There was a time when citizens of this nation truly believed that the words founded within our Pledge of Allegiance meant something– words like “One nation, under God, with liberty, and Justice for all.” Claiming America remains as one nation, under God, with liberty, and actual justice is more than subjective today yet these words of value continue to socially condition our future. Some would claim these fundamental cores no longer exist–especially that of “justice for all.”
Just this week, one legal matter consumed American airwaves–Casey Anthony. Some would argue that, while “getting away with murder,” this case was not a matter of justice so to speak rather a legal fiasco. Very few realize though that this week a man who was once idolized by many will begin his twelve year sentence imposed by a Congressional anabolic steroid witch-hunt–Roger Clemens. Twelve years for poking oneself in the derrière versus being expunged for murder of one of God’s greatest gifts? And you thought chivalry was dead?
It’s easy to argue that the United States does not have a justice system rather a legal system. While speaking with an Afghan warlord only a few years ago, I remember him saying exactly those sentiments. “America has no justice, look at your OJ Simpson case.” Maybe he is correct.
Afghanistan is a place where a person can learn a lot about justice. This is not in reference to Sharia Law rather a customary honor system known as Pashtunwalli. Pashtunwali is an oral tradition that consists of three general principles and practices (tsali) that are applied to specific cases.
Badal (revenge) is the means of enforcement by which an individual seeks personal justice for wrongs done against him or his kin group. Melmastia (hospitality) sets out the rights and obligations of hosts and guests. Pashtunwali demands that guests be welcomed without question and be given the best of whatever the host has to offer. In addition to shelter, food, and rest, the code of hospitality demands that guests receive absolute protection as well. Nanawati (sanctuary) is a right to seek protection, request pardon, or demand help from a more powerful person or kin group by a weaker one.
If a person is injured, they will receive proper treatment and or compensation. If one is need of protection, like the case of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, they will find it. If a person needs food, water, clothing, etc., they will obtain it. Pashtunwalli is not about legalities nor is it about attorneys manipulating a system, it is about honor, righteousness, equitableness–justice.
Like past wars, our veterans have returned home to face the horrors of an unjust society. They fight to preserve our freedoms, morals, values, and justice yet find more and more cases of such principles fade before them–like that which just resulted in this week’s Casey Anthony verdict. Many of these warriors are in need of medical and psychological treatment yet they find that which is provided is marginal at best. But what about their American counterparts, the civilian contractors fighting alongside them?
In 2010,more contractors have been killed fighting the war on terror than actual uniformed service members. Many of these contractors face serious need of physical and psychological treatment yet they face an uphill battle obtaining such due to an extremely corrupt and unjust Department of Labor program known as the Defense Base Act. The DBA has been corrupted by the mega insurance carriers along with the federal government. Most cases take a minimum of three years to resolve–that is, if the contracting employer even reports the case at all. To see how corrupt and unjust the DBA truly is, just look at the Congressional Research Service Report for Congress and observe the average compensation/benefits awarded per case.
The United States has failed to take care of our own warriors in Vietnam and now our Contractors serving alongside our military members abroad. Our government, which is mostly ruled by attorney educated politicians, has failed to uphold their responsibility of justice in America instead replacing justice with a corrupt legal system. OJ Simpson and now Casey Anthony have both beat a legal system escaping justice–something that would never happen under Pashtunwalli.
The United States should never institute Pashtunwalli or any other form of justice system. We as a nation simply need to bring back honor, righteousness, and dignity. Our veterans and contractors alike need our assistance. Seeing such malfeasance and malpractice within a justice system upon returning home triggers a lot of emotional and mental distraught. Chivalry may not be the only thing dying or dead in America–justice too may be extinct.
Kerry Patton is the Co-Founder of the National Security Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization pending 501c (3) status. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of “Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies” and the children’s book “American Patriotism.” You can follow him on Facebook.