By Henry McRandall
I was watching one of the cable news channels a few days ago when a squib crawled across the bottom of the screen, informing us that NATO had asserted emphatically that it was targeting Libyan troops in Tripoli and not Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi.
Apparently this clarification became necessary after a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) airstrike on the Libyan capital the previous day had struck Ghadafi’s compound, possibly even injuring Ghadafi himself.
And it made me start to wonder why it is alright for NATO missions to target low-level troops – often drafted and in no way responsible for declaring the war – but not alright to target the leadership – the so-called commanders-in-chief who are so often so willing to put the lives of other people’s children at risk.
I undertand fully that the UN resolution “legalizing” the NATO assaults on the North African country place restrictions on just what NATO is permitted or not permitted to do – and that one of the things NATO is not permitted to do is kill Ghadafi.
If Ghadafi is truly the monster the North American political class and the North American corporate mass media have depicted him to be, why shouldn’t he be the target instead of the draftees?
Why is it that the internationally accepted “rules of war” allow innocent men and women – conscriptees – to be slaughtered but not the butchers who start the wars?
And then I started to think about the “rules of war” in an even broader sense of the term.
When the corrupt leader of a country declares war, he or she almost invariably asserts that the war is necessary “to protect our way of life.”
But whose way of life exactly are the most desperate of the masses being asked to protect? Who is this “our”?
It’s certainly not the way of life of the 3.5 million Americans and 250,000 Canadians who are currently homeless.
And it’s probably not the way of life of the 50 million Americans and 4 million Canadians who depend on food banks to make it through the month.
No, it’s the way of life of the top two percent – the econocorporate socioeconomic elite – that is being protected.
Even when countries like the U.S. impose a military draft, it is never the sons and daughters of that elite who are asked to put their lives and limbs on the line. The sons and daughters of the elite – scumbags of the ilk of George W. Bush – typically get assigned to so-called National Guard duty – for which they may or may not ever show up and never face prosecution if they find themselves too busy getting rich to serve the country that made their riches possible.
Indeed, the “Rules of War” need to be changed in a much more fundamental way.
Every country should have a military draft.
But instead of drafting the masses – the poor, the working class and the middle class – to defend the way of life of the elite, the elite should be required to protect their own posh lifestyles.
All the sons and all the daughters of the top two percent of income-earners in every country should be drafted for three years as soon as they turn 18. And, if a war happens to break out while the kiddie elite are in the service, tough titty. They’ll just have to suck it up.
But that probably wouldn’t happen. Our political leaders would be much less anxious to wage wars if it was their own sons and daughters – and the sons and daughters of their econocorporate masters – who had to put life and limb on the line.
It’s time to change the ‘rules of war’
By Henry McRandall