Sectarian wars, civilian deaths and police brutality

Internationally, it is long past the time to establish commonly accepted rules of war, and at home it is long past time to establish commonly accepted standards of relations between communities and police. It is time to stop unnecessary killing of civilians in military conflicts, time for the civilized world to unite against the mass murder and butchery of groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and time to end racial profiling in America and repeated tensions between local communities and local police.

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I propose an international conference regarding the rules of war bringing together military leaders, religious figures from all of the great faiths, leading international lawyers and scholars and nongovernmental organizations from nations throughout the world.

In the Gaza conflict, there have been far too many civilians killed. In the case of Hamas, rockets randomly launched are designed to kill combatants and civilians alike. In the case of Israel, massive attacks, the way they have been carried out, are guaranteed by their nature to inevitably kill civilians as well as combatants. It is time for this kind of warfare to end. Nations can protect their security while acting to realize zero civilian casualties without indiscriminate bombing. Indigenous groups can advocate their causes without launching indiscriminate rockets that randomly kill civilians.

Decent people and nations throughout the world should unite to destroy mass-murdering groups such as ISIS with aggressive internationally supported military action.

The world seems to becoming a giant hotbed of sectarian wars where women, children, the elderly and the suffering are being treated like the petty cash of fanatical warfare. The world community should come together to make it crystal clear that this carnage against civilians is unacceptable.

Here in the United States, there have been far too many instances of unarmed citizens being killed. From Florida to Missouri to New York, there have been cases of wrong and preventable deaths; in some cases police in conflict with communities, in other cases by individuals branding guns, acting like vigilantes. America needs some form of gun control to cut the number of killings by both armed vigilantes and criminal mass murderers.

Most police officers perform heroic work under dangerous conditions and should be applauded by a grateful nation for protecting our safety. At the same time, there have been too many cases involving racial tension and abuse. I agree with proposals put forth by some liberals and conservatives calling for a demilitarization of local police who rarely need arms like military special forces. I also agree with proposals requiring police officers to wear small cameras. This would protect the police by maintaining evidence of deadly threats against them, and it would protect communities by deterring any police officers from committing abuses against local citizens because they would know that any abuses would be recorded.

It is time for the carnage and killing to stop and to be vigorously opposed by decent people everywhere, no matter the perpetrator and no matter the victim.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at brentbbi@webtv.net.

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