Saturday, May 21, 2005

Michael: The War Crimes Tribunal of 2010

The Trial
My Favorite Day-Dream. Click for larger view, and enjoy the Schadenfruedy goodness!

Before going all indignant about the implied war crimes, read this. We are talking about war crimes here.

13 Comments:

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Joel Gaines said...

that's pretty dang funny.

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Yep, though I wouldn't characterize it as 'funny; per se. It more of a 'mot juste' if it weren't a photo. Since it is, perhaps 'photo juste' would be appropos.

The only point at which it fails to align with my little fanatasy is that Richard Perle is missing, as are Gens. Franks, Abazaid, and Sanchez.

 
At 6:48 PM, Blogger Jack Benway said...

I'm disappointed Michael.

You rightly posted regarding Walmart's mistaken use of Nazi book-burning imagery in its (winning) campaign against Flagstaff's anti-Walmart proposition, but now you've borrowed an image of the Nuremberg trial of Nazi war criminals for your own twisted political vision.

 
At 9:33 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I'm sorry you are disappointed, but this is not a misuse of an analogy to Nazism, this is a direct comparison of war crimes to war crimes.

If this war was pretextually justified overt aggression, and I believe it was, there is no difference between the Bush Admin attacking Iraq and the Nazis invasion of Poland, which was similarly based on a pretexual premise of self-defense.

Aggression is a crime. I dearly hope that one day soon those responsible will have their perfidity exposed and punished in a court of law.

 
At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since AGRESSION is a crime, I wonder if you might like to replace some of those "criminals" with life-time aggressors with long track records of opressive violence and having ulimited power to agress. Now that would be a wonderful dream:

Fidel Castro
Kim Jong Il
Hugo Chavez

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Michael said...

An attempted coup in Venezuela, a successful one in Haiti, escallating death and destruction in Colombia under Plan Patriota, a 'regime change' by force in Iraq, sounds pretty well like a 'track record of violence and having an unlimited power to agress' to me. I don't recall any declaration of war against Venzuela or Haiti or Colombia. Do you? If these are your criteria, then Goerge W. Bush certainly belongs on your list.

Though I frankly cannot understand how Chavez is on there, having attacked no one. Perhaps it is his persistent democratic reelection and foiling a coups attempts you object to. I agree. Stupid Venzuelans. What right have they elect someone Bush doesn't like, or to dare keep him in office after we have expressed our distaste?

Nor do I understand why Islam Khodja isn't on there. Why, he just massacred over 700 of his own people for peacefully protesting. Oh, wait. I see, he an ally of the United States. That's why. More specifically, there is a very important military airbase in Kyrgyzistan that we need quite desparately to fight in Iraq. So we only put the murdering bastards who don't host our bases on the list.

Oh, wait... what about Iran? They are criminals with track records and unlimited power to aggress, aren't they? Or are they? And they are building the bomb, aren't they? Or are they? But maybe you're just too lazy to be comprehensive. The Ayatollah Khamenei should certainly be featured on that list. Shouldn't he? Or do we not add religious leaders to that list because of our own Dear Leader's pretensions to spiritual leadership?

You know, your moralizing tone starts to sound quite... umm, hypocritical, when you include democratically elected, if vocal, politicians on your list (Chavez) but not murderous tyrannts who gun down their own people (Khodja) or religious fanatics (Khamenei) leading their people nuclear confrontation. Why don't we just be honest and only include those whom our Dear Leader says we should. Perhaps we should add to the hit list President Chirac of France (becuase he's just difficult), Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey (for embarrassing us by not allowing us to use our bases there to attack Iraq), Abbas of Palestine (for not being sufficiently obsequious), perhaps throw in Lebanon's Michel Aoun (for considering an alliance with Hizbollah to balance Syrian influence)... well, I'm sure you see where I'm going with this litany. Or maybe you don't...

Oh, and next time you comment on my blog, you'll find you get more respect when you are willing to put a name to your opinion, Mr. Anonymous.

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger Michael said...

er, Uzbekistan that is...

 
At 1:22 AM, Blogger Jack Benway said...

Wow, your sophistry has no bounds. You are, however, using faulty induction, confusing war crimes with other lesser violations of international law.

Warfare is not criminal (at least, not in the sense of "war crimes"). War has been an "acceptable" mechanism for political and economic power transfer since hunter-gatherer times. International law frowns on initiating agression, but it does not provide for the prosecution of individuals simply due to that nation's agressive acts.

War crimes are defined in Article 147 of the 4th Geneva Convention and are based almost exclusively on the precedents set during the post-WWII trials of Nazi and Japanese leadership. These are acts committed during ordinary warfare that the framers of the GC found violated the civilized customs of war -- things like deliberately and repeatedly targeting civilians, demonstrable torture of prisoners (generally interpreted as going well beyond humiliating photos and cultural insensitivity to the paper on which their holy books are written), and genocide. Agression is not a war crime (although I'm not defending the initiation of force, just trying to show where your analogy is way out of line).

Your photo equates the actual war crime of slaughtering millions of Jews in death camps to the (perhaps ethically unjustified) liberating assaults by the US on foreign powers.

Or perhaps I've overlooked something. What war crimes have those pictured in your photo committed?

 
At 1:25 AM, Blogger Jack Benway said...

Oops. Agression [sic] may not be a war crime, but it is apparently spelled with 2 Gs.

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger Michael said...

You are right to point out that prosecution of an aggressive war is not defined as a crime by the Geneva Conventions. There is a customary law of nations, however, and preparing and executing an aggressive war is a crime under customary international law. I will anticipate your objection. Murder is a common law crime and wasn't codified in statutory laws of this country and others until fairly recently. Right is right; because it is not written in a treaty or a statue does mean it is not the law.

As to the Geneva violations at issue, you actually gave a fairly good starting list. Torture and murder of prisoners of war by our armed forces, including, but not limited to, the documented sanctioning of the use of tecniques such as menacing and wounding with dogs, waterboarding, psychological and physical stress techniques. The deliberate targeting of unarmed civilians during the "Shock and Awe" bombardment, during routine patrols, at checkpoints, and search and destroy missions according to the first-person accounts of soldiers, and clearly during the bombardment, invasion and destruction of Fallujah in which civilian targets were indiscriminately destroyed and unarmed civilians and humanitarian workers were routinely targeted by soldiers.

Of course, all of this requires full and fair investigation to determine the extent of violations, those guilty, and what are credible allegations and what are not. However, there are only two bodies capable of carrying out such an investigation: Congress and the ICJ. Congress has done nothing, allowing the stink of cover-up and corruption to fester- bringing the confidence of many people (not just liberals) in the government to its lowest point since Vietnam (in which the historical record has proven US leaders did commit war crimes, so I'm not just paranoid, our governmental system is quite capable of tolerating criminality in its ranks). The Administration would never submit to the jurisdiction of the ICJ... they know what would happen. So because the GOP is unable or unwilling to discipline its own, and weed out the criminals from the patriots, all Republicans will be painted with the same bloody brush. And you only perpetuate the problem through facile denials and willful ignorance. You should be outraged that there are war criminals hiding behind your party's once proud name.

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger Michael said...

umm.. that should read "doesn't mean it's not the law." up in the first paragraph previous. And I'll admit that, as a lawyer, it is clearly my job that my sophistry should have no bounds. However, this is not my job, and here I only say what I believe to be true.

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger Jack Benway said...

The administration will not submit to the ICJ because world opinion is skewed radically against the US. The skew has nothing to do with the actual facts of US behavior, and everything to do with a resentment for US success, economic influence, and prosperity, fueled by anti-globalish dogma. The notion of a jury of peers has absolutely no meaning in the context of the ICJ.

As far as your allegations of war crimes, there's a difference between the deliberate targeting of civilians, and collateral citizen casualties. The status of "prisoners of war" is open to debate due to the vagueness of the international code and the clever arguments of DoJ lawyers in differentiating between prisoners and enemy combatants (cf, sophistry comments in earlier posts).

We're governed by a body of elected criminals, on both sides of the aisle. I suspect the same criminality and lack of ethics is prevalent in the ICJ, the UN, and generally anywhere power is concentrated. I am not niave enough to deny that war crimes may have been perpetrated by our leadership. As you state, it requires investigation. That being the case, I suspect Congress may be more willing to investigate if substantial and credible evidence is brought out from sources other than those with an axe to grind. Expecting credibility and evidence hardly constitutes "facile denials and willful ignorance."

As for my party's once proud name, there are no independent, small L libertarians among the ranks of federal elected officials, unless you count Ron Paul, who is still Republican by affiliation. If there were a significant number, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

 
At 11:31 PM, Blogger Michael said...

OK then. We agree on at least this much. Congress is dilitory in investigating such evidence of criminality that exists. Sorry for calling you Republican. I know it's not a nice thing to say about someone unless you have good evidence.

 

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