Canadian war crimes?

Updated: 21 May 2008, 22:18

To the Victor the Spoils, by Sean Longden, will probably not sit well with many Britons and Canadians. According to Longden, there were a small number of war crimes committed by Canadian and British troops during the Second World War.
Longden says that his information came from military reports and interviews with veterans. The chairman of the National Council of Veteran Associations, Cliff Chadderton, disputes Longden’s allegations. Chadderton says, “the shooting of prisoners — it just wouldn’t happen.”

The concept of “war crimes” is somewhat bizarre. During a disgusting murderous rampage (war), soldiers, including their officers, are expected to act morally. The gist of the argument is that it is completely moral to travel around the world to slaughter people like yourself who have been sent to slaughter people like themselves. Neither group of soldiers has any real argument with the other. They are pawns in the war games of class divided society.

Their job is to morally slaughter other workers, because their bosses seek economic advantage.

Capitalism’s Gravediggers does not dispute for even one second that the slaughter is completely moral. Blowing people’s legs off is completely moral. Burning people alive is moral. The legitimate morality of capitalism does not work in the interests of the working class — including soldiers, and their families. Capitalism’s Gravediggers is disgusted by capitalism’s morality. There is only one way to build a more advantageous morality: build socialism.

Returning to the issue of Canadian war criminals, it seems reasonable to accept that if Longden’s research shows war crimes, there were war crimes. There is always the doubt, caused by capitalism, that Longden is consciously lying to make some cash. Let us, for the time being, assume that Longden’s assertions are correct.

One could consider punishment and revenge against the soldiers, but that does not undo the horror. In situations similar to this, the discussion seems to remain in the confines of what should be done to the perpetrators, and whether it even happened.

That is why “war crimes” keep happening!

People are shocked! The bosses terrorize young people by putting them in front of other young people, and force them to shoot at each other. Then the head is blown off of the young man or young woman a metre away. Then you expect that these terrorized young people will act as if they are on a day trip to the zoo? You expect them to calmly decide that revenge is wrong?

War crimes is a trick. War crimes is part of a colossal sham to convince us that war is a nice civilized approach to problem resolution, with rules to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. Any moral misadventures are supposed to be the result of a few sick minds (who should be locked up or killed).

For as long as the working class continues to acquiesce to capitalism, the need for profit will send young people off to be slaughtered. They will sometimes act in revenge. They will sometimes act as if they can do anything, no matter that it may disgust the folks back home when they find out — if they find out. Because they have guns, capitalism has given them the power of life and death. They become gods. Gods are not subject to the rules of polite society.

Some people believe that war is not inherent in capitalism. None of them can show that capitalism has been able to divest itself of war. None of them can even give a good argument to convince us that we should believe that capitalism can end war — except by extinction of our species.

The odds are that you will choose not to decide. That increases the odds that there will be more war crimes before your children or grandchildren, or their grandchildren decide that enough is enough. They will look back and blame Great-great-grandma/pa for the intervening wars, because you did nothing.

That is the war crime you can choose not to commit.

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