Preemptive Admission of War Crimes
November 27, 2001
Saying boldly something that can land you in prison should
be the ultimate whopper, but in times like this, even this
seems somewhat lacking.
To summarize, and to not bore the reader, Rumsfeld basically
said that not only was the US not equipped to accept surrender
of any Taliban or Al Qaeda forces, but that it was disinclined
to seek or accept surrender, period, and would not approve
of the Northern Alliance taking the surrender of any foreign
Taliban-allied troops, or of the leader of the Taliban. Also,
the US would not accept any surrender except to the Northern
Alliance... which in turn has stated its clear intention to
murder, in cold blood, every last non-Afghan in the remaining
two cities under enemy control. The term "take no quarter"
has also been used.
This stated intent to massacre is in direct, open, glaring,
and grievous violation of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions,
which define the rights accrued to combatants which are a)
armed civilians, or b) uniformed soldiers of foreign nations.
There were no loopholes written into these definitions. By
either, the Al Qaeda and 'foreign' Taliban (when almost all
Afghans themselves are splinter groups of foreign ethnicities)
qualify under protection against the refusal of surrender.
The order to take no prisoners may sound good, but it is absolutely
illegal and is punishable as a crime of war.
Rumsfeld has preemptively admitted guilt by stating his clear
intentions, and by placing the prestige of the United States
behind the murderers and butchers of the Northern Alliance.
(This claim cannot be fairly disputed given the NA's past
record in Afghanistan, let alone by their firm declarations
that they mean to cleanse Afghanistan of all foreign Taliban
troops. Not that they like foreign American or British forces
much either.) By his words, he has put not only himself, but
the international sanctity of the principle of surrender,
in grievous jeopardy.
Why isn't this a whopper? I'm starting to wonder. Certainly,
the media has virtually ignored his statements. I can understand
jingoism, but not utter blindness.
When did we start taking pride in reducing ourselves to the
level of those whom we consider to be, more or less, barbarians?
Well, perhaps I shouldn't delve into that question too much.
It might be too disturbing. Then again, why isn't the media
touching upon the disturbing?
I suppose the simple reason for that is that the media has
had it with being hated. This generation of journalists has
simply had enough. They want to be liked. They don't want
to be despised anymore. They don't want the ire of the public
for telling it things it does not want to know. They prefer
the OJ-ization of America, given that they are blamed as outright
traitors when they present anything that is not consistent
with the truth, which can be defined as whatever Bush tells
us, whatever we "know" is true, and whatever we know ought
to be true and care not to find out is not.
We're rather deep into our Roman-ization of conflict. I'm
watching the Lions-Packers game out of the corner of my eye,
with odes to soldiers having appeared once already. "They're
the real heroes," we're told, in between our colliseum-like
games for the masses. Our task is to be entertained, massaged,
and then told to shut up for the glory of the Empire. If you
question this, you are a traitor and you will a) not be listened
to, b) reviled publicly and privately until you surrender.
As I watch Favre get sacked and fumbling for a TD for the
underdogs, I ask, are we really acting like we care? I mean,
sure, we SAY that we hold soldiers to be the real heroes,
but what do we really know? We know that a football player
has a better chance of dying in training camp than a soldier
does of dying in war, if you crunch the numbers down far enough
and account for that there's a lot more soldiers than football
players. Officially we only have two casualties. Our Secretary
of Defense told us afterwards that "This is the last time
that I am telling the truth to you." (Obviously, he lied.
He told us the bold truth about his plan to insure the physical
eradication of Al Qaeda's fighters even if they do surrender.)
We have not had confirmed casualties of any kind since. In
fact, allegations are flying that there were casualties in
Kosovo, but that they were never disclosed... and the public,
basically, likes it, demands it, and insists upon not being
told bad news. So I ask: If a football player has a better
chance of dying, officially if perhaps a closer call unofficially,
where is the heroism?
My point is not that these soldiers are not prepared to die
for their country. They are. However, their military leadership
are deathly afraid of them having to die for their country.
As long as their casualties are not in combat, such as at
the Khobar Towers, and the attack on the USS Cole, the military
leadership is secure from criticism. However, if even a single
American is confirmed to have died from a sniper, women and
children beat down the doors of Congress and ask, "Why!?"
The bigger whopper is what is not being said, not what is.
The bigger whopper is that we've come to accept this state
of affairs, and are too stupid and uneducated to understand
why it is wrong.
The biggest is that the vast majority of those who understand
what the Geneva Conventions are, and what they say, just don't
So who are the barbarians now? Are they those who don't know
better, or who do, and choose not to care?
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