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TorgoX (1933)

TorgoX
  sburkeNO@SPAMcpan.org
http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/

"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Thursday January 24, 2002
05:56 PM

Justice

[ #2395 ]
Dear Log,

Terry Waite wrote the other day:

"Americans tell me that they have little patience with international tribunals - they take a long time, and often come up with a different result from that which was hoped. But that is no argument. It doesn't matter how long it takes - justice must be seen to be done, and be done impartially."

But I'm starting to feel that all parties involved are treating "justice" as an agreed-on objective concept, whereas it's actually a very subjective concept that feels different to everyone involved. One notable difference is that (as far as I can tell), no-one in the US finds international anything to necessarily be right, much less international justice. "Justice" in the US populace's mind is not some sort of aura that eminates from tribunals of people in robes, but is a matter of "getting the bad guy", and it takes work to remind people of "what if you have the wrong guy?" and "don't set a bad precedent that could be used to oppress innocents later!".

While I do wish the US would be tidier in its treatment of POWs, I think this is best argued as being just the (subjectively!) right thing to do; and that arguments that seek to elevate Western Europe's idea of propriety and procedure to on objective "international law" are pointless.

Maybe justice, like consent, is just something that you "know" that you have when everyone around you agrees that you have it. (Caveat: make sure everyone around you isn't an idiot.)

So, what is justice?
That is not a Semitic-style rhetorical question, which is asked only when the speaker has The Answer already firmly in mind; but instead it's a real question, asked because there's a blank spot in my brain where I wish the answer were.

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