Opinion. America Gone Mad by the American author Hal O’Leary in his weekly section, Just Hal, on Yareah Magazine.
AMERICA GONE MAD.
My America has gone mad. First, we saw the murder of twenty innocent children; then, a virtual child himself at fifteen–admittedly addicted to violent video games–murders his family; the NRA (with almost half the public in agreement) wants to arm every citizen for protection from the murder of each other, and now, many of the formerly sensitive and sensible half of our society are demanding the right to don uniforms with their male counterparts, pick up automatic weapons and drones to exercise their constitutional right to murder men, women and children around the world. And all this in my name.
What could possibly explain why America, one of the most religious nations on earth, would so willingly take up arms and wantonly kill innocent men, women and children?
The obvious fact that Hollywood finds the dominance of violence so profitable in their industry suggests that our society is becoming addicted to murder. The obvious fact that our own government can, not only with immunity, but with public approval, murder not only suspected foreign enemies and agents, but its own citizens without indictment or trial, suggests that violence has become the accepted means of resolving disputes, and moreover a way of life. The obvious fact that the better half of our society, which has heretofore managed to maintain a respectable sanity, seems desirous of the opportunity not only to condone, but to commit murder in their own right, suggests that a nation-wide review of the very principles and morality upon which this country was founded is needed to restore sanity.
Now, lest I be called out on the constant use of the word “murder,” hear me out. The following is a justifiable description of murder and its consequences as found in Wikipedia.
“Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another person, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide (such as manslaughter). As the loss of a human being inflicts enormous grief upon the individuals close to the victim, and the commission of a murder is highly detrimental to the good order within society, most societies both present and in antiquity have considered it a most serious crime worthy of the harshest of punishment. In most countries, a person convicted of murder is typically given a long prison sentence, possibly a life sentence where permitted, and in some countries, the death penalty may be imposed for such an act — though this practice is becoming less common. In most countries, there is no statute of limitations for murder (no time limit for prosecuting someone for murder). A person who commits murder is called a murderer.”
In this regard, I imagine you would agree that the first two examples cited adequately fit this description of murder. There was malice aforethought which constitutes the following states of mind:
- Intent to kill
- Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm short of death.
- Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life.
- Intent to commit a dangerous felon.
These two crimes in particular represent reprehensible infringements on the rights of another.
But, grievous though they be, I contend that the murders carried out by our military by far exceed the noxious consequences of even those heinous acts. Entire families are murdered indiscriminately. Here, you may righteously scream that our brave soldiers are defending our freedom and therefore the killing of the enemy cannot be construed as murder. We are assured that killings done within the boundaries of law, such as execution, self-defense or the killing of enemy soldiers during a war, grant immunity to the military. It all sounds so legal and above board.
BUT, what if the so-called war were in itself illegal? What if the freedoms our brave soldiers are supposedly defending are in graver danger of being eroded here at home than they are from the enemies we have created abroad? We have suspended habeas corpus and privacy rights. American citizens can now be assassinated by order of the President or detained indefinitely without even a hearing. Does that not effectively kill “defense of freedom” as our ostensible reason initiating war? Initially, Afghanistan was bombed and invaded, so we were told, because the Taliban refused to hand over Bin Laden, the supposed mastermind behind 9/11. Actually, the Taliban did offer to surrender him to a neutral country upon presentation of evidence that he was indeed responsible. This evidence was never presented. Does this refusal not make the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan illegal, particularly since nearly all of the supposed hijackers were Saudi citizens?
Does the bombing and invasion of Iraq for supposed possession of WMD, which were never found, make the entire operation illegal? Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq represented any threat whatever to the United States. We have justified both of these atrocities under the dubious label of the “War on Terror,” which is as ridiculously designed and deceitful as the War on Drugs.
My friends, we must understand that all of these inexcusable offenses are not just violations of our own laws and treaties. They are international crimes against humanity, which means that we could and should be hauled before the International Court. Of course, we have refused to become a signatory to that most prestigious body. Nevertheless, the killing that results must be considered murder. While it is acknowledged that an exclusion to murder is “The killing of enemy combatants by lawful combatants,” the exclusion carries with it the addendum, “in accordance with lawful orders in war.” The Military Code requires obedience only to lawful orders. Therefore, if the instigation of the action is itself illegal, the orders and their execution must also be considered illegal and a capital crime or crimes against humanity. In both cases, since the attacks by us were premeditated and preemptive with no sufficient evidence of even a threat– the attack on Afghanistan having been planned prior to 9/11–there can be no plea of self-defense. Ironically, this leaves us with no other plea but insanity.
With even American women now clamoring for the right to enter into combat and kill (even though it is acknowledged as murder) I find myself at a loss to explain why. Then, when we consider that the only reason for the murders is so that a certain 1% of elite bankers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers can increase their obscene wealth at the expense and sacrifice of those who fight and die, what other explanation could there be but that America has indeed gone mad?