Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Genocide. Never again! Or never ending.

Genocide Again?  Congress just acknowledged it with a ‘non-binding Resolution’ that passed 393 to 0.  At least they agree on something.   But here’s the real crime.  They won’t do anything about it.  Again!   

After the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust during World War II the world said “Never Again!”.  No one could imagine allowing such a horrific crime against humanity to ever occur again.   But we have. Repeatedly.   Since the end of World War II after the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide all nations have stood by and watched it happened again, and again, and again, over  100 times!  At the cost of well over 22 million innocent people.

Now, we stand by again as ISIS continues to slaughter and mutilate thousands.  Why?  One simple reason.   We insist on national sovereignty trumping human rights.   Nations, including the US, would rather stand by and allow the continued mass murder and mutilation of Christians, Yazitis, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and other religious minorities than risk the lives of US solders stopping it.  Even peace activist and the peace movement has been silent. They appear to be so averse to using military power anywhere that they flinch at the prospect of it being used even to enforcing international law against mass murder.   

Their knee jerk reaction to the use of any military force is as murderous as the knee jerk reaction of President Obama’s resistance to using more forceful means than drones to stop the mass murder and rapes.   Peace activists remain more concerned about the use of drones and their inevitable murder of hundreds of innocent people as collateral damage, than their concern about the mass murder of tens of thousands by small pockets of violent extremists that those drone are targeting to kill.   

The definition of Genocide is clear.  And ISIS is still conducting it nearly a year after this crime against humanity was first identified.

Secretary of State John Kerry did say we will “do all we can” to hold the perpetrators of genocide accountable in a court of law, but he didn’t mention there is no global police force to capture them or bring them to trial.  And by the time one is created, if one ever is, hundreds of thousands could be killed.   And the world remains with no way of preventing it or the next genocide, or no real way of deterring future genocides given that the existing international courts may not have the technical jurisdiction over terrorist groups.  If ISIS were allowed to become a nation state and decided to sign onto the ICC treaty, then it’s leaders would no longer be immune to prosecution.
That’s a little loophole insisted upon by nation states (mostly the US) that never wanted their own soldiers or leaders to be called before a tribunal if they were accused of committing a war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. 

This the grand flaw in the UN system.  The structural certainty that national sovereignty (legalized murder) will always trump the protection of human rights.

Few people realize that more people were killed in the 20th century from genocide, (unusually governments killing their own people) than from wars.  In the last century about 100 million people died in wars and revolutions.  During the same time period nearly 160 million innocent people were killed in genocides by their own governments.   A right that remains for all sovereign nations.

For now we must settle for the ‘moral authority” to address genocide.  Until ‘we the people’ create the “political will” that is called for by the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance, we will just have to let the protection of human rights lay low on the global governance agenda.

U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb) a sponsor of the unanimous resolution that passed Thursday said “I sincerely hope [it] will raise international consciousness, end the scandal of silence, and create the preconditions for the protection and reintegration of these ancient faith communities into their ancestral homelands’.

What will it take for Rep. Fortenberry and others with political levers to raise the necessary international cooperation that could end the scandal of persistent inaction.  Action that is long overdue and essential to creating the conditions for ending this genocide -- and preventing future genocides…and finally keeping the world’s promise of “Never Again!”?

Months before the horrific attacks on 9-11 a former Clinton administration bioethics adviser warned that the completion of the human genome at time made development of bio-genetic weapons nearly certain within five to 10 years and called for an international commission to monitor genetic experiments that could lead to genocidal weapons. Mr. Moreno, a University of Virginia biomedical ethics professor spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Francisco that year and said "You could identify a unique antigen in a certain group of people and try to knock it out and create a blood disease, such as anemia,"

Such unprecedented weaponry is only a matter of time.

Voters this season are largely motivated by the dysfunction of our own government. Regardless of how our elections turn out, policy makers at every level need to start addressing the dysfunction of our ‘international law’ system and structures that lack any enforcement capacity - and even less capacity to prevent future genocides, wars, pandemics and terrorism (including bioterrorism) efforts that are inevitable.  And, increasingly inevitable in a world lacking any means of justice. 


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