A gunman goes into a church –have you heard this one? Essentially the latest headline goes: Texas church gunman kills two armed churchgoers before being killed by yet another. That’s a lot of Texas church gunmen. Apparently when the shooting stopped even more worshipers pulled out their guns. Letâ€™s see, the lesson about needing a gun to defend oneself doesnâ€™t add up so well in this example. In Texas totting a gun to church means you have a one in three chance of surviving an attack by a fellow gun believer. Sunday’s two victims were armed after all and it didn’t save them. And if we think about this charitably, as we ought to because the first gunman, the troubled one, was a churchgoer himself, having a gun didn’t save him either, the actual odds become one survivor out of every four church gunmen. God rest everybody’s piece. So the lesson here is, don’t go to church! And especially not if you are packing. If a fellow troubled soul doesn’t shoot you, security will.
When they teach in math class about the square roots of numbers, you invariably encounter the paradox of negative numbers. Since neither two positive factors nor two negatives can produce a negative, you’re told the square root of a negative is “irreducible” and you must leave the equation be. It turns out that this explanation was really a matter of convenience, because later in the year students revisit the square root of -1 and learn it can be called an imaginary number. Now you were expected to solve the equation, and zoom, math took off from there. I remember feeling betrayed that math had become an abstraction, so comfortable was I to be stuck at the simpler impasse.
I use this analogy to contemplate some oversimplifications about law which are being used to temper moral indignation at the machinations of our government. We’re told, for example, that we’ve subverted the rule of law in Iraq, that enemy combatants are not covered by the Geneva Conventions, that Guantanamo Cuba falls neither under Cuban law nor our dominion. We’re told the International Criminal courts do not have jurisdiction over Americans and we’re told our contractor-mercenaries are exempt from anyone’s prosecution. Those legal impediments to justice are not only imaginary, to say it in legalese, they’re balderdash.
My math teacher had a educational reason to maintain that the square root of -1 was unsolvable. Whatever motive does anyone have to keep the American public in the dark about the suspension of human rights?
NBC has just trumpeted the tragic case of , but presumes simultaneously to reinforce the aforementioned balderdash. Two years ago Jones was gang raped by KBR coworkers in Iraq and kept in a shipping container until she was able to convince one of her keepers to lend her a cell phone. Her father then called a congressman who called the State Department who sent agents over to KBR’s compound in the Green Zone to set her free. Since that time, the feds have dropped the case, the rape-kit evidence has gone missing, KBR claims it has been ordered to conduct no investigation, and Jones is left with no recourse but to file a civil suit. Now she is being told that an arbitration clause in her contract prevents her from doing even that.
The truths being asserted, as indignant as they might make us feel, are that contractors in Iraq are outside the reach of any law. Specifically Iraqi law, as dictated by Viceroy Bremer’s famous contractor indemnity clause, but by inference, US law, because Iraq is a “sovereign nation,” and International Law, because otherwise our whole country could be held accountable for what it’s perpetrated there.
I’ve even read it asserted that two years marks the expiration of Jone’s right to redress from her attackers. Wherever have you heard of so short a statute of limitation for rape?
Another assumption attempts to bolster the impregnability of arbitration clauses which have become de rigueur in corporate employment contracts. Such clauses may forbid civil litigation, rightfully, but do not preclude responsibility for criminal acts. The supposed ambiguity that Jones’ rape cannot be considered a crime is to build a crock upon a sham. No contract may dictate that a assignee consents to be the victim of a crime. Sorry boys.
Likewise, the concept of Iraq being a lawless state is our Defense Department’s wet dream. We may administrate Iraq like the Wild West, as it may for now be under our screws, but like everywhere else on the globe, Iraq is protected by international law. You might also find lawyers who will argue that any lands under the authority of our government are bound by the US constitution period.
The only thing standing between the KBR miscreants and fair judgment is our government’s determination [not] to apply the law. If the media wanted to report that all Blackwater KBR killer rapists are indemnified exclusively by Bush decree, that would be the truth.
Thank you Miss Jones for pressing on with your accusations and lawsuit. Please don’t let the disinformation discourage you.