Another day, another hospital decimated by an airstrike. And like the last, and many to come, there will likely be close to zero consequences.
Medecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, is having a rough month. This is the second hospital bombed into oblivion in October, after a U.S. destroyed a medical facility in Afghanistan, an incident now under investigation as a war crime. Now, Saudi Arabian forces have apparently repeated that mistake in Yemen.
But this isn’t about the tragedy of those two incidents. War is hell, death and destruction happens, and sometimes innocents are caught in the crossfire. This isn’t about that. This is about the absolute carelessness with which government forces are allowed to act, even where they cost innocent lives. And when tragedy inevitably happens, they can simply shrug, throw their hands up, and smugly say “Sorry, my bad.” And after the initial flurry of media reports dies down, that’s about it. The likelihood of any actual repercussions against either the military commanders or airmen directly responsible coming to fruition is very, very slim.
Consider if a similar incident happened involving only civilians, and some over-zealous hobbyist misfired a vintage mortar and decimated a local library. An arrest would be immediate, a trial certain, and the perpetrator of the deadly incident would likely be locked away for a very long time. They would fare even worse if they had accidentally killed government agents. Switch roles, however, and the perpetrators get to walk away, free to repeat their fatal carelessness at another time.
When we engage in gross negligence and someone loses their life, we face punishment. When agents of the state do the exact same thing, they are able to escape repercussion effortlessly. Governments are able to literally get away with murder at practically every juncture. How can we trust such an unaccountable power structure to establish some sense of justice in our society?
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