Doctor Science Knows

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

War crimes and reconciliation

Glenn Greenwald interviewed Scott Horton about his Harper's article on how to prosecute Bush Admin war crimes. My comments:

"Get over it", they tell me.

Recently I've posted about my hope for war crimes trials in several different fora, and every time someone pops up to tell me to "get over it".

I have a question, for those whose memory is clearer than mine.

Back in the 90s, did Democrats use the retort "Get over it!" a lot, to Republicans who were talking about Clinton's sex life, etc.? Or did this start within the 8 years, and if so, when and why? I have the vague sense that I first encountered it as a catchphrase used to dismiss misgivings about Bush v. Gore, but I may be wrong.

First the national trauma, *then* the reconciliation

South Africa could have a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" because they had already had decades of national conflict and trauma. Post-WWII Germany could have de-Nazification because their country had been bombed to flinders.

The United States has not collectively *earned* Truth and Reconciliation, because most people in this country simply don't feel bad enough about what's gone on under Bush/Cheney. Obama showed no hints of righteous wrath during the campaign, which was undoubtably politically prudent -- there's no way an *angry* black man could have won this election.

Americans are very resistant to feeling bad about ourselves, but what about when we *should*? How do we get to the point of truth and (maybe) an eventual reconciliation, unless a large proportion (even a majority) of Americans are willing to say, "this was evil and it was done in our name." I gave up hope on that account in November 2004.

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