Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ho hum ... just another war crime.

Let's see ... there's this exciting new development:

U.S. forces in Iraq, in two instances described in military documents, took custody of the wives of men believed to be insurgents in an apparent attempt to pressure the suspects into giving themselves up.

Which seems to not quite square with this much older development:

Common Article 3 of the [Geneva] conventions bans the taking of hostages in internal conflicts while the Fourth Convention forbids civilians being taken hostage during times of war. Ignoring these prohibitions during an international conflict is a grave breach of humanitarian law, leaving those responsible liable to international pursuit and prosecution.

When it comes to the American military committing war crimes, after a while, you just lose count, don't you?

AFTERSNARK: One of the most enlightening things about watching the variety of war crimes committed by the American military is how those on the Right inevitably find a way to excuse them. They can do this because they have such wonderfully malleable standards and, as each new war crime comes to light, they shift the bar ever so slightly to cover that new crime as well.

The only way to deal with this is to establish whether those on the Right consider anything to be officially a war crime, so one could start by asking them a question like:

Imagine that American troops took the young children of a suspected insurgent and, in order to convince that insurgent to turn himself in, the troops publicly tortured those children to death. Would you classify that as a war crime?

Yes, of course it's graphic and horrific but that's the only way to figure out where these people might finally draw a line. If they don't consider that a war crime, well, there's really no point in continuing the conversation, is there?

If they do, however, then you have to back off a bit and ask again. What if the children were tortured publicly, but not to death? War crime or no? And you keep doing this until you finally find the boundaries. That is, if those on the Right even accept the existence of such boundaries.

Thus far, none of this seems to bother them a whole lot.


Anonymous said...

Guess thats why the US wasn't interested in becoming a party to the International Criminal Court unless US Military was given immunity!

Scotian said...

Actually, their standards are very simple and easy to understand, when "our" side does it, then it is necessary and only being done to protect us all from the evil enemy and therefore acceptable, because security matters more than anything else, especially international law and norms. When it is done to us then it is a heinous war crime and a crime against humanity and needs to be punished as harshly as possible.

See? It is real easy to understand where they draw the line, you were just lookking in the wrong place.

(yes, this is entirely intended as snark, if snark with an unfortunate amount of truth behind it)

Anonymous said...

9-1-1 only changed America's viewpoint of the world. Stuff like 9-1-1 happened every day in the rest of the world and the US did not even notice or care. But once it happened here, every civil liberty is a hindrance to get their man. Where is Osama? Sorry, George got distracted by another bright, shiney object!

M@ said...

Mike -- not to mention when the USA actually performed the terrorist act, as when they fired some missiles at a pharm factory in the Sudan.

But it was brown people who died. So that changed nothing.