April 21, 2011

General Augusto Pinochet

General Augusto Pinochet

Vengeance is always shortsighted, and Egypt these days needs spectacles.

The New Egypt (which is still being run by the Old Military) detained Hosni Mubarak and his two sons last week. Merely being held and questioned was enough to give Mubarak a heart attack on the spot.

The Egyptian “€œstreet”€ is viewing this as a victory for the “€œlittle guy.”€ Sadly, the little guy doesn”€™t seem clever enough to realize that the arrest came right on the heels of the Egyptian military having opened fire on protesters who naively thought the recent “€œuprising”€ was a revolution rather than a coup. When the new government seems corrupt, make sure to file immediate charges against the old government.

“€œWhen the new government seems corrupt, make sure to file immediate charges against the old government.”€

A similar scenario played out in Pinochet’s aftermath. Rather than allowing that monstrosity to slink down into a dark history’s dank footnotes after he had voluntarily relinquished power, Chilean courts annulled his amnesty, canceled his clemency, and threw him into intermittent custody pending trial. Eventually they charged him with all sorts of things (for which he was guilty). He went through periods of limited detention and brief house arrest for the remaining six or so years of his life.

Currently, a ridiculous organization known as the “€œInternational Criminal Court”€ under the purview of Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is preparing charges against Muammar Gaddafi for “€œcrimes against humanity.”€ One may question how a nation which does not consider itself a signatory to this amorphously pliable “€œinternational law”€ becomes beholden to it.

Beyond the arrogant presumption that one grouping of countries can designate their laws as being “€œinternational”€ whether everyone else likes it or not is that even if a country were to consider itself so bound, there is clearly a gross violation of ethical standards and extraordinarily selective prosecution at work.

To wit, one nation in the Middle East is protected from these laws despite running an open-air concentration camp for millions of its indigenous population, while another Middle Eastern nation is under threat of prosecution for legitimately defensive actions during a civil war which has killed a few thousand of its inhabitants to date.


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