Re: Casting Stones

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Posted by Elaine on July 28, 2000 at 22:28:17:

In Reply to: Re: Casting Stones posted by Bill R on July 28, 2000 at 19:15:24:

: : :
: : : : I have often wondered, should the French and the English pay reparations and apologize to the Indians?

: : : : Regards,
: : : : Victoria

: : : No more than the American settlers and subsequent American government. Eradication of the Indians was a joint effort.

: : : Gayle

: : America has made some attempts, however badly carried out and begrudged. The French and the English, however, swore on a stack of bibles that they were friends, more than friends, their fathers, and that they would take care to always be the friends and benefactors if they would fight on their side during the French and Indian War. Most Indians, including the Iroquois League, were staunchly neutral, and only succumbed after intense lobbying and pressure tactics and even economic blackmail. Each country, moreover, made great efforts to use religious leaders to sway them and convince the Indians of the moral and religious rightness of their side. Then, at the treaty at the end of the F&I War, the French gave the Indians over to the British, along with the land, as having "belonged" to them, after having assured the Indians up until that point that they were in no way the subjects of France. Once convinced that they should look to the British as their new "fathers", some Indians were convinced to fight against the Americans, causing great animosity and subsequent retaliation by the Americans who made no distinction between those that fought for or against the American cause. Both the French and the British viewed themselves as knowledgeable, civilized, and with a set of laws to illustrate their cultural superiority. Therefore, it can be said, they knew what they were doing, and should be held accountable in some way for the position their put their friends, "brothers", and allies in.

: : Victoria

: Well here I go again, probably speaking when I should just shut up.

: Victoria, it will never happen. If any one government was to concede that, it would be the start of innumerable lawsuits for all kinds of mistreatment or slights throughout the ages. Then protestant should file suit against catholic and vice versa. Descendents of settlers raided and scalped should file suit. Disenfranchised and expelled Tories should file suit, as should those whose homes were burned by the British. But against whom?
: I am no lawyer, but I thought it was a basic tenet of law that the sins of the fathers shall not be visited upon the sons, and vice versa. In other words, if my father mistreated somebody, I cannot be held accountable by law, only he. Moreover, the government generally refuses civil suits against itself on behalf of its officers. If President Clinton, for example, uses Executive Privilege to accrue gains personally, we cannot sue the government for reimbursement, only sue or prosecute the man, Mr Clinton. I guess what I am saying is, if for example President Jefferson started the concept of Manifest Destiny, and Congress supported that concept with all its implications - an today we consider that a wrong - tough. Who are you going to sue? Who pays? The taxpayers of today? For something that was not illegal at the time 200 years ago and even if it were, the culprits are long dead?

: Never happen. It's a can of worms no government or sensible officer of the law will willingly open. Taken to its logical extreme, I am living on Oisconsin land. I don't even know if any of that tribe exist anymore, but if one individual did, should he be entitled to disposses me and take back "his" land?
: If we say yes, and he comes to claim my land and house, leave your own door open Victoria as surely somebody will visit you with a writ. And take yours. And where does it end? Back how many generations?

: Nope. That dog won't hunt.

: Bill R


Stick around ... this might get goooood. I believe Victoria has cast not a stone, but a stacked deck & entices all to ante up.

Is war inherently criminal? Is conquest criminal? Are either even remotely subject to the remedies of the law? If so, whose law? Does the victorious nation mete out justice upon itself for its own actions on behalf of those it waged war upon? If its own existence is wrongful, so too, are its laws. They remain as valid or illicit as the government who governs by them, in which case, we have an interesting catch-22.

This concept seems peculiarly modern - is it a moral, legal, or sentimental question? Are the reparations and apologies proposed to be offered for war, victory, alliance courting, or for lying? Reparation; do you mean atonement? For .... ??? Generally, when one speaks of reparation in terms of war it is the defeated nation that is required to pay indemnities.

If the basis for the suggestion is loss of lands or life ...
Should Armenians seek reparation from the Turks?
The Irish from the English?
Saxons from Normans? Butelezi from Zulus or the Dutch, perhaps?
Delaware from the Iroquois?
And so on ...

If we were to see such reparation, where would it begin? Where would it end? It'd live as long as peacetime; the first rebellion would bring us back to square one.

As Bill said, this dog won't hunt.

On the other hand;

"Both the French and the British viewed themselves as knowledgeable, civilized, and with a set of laws to illustrate their cultural superiority. Therefore, it can be said, they knew what they were doing, and should be held accountable in some way for the position their put their friends, "brothers", and allies in."

Here, Victoria, is a possibility - but not for the French or British - they once were here & now are gone. They lost whatever gain they made & it matters not at all whose representatives, interpreters, or traders said what.
USA, however ... no reparation or restoration can be sought on the basis of war because the law is not capable of addressing, judging, or rectifying such events. Lands lost by war can only be regained by war. But, because the US govt. utilized its own law, recognizing its authority to bind itself by these laws to enter into various treaties, those actions ARE subject to the judgment and possible rendering of restitution by the same legal system from which they were carried out. Each treaty must be sued for on an individual basis; an across the board 'judgment' can not be made or awarded.

So ... in the end, are you asking whether or not the French government (entirely different from that of the 18th century, the previous being dispossessed of its 'head' - who, then, remains accountable?) or the British government should, based on ethical principles, offer a sort of apology for their failed attempts to possess a continent?

Are we seeking a moral atonement here?

I'm only asking more questions ...

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