By Ed Uehling
Special to the Las Vegas Tribune
Finally revealed: An American with the courage to apply the same yardstick to American military personnel that he applied to, for example, German soldiers in WWII. On “60 Minutes” Sunday (June 27) now 100-year-old, 5-foot-tall Ben Ferencz equated the person who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima with the Germans who rounded up and murdered Jews, Communists and gypsies in the towns, cities and villages which Germany overran in eastern Europe and Russia from 1941.
When asked by Leslie Stahl, the 60 Minute interviewer, if those soldiers and their leaders were savages, he responded “No” and agreed that they were normal, upstanding, civilized patriots: As Ferencz said, “War makes murderers out of otherwise decent people.”
When asked if others call him naïve, he said yes, adding that they also call him crazy. He said that he simply wants peace instead of war
and that those people who prefer war over peace are “stupid” for continuing the system of sending young people out to kill other young
people they don’t even know.
It is that “system” that he has worked all his life to change: from being the youngest (at 26) prosecutor at Nuremberg (site of the
post-war trials of the Germans) to working for the establishment of the World Criminal Court in the Hague, to giving the closing arguments in the very first case heard in that court after its establishment in 1998, until today, when he dares implicate the very “cultured, upstanding and civilized” USA — number one war-mongering nation on the globe (my words, not his) — as today’s proponent.
Can we please change our government’s system of accusing other countries of doing the same thing we are so prone to (thanks to our
Christian upbringing) have on our own minds? Would someone be capable of merely making a list of the dozens of murderous interventions by our government just since WWII? Can the people already used as pawns by our upstanding leaders — yes, our veteran “heroes” — to actually carry out our war crimes please have the guts to tell us the details of what the “government ordered them to do”? Can the war-crimes-facilitators in the Congress stop being “stupid” by ceasing to waste the lives of our young people and to bankrupt the country?
Will someone please study and then write about the simultaneous involvement of and support by monotheistic religious groups? Is it
mere coincidence that Spain (with its conquistadores and priests in charge) slaughtered millions of natives in the Americas and the
Philippines, Germany (proud to lead tens of millions to their death) and the US (killer of 10-20 million people just since 1950) are all
fundamentally “Christian” nations? Do the fundamental beliefs fueling the political engines of these countries have any relationship or
responsibility for the murderous wake that follows far too often?
An initiative followed by a commitment by our government to join the World Criminal Court would end up changing the “system” more than almost anything else it could do. But are our “heroes” capable of facing the music and following a path of prioritizing peace over war.
After all, the US government loves using this same court against its ever-growing array of “enemies.” Does it really prefer peace over war — as its ideological base and its practitioners proclaim? Or will the world have to put up with another 70 years of “stupid” financed by US taxpayers? Based on the pace of change in society, Ben Ferencz is betting on change over “stupid.”