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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:30 AM
Original message
Ari Shavit / UN must hold Obama to same standard as Israel
Some two weeks ago American airplanes fired on two oil tankers in northern Afghanistan. It was a German officer who'd asked the U.S. air force to attack the tankers in the middle of the night, in a populated area. The attack was successful - the two tankers were hit, went up in flames and were destroyed. But the overwhelming American-German air attack killed some 70 people. Some of those brought to hospitals were severely injured - with mutilated faces, burned hands and charred bodies.

It is not clear to this day if most of those who burned to death were Taliban warriors, as NATO first claimed, or innocent civilians who wanted to bring home a bit of oil. One way or another, it's clear that the United States and Germany are responsible for an extremely brutal attack. Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway also bear responsibility for the massacre as NATO members.

If the international community is committed to international law and universal ethics - which do not discriminate between one sort of killing and another - then it should investigate this villainous assault. If the United States, Germany and NATO refuse to cooperate with investigators, the UN should consider transferring the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. It is possible that at the end of the process it would be necessary to put U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway on trial for their role in committing a severe war crime that did not distinguish between civilians and combatants.

Obama would probably be the principal defendant in this case. He was the one who believed in the war in Afghanistan and intensified it. As U.S. commander-in-chief, he bears direct responsibility not only for the deaths of those who were burned with the tankers, but the death of many hundreds of innocent Afghan civilians. If there are is such a thing as an international community, international law and universal ethics, they must seriously consider putting Obama on trial for his responsibility for severe war crimes.

more...
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1115242.html
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. article cont'd
Absurd? Yes, it's absurd. No sane person in the world believes that the United States, Russia or China could be subjected to purist international law. The United States has killed thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the last few months encouraged Pakistan to make an extremely brutal military move in its Swat Valley. The United States was not required to account for it because everyone understands that this is the price of the terrible War on Terror. Russia committed blood-curdling war crimes in Chechnya, while China deprives its citizens of basic rights and is conducting a wicked occupation in Tibet. They are not asked to pay for this because everyone understands that you don't mess with superpowers.

But not only superpowers are immune. Saudi Arabia practices an open, declared policy of discrimination against women and the international community does not see. Sri Lanka is crushing the Tamil national movement, causing a ghastly humanitarian disaster, and the international community does not hear. Turkey is brutally oppressing the Kurdish minority, and the international community does not speak.

Only in matters involving Israel, do international law and justice suddenly discover that they have teeth. Only when Israel is involved is the judgment administered out of context. Only Israel is required to uphold a moral standard no superpower or Middle Eastern state is required to uphold.

Over the course of the military offensive in Gaza, Israel used excessive firepower and this must not recur. Severe incidents took place during the operation which must be investigated. But the inquiry must be carried out by us, and among ourselves. As long as Judge Richard Goldstone doesn't probe the United States, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka or Turkey, just as he probed Israel, he is not a moral figure. A law is a law only when it applies to everyone and does not discriminate, as Goldstone did.
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henank Donating Member (755 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
2. Excellent article!
I wonder how long it will take anyone to claim that Ha'aretz is a right wing rag and Ari Shavi is a wingnut...
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:41 AM
Response to Original message
3. Of course this episode should be investigated.

I have significantly more faith in NATO to investigate itself than in the IDF, but nevertheless this episode needs to be investigated, and if it does turn out that the attack was excessively reckless with civilian life then those responsible should be held accountable.

The suggestion that Obama would be a principle defendant is of cause political rhetoric rather than a serious suggestion, and quite possibly no-one has done anything wrong, but at a bare minimum this episode (and all others like it) needs to be investigated, if necessary by an independant group, and if the investigation reveals serious wrongdoing (as was the case in the My Lae incident) then those who gave the orders should be censured, dismissed or prosecuted as appropriate.
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. yeah, I'm sure the UNHRC, Amnesty, and HRW are working hard on it right now
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 01:04 PM by shira
and when they UN is finished congratulating and praising Sri Lanka for its war crimes that will never be investigated, they'll get try taking the USA to the Hague right away.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/28/sri-lanka-u...

:sarcasm:

and why do you trust NATO far more than Israel to police themselves? NATO's civilian kills to combatants is far worse than Israel's in Gaza or Lebanon. So is this some article of faith - that NATO is more trustworthy and honest than the IDF?
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. The latter two are, anyway.
e.g. see:


www.hrw.org/en/news-filter/130

www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1258240871.html

www.newstin.co.uk/tag/uk/141474901


There are also single-issue organizations concerned with the matter, such as www.stopbombingafghanistan.org
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. well, I'm certain they'll convince the UN to make a big deal of it, take it to the Hague, etc...
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 01:23 PM by shira
:sarcasm:

And you do realize HRW and AI have different definitions of human shields when commenting on NATO vs. reporting on Israel?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

So what are the chances the USA will ever be held to the same standards as Israel?

I'll go out on a limb here and say....no chance at all. What do you think?

=========

Here's what I really think - this is all nonsense - there's no way the USA goes along with the UN on this one, as it directly affects the way in which the USA wages war against non-conventional enemies that rely on fighting assymetrically (like in Iraq and Afghanistan).

And there's simply no way HRW, AI, and the UNHRC will start dealing with the USA and its allies as they do Israel (denying human shields, etc).
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. I think there is no chance that the UN will hold the USA to the same standards as Israel...
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 01:40 PM by LeftishBrit
apart from all other considerations: the USA is bigger and more powerful. Also, the Arab states within the UN tend to collaborate on criticizing Israel, if not always on other things.

However, your original implication was that no human rights organizations will criticize the USA as much as Israel, and I disagree with this. In fact, the USA generally gets more criticism, and I will go out on a limb and say that one reason why Israel gets as much criticism as it does is that it's seen as a close ally/collaborator of the USA.
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. but HRW and AI do not criticize the USA the same way
sure, they may criticize them as much - but under different conditions (ex: human shields).

What do you think about HRW and AI's different definitions of human-shields when applied to Israel vs. other nations?
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. True! US must be held to same standard as Israel, which does not excuse Gaza
and the war crimes Israel committed there.

If you really want change in the UN, repeal the permanent members of the UN Security Council and their veto power. Of course, you won't do that because it is the US veto that has protected Israel and enabled Israel's crimes for decades.
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henank Donating Member (755 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. I'm sure there are plenty of countries
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 11:58 AM by henank
who would be happy to change the constituency of the UN security council. I don't think Israel would even object as long as they got a fair chance themselves.

Did you know that Israel is not and cannot be on any single UN committee (besides UNESCO and the WHO as far as I know) because membership on these committees is chosen by region - and there is not one region in the world that will agree to have Israel. Now, do you really think Israel is that evil that she should not be allowed into any single region at all in the world? do you think that is fair?.
Since 1961, Israel has been barred from the Asia regional group. In 2000, it was offered limited membership the Western European and Others WEOG group.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel,_Palestine,_and_the...

Did you know that because of this non-grouping, Israel has zero chance of ever sitting on the UN security council on one of the non-permanent seats, whereas Israel's enemies almost invariably have at least one or two seats. Does that sound fair to you?

Further on in that same article (I know, it's Wiki, but the facts are correct) it states:

In recent years, the Middle East was the subject of 76% of country-specific UNGA resolutions, 100% of the Human Rights Council resolutions, 100% of the Commission on the Status of Women resolutions, 50% of reports from the World Food Program, 6% of Security Council resolutions and 6 of the 10 Emergency sessions
.

Do those statistics sound fair to you? Balanced mayhap?

And given all this, do you now wonder at Israel's suspicion of the UN?
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Vegasaurus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. It is amazing, isn;t it? nt
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Kurska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. The saddest part is no, not at all. n/t
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. UN created Israel, so it is ironic Israel's anti-UN bias
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 12:30 PM by IndianaGreen
Israel's right to exist is predicated on a Palestinian state having a right to exist. If there is no Palestinian state, logic dictates that there shouldn't be an Israel. Since we already have an Israel in existence, logic demands that there must also be a Palestinian state in existence.

Fate has decreed that one state cannot exist without the other.

The I/P conflict in practical terms can be reduced to this: it is an entire region cursed by the gods and forever trapped in a prison of its own making.

Trekkers will quickly recognize the parallels of I/P to Let That Be Your Last Battlefield starring Frank Gorshin in which his character Lokai is white on his right side and black on the left, while his archenemy Bele is white on the left side and black on the right. Needless to say, when Lokai and Bele finally return to their home planet of Cheron, they find it utterly destroyed by the senseless war their sides waged on each other.
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Kurska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Well in practical terms the reason There Is a Israel and not a palestine is, the Israelis accepted
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 12:41 PM by Kurska
Partition plan and declared independence. The arabs rejected the plan and declared war, after the war was lost instead of the Arabs taking the land they had and creating a Palestinian state, the arab nations just divvied it up among themselves.

The arab states then lost that land in the 1967 war.

Although, Yes I do agree, if only for demographic reasons there needs to be a Palestinian state.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
5. Bring it!
Same rules for everyone.
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. right - so what are the odds that "the same rules for everone" will apply sometime soon?
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. This seemed like a theoretical discussion to me.
I thought we dumped pragmatic considerations over the side in the title of the OP. And theoretically, I think what I said.
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. so theoretically, unless there's one standard for all - there should be no standard?
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 02:46 PM by shira
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Is that really what you think? No rules at all? nt
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. well, yeah.
"A law is a law only when it applies to everyone and does not discriminate".

==========

Otherwise, what's the point?

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Well, thank you for being clear.
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 05:04 PM by bemildred
So your position is:

1.) The laws cannot be applied fairly to everyone: so what are the odds that "the same rules for everone" will apply sometime soon?

so

2.) "unless there's one standard for all - there should be no standard"

and hence

3.) There should be no laws, it just the rule by force: "A law is a law only when it applies to everyone and does not discriminate"

Further:

You disagree with the OP, in the sense that what Mr Shavit calls for is (in your view) impossible.

Or is this another one of those situations where you are going to "change your mind"?
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. you're welcome - all you have to do is ask
and yes, it's all or nothing - either the law applies to everyone or none at all - no playing favorites - no double standards. The nations of the world should be treated like individuals in any free country - all equal under the law, no exceptions.

I don't disagree with Shavit at all and am amazed that you disagree with us - imagine the American deep south 50 years ago - a law on the books exists for all but only blacks are held accountable for keeping this law - and worse, sometimes false charges are brought forth that incriminate blacks for these crimes that whites aren't accountable for. What would you propose?
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. But you think what Mr Shavit calls for is impossible?
And I agreed with Mr Shavit. Hello?
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Shavit says it won't happen - and it really won't anytime soon
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. So he's really just playing rhetorical games? nt
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