Licence to kill:
Do politicians have a special dispensation?
If a citizen decides to kill another person and then acts on his decision this is, correctly of course, considered a crime and the killer is punished.
So far so good.
Yet if a politician (also a citizen) decides to start an illegal and unjust war (in which he knows that countless innocent people will be killed), and then acts on that decision this is apparently not considered a crime by the majority and the proxy killer is not brought to justice. Never mind that the deeds of politicians result in death and suffering on a vastly greater scale than even the most rabid of serial killers.
Why is there this glaring difference in accountability? How do the politicians get away with it?
I would like to suggest a few threads of explanation for your consideration.
If we can clarify the ways we avoid the truth of responsibility for the ocean of suffering caused by war we will be in a better position to join up the dots. We will be closer to seeing the link between the war-dead child and the war-willing politician. We will be closer to realising that the victims are not just a distant mirage of faceless cadavers; incidental and uncounted dead. They are (were) real sensate people just like us; and the survivors mourn the loss of their child, their spouse, those they dearly love, just as we would mourn our dead beloved if they had been brutally killed by an invading army.
Traditionally kings, diverse leaders and politicians have not been held responsible for deaths resulting from their wilful, reckless and irresponsible actions (Henry VIII is not primarily remembered as a serial killer). Exceptions are when it is the victors put the vanquished on trial as at the end of World War II. Nevertheless in the matter of war the Nuremburg Trials laid down some useful ground rules. A set of guidelines were established for determining what constitutes a war crime. These include, as punishable crimes against international law, "Crimes against peace' defined as planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a War of Aggression. A further major step forward in breaking with a decadent tradition took place in June 2010. The International Criminal Court defined the Crime of Aggression as the commission of an act of aggression meaning "the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another state...' 1
Very gradually the noose is tightening round the necks of the war mongers. The days of the "licence of kill', if that is what it is, may be numbered.
Responsibility (guilt?) is spread among many