think. To the extent that – God having let them down in the Holocaust – the Israeli state will do ‘whatever it takes’, thank you … to that extent Israel is a lawless state: it acknowledges no law above its own interests.

Of course you could say that’s the whole nature of a ‘state’ in the post-Westphalian age. But while the old pre-World War 1 era Foreign Office dictum that “gentlemen don’t read other gentlemen’s mail” may indeed seem quaint, I can’t see Washington or Lincoln approving the Israeli attack (whatever its actual motivations); in fact, I can’t even see Teedy Roosevelt proposing it, and he was the first Presidential “cowboy”.

In fact, I wonder now if Bush himself wasn’t infected by the Israeli ‘thinking’, rather than – as might too easily be supposed – the other way around. And if so, then the lawlessness of this Administration, rising to the level of “treachery” Constitutionally-defined, is provided benefit of ‘clergy’ not only by Fundamentalism (that claims that once you are God’s chosen then anything you do is ‘good’, going Nixon way better in justifying his dictum that “When the President does it, then it’s not illegal”). But also by some Israeli politico-religious illumination that once you are God’s victim, then you are entitled to “do whatever it takes” to make sure you don’t get thus blessed again. For if there is no ‘law’ beyond an entity to which it must submit itself, and since all earthly entities are incapable of assuring their own moral integrity, then any such entity – individual or corporate – is for all practical purposes lawless.

For a government and a People sending troops abroad for the purposes of war (all those little plastic flags stuck onto cars represented far far more than a sentimental Princess-Di moment), then the consequences are awe-full in their import. What did it mean when a young German solider wrote home to his wife about shooting Russian POWs who had already surrendered: “If you make yourself think that these men had killed German soldiers, then it’s not so hard … Please don’t read this letter to our children” …?

Have We given any thought as to how many American soldiers are writing (or emailing or texting or what-have-you) such a sentiment to their own spouses: “Please don’t tell our children about this”. What are We doing to our troops? We have sent them into a moral Little Big Horn from which they will not return as We knew them.Who will bear responsibility for this before Heaven? Will We the People seek to avoid Our responsibility in this moral debacle as so many of the reprehensible Beltway-Bunch are now doing? Will We demean Ourselves by bleating like Mussolini when he was finally cornered by his own jittery accomplices: “I Tedeschi sono responsabili di tutto” … the Germans are responsible for the whole thing … ? And will Heaven accept that when even the Fascist Grand Council and the little King Victor Emmanuel didn’t?

We are now widely informed of Catholic bishops and Fundy chaplains and even Fundy ex-Seals pseudo-chaplains cheerleading this leprous war; of medical doctors sending the wounded back into combat and of allowing others to rot in decrepit hospitals; of military psychologists actively and eagerly participating in the enterprise of torture; and of military lawyers mixed up in everything from torture and improper detention and kidnapping to the corruption embodied in the combatant tribunals and the corrosion of civil rights to the benefit military ‘law’. The Counterpunch, Truthout, and Alternet sites are just the entry-points to explore this rich, depressing, alarming lode of information.

Now here comes the latest example: the Navy JAG officer who advised the Inquiry officer in the USS Liberty matter has recently deposed that the whitewash sham of a ‘Report’ issued by that Inquiry – accepting the blatantly ridiculous and morally obscene Israeli excuse(s) that it was a case of mistaken identity – was ordered by the White House. And the retired chief JAG of the Navy of that time – this officer’s superior in the lawyer corps – acknowledges the same and is now demanding that the truth come out and be shown for what it is.

Both of them are to be commended. Serving the work of Truth is – famously – a very important job of morally mature and ‘honorable’ adults. And even more so of officers and gentlemen. And, We are ever fondly given to think, of lawyers.

But it’s damned late in the game. More to the point here, both of these men have demonstrated that in the military-justice world you are an officer first and a lawyer – or a servant of Truth – second. A very very distant second. They were ordered by the President … ooooh. We think of the torture-whores of “24” reverently intoning “the President” like Mel Brooks’s hilarious, pompously clueless “Blazing Saddles” Western townsfolk intoned – chorally – “Randolph Scott”.

So if you are an officer first, then the ‘law’ of your profession, the ‘higher law’, is effectively abolished. You are now under the ‘law’ of the regime that is giving the orders – which not-so-distant history teaches Us is the equivalent of being under no law at all.

Let these officers now make amends to Truth; let them be recalled to “their old allegiance” (as Lincoln referred to the returning former Confederate states). And may the officers and crew of USS Liberty – living and dead – be ‘justified’ for what they have suffered in Our service, at Our hands.

But these officers, and all the officials – civilian and military – who enabled this monstrous cover-up, have much to make up for. What might have happened in world history if this nation had refused to indulge the premeditated and deliberate attacks on Our sailors and Our ship? If back then We had given the rambunctious Israeli state the clear message that there are consequences for pulling obscene, criminal crap like this … ? How many now dead might be alive? What broad, sunlit uplands now cut off from so many might have been accessible to children whose lives have been deformed by injustice and untruth when not actually snuffed out by military action?

What awesome, awe-full, Hell-hot irony: that We now find Ourselves in thrall to an obscene, criminal, crapulous administration that took its schooling from the very perpetrators, not only unpunished but lavished with treasure, who were allowed to so indecently assault Us forty long Biblical years ago.

There is indeed a Law in this Universe. And it’s come for Us. We must return to our old allegiance.

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Blogger David said...

One of the footnotes of the pacifist position is the karmic corollary: We become what we hate.

We are, therefore, encouraged to love our enemies not for their sakes alone but for our own as well.

6:01 PM  

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