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Genocide vs Self Defense

Genocide is defined as the intentional elimination of an ethnic group regardless of reason. The only problem with that definition is that entire ethnic groups are often eliminated as part of other directives, political or otherwise. Ethnic groups are often displaced in aggressive wars, but they can easily also be displaced in defensive wars. That brings up the main problem taking place in the Middle East today. Israel is fighting a defensive war. The Israeli government has the same right to defend itself that the American government has to defend itself against domestic terrorism.

Now, if domestic terror cells in America started digging tunnels under unincorporated areas of sparse areas of a western State, the US government could easily be accused of actions that look eerily similar to what the Netanyahu government is doing.

So, should the definition of genocide be changed to make it more effective? Or does genocide only happen in the middle of a war zone? When it does happen in a war zone, it is very hard to distinguish the decision-making of an Army infantryperson between a legitimate foreign target they are paid to extinguish, and one their national government has ordered them to remove outside the normal rules of engagement in a war.

How does one determine intent? How does one separate that intent from the legitimate purpose of a military engagement? Especially when anything can be the source for that military engagement? If a genocidal program were made obvious by a centralized government with their pronouncements, life would be easy. And yet, that has happened as political leaders have simply chosen to ignore the world and demand it see them as macho men or megalomaniacs. Idi Amin of the Old Uganda and the governments in Niger and The Sudan come to mind. But those are the exceptions to the rule.

The norm is that intent is going to have to be separated from true political grievance and that is nearly impossible to do. So, the rulings coming from The Hague indicate that the ICC has no idea how to resolve any dispute where mass displacement of human beings takes place or where the death toll rises uncontrollably.

The UN was a great idea, and it has actually worked, as there has not been a World War III. And, stopping those massive wars was the reason the League of Nations and then United Nations was created. However, it now appears to need a reconstruction. It has enabled many underdeveloped nations to have a voice on the international stage, but it needs greater teeth to stop a war. An Army of its own, perhaps? And The Hague needs teeth of its own. But, before that, we need a new definition of the worst of man's inhumanity to man.

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