Sunday, February 04, 2007

Where Does Guilt Lie?

Two nights ago I saw a re-run of an old movie called ‘Judgment at Nuremburg’ with a great cast of actors. The film was made in 1961 about the legacies of World War II – specifically the Nazi war criminals who were put on trial at Nuremburg. I know I saw the film before, but this time around, it gave me an eerie feeling. Although the movie posed a number of time worn questions there was one that I found particularly provocative.

Where does guilt lie in a war? Can the people of the aggressor nation claim ignorance? Can people wash their hands of the crimes their countrymen commit and say, “We never knew that was going on?” I am sure that would be the easiest, safest, and most pleasant route, but is it the truth? Do people seriously not know or do they just choose not to know?

I think that my countrymen, Americans, do not know the truth about what their government does because the government acts in secret and the media comply. But how long can they allow themselves this delusion. Doesn’t anybody know history, recent history like Vietnam? Doesn’t anybody put two and two together to decipher the meaning of what is actually happening?

Obviously, I’m asking questions that are not easy to answer, and certainly the answers won’t be agreeable. But I can imagine another scenario, in another time and place. The war criminals could be the Bush administration and the crimes against humanity would be the 10 year sanctions and invasion of Iraq. Will the American people say, “But we didn’t know?”



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