Right versus Wrong


‘History is written by the Victorious’ goes the ancient axiom. We look at the history written by the Victorious in which they invariably lay claim to moral rectitude, and conclude that ‘Justice Prevails’. Now, in this most morally backwards of all conflicts, in which Justice has not prevailed nor even survived, perhaps the aged axiom too, will turn itself inside out and history may indeed be written by the righteous, for never before has there been such a stark contrast between moral Right and the events unfolding before our eyes. Never before, even at the terrible cost of so many lives, have there been so many witnesses.

America, endowed by the most humanitarian and morally exalted philosophies of eighteenth-century, Christian Europe, fell heir to the wealth provided by size and resources. America has been pleased to take credit for its proud Declaration of Independence given to it by Europe and its wealth. Now, economic privilege has been equated to moral merit, to extend to the right to define Right and Wrong. Now we have confusion between Murderers and Martyrs, between Freedom Fighters and Terrorists and the strategies of General McCaffery, between ‘Evil-doers’ and heroes. Now Ariel Sharon proclaims ‘his people can’t take anymore’ as he assaults Palestine and drenches its land with its people’s blood, again. 

It is a supreme irony that in a country that was founded upon moral decency, Americans have to look to the leadership of other countries to find it. Egypt’s President Mubarek’s refusal to see America’s envoy made a clear statement that Colin Powell’s helpless gaze toward Israel while representing Israel’s ability to carry out its killing, is not believable. Saudi Arabia’s tentative for peace provoked a war. That Israel should be asked to accept the world’s consensus for Peace is cause for them to start killing people. In Afghanistan, the suspects of the strike against the United States are being killed for presuming to challenge America’s assertion of moral right claimed by its military power.

The moral waters are muddied by terms like ‘Murderers‘ and ‘Martyrs‘, ‘Freedom Fighters’ and ‘Terrorists‘. Palestinians who die in order to kill their enemies are not Martyrs, they are Murderers. Palestinians have no reason to kill anyone. If they were trying to claim their own country they would be called freedom fighters. If they were from another country trying to retrieve rights to humanity addressed by America’s own heritage, they would be called freedom fighters. Certainly no one would argue that military actions need to take place in ones own country to justify waging them. Not America, whose last war in its own country was fought in 1866, and only because that is where America found its ‘enemy’, its South. How many military conflicts has America engaged in since then? And why should Palestine have allies. There were Hessians and French helping George Washington, but that was a special case. That the American Revolution was fought by men using strategies of secrecy and surprise in unconventional methods is well known. That they killed people, is a fact. In America they are called heroes, although I ‘m not sure what they are called in England.

Now, Americans who die killing Afghans and Arabs are heroes. Anyone who kills Americans is a Murderer, because as all the world knows, America has killed no one giving no one cause to strike at America. And George Bush working industriously at the rabbit hole, hopes to shove the entire world down it.

The issues would not be so exasperating were they not so clear, and that leads to the real issue. All the world knows that the Israelis are intruders into a land called Palestine. All the world knows that the issue was resolved by United Nations resolutions to solve the conflict. All the world knows Israel won’t do it. That is clear, and that the Victorious, although thus far prevailing, are not promoting Justice, is also clear. The real issue becomes not only a matter of the successful use of force but of the claim to the moral high ground. Israel can’t, nor can America, win, without convincing the world of the rectitude of its claims. If the only eyes of America were its media, the moral victory would be a ‘fait accompli’, but the media has changed and now there are witnesses to the atrocities who are reporting them. Now there is truly a confrontation upon the moral high ground, now a claim of evil against the claim of the Victorious to ‘good‘. The real issue becomes more than simply the power to prevail, rather how to gain acceptance for the victory within the conscience of the world.

American leaders have no right to either the moral high ground, the claim for doing what’s Right, nor do they have a right to victory in their assaults made upon other human beings, who are attempting to claim for themselves the human rights which America’s own Declaration of Independence says God gave them. American leaders while they smile benevolently from the television screen, confident in the praise and adulation of their subjects around the world, must read again America’s Declaration of Independence.

That America’s standards have fallen badly in just the last fifty years is reflected in a statement made by an American General, Dwight D. Eisenhower in an address to the nation on the 20th of February in 1957 regarding Israelis aggression against Palestine then too: 

“Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of UN disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its own withdrawal? If we agree that armed attack can properly achieve the purpose of the assailant, then I fear we will have turned back the clock of international orderé.”