"All commanders are authorized to order the instant death of any soldier that fails in his duty at this time."I was wondering if people think that General Meade should have been sent to the Hague and tried as a war criminal for issuing such an order?
- General Meade at the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 [The Civil War, DVD-3, 17:23]
Consider for a moment what this order says: It says someone with a rank as low as lieutenant, and possibly in his early twenties can order the summary execution of someone even younger for the "crime" of losing his nerve while being shot at. No trial. No due process. No appeal. And he's not even the enemy.
Now consider the circumstances: The Battle of Gettysburg was the most decisive battle of the American Civil War. It was the largest land battle ever to take place on the North American continent. For three days in the gentle farmland of Pennsylvania, General Meade's Union Army of 85,000 locked horns with General Lee's racist army of 65,000. More than any other armed struggle in our history, this one shaped the country we live in now. Considering that Lee's army captured free blacks and sent them south into slavery as they moved north, I would very likely not even be here had Meade's army not prevailed.
And this battle was by no means a sure thing for the Union. Victory was saved from defeat by the thinest of threads, that's why it went on for three days. So we must also consider this: What would have been the consequences of Meade not issuing that order?
I pose these questions because in the context of the Syrian Civil War, the Free Syrian Army has been almost universally condemned for executing, in the field, seven members of a notorious Berri shabiha gang after they broke their word on a ceasefire. This, after they captured 56 members of this family, held some sort of make-shift field trial and found that those seven warranted immediate execution while 49 others would be held pending further investigation.
Because if the exigencies of war don't allow for that, I don't see how they can allow for General Meade's order. At least the Berri clan were enemy soldiers.
And there are other parallels that can be drawn between the two battles: Like the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of Aleppo is probably the most decisive battle in their civil war, only the Battle of Aleppo has already gone on for more weeks than Gettysburg went in days.
This story, complete with video, about the FSA execution of the leaders of the Berri clan is most often repeated by those that are looking to an excuse for doing nothing about Bashar al-Assad's slaughter of 25,000 Syrians and counting. Their excuse goes something like this:
"See both sides commit war crimes. Both sides commit human rights violations."And that platitude is just about the most stupid, most lame reason I have ever heard for not taking a stand and picking a side in this fight.
When isn't that true in a war? Especially if the person defining what is and isn't a human rights violation is doing it from the civilized comfort of Geneva, Los Angeles or New York. Because if General Meade's order is not a "human rights violation," I don't know what it is!
I'm normally not a betting man but I'm so sure of myself on this that, here and now, I offer $100 to the first person that can show me a war were both sides didn't commit human rights violations. For example, I already know, without consulting Wikipedia, that this shamelessly used truism could equally well be used to disavow any support for the Jews fighting the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Here are my related diaries on Syria:
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout