Douter de tout ou tout croire, ce sont deux solutions également commodes, qui l’une et l’autre nous dispensent de réfléchir.

To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.

Henri Poincaré

The current violence plaguing Iraq and by extension, Syria, is the result of war crimes perpetrated by a group of men who have still not been punished. The sense of dishonor caused by a lack of punishment given to these war criminals stimulates continuing violence and extremism in the world.

Image via Andy Worthington

Any sane Muslim – any sane human being for that matter – would feel a great deal of anger towards Tony Blair and George W. Bush, and those other top officials who were in power during the Iraq War. It is this anger, this sense of dishonor, that extremists try to hijack to draw recruits to their cause. So the cause of the rise of ISIS is not – as the warmongers try to argue – the survival of something like the Syrian government but rather the survival of those same war criminals who invaded Iraq in 2003 and earned global condemnation and ridicule.

Tony Blair, a war criminal conspirator who helped lead the aggression against Iraq in 2003 and spread the lies that were used to justify the war, is in the news again warning against such threats to his life as ISIS and Jeremy Corbyn (but not the millions who survived his crimes, who surely still want him to be punished).

To learn that Tony Blair of all people would try to lecture the world about the danger of ISIS and blame a lack of US-led bombing in the region (e.g. against the government of Syria) is horrifying because there are actually people who would listen to this so-called man, whose wickedness and blindness is without parallel. Few men are more responsible for the rise of the ISIS terrorist group than that criminal, and the fact this bloody criminal is not yet dead is likely a major motivation for why people join the extremist group even today.

The inability of the United Nations, or the administration of Barack Obama, to prosecute the criminal conspirators who led the illegal Iraq War is a disgrace to them, especially because the United Nations condemned the war and the Obama administration likewise condemned the war, admitting that it was much to blame for the rise of ISIS. Worse is the attitude of forgiveness towards the blatant aggression and lies of 2003, with the new Bush presidential candidate Jeb Bush (for obvious family reasons) trying to claim that “we” somehow only learned that Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) after the US had attacked Iraq. According to him, the war was an innocent mistake based on legitimate fears about the regime in Iraq. In reality, the conspirators knew Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction or links to al-Qaeda terrorists, and the Bush administration knowingly lied to justify the War in Iraq. Dick Cheney in particular made statements that he knew full well to be false, when he broadcast lies about Saddam Hussein’s regime meeting with al-Qaeda.

Today, top figures in civil society and politics are stupid or ignorant enough to still associate with Tony Blair, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as if these are normal people who are only maligned – as with most historic politicians – for holding high office. We still listen to them on television, as if they are credible authorities, even while most of the world would be happier if they were being hanged instead of being chauffeured around as authority figures.

Those men in fact deserve to be condemned by civil society, isolated by educational and political institutions, and eventually punished with the maximum possible severity. We should not take any option off the table in deciding how they should be punished, in the event that they are finally found guilty by the law.

Normal objections to the death penalty don’t actually apply in the case of Tony Blair and George W. Bush, because their deaths would be justifiable in the interest of preserving international security and satisfying all nations, including those who still observe the death penalty. In matters of life and death, the course that causes the least deaths is the more humane course. The execution of Bush and Blair would calm much of the world down and be conducive to world peace. History teaches us again and again the lesson that some people need to die if humanity is to live. Leaving them alive would be an an act of murder in itself if it creates endless disequilibrium, a sense of injustice that gnaws upon millions of people and drives them to acts of extremism.

The need to punish these war criminals goes beyond the mere goal of satisfying the need for transparency and accountability in the countries in question. It is a matter of satisfying billions of people – the whole world – who want to see aggressors brought to justice. Such retribution may also be the only way of reducing war and other unnecessary death in the world.

By Harry J. Bentham

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