• Invitation to a court setting
    April 12,2013

    America’s foreign policy, bombing the hell out of “brown people,” is a catastrophic form of Theater of the Absurd. As the daily reports of the collateral murder of children by Obama’s drone strikes come to our attention, we attempt to cover our eyes or mentally block the horror of it all. We lapse into denial as a way to deal with what is called cognitive dissonance — two mutually contradictory ideas which our brain cannot handle.

    On one hand, as we were taught in grade school, America is the bastion of democracy and freedom “With liberty and justice for all!” On the other hand, America is murdering innocent children, using terror to fight terrorists.

    The following brief drama takes place in the not-so-distant future. The setting is the International Court of Criminal Justice at The Hague. An anonymous American is the defendant standing in the dock — it could be you or me or any citizen of the U.S. The prosecutor speaks: “Your honor, the defendant is charged with complicity in the killing and wounding of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Iraq and Pakistan. The defendant is also charged with being in violation of the Nuremberg Codes, the Geneva Convention and the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.”

    The judge speaks, addressing the defendant: “How do you plead?” The defendant speaks: “Not guilty, your honor. May I make a statement to the court?” The judge nods.

    The defendant speaks: “Your honor, I really don’t know why I am being charged. Although my government pursued these murderous policies of pre-emptive war, assassinations and drone attacks, in violation of international law, I never supported these policies and did absolutely nothing but go about my life as peacefully as possible, never causing any trouble.”

    The judge speaks: “That is precisely why you are in the dock.”

    Al Salzman


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