Free Markets, Free People

War Crimes?

Here’s an interesting twist:

A U.N. human rights investigator warned the United States Tuesday that its use of unmanned warplanes to carry out targeted executions may violate international law.

Philip Alston said that unless the Obama administration explains the legal basis for targeting particular individuals and the measures it is taking to comply with international humanitarian law which prohibits arbitrary executions, “it will increasingly be perceived as carrying out indiscriminate killings in violation of international law.”

Alston, the U.N. Human Rights Council’s investigator on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, raised the issue of U.S. Predator drones in a report to the General Assembly’s human rights committee and at a news conference afterwards, saying he has become increasingly concerned at the dramatic increase in their use, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan, since June.

June. So the Obama administration has one of its favorite excuses – blame Bush – preempted.

And the administration’s response?

He said the U.S. response — that the Geneva-based council and the General Assembly have no role in relation to killings during an armed conflict — “is simply untenable.”

“That would remove the great majority of issues that come before these bodies right now,” Alston said. “The onus is really on the government of the United States to reveal more about the ways in which it makes sure that arbitrary executions, extrajudicial executions are not, in fact, being carried out through the use of these weapons.”

You can’t help but appreciate the irony. They can, as would have the previous administration, stick with their claim that the UN’s Human Rights council has absolutely no jurisdiction or say in the issue (something I happen to agree with) and risk being branded “war criminals”, or they can capitulate to the “legal” argument and submit justification for using these weapons in combat against terrorists (thereby giving said council legitimacy and a say in how the weapons can and can’t be used).

Apparently the UN Human Rights council has yet to issue the same sort of warning to the Taliban who, when blowing up buildings in Pakistan and Afghanistan are, in fact committing “arbitrary executions” and “extrajudicial executions” with the use of their bombs.

But then, other than arbitrary in their application of anything (especially if it is a blow to the US) what would you expect from the UN?



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40 Responses to War Crimes?

  • I can’t help but imagine that the President’s first reaction was “B-b-b-but I gave a speech at the UN!  And it was a nice speech, too!  INGRATES!!!

  • Wait.  The UN doesn’t like precision strikes with Predators?  Does that mean they’d prefer we go back to carpet bombing with B-52’s?  (Although I’m sure that would violate some other UN convention.)
    Seems to me that actually trying to target the combatants instead of taking the significant chance of killing civilians would be a desired result, not a war crime.

  • The mind boggles.

    I can appreciate the fact that people find war and the accompanying destruction and killing to be abhorent.  What civilized person doesn’t?  However, unless and until the UN is prepared to guarantee the safety of our country, people, and troops as well as the countries and peoples who look to us to help defend them against the Taliban, AQ, and similar organizations with which we are now at war, then the UN can f*ck off.

    Honestly, what sort of crack is Alston smoking?  Is there a weapons system that we use that DOESN’T somehow offend his sensibilities?  My guess is that there is not. 

    From talking occasionally with libs about war, especially Israel’s ongoing problem with terrorists, I get the feeling that they think war ought to be more “fair”.  Since the other side doesn’t have B-52’s, Predators, PGM’s, and the other high-tech weapons we have, then we oughtn’t use them.  Yessir, we should meet the enemy with only the weapons he has available so as to make it a fair fight.

    And prolong the war even more.

    As for Nobel Laureate TAO, it will be fascinating to watch him twist on this one.  On the one hand, I’m sure that he’s all for anything that will further hobble and endanger our troops.  On the other, he probably has sufficient wit to realize that losing a war isn’t good for his reelection prospects (though it would undoubtledly net him another Nobel).  Oh, what to do?  What to do???  Maybe a round of golf would help him relax and think this thing through.  Without rushing, of course.  Can’t make decisions in a hurry.  That would NEVER do.

    • Yessir, we should meet the enemy with only the weapons he has available so as to make it a fair fight.

      If you find yourself in a fair fight, you’ve made a tactical blunder

    • Docjim,

      Obama dallies huh?  Other military commanders disagree.  They had the boots on ground, charged with ending a war that should not have been fought, and short sighted participation in a war that should have been fought more aggressively for years before.  I think the following was a few days ago.

      Today, National Security Network Senior Adviser Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.), who served more than 30 years in the United States Army and from 2003-2004 oversaw the training of the Iraqi military, responded to Dick Cheney’s accusations on Afghanistan from last night:

      Today, National Security Network Senior Adviser Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.), who served more than 30 years in the United States Army and from 2003-2004 oversaw the training of the Iraqi military, responded to Dick Cheney’s accusations on Afghanistan from last night:

      “The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters. They ignored Afghanistan for 7 years with a crude approach to counter-insurgency warfare best illustrated by: 1. Deny it.  2.  Ignore it. 3. Bomb it. While our intelligence agencies called the region the greatest threat to America, the Bush White House under-resourced our military efforts, shifted attention to Iraq, and failed to bring to justice the masterminds of September 11.

      “The only time Cheney and his cabal of foreign policy ‘experts’ have anything to say is when they feel compelled to protect this failed legacy. While President Obama is tasked with cleaning up the considerable mess they left behind, they continue to defend torture or rewrite a legacy of indifference on Afghanistan. Simply put, Mr. Cheney sees history throughout extremely myopic and partisan eyes.
      “As one deeply invested in the Armed Forces of this country, I am grateful for the senior military commanders assigned to leading this fight and the men and women fighting on the ground. But I dismiss men like Cheney who inject partisan politics into the profound deliberations our Commander-in-Chief and commanders on the ground are having to develop a cohesive and comprehensive strategy, bringing to bear the economic and diplomatic as well as the military power, for Afghanistan — something Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld never did.

      “No human endeavor can be as profound as sending a nation’s youth to war.  I am very happy to see serious men and women working hard to get it right.”

      • So, let me get this straight:

        Your defense of TAO’s dithering is limited to quoting ONE retired officer who claims that Dick Cheney is “an incompetent warfighter” and a partisan hack?  That’s it?

        The fact of the matter is that TAO, dissatisfied with the situation in A-stan, announced his strategy months ago and appointed McChrystal to execute it.  Now that he’s found that (OMG!) he signed on for more than he bargained for, he wants to kick the can down the road.

        He claims (and GEN Easton repeats the ridiculous argument) that he’s being “deliberative” and “not rushing”.  EARTH TO THE mESSIAH!  THE TROOPS ARE ALREADY THERE, DUMBA**!  YOU CAN’T NOT RUSH A DECISION THAT’S ALREADY BEEN MADE!!!  He sounds like a man thoughtfully considering whether he wants to have children while his wife is giving birth.

        TAO has the following options:

        1.  Listen to McChrystal and give him the troops that he wants;

        2.  Fire McChrystal and get a new general with perhaps a new strategy;

        3.  Continue to f*ck around with the decision, frittering away the lives of more troops in a deteriorating situation while preening about “not rushing”;

        4.  Quit.

        He’s picked #3.

        Decisive.  Very decisive. / sarc

        This isn’t even the dreaded 3:00am phone call, and he’s still managing to foul it up.

      • What about the new strategy announced 6 months ago?  Oh, THAT?  that was probably Bush/Cheney’s idea because it happened after President Imeme took office.
        And the latest losses?  10 months into the new government?  oh, ALSO Bush/Cheney’s fault (we could probably prove it was Reagan’s fault for supplying the Mujahadeen).
        Let’s just pretend, as one example in a 10 month time span in a war, that we didn’t once upon a time land in Normandy in June 1944 and fight our way across France into Germany in a 10 month time frame (yeah, I’m keenly aware of the differences between France and Afghanistan, but the point is how much CAN be done in a 10 month period if you have your shit together, which President Imeme does not.)
        Is the man ever going to actually OWN anything ( you know, like, 10%+ unemployment, the banks, GM, the Health Care system, the power grid and smokin holes where Tel Aviv and/or Tehran used to be?)
        Anything he ever plans on being responsible for?  Just askin…inquiring minds want to know.

  • Finally, the international community is waking up to our war of Nazi-like Aggression and unprecedented violence being waged on the Brown People(s) of Afghanistan and Pakistan!  I can only hope that wiser more Christ-like heads and visages prevail over the dense rightwing militarists proposing more destruction for so little gain.

    In fact, only Iran gains from this debacle in the Middle East!  This is the second-biggest policy disaster in US Foreign Policy History!

    I realize that this nest of dense rightwingnuts is only a portal for unthinking Wing nut Propaganda, but I pray that some of the more moderate readers will be swayed by my pleas…and smugness.

  • How many hokey-ass divisions does the U.N. have?

  • But he said this is THE GOOD WAR!
    He can’t change his mind now, can he?
    Oh, he didn’t know his anal orifice from a hole in the ground? What a surprise.

  • Oh, and did you see, Joe Biden, ( former Supreme Warlord Biden of the Planet Mongo) is helping to craft the new Afghanistan strategy with those toy generals from the Pentagram (or whateverthehell the name of that strange building across the Potomac is).
    Yes, Joe Biden,with his long and glorious history of service in the military,  the man who reminded us when the stock market crashed that Roosevelt  took action by getting on the TV and giving a speech to calm things down, has a rival plan to that of that inexperienced military neophyte hack McChyrstal.
    Boy am I feeling good about THAT or what?

    • looker, I think his military service probably is very similar to Vice President Cheney’s service.   Did you rail against Cheney and point out ” his long and glorious service in the military, since he was also crafting strategy for Afghanistan.  Cheney who reminded all of America the importance of taking a Hunter Safety Class, to me has about the same experience as Biden.  I do like the “Supreme Warlord Biden of the Plant Mongo” but I suspect the Mongo “ens” are pissed at you for making Biden their “Supreme Warlord.”

      • In fact you’re right.  I got a harsh communication from Emperor Ming last night on the short wave.
        Something about destroying the Earth for my impertinence.

      • Heh,  taking a hunter safety class is no guarantee that you’ll be safe as you probably know.  Any idiot being handed a gun for the first time by a competent user always gets the “don’t point” and “always assume it’s loaded” instructions.  Cheney violated a primary rule I was taught, if you don’t know what it is, don’t shoot at it.  Shooting your partner implies you really didn’t look before you went all Wild Bill on the trigger.  I doubt the quail that day were returning fire so the idea that Cheney was using fire suppression to keep their heads down goes right out the window.
        As you can see, I won’t defend Darth Cheney because I never liked the man (and still don’t, I wish he’d shut the hell up) to start with.  I missed that he was laying out the Afghan strategy way back when, and if they weren’t listening to a general at THAT point and Cheney was crafting the plan then IT WAS JUST AS STUPID and WAS Bush’s fault if he allowed it.  When the VP is figuring out where the troops are going to go to me that’s a serious problem unless your VP is say, Patton or Schwarzkopf or Patreaus.

      • Looker I was going to post as Leo Ork, and come after you.  But since timactual thinks I am a agitator and troll decided not to.  I will leave the praise of the dems and the comeuppance that the “Dense Righties” so much deserve to Dr. Scerb and his insightful analysis and thought provoking Scerbisms.

        Got to go for now, roaches in my house.  I had no idea, there was some shale in the back yard and ……….


        • Leo Ork, hell, I like that enough that I may use it (fair use right?)
          Leo Orc would be less obvious, but might be more applicable.

  • Just about everything that is posted by dems is refuted or discounted, and coming from  a conservative blog this isn’t surprising.    Fact remains that since Obama took the reins everything is his fault and there is  zero blame for the previous administration, oh I agree.   No wonder Erb left the blog.   Oh there was that thing with AIG and Fannie and Freddie that Obama initiated, you know with the bailouts and all.    Nope, the Obama plan is to not own anything for eight years, hand it off to a Republican, and ten months later blame the new administration for everything that went bad and claim everything that turned out well.  Sound familiar? 

    • I’m wondering what the bad part is in  refuting someone’s post.  If a statement is refutable, it deserves to be refuted.  And if you’re complaining that statements by Dems get challenged here, well boo fricking hoo.  If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    • Steverino,
      Not feeling too much heat.  Being a conservative democrat posting here I expect to be refuted, so no boo fricking hoo yet. 

    • Yeah, speaking of AIG and Fannie and Freddie….
      Freddie Frank? Fannie Emanuel? Or was it Freddie Emanuel and Freddie Frank, I can never keep those straight, how bout you?
      And didn’t President Imeme agree to those bailouts?  Both as the anointed Democratic Presidential Candidate and as a Senator for Illinois? (or did he follow his brave, noble and normal course, the one he’s following even now in Afghanistan, voting ‘present’).
      Oh, yeah, that’s right, he did.  But, none of it is his fault, right?
      And all these bills we just have to have, that take effect either in what will be his second term, or after he’s out of office all together.  Ya know kev, ya’d think with something as important to stop as Global Warming (sorry, Climate change) and reducing our dependence on foreign oil with new energy sources, we’d want to shoot for something a little closer than 10 years from now right?
      Again, bravely voting present or not in office when the skata contacts the whirling blades.  But man, he looks REALLLL good out on the basketball court at the White House, and good lord, can the man campaign for President or what?

  • I know it sounds delightful to claim the UNHRC doesn’t also scold the Taliban, but it turn’s out not to be true.

  • A drone attacks seems very similar to an IED attack.
    Both are stand off attacks. Both have the chance for collateral damage.
    Let me know when IEDs stop.
    Now, as Retief points out, the UN complains about the Taliban too, especially when they target aid workers (note that’s a civilian target, not a collateral damage, too.)
    So what does the UN want to do about that? Probably have us guard them or something?
    Its pretty useless to listen to these complaints, really. And for sure, the UN is not really worried about drone attacks, but would like to limit their usage. I mean, if you were Sudan or Iran, do you want drone attacks to be legal? No you don’t.

  • Kevin –
    I, for example, bought a house with a roach infested yard due to the previous owners love of shale ground cover.  However, neither pointing out that shale ground cover is a great place for roach breeding nor pointing out that it was a landscaping decision made by the previous owner, relieved me of the responsibility of cleaning up the damn front yard.

    • Good analogy.

      However, instead of cleaning up the mess, I suggest that the appropriate, Obama-approved, “liberal” course of action would have been:

      1.  Whine and b*tch and moan during the purchase negotiations to try to improve your bargaining position.  In fact, accuse the current owner of actual criminal acts with regard to the house.

      2.  Repeatedly make the most glowing, grandiose promises to your family that, not only will you clean up the mess when you get the house, you’ll totally remake the image of the house in the neighborhood so that all the neighbors who currently hate the house will love it once again.

      3.  Promise the you’ll clean up the mess quickly.

      4.  Move into the house with great fanfare.  Host many parties.  Make sure you comment frequently about the problems with the house and blame the previous owner.

      5.  Go out and, with great fanfare, hire one of the top-rated landscapers in the area.  Tell all the neighbors about your great landscaping plan and how LOVELY your house will look when it’s complete.

      6.  Get a prize for best yard from the neighborhood association.  Yes, yes: you haven’t actually DONE anything, but they know what a great job you WILL do, and they want to encourage you.

      7.  Play lots and lots of golf.  In between rounds, complain about the previous owner, how stupid he was, and how all the problems with the house (and your job, your car, your kids’ schools, the local grocery store, the streets, and everything else in your life) are the fault of the previous owner.  What a jerk!  Remember: the more the neighbors hate the previous owner, the less they’ll notice what you’re doing (like setting up a meth lab in the basement, pimping underage hookers out of the garage, letting the local mafia have meetings in your living room, and running a Nigerian e-mail scam on your PC).

      8.  After the neighbors comment that the roaches are starting to really get out of hand and the landscaper makes it know how much he thinks it will cost to clean up the yard, finally meet with him for a few minutes. 

      9.  Announce with great fanfare that you’re considering a plan to deal with the landscaping and roach problem, but that, because you want the yard to be PERFECT, you won’t rush the decision about what you’re going to do.

      10.  Consult with your goofy father-in-law (the one who announced at your wedding that he likes you because you are clean and articulate and regularly embarrasses you with his totally bizarre – though sometimes uncomfortably truthful – pronouncements).  He actually knows nothing about landscaping or really anything else, but has been to lots of nicely-landscaped houses and given lots of long, long talks to anybody who’ll listen about how much he knows about the subject.

      11.  Play lots and lots of golf.

      Next time, you’ll know better!


      • You forgot
        #12 — Insinuate (or outright declare when you think you can get away with it) that anyone who points out the continuing bevy of Battaria is a racist.
        #13 — Claim that the news crew that does a report on the roaches is just a bunch of muck-raking scam artists in the employ of your enemies.

    • Excellent analogy

    • Doc, how did you know I ran a meth lab out of by basement and ran a string of underage hookers?  How could you have known unless………. “smiley moticon”

      • No, I am NOT your best customer.

        If I WAS, I’d be a little concerned about the color of the last bag I got; it looked contaminated or something.  I mean, that DIDN’T look contaminated because, obviously, I DIDN’T get it.  But if I had gotten it, I would certainly complain.  And maybe threaten to take my business elsewhere.  If I did that kind of business.  Which I don’t.  Because I don’t do drugs.  Because drugs are bad, uhm-kay.


        • A guy walks into a bar….

          McQ ,docjim promised he wouldn’t rat me out,  but being critical of ACORN, and for you to insinuate wrong doing is really unfair. 
          Either Scott Erb, Ott Scerb, Bre Sttocs, or Leo Ork will write a very clever retort of your intimation (if that is indeed what it was) that ACORN is not on the up and up. 

          They set me all up, provided the financing so I could live in that ritzy neighborhood beside the good doctor.

          • But can you pay a good doctor? They don’t work for ACORN money.

          • Are you kidding?  As docjim accurately reports my businesses run out of my home/basement  pay for any frigging thing I want or could ever need.    I have the best health insurance I could possibly desire and my recent investments in crack houses, meth labs, prostitution, and global warming science labs, are allowing me more time to golf and work on my Obama like physique. 

      • My bet is he knew because you applied to ACORN for some help.

  • True story:  Tonight I was reading to my kids.  The name of the book was Duck for President.  Duck lived and worked on a farm and he thought the work was too hard and held an election for Farmer.  He beat the incumbent but found that running the farm was hard work so he ran for governor.  He won that election but found that harder than being a farmer so ran for president.  After he found out that was harder than being the governor he finally went back to being the duck on the farm.
    How long do we have to wait for duck to go back to being a community organizer?

  • This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 10/29/2009, at The Unreligious Right