Passing judgment on Western and Sri Lankan wars
Posted on February 11th, 2012

H. L. D. Mahindapala

The following narrative is morbidly unreal. It is a tale where leaders — both at secular and religious levels — are mired in their own sordid morality. Their failure to live up to their proclaimed standards borders on the surreal.

The main segment of this narrative comes from the nation where politics = morality. When a US politico/diplomat/official struts the global stage he/she begins and ends on high notes of morality. US poses as the greatest moral force on earth preaching human rights to everyone except to…….read on:

* In 260 relentless strikes US Predator and Reaper drones, targeting the tribal zones of Pakistan, killed 282 to 535 civilians including more than 60 children — New York Times, February 5, 2012 . So what has Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN appointed step-mother to look after children trapped in wars, done about the killing of children under her rather blunt nose?

* NYT quoting London-based Bureau of Journalism, added “that at least 50 civilians had been killed in follow-up strikes after they rushed to help those hit by a drone-fired missile. The bureau counted more than 20 other civilians killed in strikes on funerals. ….. Drones target funerals and even rescuers.” So what has Lousie Arbour, the mother of all morality on violations of human rights, done about attacks on peaceful funerals and rescuers?

* Then there is the horror story of the greatest liberal preacher on earth, President Barack Obama, who won the Nobel Peace prize, sitting in his golf gear inside the secure and comfortable room in White House watching, surrounded by his loyal aides, including Hilary Clinton, the murder of a 54-year-old unarmed Osama bin Laden, a terrorist leader, in the presence of his children and wives, without the due process required in American law, and then publicly crowing : “Justice has been done.” His triumphalism was complete when he added: “Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can’t do.” Claiming that the world would be a “safer and better place” (no doubt about that) he claimed that it has served “American national interests and security”. It is not the killing of Osama bin Laden that would worry most. In a level playing field of war where the norm is for the enemies to kill enemies the soldiers do their “duty” however repugnant it may be. But the ultimate moral responsibility lies with the Commander-in-Chief who has to bear the burden of his soldiers in the theatre of war.

Take the case of the President of America giving a direct order to kill Osama bin Laden, with no other option available to the Navy Seals who landed on May 2, 2011 in the Abbottobad compound in Pakistan where the anti-American terrorist was living with his family. There is no question that bin Laden had to be taken out of the political equation faced by America. But the questionable morality is in the direct order issued by President Obama to kill bin Laden without opting for other available alternatives. Example: the Navy Seals’ operation proved that it was possible to take bin Laden out alive in helicopters and tried in an international court.

The next scene is equally horrendous. President Obama sat watching his No: 1 enemy being murdered by his own forces even though unarmed bin Laden was using one of his wives as the human shield. It is this act of killing an unarmed man, on the orders of the President of USA, that makes the flesh creep in horror. If the Nobel Peace prize-winning President of US can watch his enemy being shot in the left eye and his body taken out to be dumped in the sea, in case it becomes a shrine, what wrong has Sri Lankan Commander-in Chief committed in liquidating the Tamil Tiger terrorists in the battlefield in Nandikadal Lagoon? Why is Louise Arbour making feline noises about the actions of the Sri Lankan forces in the battlefield without raising her voice against the Navy Seals who killed an unarmed man in his house? What are the chances of ICG or Navy Pillai taking President Obama to an international court of justice? Or do they accept President Obama’s statement that “Justice has been done” as a valid justification for the cold blooded murder of bin Laden?

These incidents and other acts of the moral leaders of the West (e.g: the British ethnically cleansing the Chagossians to make way for their American allies to build an air base in Diego Garcia) are relevant to the aggressive morality with which the international community is judging and pressuring the Sri Lankan government for ending of the Vadukoddai War in the first few months of 2009. The political pressures arising from the moral issues raised against the Sri Lanka have reached a point where the touted morality is more obscene than immorality.

One hypocritical example of abusing morality was displayed by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith recently. He raised a hue and cry about the arrest of  a “Prem Nivasa” nun accused of selling orphans in  her care. The allegations may be false as the Cardinal argued with the key members of the Catholic hierarchy behind him at a press conference. However, the bigger issue here is not the truth or falsity of the allegations (it was up to the courts to test the evidence) but the morality of the Cardinal and the entire Catholic Church rallying behind one nun accused of selling orphans and not lifting a finger or saying one word against the hijacking of Mother Mary with the blessings of Bishop Ryappah in Mannar.

What are the moral standards of the Church that downgrades Holy Mary in its scale of values and upgrades a nun to be worthy of going to the extent of boycotting all state functions? Have the Church, its Princes and others in its bureaucracy, from the Bishops downwards, ever thought it fit to boycott Bishop Ryappah and his functions for prostituting his religion to protect and promote his racist politics. He was abusing his ecclesiastical power to deny the Catholics their religious right to worship the sacred image of Holy Mary. By transporting Holy Mary’s image 70 miles into the Terroristan of Tamil Tigers Bishop Rayappah confirmed unequivocally that he worshipped Prabhakaran more than Holy Mary. Worshipping Prabhakaran is cult firmly established in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Fr. S. J. Emmanuel too declared that he was a (Prabhkaranist) Tamil first and Christian second. It is time now for the Church, if it has grasped the enormity of the crimes committed by its priests siding with fascist tyranny, to organize special novenas to save the souls of these Churchmen from falling into the very bottom of Dante’s hell.

Of course, it is not uncommon for the Catholic Church to co-habit with fascist and genocidal dictators. Since Rome went to bed with Hitler and Franco — two fascist dictators who denied fundamental rights to their people and imitated to the letter by Prabhakaran — there is no moral compunction for Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith to probe the conduct of Bishop Ryappah aligning his diocese with the most barbaric Tamil leader in its history. The Church turned a blind to eye to holocaust of Jews  in Europe . The Church in Sri Lanka went all out to aid, abet and justify the subhuman violence of Prabhakaran. The Church, incidentally, is the only institution that was not touched by Prabhakaran. The quid pro quo proves that the Church politics and fascist violence has continued to co-exist comfortably with each other. The hijacking of Holy Mary was a blatant political act and not a spiritual//religious act to save the Church or the Catholic souls. Bishop Ryappah was expressing openly his loyalty to Prabhakaran discarding his first duty to his God and man. The failure of the Catholic church to serve its highest spiritual values and the Catholics in both communities will stand as an indelible black mark against the Church.

Before the Churchmen call for healing among the divided laity it must first make moves to heal the divisions within the Church on ethnic lines. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith can’t any longer hide his head ostrich-like in the sand pretending that everything is holy in the Church. The Catholics like the nation are not going to be saved by having two separate institutionalised heads representing Rome — one Sinhalese Cardinal in south and another Tamil Cardinal in the north. Nor is the Church going to be healed by devolving more powers to the diocese in the north. The time has come for the Church to set the example and give the lead in co-existing non-violently with all other communities under a democratically elected government. If I were a Catholic I would not only insist on defrocking Bishop Ryappah but go the whole hog and appeal to the Pope to revive the defunct institution of the Inquisition to try him for the heinous crime he committed of hijacking one of the holiest images of the Catholics to the desecrated territory where the Tamils were tortured, persecuted and dragged as a human shield to protect the Tamil liberators under “Tamil justice”.

The focus here is on the values of the moral leaders of the world who have no qualms in abandoning their own codes of morality for cheap politics. There is no difference between Bishop Ryappah hijacking the image of Holy Mary and the other pompous hypocrites hijacking international humanitarian law, religious values and partisan political morals to suit their national, international and money-making agendas. In this day and age it is human rights that are invoked perpetually to justify or condemn political actions. These leaders, mainly from the West, have ganged up against Sri Lanka for ending a war against a group of fascist terrorists  threatening the security of the elected state. But if American and European states were under similar threats at what point would they have stopped their counter-terrorist wars to uphold human rights? Despite their moral condemnation of Sri Lanka haven’t they consistently followed the example of President Obama going all the way to Pakistan, crossing  international borders, violating international law and international humanitarian law to crush terrorists waging ruthless wars against their elected states? Haven’t they at all times put the interests of their states above the principles of morality they preach to others? If “”American national interests and security” are achieved by American forces killing their enemies, on the direct orders of their Commander-in-Chief, without applying the due process of the law, why is it unjust for other nations to follow the example of America — the nation that claims to be the moral leader in an immoral world?

The moral wrath of the world has fallen on Sri Lanka only about the conduct of the Vadukoddai War in the last bit of 33 years, which amounts to a few months, mainly from January to May 2009. The focus on these few months by the international community  reveals the moral depravity  of the international community which has failed to live up to its own standards in ending wars against enemies of their states. It so happens that most violations of human rights take place in the last stages of wars. Consequently, it is nothing but fair and just to judge Sri Lanka not by the way it ended the Vadukoddai War but by the way loud-mouth moralists of the West ended their wars. Take World War II. Winston Churchill was hoping to bring the boys back home for Christmas of 1944. But Hitler was recruiting children (Prabhakaran did the same) to fight to the last. It was then that Churchill decided to fire-bomb Dresden and flatten it. Historians estimate that more bombs were dropped on Dresden than in the entire war. Nearly 300,000 civilians were killed in indiscriminate air raids.

Take also the last stage of the American war in the east. The Germans were defeated in the West and the fall of Japan in the east was imminent and inevitable. But the human cost of the massive offensive to take over Okinawa as a staging post to bomb, attack and invade Japan was unbearable. President Truman then opted to drop the atom bombs on Hiroshima (140,000 civilian casualties) and Nagasaki (80,000 civilian casualties) to force an early and unconditional surrender. Contrast this with the ending of the longest running war in Asia in May of 2009. For instance, Dresden bombing, which incidentally had no strategic value when Germany was on its knees, killed 300,000 German  civilians. In dropping two A-bombs America killed on first impact 220,000 Japanese civilians. It is true that all wars are dirty. But judging by the standards set by the West, how guilty are the Sri Lankans? Sri Lankan forces, despite firing at Tamil Tiger cadres taking cover behind Tamil civilians in the No-Fire Zones, end the war by rescuing 300,000 Tamil civilians. No wonder there were critics who were demanding that Churchill should have been tried as a war criminal. 

There are several valid arguments to dismiss the accusations of war crimes against Sri Lanka. However, two points would suffice for the moment: 1) Sri Lankan forces took maximum precautions to avoid killing or targeting Tamil civilians though the LTTE deliberately fired into the No-Fire Zone to provoke retaliatory fire and cause maximum casualties among the Tamil civilians — and this has been confirmed by independent NGOs like UTHR. 2) War criminals like Adele Balasingham who recruited, brain-washed, trained women cadres, some as suicide bombers, are not named or facing the similar accusations by Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, US State Department, “Paki” Saravanamuttu, Jehan Perera and the other moralists who preach their version of morality only to Sri Lanka. Why? Why is Hillary Clinton silent about trying Adele Balasingham who under the definition of a “covered person”  in American law should be held indefinitely without trial in some God-forsaken place like Guantanamo Bay — America’s hidden  torture chamber?

According to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2012 which defines the new military (mark you not police) powers to detain indefinitely without trial suspected terrorists labelled as “covered persons” Adele Balasingham should be detained  indefinitely without trial for the crimes she committed. As defined in this Act a “covered person” is under clause 8 (1) “a person who planned, authorized, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2011, or harboured those responsible for those attacks; (2) a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces… ” .etc.

In Section 1022, 2 (A) a “covered person” is defined as “a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda… ”  etc. Doesn’t all this fit Adele Balasingham like a glove. This  law is also the best of American morality enshrined in its statute books for the military to take action against the suspected enemies of US and its coalition partners.  Under this law no mercy is shown to the enemies of the American state. Charlie Savage writing in the NYT of January 22, 2010 revealed: “The Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trial nearly 50 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba because a high-level task force has concluded that they are too difficult to prosecute but too dangerous to release, an administrative officer said on Thursday.”  Is the Statue of Liberty still holding its scales of justice evenly? What chance has an accused getting justice in America?

Normally a suspect is released when the state finds it difficult to prove the case, meaning there is no hard evidence against the suspect. But what does America do? All hard cases are held in prison, whether there is a case against them or not, because they are too dangerous to be released! Isn’t this surreal? It is incredible. But take the position of the counterparts of al-Qaeda in Sri Lanka — the Tamil Tigers. Within two years Tiger cadres (except a few) are rehabilitated and released. If the Tigers waged a 33-year-old terrorist war against the American what chances would  there be for them to be released? 

Consider also the case of  Adele Balasingham, who pioneered the women’s brigade, consisting of child soldiers . According to American law she comes within the definition of a “covered person”. But she is allowed to go  scot free . Why? Why is Lousie Arbour and Radhika Coomaraswamy pontificating only against Sri Lanka and not against “covered persons” like Adele Balasingham, Fr. Emmanuel, Indianan, and the fake prime minister, Rudrakumaran?  Weren’t they all “members of, or part of, LTTE (banned in US)  or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of LTTE… “

From the top end, the betrayal of professed morality is exemplified in the role of President Obama. He pretends to be a champion of human rights when (a) he has killed more civilians than Bush; (2) send with eyes shut suspected terrorists for rendition (read torture) in dictatorships funded by American dollars (e.g, Egypt under Mubarak) and (c) signed into law a bill that allows the military (not the police) to arrest and keep suspected terrorists indefinitely without trial — and the list goes on and on. Imagine what Robert O’Blake would have to say to President Mahinda Rajapakse if he followed President Obama’s example? It is time that Sri Lanka took a carbon copy of this Act and changed the wording from  al-Qaeda into LTTE and rushed  it through Parliament just to gauge the reaction of the moralists who hob-nob with the American Ambassador.

By and large human rights are the last refuge of two main groups: 1. big brothers wielding big power over small nations and 2. small bands of terrorists waging violent wars against democratically elected states. Both are unscrupulous. Both invoke human rights against each other. Both consider human rights as a manipulable ideological tool to destroy the other. Both hide behind the cover of human rights to demonize the other. The Wall Street Journal summed up the plight of human rights when it wrote: “Human rights were once a pillar of democratic decency. The people who now usually claim to speak for those rights have transformed them into a weapon against democracies and a shield for terrorists. What is happening to human rights today is not a first: other Western ideals — democracy, equality, freedom — have all been hijacked by the enemies of democracy, equality and freedom.” (February 7, 2012).

One doesn’t have to go beyond the Sri Lankan scene to realize that human rights have fallen into “the hands of the enemies of democracy, equality and freedom.” Sri Lanka experienced the longest running war in Asia and the INGOs and NGOs ganged up invoking human rights to stop the war and to save and prop up Prabhakaran. Is this morality or perversity? Would not “Paki” Saravanmuttu and Jehan Perera be categorized  as “covered persons” under American law and detained without trial indefinitely if they were on Yankee soil?

President Mahinda Rajapakse should not hesitate to ask Robert O’Blake for a copy of the National Defense Authorization Act and get his advice on how to make it law in Sri Lanka and enforce it with the American Ambassador supervising its implementation. That apart, isn’t this one reason why LTTE proxies like Sampanthan and Sumanthiram   (“covered persons”, according to American law) should consider themselves blessed to be in Sri Lanka and not in America — the land where you are free to live indefinitely without trial for being a part of a terrorist organisation?

12 Responses to “Passing judgment on Western and Sri Lankan wars”

  1. Christie Says:

    Please get the “West chip” off the brain.

    All problems in the island are caused by Indians, Indian colonial parasites and those who are associated with Indian colonial parasites by brain or brawn.

    India is occupying Kashmir and killing and wiping out its local population in similar manner it did with its Tamil terrorist outfit in Sri Lanka.

    In April last year its armed forces butchered 64 Kasmiri civillians most of them women and children.

    There is no noise in the UN or its human rights wings or the human rights businesses about Kashmir, thanks to India, its intelligence service, Non-Resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin.

    It is India who is behind the scene to wipe out the Sinhalese, Moors, Burghers and Malays of the island. They have done it in Andaman and Nicobar islands.

    Let us unite against Indian hedgemoney (jadawadaya).

  2. Ananda-USA Says:


    You left out Hilary Clinton’s role in the recent murder of Moammar Gaddafi after his capture.

    The day before he was killed, dear old Hilary, the Secretary of State in charge formulating Us Foreign Policy, piously intoned “US Policy is that Gaddafi should be killed”. Next day he was killed after being captured alive … no doubt by those encouraged by the official sanction given by the world’s most powerful nation.

    Where upon, dear old Hilary … the paragon of global human rights who is horrified by the fate of the late unlamented SunGod of Sri Lanka in the heat of battle … addressed an adoring crowd of Libyan “internet democrats” and pronounced like the Julius Caesar of old: “I came, I spoke, He died!”

    If that is not a war crime, especially when American mercenaries on ground were busily orchestrating the war against Gaddafi … I wonder what is!

    So, what happened to the UN investigation that was launched to “investigate” the violation of Gaddafi’s human rights?

    It is probably ended up in the same circular file that dear old Ban Ki Moon files all war crimes charges the Government of Sri Lanka makes against the LTTE!

    Different Strokes for Different Folks my friend. He who has the gold makes the rules. The converse is also true: He who makes the rules keeps all the gold.

    Our goal as Sri Lankan patriots is to help propel Sri Lanka into becoming the New Wonder of Asia in a hurry so we can grab a hefty portion of that gold. Only then will Sri Lanka command global respect. Until then, our pleas will end up in that circular file.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:


    My profuse apologies to H.L.D. Mahindapala who wrote this excellent article.

    I should have said “Mahindapala” and not “Charles”!

  4. cassandra Says:

    This is the sort of article one has come to now expect from HLDM – long, rambling, with ideas out of sequence and marked invariably with attacks on his favourite targets, regardless of whether such comments are relevant or not.

    So, we find him in paragraph 7 telling us “These incidents and other acts of the moral leaders of the West (e.g: the British ethnically cleansing the Chagossians to make way for their American allies to build an air base in Diego Garcia) are relevant to the aggressive morality with which the international community is judging and pressuring the Sri Lankan government for ending of the Vadukoddai War in the first few months of 2009”.

    Note that here he is talking of the moral leaders of the WEST. But wait, what does he tell us in the paragraph that immediately follows? – “One hypocritical example of abusing morality was displayed by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith recently”. I would not have considered the good Cardinal as being among “the moral leaders of the West”. Poor HLDM. It seems he simply cannot help himself. Whether it was relevant or not, he had to have his ‘pot shot’ at Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.

    And of course, towards the end of his long and discursive offering, he also has a couple of his pet targets – “Paki” Saravanmuttu and Jehan Perera” in his sights.

    HLDM is once again laboring the matter of the removal by the Bishop of Mannar, from the Madhu church, to another location, of the statue of Our Lady of Madhu during the height of the war. And HLDM faults the Cardinal for not making a ‘to do’ about it whereas he saw fit to intervene on behalf of a nun accused of “selling orphans’. There is a world of a difference between the two but I guess I would not have been able to perceive that if my thinking had been hopelessly muddled.

    And I don’t know what I am to make of HLDM’s statement that if he was a Catholic he would “appeal to the Pope to revive the defunct institution of the Inquisition to try” the Bishop of Mannar “for the heinous crime he committed of hijacking one of the holiest images of the Catholics to the desecrated territory where the Tamils were tortured”. Come now HLDM. Surely, no one in his right senses would want the Inquisition back!

    I have no doubt that the majority of LankaWeb readers would have no argument with HLDM’s central point that the West is applying double standards in the manner in which it seeks to ‘punish’ Sri Lanka for alleged human rights violations during the last phases of the offensive against the LTTE. It is so bleeding obvious as not to even require stating.

    I have often felt that HLDM has spoiled many a good argument by bringing in matters that are not germane to the subject he is discussing. Unfortunately, he has a fixation with some ‘pet targets’ and will attack them, never mind the relevance. (At least this time, he spared Ranil!)

    His articles would make for better reading if HLDM would keep his articles brief and his arguments relevant to his brief

  5. Christie Says:

    I am sure most of the POSTERS and COMMENTATORS live in the West and are critical of the West.

    Why do you do that?

    Do you want to put Sri Lanka in the bad books of the West?

    If you are really concerned about the wronmg doings of the West why are you there?

  6. helaya Says:

    Let me give piece of mind. You always try to defend the west. why is that? India contrubutes to some of our troubles but most comes from the West, namely,UK, France, Nordic countries etc. Not only people live in West knows what is going on in the international community. So please shut up.

  7. Leela Says:

    I fully agree with everything that HDLM had written here. Needless to say then my reasoning go against that writing by Christie and Cassandra. If I remember right; following is what other leaders of the so-called International Club said after Bin Laden’s death:

    “Our fight against terrorism does not end with Bin Laden’s death. ” Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said. French President Sarkozy is said to have said “For his victims, justice has been done.” “At his command and in his name, terror was enforced into many countries against men women and children, Christians as well as Muslims. Osama bin Laden suggested that he was operating in the name of Islam, but in reality he makes a mockery of the fundamental values of his own and every other religion.” Christian Democrat German Chancellor Angela Merkel opined about Muslims as well as followers of other religions on the back of Bin Laden. “It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism.” British Prime Minister David Cameron thanked perhaps those who bombed funerals, rescuers and likewise in their effort to rid Al Queada.

    Mind you, as HDLM says; not that we disagree with them but what we abhor them is for their one sided outlook. Number of civilians killed by US forces in pursuit to kill Bin Laden is defenitly more than ten times the most wildly alleged number of civilian deaths in our war to rid Pirapakaran. Yet, no Pillai, ‘Paki’ or any of their lackeys demanded investigation on any of those massacres. They want to investigate only a few weeks of a 33 year war. That’s the apathy.

    What is crucial is; India has been standing with us against the Western gang since the end of the war. India is no modern day colonialist. We mustn’t forget India has to play its own politics to keep racist Tamil Nadu Tamils happy. India can never forsake us for India knows it’s doomed otherwise. Hence we should learn how to manage it; not mismanage like JRJ did.

    But the West is different; they are pursuing their old game to re-establish colonialism by divide and rule albeit in a modern way. And evangelists, I/NGOs and HR organisations are its’ poodles are there to assist the neo-colonialists all the way. Therefore we should tag the culprits and rein them where possible.

  8. aloy Says:

    Due to the present world order set in by the Anglo-Americans, western powers cannot go and fight wars in other countries. However they do it by proxies and LTTE was one of them, arab spring is perhaps another. Similarly Al-quida and Taliban are creations of the arab muslims. Both have agendas of propagating their faith. Through LTTE they were attempting a big hit- the break up of India and converting as many as possible. We are paying the price for that. I cannot understand why India is siding with them.

  9. Lorenzo Says:

    Government should have used EPDP more at the April 2010 elections to win more seats from TNA. Blake meets TNA because it has 14 seats in parliament. ANY ACTION (right or wrong) to reduce this must have been taken.

    Getting the RIGHT people elected from the north is more important than free and fair elections in the north.

    e.g. In 1994 election EPDP won MOST seats in Jaffna under OBVIOUSLY suspicious circumstances. Thanks to that there was no political problem from Tamil racist parties until 2000.

    Democracy and Islam don’t go together. Democracy and Tamil don’t go together either.

  10. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bravo, Leela!

    Your understanding and analysis of the different motivations of the various powers trying to intervene in Sri Lanka’s Tamil problem, and how we should respond to each of them, is exactly the same as mine.

  11. Leela Says:

    This is just to declare my appreciation of how thrilled I am when got to know that there is another who has exactly the same view to that of mine in this subject. Thank you, Ananda-USA.

  12. Christie Says:

    Kafir fighter aircraft and the 2 Drones that the SLAF hadf were Western technology; not Indian.

    Indian radars did a great job for whom?

    Theose who attack the West as a whole are really putting us in trouble.

    I know for a fact the Socialists of the West are for Tamils and then the socialist Churches.

    In 1983 Hon Thatcher did not allow a Single Tamil to land on UK soil.

    Miliband and Solheim are Socialists.

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