Thursday, May 31, 2012

A War Criminal Is Convicted And Sentenced

Last month Charles Taylor was convicted on war crime charges by an international court sitting in Sierra Leone. His sentence was handed down by that court on Wednesday:

Judges at an international war crimes court have sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison following his landmark conviction for supporting rebels in Sierra Leone who murdered and mutilated thousands during their country's brutal civil war in return for blood diamonds.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone found Taylor guilty last month on 11 charges of aiding and abetting the rebels who went on a bloody rampage during the decade-long war that ended in 2002 with more than 50,000 dead.

In effect, the court has given the 64-year-old Taylor a life sentence. The Los Angeles Times had an article last month which details some of those charges and the effects of Taylor's complicity.

Taylor armed and supported militias, traded arms for "blood diamonds" in Sierra Leone, and allegedly used child soldiers in the 1989-96 Liberian civil war, which killed some 200,000 people. ...

Taylor, in exchange for diamonds, facilitated huge arms shipments to the rebels and offered financial support, training and a base in the Liberian capital, Monrovia.

Imagine that: a guy is tried and convicted of war crimes for facilitating a war in another country in which hundreds of thousands are killed, maimed, raped for personal aggrandizement and increased wealth. And he will actually go to prison.

Of course, none of this has any relevance to our country. I mean, oil and rare earth minerals are different than diamonds, and crazy militias are different than mercenaries and private contractors with connections to the White House. Water boarding and forcing prisoners to stand naked for hours are totally unlike rape and the terrorizing of innocents. Furthermore, our new high tech weaponry is surgically precise, not like lopping off limbs indiscriminately, which is just savagery.

Most importantly, we are not Africans. We are Americans, the beacon of hope and freedom for the rest of the world.

Excuse me while I weep.

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