It is time to just let it go...

There is no question people do horrific things in war. Just today I read about a soldier shooting down 5 comrades at, of all places, a counseling center over in Iraq. That is a terrible, terrible event and it is true that in 60 years the pain for those who lost a loved one this way will not be gone, it will at least be receded.

About every conversation you can have about who, why, why, why, why, why will have been held, hashed and rehashed. 

Now let's imagine that the guy who committed this heinous act somehow survived, fixed his life, and became a decent, productive member of society. Then let's suppose that someone decided he should be prosecuted for a six decade old crime. 

Would there be justification? I mean, on the one hand, the crime is terrible and the consequences for those who lost their loved one were high. On the other hand, what is the point of our 'justice" system?

We already know it is not justice as evidenced by the repeated incidences of prosecutors and cops withholding evidence because it put the lie to their case and conviction percentages are more important than the truth.

That pretty much leaves two options; reform or retribution.

It has cycled between those two for the majority of our nation's history and there has never really been a conclusion. 

If it is reform, then the guy I am going to (briefly) talk about has certainly reformed. If it is retribution...what sort of retribution can there be for what he is accused of?

I refer to the extradition of John Demjanjuk from Ohio to Munich to be tried for his alleged role as a guard in a Nazi death camp.

So many issues here. "Some people claim there was no Holocaust' is the argument Thomas Blatt used.

Only intellectually lazy people and idiots can believe that. The documentary evidence is overwhelming. We have photographs, grave sites, and even numerous eye-witness books...surely The Hiding Place and The Diary of Anne Frank have not completely deserted the scholastic curriculum yet? Both books are and should be must-reading.

Was John guilty? Irrelevant. This country has laws against double jeopardy. His conviction was overturned. Yet now he is being tried again on essentially the same charges? (Yes, I realize they are a different location). 

Or how about this; IF he was indeed guilty,  he was a SOVIET national coerced into these actions. If he should be punished after 60 years then so should those Jews who greased the gears and kept the camps functioning in their horrible task. Little tidbit here for those who don't know; it was Jews who did a great deal of the work in preparing the crematoriums and death chambers. For those who have never looked at the inner workings of it and have a strong stomach, I recommend Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. It is shocking and depressing to learn that without the active participation of those being murdered that they could not have been.

But most of all, here is a guy who, IF guilty, did indeed act in a way that thousands of other people did but who turned his life around, is nearing death, and no possible good can come of trying him again for things that happened 60 years ago. 

And to be fair, I write all these things assuming that this time they are right about who he is and what he did.

The time is long past when this trial should take place. Let it go. Find forgiveness in your heart. Make a new life. Enjoy the time you have left instead of seeking retribution for actions from three generations ago.

I am in no way justifying the actions of anyone who participated in the Holocaust. I am simply arguing there are times when seeking vengeance is more harmful than worthwhile. This certainly seems like one of those times.


pheromone girl said...

Very powerful questions. I have no way of knowing how I would have benaved under the circumstances these people experienced. I'd like to think I would have saved people, risked my own life, refused to serve in a position that would cause untold suffering. But I live safely in my urban house, with food to eat and banal television to watch. And I have no idea who I would have been in the grand scheme, were I alive back then. What justice does this serve?

Riot Kitty said...

It is hard to determine sometimes if something is vengeance or justice, though, isn't it? A very thought-provoking post, Darth.