23 December 2008

History's Pardon?

President Bush released another list of people he's condescended to pardon, and for the most part it's another unexceptionable bunch.One of the current group is a posthumous pardon, lobbied for by no less a person than Steven Spielberg. He petitioned for the rehabilitation of a man named Charles Winters, who was once upon a time convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating the Neutrality Act. He violated the law by flying a plane to Israel for use as a bomber during its first war against the Arabs in 1948 -- a conflict toward which the United States, at the time, was officially neutral. In applauding Bush's action, an attorney credits him with recognizing Winters' right to act according to what he considered a moral imperative.

Winters is actually the third such gunrunner, but the only one who ever served time, to be pardoned for violating the Neutrality Act in favor of Israel. It seems to be a way for American presidents to retroactively revoke our neutrality of 1948. But rather than start a fresh debate about Israel itself, let's question the precedent these pardons set. Is any American entitled to put his conscience or her moral sense at odds with the law? If acknowledging a "moral imperative" in foreign affairs means pardoning a lawbreaker, couldn't the same moral imperative serve as a legal defense in a criminal trial? Couldn't someone also invoke the "moral imperative" defense when accused of aiding an actual enemy of the United States? You'd imagine not, and by doing so, you'd acknowledge that moral imperatives have limited force under a rule of law. On some occasions, each citizen in a democratic republic has to subordinate "moral imperatives" to national interests as defined by law. The Neutrality Act would seem to be such a case. If you can't compromise your morals under the law, then you have the option of civil disobedience, which includes accepting whatever penalty the government imposes on you. To his credit, Winters, to my knowledge, never asked for a pardon while he lived. However, it ill becomes people like Spielberg to plead for a pardon that can't help but amount to a retroactive endorsement of lawbreaking. Why bother having a Neutrality Act if someone can violate it, at whatever present risk, with the thought that history will vindicate him?

If the U.S. intends to be neutral in any international conflict, that obliges every American to be neutral in conduct, whatever they think about the situation. If an American can't live under that constraint, let him do what his conscience dictates without the endorsement or protection of his government. If he can't abide by the foreign policy of his country, let him become a man without a country. Winters paid the price of his offense and returned to private life. America owed him nothing more. This is not a knock on Bush, since other Presidents pardoned the other offenders, but his action today did nothing for Winters, and was only for other people's benefit.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous1 says:

The case of Winters merely brings up the larger point-the Israel First treason of America's Jews. Yes, they are traitors-and the penalty for treason is well known. Winters was merely doing on a limited scale what Jews ever since have been doing on a much larger scale-putting the interests of a foreign country above the interests of their own. Winters was not unique in his behaviour. During this period the whole of American Jewry was shipping arms and munitions to the Zionist underground-in violation of both the export laws of the United States and the laws of the British Mandate in Palestine. It is idle to criticize Winters for what all the Jews of America and all the Jews in Palestine were both doing-putting their own tribal interests above the interests and the laws of the lands where they resided.

In the US the arms smuggling was going on coast-to-coast. LBJ in Texas was shipping arms to Israel with his Jew boy buddy, Jim Novy. They were packing the guns and ammo in crates of Texas fruit. The mobster, Mickey Cohen, was doing the same thing in LA. In Palestine, the Yishuv declared open war on the British Mandate and its laws. They declared that the creation of the Zionist state was superior to the laws of Great Britain. Every Jewish terrorist and assassin was given respite and sanctuary by the Jewish community. The cohesion was so complete that a not a single Jew was ever betrayed by his own people to the British. Jews working within the British administration regularly betrayed British plans to the Jewish underground because they knew where their "real loyalty" lay. Steven Spielberg knows the same. Nothing has changed.

Mr. Winters was, and is, only the tip of the iceberg. The message is clear: Jews are aliens and subversives. Instead of worrying about small fry like Winters, the big boys at the top should be taken out and the whole rotten mess exposed by a new Senator McCarthy. Then, the Jews should be held accountable. If the remedy requires the destruction of the recreated temple and babaric entertainments in the Colosseum, so be it.

Samuel Wilson said...

Winters wasn't a Jew.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous1 says:

The point remains the same. Look up the history. Neither was LBJ a Jew.