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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

War crime in Iraq and the hunt for the guilty 


The current issue (sub. req.) of Foreign Affairs, on newsstands today, has an article by Colin H. Kahl, assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. Professor Kahl addresses the question of American respect for the immunity of noncombatants in Iraq:

And yet, despite some dark spots on its record, the U.S. military has done a better job of respecting noncombatant immunity in Iraq than is commonly believed. Over the past year, I have conducted dozens of interviews with commanders, judge advocates, and others who have served in Iraq; investigated operational "lessons learned" during a recent trip to Baghdad; observed the predeployment training of forces; and extensively reviewed unclassified Pentagon documents, official and unofficial histories, troops' memoirs and blogs, and human rights reports. I have found not only that U.S. compliance with noncombatant immunity in Iraq is relatively high by historical standards but also that it has been improving since the beginning of the war.

I'll write more about Professor Kahl's illuminating article later, but in the meantime consider questions he neither asks nor answers: Who "commonly believes" that the U.S. doesn't respect noncombatant immunity, and why do they harbor that apparently incorrect belief?

Submit your list of suspects in the comments. Leave no stone unturned in your hunt for the guilty. Be sure to include your theory for why Professor Kahl's article has received no publicity in the mainstream media but any pre-election eruption in The Lancet to the contrary is front page news.

11 Comments:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Oct 31, 04:19:00 PM:

Who "commonly believes" that the U.S. doesn't respect noncombatant immunity, and why do they harbor that apparently incorrect belief?

Moonbats and BDS, in that order.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Oct 31, 05:16:00 PM:

The left has been peddling this tripe wholesale since Vietnam. "America in Vietnam", by Guenter Lewy offers an in depth analysis of non-combatants in this confilct and is very well written and documented. His conclusions are interesting and likewise consigned to obscurity. The fact is the left lies with impunity and the mainstream media repeats this propaganda as gospel. Why would anyone care what some lefty medical publication dabbling in politics has to say about anything but its area of competence, perhaps medicine?  

By Blogger irishspy, at Tue Oct 31, 06:07:00 PM:

Who "commonly believes" that the U.S. doesn't respect noncombatant immunity,

Kerry, Murtha, Durbin, Kennedy, & co.?

why do they harbor that apparently incorrect belief?

Because they don't care whom they slander in order to win an election?  

By Anonymous Phrizz11, at Tue Oct 31, 06:23:00 PM:

"The fact is the left lies with impunity and the mainstream media repeats this propaganda as gospel."

So the My Lai Massacre was pure fabrication, eh? As was Abu Ghraib?

TH, your post presupposes that we should find atrocities committed by our own troops somehow as a matter of course. I don't think I'll ever be able to fully support the war in while I still don't have answers to the following questions. 1) Why wasn't the camp commander at Abu Ghraib prosecuted for what happened there, and 2) Why does Rumsfeld still have his job? As an American citizen, it is unacceptable to me to be quiet and go along when my country butchers civilians. If that makes me a traitor, so be it.

Also, I'd really like to know why I should believe the report of this professor when many of his sources (i.e. any active military personnel) have a vested interest in influencing the outcome of his survey.  

By Blogger DEC, at Tue Oct 31, 06:58:00 PM:

"1) Why wasn't the camp commander at Abu Ghraib prosecuted for what happened there?"

For the same reason you wouldn't go to jail if one of your employees decided to mug somebody during working hours without your knowledge.

"2) Why does Rumsfeld still have his job?"

Damn good question.  

By Blogger skipsailing, at Tue Oct 31, 07:46:00 PM:

I thought Hugh Hewitt's interview with that Halperin guy was landmark.

Halperin, who works at ABC news, basically admits that the MSM has pissed away its franchise because of it overt liberal bias.

The fault, dear Phrizz, lies not with the soldiers, but with YOU and the out of control media.

No one has denied the wrong doing that has been proved Phrizz. Here's what I deny:

(1) that actions at abu grahb are typical of the american military.

(2) that the American military indiscriminately kills.


And yes, you are a traitor. But you seem comfy with that so why change now?

As for Rumsfeld, I think he's doing a damned good job. it must suck phrizz to know that your side lacks the majority necessary to unseat Bush during the last presidential election. Too bad, so sad. Get over it and focus on running someone you think can WIN in 08.

Welcome to democracy!  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Tue Oct 31, 08:11:00 PM:

"Be sure to include your theory for why Professor Kahl's article has received no publicity in the mainstream media but any pre-election eruption in The Lancet to the contrary is front page news."

Because the media isn't interested in truth. They're interested in scandal.

"As an American citizen, it is unacceptable to me to be quiet and go along when my country butchers civilians. If that makes me a traitor, so be it."

Using "Abu Ghraib" and "my country butchers civilians" in the same breath is precisely the kind of generalized smear that serves to discredit you.

The military has been accused of all kinds of things. Torture, random killings, organized rape, et cetera. We've had protests at Fort Huachuca (the intel training fort) against programs and policies that don't exist. We used to joke about it. "Hey, when are they going to give us the briefing on building naked pyramids?" "I heard maybe next week. Hoo-ah naked pyramids!"

Trust me. Along with the actual instances of misconduct are loads and loads of lies and bullshit. We have people disciplined who haven't actually done anything wrong because officers are so twitchy about rumors of scandal.

"For the same reason you wouldn't go to jail if one of your employees decided to mug somebody during working hours without your knowledge."

Good analogy.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Tue Oct 31, 10:01:00 PM:

So Phrizz, you going to demand Howard Dean loses his job because union thugs threatened me? And maybe unions should just be made illegal because of that as well.

Same dam' thing.  

By Anonymous Phrizz11, at Wed Nov 01, 01:32:00 PM:

OK AVI, point taken. I did indeed misspeak about Abu Ghraib. Instead of "butchering civilians" I should have said "torturing prisoners." I don't consider either behavior acceptable.

But I do not at all think that the analogy about the muggers is appropriate. It is more like if a certain group of your employees were systematically mugging customers for a period of months and you never found out about it. The fact that you created a work environment where that kind of systematic abuse was possible means that you should be held responsible for it. There needed to be more accountability and supervision at Abu Ghraib and there wasn't. How is this not the camp commander's/Rumsfeld's fault?

I acknowledge the possibility that many of the stories out of Iraq regarding war crimes committed by the armed forces aren't true. But there are incidents, and even some documented cases of systematic abuse - what I don't see from any conservatives is any kind of sense of outrage. You guys just don't seem particularly upset that there are war crimes happening in Iraq; there's no sense of urgency, it's all par for the course. To those of us who didn't want this war in the first place, that matters a great deal.  

By Blogger Chris, at Wed Nov 01, 03:42:00 PM:

Well, since the military is the organization that initiates the investigations, I would guess that they take it seriously.

Funny how the examples of malfeasance always seem to come from Vietnam and Iraq, two wars that are extremely unpopular with people of a certain political bent.  

By Blogger skipsailing, at Wed Nov 01, 03:44:00 PM:

Where to begin with Phrizz:

(1): several people have been tried, convicted and sentenced in the Abu grabanarab scandal. How many military tribunals have been held by our enemies phrizz?

(2) As I recall the commanding officer of this installation was busted to colonel and cashiered.

(3) America worked hard to overcome the issues created by this scandal. but enough is enough.

(4) In an operation the size of the US military it is impossible to trace everything back to "rummy". The breakdown in authority was discovered and dealt with harshly. You just want Rummy's head and any excuse will do.

(5) the implication in this "created a work environment blah blah blah" is that the wrong doers have no culpability. yes there was a failure of command, that's a passive not active situation. Those idiots did what they did because they wanted to, not because the "environment" was "created" for them.

I don't express a "sense of outrage" for a variety of reasons:

(1) That "sense of outrage" phrase is tattered and worn. If you guys could harness the energy you put into your outrage into something construtive the entire world would benefit.

(2) I believe that the US military is at this point entirely too "lawyered up" so stuff like this gets dealt with promptly and correctly without any self induced hysteria on my part.

(3) We owe it to the troops that are currently in harm's way to balance our actions against the potential benefit to the enemy. Again, you guys running around being outraged only serves to give hope to the guys trying to kill my son.

(4) In a discussion with Dan a while back I noted that to the opponents of the war EVERYTHING is a war crime. Sorry, but that's just foolish.

(5) It is my experience that people such as yourself Phrizz can rarely apply their vague notions of right and wrong to real life situations faced by our troops. The RoEs currently in place are, IMHO tilted far to heavily against our warriors, simply to avoid your "war crime" crapola. In otherwords my son's life is at more risk because of your oh so delicate and unclear sensibilities.  

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