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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 03:24 PM
Original message
Poll question: Iraq: Is it genocide?
I see often, on DU and on other blogs, the use of the term 'genocide' to describe the US adventure in Iraq. This poll is to take a snapshot of the broad view on DU regarding the appropriateness of the use of that term in reference to US action in Iraq.

Please note that this poll is NOT an apology for the war or in any way supportive of our ever having been there. I have personally been opposed to this war since I predicted it when Bush won the GOP nomination in 1999.

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 03:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. Follow the logic of Bush's approach; the ONLY way it CAN be successful
is Genocide.

Doing it his way, nothing else, except total extermination will work.

So, Bush is either a genocidal criminal or he wants us to do something that won't work.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. what about Clinton's approach?
Edited on Sun Jun-03-07 03:43 PM by welshTerrier2
I was watching a show on C-Span today and a caller to the show said the following (paraphrasing from memory):

Our troops killed more than 200,000 Iraqi troops as they retreated during the Gulf War. Then the embargo on Iraq killed 1.5 MILLION Iraqis, most of them children. And now, according to The Lancet, we've killed at least 650,000 more since the invasion. That's more than 2 Million dead Iraqis.


The point of the embargo was to essentially make the people of Iraq suffer so much that they would overthrow Saddam. Now, one might argue that the ultimate goal was to liberate the Iraqi people from a tyrant. But, does than mean the intentional suffering we caused, as a tactic, was anything but GENOCIDE? I don't see how it being a genocidal means to a potentially legitimate end legitimizes what was done.

At best, what was done by the US to the Iraqi people during the Clinton years, and of course the bush years too, could be called "Genocide with an explanation." Not much comfort there, eh?
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I disagree with that construction.
For starters, I've never seen a credible source for that claim that the sanctions killed 1.5 million Iraqis. I don't buy it.

Second, that figure of 200,000 dead Iraqi troops is bogus. Its source is a "study" by one individual who formerly worked for the Commerce Departments Census Bureau of Foreign Countries. Besides which, there were only about 120,000 Iraqi troops engaged during the Gulf War, making 200,000 dead Iraqi troops quite impossible.

More credible reports are in the range of 15,000 to 22,000 Iraqi combat deaths (USAF), plus an estimated 2,300 civilians (Iraqi Govt.)

So frankly, I don't see any kind of equivalence between current Iraqi dead, whose numbers are vast and primarily civilian, compared to the relatively small numbers incurred in the past.
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StudentProgressive Donating Member (160 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. One innocent person dead is an atrocity
The quibble over numbers is reaching towards nihilism.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. i think that's a more than fair criticism
this issue of genocide is serious business and requires more than a caller to C-Span to support the claim. i'm not sure where to find a reliable source to assess the impact of the embargo specifically during the Clinton years but I'll try to find something.

while i'm off searching, consider the following:

source: http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/background/index.html

In the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991, the Secretary-General dispatched an inter-agency mission to assess the humanitarian needs arising in Iraq and Kuwait. The mission visited Iraq from 10 to 17 March 1991 and reported that "the Iraqi people may soon face a further imminent catastrophe, which could include epidemic and famine, if massive life-supporting needs are not rapidly met."


I believe the fairly ineffective Oil-For-Food Program was not actually implement until around 1996.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. seeing lots of data
here's the first ...

source: http://www.mfsome.org/letters_files/editors.html (allegedly from "The Kennebec Journal)

"According to the United Nations, more than 1,000,000 civilians (500,000 of whom were children) died during the U.S. embargo of Iraq."

I'll keep looking ...
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. the UN program director in Baghdad called the sanctions GENOCIDE
Edited on Sun Jun-03-07 05:38 PM by welshTerrier2
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_sanctions

United Nations sanctions against Iraq were imposed by the United Nations in 1990 following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and continued until the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. They were perhaps the toughest, most comprehensive sanctions in history, and have caused much controversy over the humanitarian impact, culminating with two senior UN representatives in Iraq resigning in protest of the sanctions. <skip>

Effects of the sanctions

The sanctions crippled the Iraqi economy during the time they were imposed; much of Iraqs infrastructure ran into disrepair from lack of materials and Iraq's capacity for aggression was all but destroyed. The initial purpose of the sanctions, and of all diplomatic sanctions, was to force Iraq's hand in cooperation with the United Nations and possibly cause a change in its previously aggressive foreign policy and abuses of human rights.

Critics of the sanctions say that over a million Iraqis, disproportionately children, died as a result of them, <5> although other researchers concluded that the total was lower. <6> <7> <8> UNICEF has put the number of child deaths to 500,000.<9> The reasons include lack of medical supplies, malnutrition, and especially disease owing to lack of clean water. Among other things, chlorine, needed for disinfecting water supplies, was banned as having a "dual use" in potential weapons manufacture. On May 10, 1996, appearing on 60 Minutes, Madeleine Albright (then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations) was presented with a figure of half a million children under five having died from the sanctions. Not challenging this figure, she infamously replied "we think the price is worth it", <10> though she later rued the comment as "stupid."<11>

Denis Halliday was appointed United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad, Iraq as of 1 September 1997, at the Assistant Secretary-General level. In October 1998 he resigned after a 34 year career with the UN in order to have the freedom to criticise the sanctions regime, saying "I don't want to administer a programme that satisfies the definition of genocide". Halliday's successor, Hans von Sponeck, subsequently also resigned in protest. Jutta Burghardt, head of the World Food Program in Iraq, followed them. According to von Sponeck, the sanctions restricted Iraqis to living on $100 each of imports per year.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #16
43. And That Individual Was Wrong To Do So, Sir
On several grounds, the most important of which is that the numbers claimed for deaths from sanctions simply do not stand up to examination.

The noted Lancet survey used a base, pre-invasion death rate for Iraq of five per thousand, which amounts to roughly one hundred twenty-five thousand deaths a year, during the period in which sanctions were in place. Claims that a million people died as a result of sanctions over that same period, between 1992 and 2003, amount to a claim that nearly one hundred thousand persons a year died as a consequence of sanctions. Were this taken as true, it would suggest the actual expected death rate in Iraq during those years was approximately one death per thousand per year, or twenty-five to thirty thousand deaths a year. You will have a difficult time finding countries with so low a rate of deaths per thousand as that, to put it mildly. Syria, to take a regional example, has a death rate of slightly under five per thousand.

The claim of a half million children dead in consequence of sanctions does not hold up much better. The Iraqi birth-rate runs about thirty per thousand per year, or roughly three quarters of a million births, with infant mortality alone running to nearly fifty per thousand births, or roughly thirty-five thousand per year. This is suggests a pediatric death rate in toto of no more than seventy thousand dead minors, ranging from new-borns to adolscents, over the course of a year. A death rate 'from sanctions' of a little under fifty thousand per year, again, leaves very little room for deaths among minors to have occured at all in the absence of sanctions.

Since the Iraqi population has been increasing dramatically over the years, as the comparison of death and birth rates makes clear, the numbers fit even more poorly, since the population was smaller by several millions at the start of the sanctions, perhaps as low as twenty millions, which would make total deaths calculated on a per thousand basis noticeably smaller, while there is no such elasticity in the average per year of deaths claimed to result from sanctions. In most years, the comparison would indicate, if the latter group of figures were to be taken seriously, that virtually every death in Iraq in those years was a result of sanctions. There being no evidence that persons born in Iraq can expect immortal life, barring sanctions imposed by the United Nations, this proposition cannot accurately describe the case.
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Madspirit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Absolutely...n/t
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Sadie4629 Donating Member (919 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 03:40 PM
Response to Original message
3. A matter of definition
"Genocide" is against an ethnic group, not a nationality.

(That's not to say it couldn't become genocide, but Bush would have to take on an awful lot of countries first.)
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. nope ...
at least not according to the following link: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=genocide

"the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group."
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #5
21. I guess, in my own mind, I tend to focus on the words "deliberate and systematic extermination"
And maybe even more specifically, on the word 'extermination'. I can go with subjugation, with enslavement, even, but not extermination.

I will allow that what effectively became some level of extermination may have been a result of some policy, I see no evidence at all of an intentional extermination of Iraqis, or any of their various sects.

What Hitler did to the Jews (and others) is a textbook example of genocide. I see (nor saw, in the past) no such action in Iraq.

This is not to say that everything we did was peachy keen. Neither is it to say that we may not have committed war crimes. I just can't see it rising to genocide.

But you know .... the fact that we have to debate it shows just how awful it is. To think that American activity can be the subject of a debate about whether it is or isn't genocide is awful in and of itself.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. let's not hang on the labels
Edited on Sun Jun-03-07 10:38 PM by welshTerrier2
if we are to strictly respond to your OP question, many of the points you've raised have merit. i might still disagree with your interpretation of how actual events relate to the definition. for example, if we knew hundreds of thousands of children were dying as a direct result of our policies, and we did know, can we really avoid the term "deliberate".

and by systematic, can we ignore the following from one of my posts above:

They were perhaps the toughest, most comprehensive sanctions in history


Is that not "systematic"?

but these are mere interpretations being shoe-horned into "just a word" that the dictionary chose to define a certain way. the definition isn't the problem; US conduct, including US conduct under Bill Clinton, is where the real story lies.

if the data I provided above are true, or even reasonable, the sanctions directly or indirectly caused the deaths of perhaps more than ONE MILLION Iraqis including perhaps 500,000 children. What spin can we put on that? If we would prefer to not use the term "genocide", how about baby murderers? How about the term civilian slaughterers? I mean, is there some nicer way to capture what we did?

again, at best you're left with defending Clinton's (and bush's - both of them) actions using an ends justifies the means defense. how high would a pile of a million dead Iraqis be? if you laid them end to end, how many times could you circle the White House or the Capitol Building?

can you see your way clear to have a different view of the sanctions we placed on Iraq? I really can't. Regardless of our purpose, I see no way to justify a policy that kills innocent civilians on that kind of scale when we knew it was happening. I really am OPEN to seeing it a different way if someone really wants to make a case for it. Right now, I just can't see it any other way.

your witness, counselor ...

on edit: H2S, please note that I thought (incorrectly) that you were referring to my earlier post that focused on the US sanctions on Iraq including those enforced during the Clinton administration. My remarks are confined to the sanctions. I did not intend to discuss, though i don't necessarily exclude, the actions during the invasion and occupation. The point is that this post was intended to discuss only whether the civilian deaths caused by the sanctions were genocide or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Sorry for the confusion.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #22
32. No, actually I was just engaging you in discussion
Mainly, I was engaging you because it seems we find ourselves on opposite sides of the question.

But let me backtrack just a bit. In my mind, genocide is a matter of intent and action. Without the intent to actually remove by killing an entire race or class of people, we have something other than genocide. No less horrendous. No less criminal. But not genocide.

Yeah, I know ..... that can be taken as a mealy mouthed technicality. I honestly don't intend it to be such, but recognize it can be.

The embargo/sanctions were a way to get Saddam to act as we desired. The fact that they resulted in countless deaths was awful. To make the case that, because of knowledge of them, these deaths were willful, is an easy one to make. But the deaths were not the goal. And there's where I see them differing from genocide. Again, and to be as clear as possible, they were no less serious, no less, horrible, no less, perhaps even, crimes against humanity. But they don't seem to me to be genocide.

The civilian deaths after the invasion are even less likely to be accurately termed genocide. They are, much as I hate the term, what is now called 'collateral damage'. They are also the result of sectarian violence. And while we made the conditions ripe for such violence, there is little evidence that the widening and continuation of such violence was our intent.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. mostly semantics to me
i have no problem if, under a strict dictionary definition, we recognize our morally reprehensible conduct but, remaining true to the dictionary, argue that we do not meet the genocide test.

on the other hand, consider this ... compare the term homicide to the term negligent homicide. with homicide, there is intent. with negligent homicide, not so much. the law takes the view that the perpetrator did NOT have intent but took actions that they knew, or should have known, would bring about the same result as if they had intent.

now, drawing a parallel construction to genocide, might we agree on a new term called "negligent genocide" or would that violate your Merriam-Webster sensibilities?

regardless of what definition is used, the important point is that the sanctions violated any reasonable standard of humanitarian decency or morality. I apply my criticism as freely to Bill Clinton as I apply it to the BFEE. What was done was a crime against humanity. Whatever their real purpose, they knew they were slaughtering innocent civilians. More than 500,000 children died. And they knew it was happening. Genocide? whatever ... unconscionable, immoral and criminal? definitely!
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
54. The proper legal definition is the UN Genocide Convention which the US is party too.
Art. 2. In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
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MaryBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 01:38 AM
Response to Reply #5
75. you are both in error and also correct in part
The key word in your definition is "or":


"the deliberate and systematic extermination of

a national,

racial,

political,

or

cultural

group."






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AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
8. Another theory...
Edited on Sun Jun-03-07 04:36 PM by AntiFascist
I've seen right-wing news sources describe extremist Sunnis and Shiites as representing the "two arms of al Qaeda". By pitting the two major religious groups against one another, resulting in a civil war, it leaves the country wide open for us to exploit the vast oil fields. What about democracy? With all the oil money at stake, I'd like to see one honest politician in Baghdad or Washington DC who has any control over the situation.
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. That depends. By us? No. By others? Yes.
There's no pattern of intent from the US to practice genocide against the Iraqs--only a pattern of ridiculous carelessness and lack of concern over civilian casualties.

What does seem to meet the standard of genocide, though, is the various bombings, kidnappings, and death squads targeting one or another sect of Iraqis. Which of course traces back to our invasion, but can't properly be described as being a US policy.
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StudentsMustUniteNow Donating Member (859 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
10. The Americans are NOT committing genocide
Edited on Sun Jun-03-07 04:47 PM by StudentsMustUniteNow
It is the Iraqi Shi'ite militias who can be considered as genocidal. I think the persecution of Sunni Muslims might be qualified as genocide.

Anyone agree?

EDIT: Actually we should call them "paramilitaries" rather than militias.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 06:08 AM
Response to Reply #10
27. Well yeah except for the whole bombing the shit out the country and the sanctions...
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gravity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. We weren't targeting civilians
Collateral damage is bad in it's own respects, but it's not the same thing as genocide.
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endarkenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #29
46. Really, so when you bomb the crap out of a city
and lay waste its non-military infrastructure that is 'not targeting civilians'?

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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #29
48. American's love to tell that little white lie.
The truth is that when you bomb water and power facilities you affect the whole population. Not to mention non-military bridges...
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #48
51. Most People, Sir, Hearing The Phrase 'Targetting Civilians'
Take the meaning as fire or bombardment directed at non-combatants, with the sole intent of killing them by the immediate effect of the weapons employed. That did not occur; it was no part of the targetting employed in the invasion of Iraq.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. I agree with what you post about 90% of the time, but the semantic argument falls flat.
Edited on Mon Jun-04-07 10:12 PM by ellisonz
It's rather impossible for an invading army, and especially our non-peacekeeping trained, kick the door down and tie them all up, army to not target civilians to an extent. Fine, we don't target them, we just drop so many bombs that its impossible not to have "collateral damage."

"Shock and awe" = Overkill.

We dramatically overestimated the strength of the regime, Anthony Zinni has said that during Desert Fox we hit just about everything there was to hit and the regime nearly collapsed, there were no more security forces in the street.

Recent news release: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/16/iraq13022.htm

All too often civilians pay with their lives when American bombs fall in Iraq, said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. The U.S. military has in the past launched decapitation strikes aimed at top leaders but based on bad intelligence, and also used cluster munitions in populated areas of Iraq.

Heavy reliance on ground-launched cluster munitions and on questionable intelligence to guide air strikes caused hundreds of unnecessary civilian casualties during the 2003 assault on Iraq, Human Rights Watch said. In a comprehensive 147-page report analyzing the 2003 U.S.-led bombing campaign in Iraq, Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq, Human Rights Watch found that U.S. forces could have prevented hundreds of civilian casualties by abandoning two faulty military tactics the use of cluster munitions and heavy reliance on decapitation strikes designed to kill Iraqi military and political leaders.

During the 2003 air war in Iraq, U.S. and British forces used as many as 13,000 cluster bombs, containing nearly 2 million sub-munitions, which killed or wounded more than 1,000 civilians. The Human Rights Watch study, published in December 2003, found that the use of cluster munitions in populated areas caused more civilian casualties than any other factor in the coalitions conduct of major military operations at that stage of the conflict.

The U.S. military also carried out more than 50 decapitation strikes on suspected hideouts of top Iraqi leaders during the 2003 air war, but failed to kill a single one of its intended targets, the study concluded. The U.S. decapitation strategy relied on intercepts of senior Iraqi leaders satellite phone calls along with corroborating intelligence that proved inadequate.

Full Report from December 2003: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/usa1203 /

Ironically, this is probably one of the biggest complaints you will hear from the Iraqis themselves. We need to reign in our military leadership.

For good measure, the United Nations Convention on Genocide defines the term as such:

Art. 2. In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

"Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near."

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/2003031...



THIS WHOLE WAR IS A COVER-UP
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #53
59. We Killed A Number Of Civilians, Sir
That is not in question. What is in question, and defines any act of violence as criminal, is the intent with which those acts that killed non-combatants were carried out. In warfare, to conduct an operation for the purpose of killing none combatants is criminal; to kill non-combatants in the course of engaging military targets, or targets useful to military as well as civilian functions, is criminal only if no reasonable attempts are made to minimize non-combatant casualties, and if the direct military benefit is not sufficient to outweigh likely non-combatant casualties. No operations of the first sort were carried out, and operations of the second and third sort that were carried out mostly seem to have fallen within the rules. Human Rights Watch necessarily takes an extreme view of the applicable standards, and it is not one that the admittedly scanty body of court rulings on the subject aligns with.

Your presentation of the genocide definition fails to bold the most important element, which is 'with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part': the individual items that you bold are not things the law takes as signifying genocide, but examples of the things that it can be expected will be engaged in in furtherance of the intent to exterminate. The law does not mean that, for example, killing members of a group, establishes that genocide, the determination to destroy the group entirely, is occuring. The International Criminal Court has, in fact, ruled explicitly recently, in a major case involving Serbia and Bosnia, that even an extensive pattern of atrocious and murderous conduct is not sufficient in and of itself to establish the requisite intent for the crime of genocide.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 01:07 AM
Response to Reply #59
70. Intentionally indifferent.
I mean, how can you possible defend the use of cluster munitions in urban areas when the evidence is damning that they are indiscriminate weapons. We might as well have burned down Baghdad. Moreover, as the Abu Ghraib scandal (an enormous facility) has demonstrated we are often indiscriminate in who we detain and then torture. Why is it so hard to believe in light of Vietnam that numerous atrocities have occurred that will never see the light of day? At what point is the indifference of command and control to the actions of their soldiers constitute intent? One colonel in Iraq gave a dagger to his troops after their first kill. It is not hard to believe that in Iraq violence against civilians is often ignored or covered up. Furthermore, American civil law and "international law" are two very different things in regards to what constitutes intent (the was just following orders defense often does not apply). Moreover, the USA is not party to the ICC, and frankly, the ICC is wrong its judgment and if that was indeed the decision I think it is better the United States refrain from signing onto another paper tiger international institution. It is no small irony that the standards we would apply today are weaker than those which we applied to the Nazis at Nuremburg.

1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace
2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
3. War crimes
4. Crimes against humanity

We are clearly guilty on the first 2 counts, the 3rd is very likely, and the 4th is in the eye of the beholder. Methinks you don't give the HRW enough credit because you don't want to believe. The United States ought to stop using cluster bombs in urban areas, period. America, the hypocritical!
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 02:00 AM
Response to Reply #70
77. Abu Graib is A Seperate Matter, Sir
There is no question U.S. treatment of prisoners, in Iraq and elsewhere, including Guantanamo, is a grave violation of the Geneva Accords, and deserves criminal prosecution in an international tribunal, if not tended to by our courts, both military and civil. But again, the question here is not whether U.S. forces have in some instances committed breaches of the Geneva Accords, or even whether the U.S. government under the current administration has done so, but whether the crime of genocide is being committed in Iraq by the United States. The crime of genocide most emphatically is not being committed in Iraq by the United States. Nor was the conduct of U.S. military forces in the period of the invasion of Iraq beyond the general pattern of conduct customary to armed forces at war.

The ruling of the International Criminal Court was the right ruling, and in accordance with the evidence before it, and the statutes to be applied. It is possible evidence exists establishing firmly the charge that the Bosnian Serb forces were agents of the Serbian government, sufficiently to warrant holding that state responsible for the latter's acts of genocide, but it was not available to the court. It is right and proper to apply the strictest definitions to so grave a charge as genocide, rightly regarded as the highest crime conceivable. To do less converts it into mere political show and rhetorical bludgeoning, that will do nothing but dilute and debase the out-rage it properely rouses in human hearts.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 05:27 AM
Response to Reply #77
79. Abu Ghraib is not a separate matter.
Saying Abu Ghraib is a separate matter would be like saying Gestapo prisons are a separate matter from the death camps. The fact of the matter is that this administration has systematized torture in secretive prisons around the globe with no review process and has willfully ignored basic standards of the Geneva conventions in regards to prisoners in Iraq. Moreover, the concept of a "customary" standard of conduct by armed forces in war is hogwash, no such custom exists. By your logic the use of chemical and biological weapons, given that they have been used frequently in the past, does not constitute an illegal act. The fact of the matter is that our government has committed enough separate acts in Iraq from the rise of Saddam on wards that if the term genocide is not applied it becomes hollow.

I would again point out that neither the United States nor Iraq are party to the ICC and that both states are not party to the various relevant United Nations Conventions. Thus the relevant international body is not the ICC but the ICJ. Should the United Nations choose to pursue the matter it would likely establish a special tribunal ala Rwanda, "Yugoslavia," and Nuremberg. The ICC definition is incredibly weak and requires no standard of systematization because the United Nations correctly realizes that genocide is often the fruit of the indifference of the heads of state to the actions of its agents. I would also point out that the decision I believe you are referring too was not in the ICC but in the ICJ (see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6399319.stm ).

Frankly, Rosalyn Higgins should be ashamed of herself because her decision is incoherent and contradicts the caseload of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. i.e. the special tribunal. Over one hundred individuals have already been convicted for their crimes, including the charge of genocide. Methinks the ICC is playing politics with genocide in the name of getting as many countries as possible to sign onto their "project." Frankly, I hope the United States doesn't sign onto the ICC because it is just another League of Nations, to weak to survive, much less do its job. The key difference as it would appear to me is that the Genocide Convention does not have the systematization requirement that the ICC does. I really hope we do not sign onto the ICC because ICJ and the special tribunals have been shown to be effective.

I really should write a book entitled "The Varieties of Genocidal Experience." :sarcasm:

I will again compare the two differing operative definitions of genocide for DU in general:

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide

"Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide. "

For the definitions (rather lengthy) in the Rome statue see: http://www.un.org/law/icc/statute/99_corr/2.htm

Additional Relevant Statues:

Article 25
Individual criminal responsibility

(e) In respect of the crime of genocide, directly and publicly incites others to commit genocide;

(f) Attempts to commit such a crime by taking action that commences its execution by means of a substantial step, but the crime does not occur because of circumstances independent of the person's intentions. However, a person who abandons the effort to commit the crime or otherwise prevents the completion of the crime shall not be liable for punishment under this Statute for the attempt to commit that crime if that person completely and voluntarily gave up the criminal purpose.

Article 28
Responsibility of commanders and other superiors

In addition to other grounds of criminal responsibility under this Statute for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court:

(a) A military commander or person effectively acting as a military commander shall be criminally responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed by forces under his or her effective command and control, or effective authority and control as the case may be, as a result of his or her failure to exercise control properly over such forces, where:

(i) That military commander or person either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit such crimes; and

(ii) That military commander or person failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.

(b) With respect to superior and subordinate relationships not described in paragraph (a), a superior shall be criminally responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed by subordinates under his or her effective authority and control, as a result of his or her failure to exercise control properly over such subordinates, where:

(i) The superior either knew, or consciously disregarded information which clearly indicated, that the subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes;

(ii) The crimes concerned activities that were within the effective responsibility and control of the superior; and

(iii) The superior failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.

The American Exceptionalism in this thread is astonishing.
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calteacherguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
12. Nothing even approaching the level of genocide. Silly question.
Worse, this poll demeans the horror of the term. :thumbsdown:
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #12
31. Its tough to buy the 'silly question' notion when the discussion is so clearly passionate
And how does the question demean the horror of genocide?

Whether or not this is genocide, the numbers are significant. Yes, it is true that no one knows the exact numbers and the estimates vary quite widely. All that said, even at the low end the numbers of dead are horrendous.
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endarkenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #12
41. What percentage of Iraqis have to be killed/maimed/displaced
before the question is not 'demeaning'?
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #41
55. As a Jew and a descendant of Holocaust survivors...
I second that question.
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Colobo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 05:32 PM
Response to Original message
14. Civil War, not Genocide.
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endarkenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #14
44. Well that theory raises an interesting question.
How do you know that the Iraqi deaths are primarily from the sectarian violence?

Our military only grudgingly reveals our own casualty figures and makes no attempt at all to report on the number of Iraqis that it is killing. So when you simply state "civil war, not genocide", ignoring the other issue of why one excludes the other, I want to know what actual facts you base your position on.
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Totally Committed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
15. Women and children, men who are not in the Iraqi army, are dying because we chose to invade
Edited on Sun Jun-03-07 05:53 PM by Totally Committed
their country on a lie for their oil. We threw out the Geneva Conventions in favor of torture on these people. Abu Graihb. Guantanamo. Rendition.

Our soldiers are still there in the thousands dying every day because we started a civil war over a lie for that country's oil. Returning veterans cannot get the care they need from the VA. Soldiers there cannot get the body armor they need. Brain injuries and amputations are at a record-high for our men and women in our armed forces.

It most certainly IS genocide. And if it isn't it should be. Or maybe we need a word just for this war, but this war and all the atrocities it has created are crimes against humanity, for sure.

TC
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Mark_Pogue Donating Member (274 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
17. Imperialistic genocide!!
:(
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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
18. Doesn't fit the definition of genocide
"the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group."

genocide
1944, apparently coined by Polish-born U.S. jurist Raphael Lemkin in his work "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe" , in reference to Nazi extermination of Jews, lit. "killing a tribe," from Gk. genos "race, kind" (see genus) + -cide, from L. -cidere "kill," comb. form of caedere "to cut, kill"
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endarkenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #18
42. How many years of our ongoing slaughter qualify it as deliberate?
Please clarify.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #42
52. You Are Overlooking The Element Of Intent, Sir, And Also Of Agency
The intention to exterminate is the key element in a genocide charge. It was clearly present in the Hitlerite crimes, and has been established legally in more recent years in Rwanda and in Bosnia, where the stated intent of the killers was indeed the extermination of a hated ethnic group, and that intention was backed by systematic and deliberate and murderous action towards the stated end. You would be wholly unable to prove any exterminationist purpose in the actions of the United states in Iraq, though you might be able to prove such intent existed in bodies of the Salafist jihadis, towards the Shia there, and possibly in the case of some Shia militia bodies towards Iraqi Sunnis. The International Criminal Court has ruled that absent proof of this motive, not even a prolonged regime of murderous atrocity meets the legal standard for genocide.

Further, the killing, even killing with an exterminationist motive, must be done by parties that are direct agents of the state charged with the crime, again according to recent rulings of the International Criminal Court, when it ruled that Serbia was not guilty of genocide in Bosnia, because the Bosnian Serb bodies that carried out genocidal killings were not agents of the Serbian state. The greatest proportion of the killing in Iraq today is being carried out by various bodies of Iraqis, and Salafist jihadis, who are by no conceivable construction agents of the United States, but rather the declared enemies of the United States.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #52
56. The legal definition:
Article 2
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

* (a) Killing members of the group;
* (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
* (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
* (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
* (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article 3
The following acts shall be punishable:

* (a) Genocide;
* (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
* (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
* (d) Attempt to commit genocide;
* (e) Complicity in genocide.

http://www.hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #56
60. You Mis-Read The Statute, Sir
The International Criminal Court has not done so. You continue to ommit the element of intent, without which the acts listed do not constitute genocide. Nor does the committal of some of these acts establish genocide is occuring. Any act of war kills members of the group with which hostile relations exist, and causes serious bodily harm and mental distress to other members of it, and frequently inflicts on it conditions that could well lead to its destruction if the war should persist long enough. Buit war is not genocide, and no judge in a war crimes tribunal woiuld rule that it was. You might as well argue that the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq makes the U.S. the victim of genocide at the hands of various Iraqi and jihadi militia bodies, or that the attacks of 2001 were genocide: these things, after all, kill or killed some members of a recognizeable national group, and inflicted serious bodily harm and mental distress on other members of it. Indeed, you could even argue that the killing of a single person, if they are a member of a recognizeable national, etc., group, constitutes the crime of genocide, on the line you are pressing.

"They say war is an art, but it's not. It mostly consists in outwitting people, robbing widows and orphans, and inflicting suffering on the helpless for one's own ends, and that's not art: that's business."
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 01:14 AM
Response to Reply #60
71. Quick.
1. The ICC is irrelevant in this case because neither Iraq nor the US is party.
2. Intent is debatable. Moreover, since this is clearly a war of aggression the United States is responsible for its "collateral damage."
3. Genocide is a state crime.

Again, clearly the intent of George W. Bush was to wage a war of aggression with a profound degree of indifference to both international law and human rights.

"The victor will always be the judge, and the vanquished the accused." - Goering
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 02:15 AM
Response to Reply #71
78. The International Criminal Court, Sir
Is most relevant to the interpretation of international law, and its precedents will be followed by jurists throughout the world. The question of intent, and definition of 'or in part', has been dealt with by the special tribunals set up by the United Nations for dealing with crimes including genocide in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, which have built up quite a body of precendential decisions on those questions. Small scale instances in which genocide was charged against individual killers have not resulted in convictions for that crime, though convictions on other grounds have ensued in such instances. Convictions of genocide have resulted from mass killings of persons in custody of their killers; they have not resulted from things like the bombardment of towns, however massively lethal, in the course of battle and seige, though such things have resulted in conviction on other charges. In Yugoslavia and Rwanda it was abundantly established from official statements that the purpose of extermination was in view by leading parties in control of armed killers they set to the task.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 05:38 AM
Response to Reply #78
81. Let's look at the whole picture.
"When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck." - Richard C. Cushing.

I would note that no two cases of genocide are alike and that it is an acknowledged legal fact that precedent does have its limits. Perhaps one of the reasons that "genocide" has been such a persistent problem is that so many in the West take on a hyperlegalized definition of what is and what is not genocide. Moreover, that hyperlegalization and the conservative approach to not be bold in action has resulted in several bloodbaths already in the 21st century. We must do better.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
19. I'd say it's imperialism with genocidal leanings. nt
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AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 04:00 AM
Response to Reply #19
25. Straight to the point
I always viewed the first Gulf War as a supreme demonstration of American bombing capability. The threat of extermination was there, but mainly to convey the message that Saddam had better play well with America and not attack our friends (oil partners - Kuwait). The ensuing sanctions also conveyed the message that the US was not messing around and oil took priority over 1 million Iraqi lives: again with the threat of extermination. With the food-for-oil program the regime slipped further into corruption. The ultimate sin was that ultimately the vast oil fields were left underdeveloped and in disrepair, resulting in the invasion and occupation and continuing death and destruction.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #25
30. I viewed the first Gulf War
as an ad for American bombs.

I will second all you wrote, and add a cultural element: many of the war's supporters THINK that we are at war with Arabs and/or Muslims in general. That's the logic of "fight them over there." Fortunately, the tide has turned against this attitude, for the most part, I think. But there was a moment in 2003 or '04 when turning it into a race war would have been like flipping a switch (until the international repercussions set in).
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
20. No, Sir, It Is Not
It certainly would not meet the legal definition employed by the International Criminal Court recently in judging charges brought against Serbia over masacres in Bosnia.

It is important to remember that the greatest proportion of the killing in Iraq has been done by Iraqis against other Iraqis. Much of this does meet legal standards for attempted ethnic cleansing.
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 10:42 PM
Response to Original message
23. Our sanctions killed many children and now our war
is killing 1 out of 8 under the age of 5. You be the judge.
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Auntie Bush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
24. I voted no it isn't genocide. We're responsible for killing an awful lot of Iraqi
but genocide is trying to wipe out a whole field of people (like ethnic cleansing) and we're not trying to wipe out anyone in particular.
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arewenotdemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 04:11 AM
Response to Original message
26. To those who said "No"
Edited on Mon Jun-04-07 04:13 AM by arewenotdemo
You might answer differently if it was happening to you and yours.

I imagine the 3 million Vietnamese killed by the United States weren't victims of genocide, either.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 06:10 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. Naw, man it's all collateral damage...haven't you seen the movie?
I love the smell of napalm in the morning :sarcasm:
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jmp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #26
37. ...
I love the "if it was happening to you" angle. If it was happening to you, you would obviously not be objective and rational, would you? :eyes:

It's that same lack of reason after 9/11 ... when it was "happening to us" ... that led 80% of Americans to support the invasion of Iraq.

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GreenArrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 11:56 AM
Response to Original message
33. oldie but goodie
Edited on Mon Jun-04-07 11:57 AM by GreenArrow
Allies Deliberately Poisoned Iraq Public Water Supply In Gulf War
The Sunday Herald (Scotland), Sunday 17 September 2000
The US-led allied forces deliberately destroyed Iraq's water supply during the Gulf War - flagrantly breaking the Geneva Convention and causing thousands of civilian deaths. Since the war ended in 1991 the allied nations have made sure that any attempts to make contaminated water safe have been thwarted.

A respected American professor now intends to convene expert hearings in a bid to pursue criminal indictments under international law against those responsible.

Professor Thomas J Nagy, Professor of Expert Systems at George Washington University with a doctoral fellowship in public health, told the Sunday Herald: Those who saw nothing wrong in producing , those who ordered its production and those who knew about it and have remained silent for 10 years would seem to be in violation of Federal Statute and perhaps have even conspired to commit genocide.

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/27c/063.html

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jmp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
35. ...
Looks like at least 40 individuals here have lost their minds and all sense of perspective. There is ethnic cleansing going on in parts of Iraq, but US forces have absolutely nothing to do with it.

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jmp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. btw
It's nonsense like this that gets the "left" labeled the loony left and anti-American. At times this place sounds like a socialist den. Soviet socialist ... not not socialist democrat.

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JeffR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
38. Doesn't matter a damn whether the g-word is invoked or not
Either way, what we have done there and what we have set in motion is illegal, immoral, obscene and a crime against humanity.

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maxsolomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
39. Other - Genocide by Indifference
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endarkenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
40. "Collateral Damage" is not an excuse.
The slaughter and displacement of the Iraqi people is a crime against humanity and is on the scale of genocide. Years into the slaughter "but they didn't mean to kill all these people" is simply not a defense.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
45. Ten years of sanctions and depleted uranium was genocide
even before the second invasion began.
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
47. yes, this was all pre-mediated by this regime we have
to go into Iraq under false pretenses, it should be no surprise to no one that the * regime has no conscious or no remorse what they do to others.
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bamacrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
49. Its not because that is not our intention.
We just dont give a damn that 600,000 + iraqis have been killed. But I can understand the argument of the people who say that is.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #49
57. What is our intention?
How do you know what George W. Bush intends? The man is clearly depraved and a liar.
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mvd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #57
65. While genocide is not our intention..
if we stay in a civil war, we are bound to have to take sides. And there's where it could get iffy..
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pretty_lies Donating Member (155 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 04:36 PM
Response to Original message
50. Yes And No
Yes, because the war was launched with some degree of genocidal intent by the American people.

Admit it. The rationale for 100 million Americans was "let's go and kill a lot of Arabs". There was 72% support at the time. That's what they really wanted, deep down.

And no, because that hasn't, in practise, happened.

The US has been extraordinarily brutal in attempting to occupy the country, but killing people for the sake of killing them hasn't, by and large, happened.

However you see it, we've killed, or caused the death of, about a million people and make 4 million homeless. So far.

I feel very angry and ashamed, as do many.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #50
58. Welcome to DU!
In the real world this vote would be something like 98-2 in favor of it not being genocide, which just goes to show how sick American society has become, and frankly has always been.
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pretty_lies Donating Member (155 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #58
61. Thank You
I appreciate the welcome.
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mvd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
62. It is a terribly immoral occupation, and illegal
Not quite genocide, but it's closer than people might think. Remember, it was the Sunnis who were in power when Saddam was dictator. The Sunni minority is now the main opposition to our occupation, so it is in a way killing a group to further our power grab. Our supposed enemy in Iraq is "the terrorists" or "those opposed to Iraq Democracy," but really we just bully anyone who dares to challenge our invasion.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. Regarding the Sunni, Sir
It rather depends on where in the country you speak of. The Anwar Salvation group is a serious armed force based on a coalition of Sunni tribes, co-operating with the U.S., and engaged in bitter combat with the foreign jihadis, who managed to kill a few too many local tribal noteables in their attempt to bend the population there to co-operation with their presence. It is at this point a more reliable force, from a U.S. point of view, than any Shia unit in Baghdad or points south. It is not possible to sustain a charge the U.S. is engaged in any attempt to destroy the Sunni Arabs of Iraq; the facts simply do not suppport it.
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mvd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #63
64. If the Sunnis oppose us..
Edited on Mon Jun-04-07 11:57 PM by mvd
then our mission will be to kill anyone who gets in our way. There's no way you can say there isn't a major Sunni opposition. Considering there's a civil war, this factor is magnified. It is too close for comfort.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 12:14 AM
Response to Reply #64
66. Many In Anwar Support Us, Sir, At Least For Now
And it is the predominant Sunni Arab province. The degree of split and faction and cross-purpose and double-dealing present makes most any flat statement hazardous. It is true that most armed attacks on U.S. troops are carried out by Sunnis. It is also true that a great number of Sunnis, even in areas where these attacks occur, consider U.S. troops a protection against Shia militia gunmen. It is also true that the most reliable 'native' forces currently co-operating with U.S. troops are Sunni. Doubtless a number of the tribal leaders behind this force are co-operating in the hope of establishing a formed force of their own for protection against the Shia they know will come to kill them when the U.S. leaves the place. Certainly a great many of the Shia militiamen would be happy to attack U.S. troops, and are restrained from doing so only because of the calculation of their leaders that it wouod be a poor strategic course.
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mvd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #66
67. But it's a civil war
Edited on Tue Jun-05-07 12:22 AM by mvd
That makes it a lot less clear than you are saying. There IS no real Sunni leadership. The fact still is is that most of the Sunnis want us out, and the militias are a result of that. Unless we get out, we will be even more involved in the cycle of the groups killing each other.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #67
68. Of Course It is Civil War, Sir
Those are pretty messy things, especially in a society where the tribe is still a leading social unit. Each tribe has a sheik, and there are hundreds throughout Iraq, both Shia and Sunni, and there are tribes that are mixed in religious allegiance. A sheik can rely on being obey, providing he is careful to seldom tell people to do something they do not want to do. Tribes have traditional allainces and enmities, relations and estrangements. Each has long calculated what is to its own local advantage as the guiding principle for its actions. The fact is that in some areas, many tribal leaders see co-operation with the U.S. as to the best interests of their tribe. It is also a fact that an increasing proportion of Sunni Arabs understand what many Shia Arabs intend for them when the withdrawl of the U.S. gives them full freedom of action. Only a very small proportion of the Sunni Arab populace is actively engaged in resistance to the U.S. occupation or in attacks on the Shia Arabs: it does not take any great number of people to carry out the sort of actions being pressed. The attitude of the broad mass of the Sunni Arab population to these fighters is closer to acquiesence than support: it is dangerous not to co-operate, in the sense of maintaining silence and looking the other way, and unthinkably dangerous to defy by co-operating with the occupier, and impossible to 'co-operate' with the Shia Arab militias who intend the killing off of Sunni Arabs.
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mvd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 12:41 AM
Response to Reply #68
69. You make some good points, but a lot of mine stand
Edited on Tue Jun-05-07 12:47 AM by mvd
The war is worsening, not getting better, and Sunnis still are mostly opposed, even if not to the level of what the militants do. The longer we are there, the more it looks like we are playing certain sides over the other. Without a strong leadership, the militias will appear more mainsteam in Iraq.

I have to go to bed soon, so perhaps we can leave it here for now.
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mvd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 01:18 AM
Response to Reply #69
72. Elaborating a bit more
Edited on Tue Jun-05-07 01:24 AM by mvd
In opinion polls, way too many Sunnis for comfort actually approve of the attacks on our armed forces. It seems 30% is the MINIMUM. Pretty disturbing. Also, while Al Qaeda is involved with the militants, so are some Sunnis who are disenfranchised with loss of power. In past wars, we have been against a country, and this isn't like that. The Magistrate and I agree that it is not genocide. But I do have serious concerns about how we've gotten involved in a country that was to become a powderkeg if Saddam was removed. We are indirectly and sometimes even directly contributing to the killing.

Night, and a good discussion.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 01:37 AM
Response to Reply #69
74. Just A Few Small Further Points, Sir
We are playing sides: no one doubts it. But there are more than two sides, and we do not always play the same sides. And of course, the various sides play us as well, and not always in the same way.

One example would be Mr. al'Sadr's Mahdi Army. It is a Shia Arab force, and devotedly hostile to the United States. It is also the principle armed prop of Malaki, the Prime Minister of our puppet government. A great proportion of the 'surge' operations in Baghdad are aimed at curbing the activities of this Shia force, which does not often attack U.S. forces unless these intrude into its neighborhoods, but rather engages in murder of Sunni Arabs, to drive them out of mixed neighborhoods and to retaliate for attacks by Salafist jihadis, and Sunni Arab bombers, against Shia Arabs, as well as killing Shia Arabs believed to be collaborating with U.S. forces. It does these things with the support and co-operation of the Iraqi police agencies we have created and maintain as part of our puppet government.

Another example is the Anwar Salvationists. This is a Sunni Arab force, formed in reaction to the presence of Salafist jihadis, mostly foreign but some native, who badly over-played their hand in carrying out attacks in the province against U.S. forces, through being too heavy-handed in recruitment and enforcing demands for co-operation on local leaders. Its basic motive is self-protection, given especial edge by a cultural disinclination to 'outsiders'. It does not enjoy the support of all Sunni Arab tribes in the province, and so there, there are elements of civil war among the Sunni Arabs themselves. The Salvationists are particularly vigilant and effective against the foreign Salafist jihadis, and have largely hamstrung their operations in the provinvce. This is, of course, the price for weapons and training, as a 'governmment' force, from the U.S. garrison. They are, however, wholly hostile to the Shia-led government in Baghdad, and not even particularly close to its Sunni Arab token officials. It is quite possible that one motive for the force's existence is to prepare a trained and well-equipped body to press a seccession campaign when the time comes ripe, and that the foreign elements it attacks are simply a sacrifice towards this long term end, in the view of its leaders and soldiery.

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mvd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #74
82. Yes there are exceptions, but you did admit we are..
Edited on Tue Jun-05-07 03:04 PM by mvd
playing sides, and too often the same side. Instead of trying to find solutions to the civil war, we insist on on using whomever we can to further the power grab, and the Sunnis most often get the short end.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #62
73. Let's not forget our betrayal of the Kurds and Shia in 1992.
Moreover,

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MaryBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 01:49 AM
Response to Original message
76. An example of genocide
is the bounty placed on Native Americans in California during the 19th Century.

This discussion of genocide as relevant to what Bush is doing in Iraq is a case where definitions and use of language is important.

Most here seem to agree the situation is terrible.

However, it is not genocide.

Now, if he rewarded individual soldiers on a head-count basis regardless of age or gender.

That would be genocide.

Do we have evidence of that?

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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 05:30 AM
Response to Original message
80. I'd say *almost there*
Anyone remember in Braveheart where King Edward says "The problem with Scotland is that it's full of Scots!"? Seems to me that is a guiding principle in this current massacre.

Julie
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