Collateral Damage – OpEd – Eurasia Review
In July 2006, Israel bombed Lebanon. The news sparked anger and fear in me that I couldn’t put into words. I imagined innocent, helpless babies swimming in their blood while bombs shattered their lives. I struggled to comprehend the needless, wanton destruction of lives, homes, futures and dreams. Why? Why was the decision made? Who did it? Who benefited? These questions exploded in my head. I wanted to put on canvas what I couldn’t write on paper.
What appeared was a larger-than-life, enraged woman holding a dead body while standing knee-deep in tattered, blood-covered corpses being killed by bombs dropped blindly and mindlessly by flying assassins 35,000 feet from reality.
The disconnect between indifferent, cold military might and helpless, targeted innocent flesh beneath is evident. We are reminded that on January 17, 1961, President Eisenhour warned that the military-industrial complex was a danger that must be contained or we would be embroiled in endless wars, not for glory and welfare, liberty and democracy , but for benefit. His warnings were ignored, and now we can see the bloated bank accounts of a war machine led by CEOs coached and fueled by the Pentagon, Congress, self-appointed experts, legions of lobbyists, and the media to explain and justify. The suppliers of weapons of war are well known and include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and Raytheon.
I am pleased to learn that efforts are finally being made to investigate and hold accountable those involved in the war machine. One such effort was made by the Ban Killer Drones Board of Directors as well as Kathy Kelly president from World BEYOND War and founding member of Voices in the Wilderness, Nick Mottern, founder by BanKillerDrones and Brad Wolf, founder of the Peace Action Network, Lancaster, PA. Among other things, they are planning the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal for November 2023. According to Brad Wolf, “It is inspired by the Nuremberg trials of German industrialists at the end of World War II and in particular by the Bertrand Russell International War Crimes Tribunal dealing with US atrocities, committed during the Vietnam War.”
Brad Wolf explains: “Armed conflict generates enormous profits for arms manufacturers. These companies knowingly manufacture and sell products that maim and kill not only combatants but non-combatants (civilians) as well. The officials of these companies should be held criminally and morally responsible for assisting and assisting nation-state leaders in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.” We are pleased that Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Mairead Maguire, Ajamu Baraka, Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright and John Pilger are among the notable experts who will testify and serve before the tribunal. In addition, it is planned that Afghan, Yemeni, Iraqi and Somali war survivors will serve as witnesses and members of the tribunal.
I am very honored that my painting Collateral Damage was chosen as the logo for the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal. The image of the powerful mother in the painting represents the power of the people’s tribunal fighting for the peace and justice we demand.
Sallie Latch is an artist and writer whose paintings have illustrated the reality of victims of war around the world. [email protected]