Saturday, April 19, 2008

Where is the Fulcrum for this problem?

I've been keeping my brain active, just not here. There is one of the topics I'm thinking and writing about around the blogosphere.

War crimes and torture
What defines a war criminal?

Does a Catholic University have any responsibility to their own stated principles of "commitment to justice and the common good" when they hire a war criminal?

I've been talking to the brilliant Mr. Video, Interrobang, Jack the Grumpy Forester and Athenae about this and I raised the question. "If you believe that someone is a war criminal, what do you do about it? What can you do? I had some high level suggestions and some suggestions that might allow us to get to some desired results, i.e., him being held accountable for his actions, which many of us believe are crimes against peace, war crimes or crimes against humanity. Smarter people than me can work on this, for example they can take the following steps:

Intellectual and definitional steps
1) Define war criminal, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity

Research steps
2) Get specific proof where he meets the criteria for each area

Action steps
3) A first step would be to supply the proof of your assertions to the Catholic university. Ask their Human Resources department if war crimes are excused in the employee contract. If not, ask if there is a special waiver they need to be hired. See if the Pope signed the waiver. If they say, "Well it's not up to us to decide this, this must go to the International Criminal Court." say, "I'm glad you suggested that! I've done all the prep work for the case, warm up your lawyers and we'll go. But first I'm going to ask people for some donations to help pay for my time and expenses. Maybe we can get some innocent Iraqi's to pitch in."

Now I asked the big legal minds, researchers and deep thinkers to work on that topic. I know lots of lawyers read and write blogs. If you have that kind of background and want use it in a way that will make you proud of your degree, start preparing the case against him. Pretend that you have been asked to prosecute him. What evidence would you need? What would be your legal strategy? Think about how he would defend himself, how talk radio will defend him, how his legal team will defend him? Who are your allies, who are his?

Some of us are writers and activists and we are helping where we can but we can't do the legal stuff. Why wait for the Hague, do some of the work now. Do you need someone to ask you to do it? Do you need me to hire you to do it? I'll send you a dollar to get started.

But the big idea that came to me after reading Athenae's EXCELLENT new book, "It Doesn't End With Us" The story of the Daily Cardinal (the student run newspaper at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. --( Notice how I plugged the book to make a point? Subtle eh?)
Going down the legal, ethical, or religious route takes time. But what if you are just a brain in a box like me? What if you are an accountant, human resources specialist, researcher, or IT professional without the legal background or you don't have a big academic brain to take on the Dean of a huge university? I say look to your own skill set and see how you can help. And be polite and professional in the process. Neocons will be caught doing the stuff that always trips up them up: greed, hubris and bizarre human relationship issues.

Look for the fulcrum in your area of expertise. There might be more than one.


Blogger Rich said...

It seems like McCain would be a nice candidate for a torture policy evaluation. Is he pro torture even if he claims not to be?

But finding an effective financial lever on him would be hard to locate since he has the backing of Big Beer thru his wife as well as the GOP. It seems his campaign has already found loopholes in his own McCain-Feingold rules.

And even if you found just who his donors were, they may really care less about torture. Beyond them even do Americans really care about torture -- even of children -- when they think they themselves might be targets of some '24' TV show scenario shouted out by a Goebbels for our time?

If churches and other ethical organizations would get involved maybe a success on torture would be possible -- like the success of the anti-Apartheid movement or even the anti-slavery movement (as discussed in Adam Hochthcild's book).

12:14 PM  

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