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The Criminality of War
March 2, 2007

by Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
President, International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A and M University

The New Webster Dictionary of the English Language describes criminality as a gross violation of laws that are either human or divine. It also alludes to crime as a great and atrocious wickedness. Those that commit crimes are dubbed as villains. Criminals are viewed as wicked people who have emerged to become very dangerous to society. Most of them are prosecuted and put in prison or given adequate punishments of some kind.

Meaning of War

War is described as a struggle between nations, in the case of international war, and between parties in the same nation, in the event of civil war. This struggle is always carried by force of arms where all laws are disregarded along with the nations’ constitution. In the waging of wars, the creation of chaos becomes a sine qua non condition. Hatred and revenge become the norms that are carried out by the instigators of war. The greatest sufferings that people experienced in history may be linked directly or indirectly to weapons and wars.

Nowadays, there may be ulterior motives based on monetary gain, which explains why the weapons industry and the waging of wars have become a big business enterprise. This might have been viewed as fine if the infrastructure of society were not destroyed, if the life of innocent people were not to be wiped out. It is against the law of any nation in a civilized society to destroy the property of other people, to massacre law-abiding citizens mercilessly, and to confiscate their property at will.

There was a time in history where war, under certain circumstances, could be viewed as justifiable. That time is over. Like Pope Benedict XVI said during his first pontificate year, war is no longer justified under any circumstance whatsoever. War is viewed as the law of the jungle where the big fish always eats the small fish mercilessly at will and where might is considered as right by all means. Those that are responsible for the manufacture of weapons and the promotion of wars are brutal savages in the strict sense. They are heartless humans who may be viewed as beasts for all practical purposes.

The weapons industry and the promotion of wars have become lucrative businesses. For money Judas Iscariot betrayed his Lord and Master Jesus of Nazareth. For money numerous heinous crimes the mafia types have been organized where innocent people have been massacred systematically in cold blood. For money politicians let irresponsible lobbyists dictate to them what laws to introduce and to pass in the best interests of big corporations, even to the detriment of the entire American people. For money governmental leaders plan deceitful strategies that are meant to mislead and deceive entirely their people.

Criminality of War

The criminality of war will continue for as long as those responsible for the moral fiber of the nation choose to remain silent, for a long as those who work for the manufacture and sales of weapons will continue to do so, for as long as those that consent to the justification of wars continue to refrain from dehypnotizing themselves from false beliefs, for as long as wars continue to be viewed by people in good faith as the “safeguard of democracy and freedom!” The waging of wars to solve political problems constitutes abuse of power which is a very serious crime.

What is really amazing is to find out that in a civilized society very few seem to care any longer. Many of those responsible for negative decision-making seem to have either a confused mind if they happen to be in good faith, or they must be very wicked if they realize what they are doing. These latter ones may be viewed as demonic agents of our earthly community. To turn insult into injury, some of the culprits of our society, in the instigation of more wars, talk like they reveal concern for the life people in general, conduct prayers in public, and act like they were angels in human form. In essence, we are surrounded here by Pharisees, by hypocrites who need to be exposed.

This dangerous trend needs to be reversed. The best way would be to expose the culprits who may be too many to enumerate. We need to keep in mind here that those that promote the manufacture of weapons and the waging of wars are making a lot of money out of the infliction of misery and suffering on many people and out of the massacre and maiming of tense of thousands of people. Those that benefit financially from weapons and wars should be viewed as notorious criminals. Let us make a partial list of such responsible people to get an idea of how the cause of weapons and wars is kept alive.

1. Politicians who vote for the manufacture of weapons and the waging of wars. Many lobbyists have succeeded to bribe a number of politicians to put more money on weapons and wars to boost their disastrous business enterprise.

2. Good men and women who work for the weapons industry as a way to make a living, a way to get money and pay their monthly bills. They do not have any moral justification for this and they need to change their jobs.
3. Clergymen who, instead of condemning the manufacture of weapons and the waging of wars, they remain silent or approve of this venture under the guise of “national defense and security,” and “safeguard of our democracy!”

4. Responsible university officials who allow their campus to serve as an instrument to promote military causes under the guise of “patriotism” and safeguard of our “liberties.” This is betrayal of the academic cause.

5. War Veterans who choose to remain silent or who take active initiative to encourage the structure of more sophisticated weapons and the promotion of more devastating wars. Thank God many Veterans are vocal against more wars.

6. Parents who encourage their children to join the military for as long as the military continues to be used for negative and destructive purposes. The military can do plenty of good if it is changed into a humanitarian agency.

7. Civic and religious organizations who dare to insult the God of love and mercy that Jesus preached by claiming that they want to see more wars because, they say, “God has directed them to do so!” This is a blasphemy.

8. Governmental authorities who discourage peace workers from their pursuit to peace by describing them as terrorists even to the point of putting them in jail! This is like referring to God as Satan, like claiming that God is evil!

Let us assume that all those who fit into such categories and even more may be doing what they are doing in good faith. Even then, they should be viewed to be at least as bona fide criminals, that is, people who purse criminal activities unknowingly! The fact remains that in the manufacture of weapons and the promotion of wars we are performing gross violations of both the divine law and the natural law, both of which are God-made laws and from which no one is exempt. In the sphere of morality this constitutes a great and atrocious crime.

This is not a matter of individual or collective opinion. It is a matter of ignorance versus knowledge, of revenge and hatred versus love and reconciliation, of egoism versus altruism, of hell versus heaven, of Satan’s inspired actions versus God’s inspired actions. Last but not least, we learn from ascetical writers that when good and evil clash with each other evil always takes the upper hand initially but then, at a time least expected, it collapses and the good will flourish for a long time.

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