June 21, 2006

Could I referee this one?

In the midst of all the euphoria of the Soccer World Cup, the news about the gruesome killing of the two twenty year old American soldiers in Iraq dampened my spirit in a big way. What made it worse was that when I read this bone chilling news in the NY Times, on that very page, there was a news item about three other US soldiers being charged for the murder and ill-treatment of Iraqi soldiers in Guantanamo Bay. Is this fair play?

The juxtaposing of these two news items captured the dilemma that raged within me. Is human right violation to be condoned? Certainly not, and thus I disprove what happened to Iraqi prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. On the same note, are barbaric atrocities to be meekly accepted and ignored? I would hope not! The guilty need to be taken to task at the earliest and they should be held accountable for their actions. So in fact if a fellow soldier from the contingent to which the two dead marines belonged, were to take measures to punish the wrongdoers, he’d be justified… or would he?

I’m not sure how I should react. Rationally, an eye for an eye would do more damage and bring endless suffering. However, at this point my rational self is practically non existent, and understandably so. I am mad about the way in which the two soldiers were killed, and at this moment, if compatriots of those killed were to do something reactionary, like what happened in Haditha, I wouldn’t hesitate to condone their actions. But that may change with passage of time; as the heat dies down and my rational self reasserts itself.

It's the heated insanity of the moment that often makes even the calmest of people take strange and extreme action; a result of the raging anger within, that seeks vent after a barbaric crime is committed against ones own. Do these extreme actions warrant a red card? Could the Haditha killings be regarded as an extreme action taken under extreme emotional duress? Would anyone want to referee that?


starry nights said...

how can u referee killing of human lives. there is no right. it is all wrong.

Onyeka George Nwelue said...

US is yet to see the rage of God! Just keep watching your leader become a terrorist, while CNN goes on to write nonsense about us.

The Igbo man says, ihe onye metara ya buru (whatever a man does, he shall carry). Just watch George Bush-man destroy America by haunting Iraq---

Let him keep o!

karmic_jay said...

You can't referee something that is not a sport. War and killing are not sports. But I do see what you are trying to say.

Stress under combat is something nobody shoud have to deal with. In a land where ordinary Iraqis morph into enemies, where cultural and language barriers make a murky picture even more hard to see, I don't blame what happened in Haditha on our soldiers. The fault lies with the leader who sent them in, with inadequate plans and who heeded no warnings about this misadventure. The law will take it's course regarding the Marines.
Also holding people without trial is not American. Torture is not an American value either. If someone is guilty try them and put them away, if not why hold them?
I think we lost the moral high ground that we might have had when we held people without trial and possibly tortured some of them.

nandi23 said...

the soldiers know that they are not wanted there and when 80% of the population want you out of there, then think about how paraniod these guys are.
But then again the irrational killings by these same men are to be taken into consideration.
Looking at it one sees that both parties are under immense psychological stress, when this happens we need to get a referee in there for sure...but then one wonders where can we find such that both parties would accept.

Ajay said...

hey after a long time
War is a bad thing. but is it avoidable? with vested interests and all. And then we have innocent and promising lives wiped off. just to satisfy the ego's and whims of a few others.
a thought provoking post.
war is bad. peace is d solution.
but then they also say survival of d fittest

EXSENO said...

I can't help having all of the same scrambled feelings that many people are having right now.

I think torture on either side is unforgivable. Anyone on our side who does such things makes me ashamed and I think should be brought forth for their actions.

Then I look at what the other side is allowed to do.
And on the other hand it is also dificult to feel that way when the other side is able to get away with terrible crimes of torture
against humanity.

War is a terrible thing for everyone no matter how you look at it. But barbaric torture, where is the sanity in that? I see only the cruel blood thirsty hate of a animal like sub-human being.

What happened to rules of war? Where are they now? If one side should be accountable so should the other.

I don't want us to be there anymore then some of these people that want us to leave. I wish we would leave.

Aditi said...

Hmm I totally see what you mean, its hard to not want to commit some atrocity when fellow soldiers have died a horrendous death, yet it is a vicious cycle that if not broken somewhere will continue and get worse.

@ karmic jay
I think it is the american way under the new laws of homeland security

eshuneutics said...

I guess you saw Onyeka George Nwelue's comment (on his site) that the way to deal with racial hatred is to make a hateful racial response. Your post shows how wrong his view is. I understand what you are saying via the "game" metaphor because when the world steps beyond morality it enters tit-for-tat game-playing. There is a wonderful play by Tom Stoppard, Professional Foul, in which he investigates the question of right and wrong through football metaphors. He questions if humanity--like footballers curving balls--can bend morality and still do "good". My response would be that both sides are breaking moral laws and both are in that sense "terrorists". These acts are not professional fouls, but examples of racist violence which violate humanity. It is interesting, as regards Stoppard's play, that the only person who behaves well is the rationalist who believes in the righteousness of human rights. A terrible dilemma!

Onyeka George Nwelue said...

Well, 'I Me My''s post and mine are not relative. Invasion and degradation is not all connected.

Well, whatever. The comment on my site remains my comment. No qualms.

brokenshard said...

at the end of it all, life is life... nobody can justify the killing of a soul. there are no sides to be taken. very well written boss. :)

Id it is said...

Thanks for the insightful comment.
I like Stoppard's writings so I will definitely read that play of his you mention. Possibly, it may shed some ethical light on the Iraq scenario.
As for the soccer metaphor...the flustered and ineffective referee in the ever-so-violent and out-of-control match between Portugal and Netherland yesterday was so reminiscent of the UN trying to manage the various crises that confront the world today.

myaxl said...

WAR is not the solution for the problems we undergo...It's all in the mind, within!!!

sivananth said...

No one talks about human rights violations of terrorists. I get this dilemma occasionally too.Perhaps you should unleash state-sponsored terrorism against terrorists :)

myaxl said...

Oh yes..there is this nostalgic feeling, but compared to the level of torture we gotta undergo, I guess, this nostalgia doesn't even come close...don worry, I aint working for a Nazi ruler!!!;-)

Starkindler said...

Well, no one told the Americans to go into Iraq in the first lace. You blunder into the place, take over the country and then get angry if they lash out? Talk about being sanctimonious!