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War and crime

Barack Obama has misconstrued Iran's stated genocidal nuclear plans as a conventional military threat

If war is politics waged by other means, crime is an offense against the moral order. In the world today war is often confused with crime and though one may serve to enable the other, war does not excuse crime. In the speeches of politicians who should know better crime masquerades as war. But war and crime are not the same.

Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was an act of war as was the Imperial army’s invasion of China but the “Rape of Nanking” was a crime. Auschwitz, the death camps, the ghettos and deportations that required the active cooperation of the foreign offices, police and railway lines of not only Germany but nearly all the nations of Europe were not acts of war but war crimes: extreme civilizational violations in wartime. Pol Pot’s Killing fields and the notorious S-21 torture and extermination center in Phnom Penh were crimes committed in the context of a larger war that had already torn apart most of Southeast Asia. Milosevic’s concentration camps at Srebrenika and Omarska were crimes perpetrated in the face of Clintonian non-interventionism (itself a crime under the circumstances).

Similarly, ISIS battling the Iraqi Army in the name of radical Islam is war but its chorus lines of victims forced to kneel for a beheading, are, regardless of whatever theology informs such deeds, monstrous crimes. The crucifying of Christian Syrian children by ISIS is the blackest of crimes. That such homicides occur in the context of war demonstrates what Adolf Hitler well-knew, that full-scale war is essential to the commission of mass murder. Who today would dispute that ISIS intends each military advance to facilitate aftermaths of slaughter, torture and rape?

Yet, strangely, Iran’s relentless drive to obtain nuclear weapons for its declared goal to annihilate the State of Israel is framed by President Barack Obama and his European diplomatic partners not as an act of premeditated long-term planning for the ultimate commission of a whole-sale criminal massacre, but as a conventional war scenario resolvable through an unenforceable treaty that is largely contingent upon diplomatic flam flam and groundless trust.

As Obama and State Secretary John Kerry portray their Iranian arrangement as a hopeful stab-in-the-dark attempt to avert future warת nowhere in Iran itself are the cleric’s and military’s uncompromising genocidal momentum checked. The engine of destruction rolls on. In Israel, the one party left out of the negotiations that stands to be directly impacted by this homicidal juggernaut, to a tune of millions vaporized, no one buys Obama’s plan. In an extraordinary display of national unity, Israelis across all party lines oppose the treaty for they know what awaits: not combat, of which they are unafraid, but a nuclear crime that may exceed even the Holocaust.

In the United States, upon which a nuclear Iran will have little to no impact, passions run high, the debate lines are starkly drawn, the talking heads joust. On both sides of the Congressional aisle the prospect of brutal mass murder of a sovereign people by nuclear means has sparked a paralyzing, specious and ineffectual debate to pass the time until the inevitable occurs. No one really wants direct preventative military intervention against Iran, the only truly effective response. The objective for both Democrats and Republicans is to get through the terrible waiting summer until Fall when the wearing business of imperiled Israel can finally be laid to rest and all can return to the real business at hand: Clinton or Sanders, Trump or Trump?

Under the criminal code of nearly any civilized nation on earth the premeditation of murder in advance of its commission constitutes a capital crime. As Iran’s openly-stated intention is to commit genocide Obama and Kerry’s hammering portrayal of their partnership with Iran as a sublime diplomatic effort to avert war rather then their enabling the commission of an unthinkable crime is in itself a crime of culpable participation. They now seek, after a ruthless campaign of stick and more stick to lessen Israel’s objection with carrots of increased conventional military cooperation, the sale of advanced weaponry, as if such sweets can somehow numb the existential agonies of a people faced yet again with the prospect of total annihilation.

Whether Obama and Kerry are Capitalist wolves in progressive clothing, willing to sacrifice the security and safety of Israel in exchange for dubious new Iranian markets, we’ve yet to see. But Iran has already long sponsored Hezbollah and Hamas in attacks upon innocent civilian populations– clear war crimes– yet Obama and Kerry frame them as “conflict”, acts of war. Were one to hire thugs to murder his neighbor his criminality would go unquestioned. How then is Iran’s murder-by-proxy of civilians not premeditated murder?

Under a sane legal code when one cooperates in any way in the commission of a murder one cannot later claim innocence. One has in effect become a killer too, no less then the one who wielded the weapon. Both Obama and Kerry are full aware — as is the world — of Iran’s openly stated intention to murder the people of Israel and they are also aware that Iran intends to do so both by nuclear as well as conventional means.

Obama and Kerry, their supporters in and out of Congress, the nations of Europe who have partnered with them, cannot fain innocence of their potential complicity should their feckless gambit fail, God forbid.

All must stand accused of cooperating with an international criminal state, Iran, in the premeditated genocidal murder of a modern nation, Israel, and its entire population.

About the Author
Alan Kaufman is an American-Israeli novelist and memoirist. His latest novel, The Berlin Woman, has just been published by Mandel Vilar Press. His other books include the novels Matches (Little Brown) the memoirs Jew Boy (Cornell University Press) and Drunken Angel (Viva Editions).
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