impunity, justice, peace

Finally Some Accountability

From the BBC:

In a separate development, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would make all private contractors working for the US government subject to US laws.

And CNN:

Despite Bush administration opposition, the House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to bring private military contractors overseas firmly under U.S. law, allowing American courts to prosecute crimes committed in war zones.

The 389-30 vote followed a warning from the White House that the measure would have “unintended and intolerable consequences” for national security.

But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Price, D-North Carolina, said the legislation would hold contractors “working in our name and on our dime” accountable for misconduct.

I say, about time. Honestly. A private military is bad enough, but to let them run loose without accountability in both American law and Iraqi law? Seriously, that was a very bad idea. “We don’t torture… *whisper* Blackwater and other governments do it for us.”

As I’ve done reading on American military force in South America and the South American dictatorial regimes that work hand in hand with American interests, I’ve found a common theme that hinders the work of peace making because justice is subverted. Impunity, for at least these specific contexts, can ruin the peace process because the oppressor and oppressed relationship is not righted. Furthermore, not only is the relationship not fixed, but the oppressor still maintains power and presence in both politics and everyday life because they are immune from justice.

Impunity blocks the righting of relationships, and so blocks true justice and therefore blocks peace. Simply put, impunity is not a Christian idea; impunity sweeps the “problems” of pain and reconciliation under the rug. Christianity seeks to air the “dirty laundry” because it is only through honesty that peace can begin. Therefore I am glad that Congress has finally put a leash on at least some of Bush’s attack dogs.


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