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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Warriors and wusses

Joel Stein, LA Times, January 24:

"I don’t support our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

"I'm sure I'd like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you're wandering into a recruiter's office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.

"I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I'm tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

"But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

"And sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, you get to just hang out in Germany.

"I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

"Seriously, the traffic is insufferable."

127 Comments:

Blogger violet said...

And here's an interview conducted by Hugh Hewitt with the idiot columnist in question, Joel Stein:

HH: Let me ask you a tough question, Joel, because this is the toughest one. J.P. Blecksmith was a young Marine lieutenant, graduated from Annapolis, killed in Fallujah on November 11th, 2004. Just a tremendous human being and man. If you meet his parents on the street, what do you say to them?

JS: That I'm so, so sorry.

HH: Do you honor the service that their son did?

JS: To honor the service their son...now this is a dumb question, but what do you mean by honor? That's a word you keep using. I'm not entirely...maybe that's my problem. But I'm not entirely sure what you're...

HH: Honor usually means gratitude and esteem. Are you grateful for and esteem what he did? Honestly?

JS: Honestly? I admire the bravery. I don't...you know, I feel like he did something I could never do, so I'm kind of in awe on some level. Am I grateful, that I feel like he protected me? Um, no I don't.

HH: And so, do you think he died in vain?

JS: Yeah. I do. And that's why I'm so horrified by all this, and why I don't want empty sentiments prolonging the war.

HH: And the people who've died in Afghanistan. Have they died in vain?

JS: Well, if they haven't, what have they accomplished?

HH: I'm asking you, Joel. You wrote the column. You tell me. Have they accomplished nothing?

JS: Well, um, do I think that I, as an American, are safer because of what they did?

HH: That wasn't what I asked. I askd did they accomplish anything in going to Afghanistan.

JS: If I were an Afghani, I would probably...if I lived in Kabul, I probably would think that they accomplished something, sure.

HH: All right. Now have you read any books on the military? I mean, do you read this stuff at all, like Robert Kaplan's Imperial Grunts?

JS: No. No, I'm not an expert at this at all. I mean, I think you certainly can tell.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 7:27:00 pm  
Blogger Melanie said...

Here is the whole transcript of the interview:
http://www.radioblogger.com/#001332

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 7:48:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Drum roll for the tag team. And the point is..? (In your own words, maybe.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 7:52:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

drunkenvegetable

the point was ...it needs no words.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 8:03:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

"drunkenvegetable"?

Are you serious?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 8:14:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

well what does "leftvegdrunk" mean, if it doesn't mean "drunken vegetable" or am l missing something? Perhaps you're a drunken vegetarian?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 8:46:00 pm  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

I am saddened by the children of Fallujah horribly burned to death by American white phosphorus.

US soldiers = baby killers.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:12:00 pm  
Blogger Melanie said...

tell me progressive, do you care when the insurgents kill the children. Does that sadden you? Or are they forced to do it because of the evil baby killers.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:21:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

I'm sorry progressive atheist I don't understand your post. Perhaps a look at Saddam's Atrocities Exposed on Video might clear your thinking. Take in a viewing and see what real evil is. It sure as hell isn't American soldiers.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:28:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Tell me, Melanie, do you care when the coalition soldiers kill the children? Does that sadden you? Or are they forced to do it because of the evil insurgents?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:29:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Violet, my screen name means that I am a lefty, a veggie, and a drunkard. All of the things you love. Does your name mean you are (thankfully) shrinking?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:31:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

drunken vegetable

American soldiers do not deliberately murder children. You are ignorant and stupid to say this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:36:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:43:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Violet, show me where I said "American soldiers deliberately murder children". I was quoting your mate, just with a few words around the other way. See? Clever.

As for whether it's deliberate or not, that's a bit of a red herring. Are they any less dead? How can you invade a country, arm your troops to the teeth, and rain bombs on homes without it being intentional?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:49:00 pm  
Blogger justoneperson said...

death of any iraqi civilian, child or adult, and atrocities committed on any combatants, by shia insurgents, sunni insurgents, kurd insurgents, or american/british/australian invading forces is to be deplored, so everyone cut out the "your side does more horrible atrocities than mine" please!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:50:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

leftvegdrunk

You said this (below) and l inserted "deliberate" to make a point that they don't. And, of course it matters whether it's deliberate or not. Shooting a civilian results in a court marshall and the punishment is much more severe than a civilian court. Soldiers are not permitted to shoot civilians. They shoot other soldiers.

do you care when the coalition soldiers kill the children

justoneperson

Your intentions are honourable but it isn't like that in reality. We are at war and in war people fight and die and sometimes innocent people die. It's shitty but it happens.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:08:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

justoneperson, I concur.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:28:00 pm  
Blogger Melanie said...

leftvegdrunk: "As for whether it's deliberate or not, that's a bit of a red herring. Are they any less dead?"
You're just pretending to be a Lefty. Not even lefties are that stupid.
On second thoughts...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:16:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Excellent response, Melanie. So tell me, which killing is more tragic? Or do you agree that a human life lost carries the same weight regardless of blame?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:33:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

leftvedrunk

What rubbish. Do you really think that the life of a vile Muslim homocide bomber is worth that of a sewer rat? I certainly don't!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:47:00 pm  
Blogger Melanie said...

All death is tragic but deliberate killing of innocent civilians despicable .

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:48:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Melanie, someone once wrote that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:49:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:55:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Robert Cormier, The Chocolate War.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:57:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

drunkenvegetable

someone once wrote that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.

as Mr Jericho would say, "Source(s)?"

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:02:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Anyway, for those who read the post, Tomdispatch, after recently looking at the increasing air assault on Iraq (billed as part of the de-escalation of conflict and yet claiming more and more civilian lives), has published the thoughts of two Vietnam veterans. Take a look.

Violet: too slow.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:04:00 am  
Blogger violet said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:36:00 am  
Blogger violet said...

drunkenvegie

Congrats on working out how to find military info. However, your two Vietnam Vets were not on the ground anywhere near the frontline. The first was a Chinook gunner, probably an "other rank" and the second was a medic with no stated rank, probably a CPL.. Hardly, reputable sources of information. Add this to a suspect site and you've got nothing worth quoting.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:38:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Violet,

I the face of overwhelming evidence, you continue to repeat the vacuous assertion that the US court martial and severely punchiest it's own for crimes. I put a simple test to you. Give me an example of when the Us military has court martial or tried someone for crimes that were not first brought to the attention of the public?

Explain to me why the Pentagon is withholding tapes and photographs of Iraqi prisoners being raped, tortures, and murdered (because they consider the evidence too graphic for public consumption) yet has not tried anyone of the individuals depicted in the evidence.

What this proves (as was the case with Mi Lai) is that the first course of action the military takes, is to cover up the crime.

What sentence would be given to a man who held a gun to the head of another man who he knew could not swim, and forced him to jump into a river? 6 months? That’s what a US soldier got for doing the same to an Iraqi.

You can't because the US military condones the killing of innocents. We call them collateral damage because we think it cleanses us of the fact that we are murdering people. If you know war is guaranteed to produce civilian casualties and you undertake it anyway, you are guilty of murder - especially a war that is unnecessary and based on lies.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 2:00:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

How should Violet know the particulars of the thousands of courtmartials that occur every year? Let alone the 1000's of non-juducial trials that occur?

All you know is what appears in public.

But it is nice to see that you are as ignorant as ever.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 3:44:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

I'm not asking for a thousand particulars. I'm askign for one example.

Are you implying that no court martials with reference to war crimes are reported on?

Yeah suuuuuure.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 4:34:00 am  
Blogger RHRoss said...

The point that gets overlooked when governments demand that citizens 'support the troops' is that this means everyone has the right to do so.

That makes it 'right' for Germans to support their Nazi troops, no matter what they did; it makes it right for the Cambodians to support Pol Pot's troops in their genocide; it makes it right for the Russians to support their troops as they slaughter Chechens to maintain occupation; it makes it right for Israelis to support the IDF as they murder Palestinians to maintain occupation ....

In this world of 'my military right or wrong' we end up with a great many acts of evil.

That's why it is important to be selective about why and when we support our army.

Governments, when they commit us to war, particularly illegal and immoral wars, want to find legitimacy for their actions through public support.

They draw upon memories (and fantasies) of justifiable wars like World War 1 and World War II, when a closer look reveals that in terms of the Iraq war we are the bad guys ... German or Nazi invaders ... and the Iraqis and Afghans are the good guys.

The Germans as they marched off to war both the first and second time were also told that they were going to war to 'liberate.'

Governments may change but the lies remain the same.

When we support our soldiers in illegal and immoral wars we compound the evil.

And let's not forget, these 'brave' soldiers are not milk-skinned adolescents, called to fight to save their country .... they are professional soldiers, people who have chosen to take up the profession of war. These are people who are trained to kill and who are prepared to kill.

They are big guys who knew what they were doing when they joined and why. I feel sorry for many of the US soldiers who are kids who did not know what they were getting into. In the US system the poor, read black and hispanic, have no chance of getting a university education unless they join the military .... it's an unpleasant little tool of manipulation that America uses.

But, even with this, the best support that anyone can give these kids in particular and soldiers in general is to not support them so Governments will be forced to bring them home.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 5:18:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

I think it's totally bizarre that suporting the trops has been frames to mean, seding them off to war, and that somehow war critics are the ones placing hem in danger.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 7:08:00 am  
Blogger David said...

In EVERY instance the US military CID investigative proceedure/courtmartial proceedure were already underway when crimes committed by US personnel were brought to the attention of the media. This is true of Abu Ghraib and the allegations about the abuse of prisoners at Baghram airbase in Afghanistan.

In fact, when Amnesty went public last year with accusations of US military transgressions, they did so on the basis of investigative/court martial records that they had obtained under FOI.

So in other words, Amnesty's big 'scoop' was getting a list of investigations/prosecutions that were already underway.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 7:21:00 am  
Blogger David said...

The vegitarian inebriate see no difference between the deliberate murder of innocents by terrorists and the accidental deaths of non-combatants as that occur as a corollary to legal strikes against armed enemies:

As for whether it's deliberate or not, that's a bit of a red herring. Are they any less dead?

So I guess if LeftVeg had been at SHAEF on the evening of 5 June 1944, he would have told Eisenhower "sorry Ike, we can't invade France tomorrow. If we do, innocent French civilians are inevitably going to be killed in the fighting. Oh well, let's pack up our troops and go back to the States."

During the liberation of western Europe in 1944-45, scores of thousands of French, Belgians and Dutch were killed during the fighting. Were these deaths deliberately caused by the Allies? Of course not. But to LeftVeg and his ilk, that makes no difference. The death of even a single French child in St. Lo in Normandy invalidated the entire invasion project. Like those anti-war types who make the absurd claim that Iraqis were better of under Saddam, the application of that argument to WWII would be that the French were better off under Nazi occupation.

The American military assigns JAG officers to every headquarters at brigade level and above. Those legal officers are tasked with the job of approving every single operation to make sure it abides by the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC). And while LOAC cannot entirely prevent the unintentional deaths of civilians, it does reduce them considerably. The US military makes a concerted effort to avoid civilian casualties.

What LeftVeg is proposing is pacifism, because no military operation can guarantee that there will be zero civilian casualties. And pacifism is a recipe for allowing tyrants, brutes and genocidists to flourish.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 7:35:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

“In EVERY instance the US military CID investigative proceedure/courtmartial proceedure were already underway when crimes committed by US personnel were brought to the attention of the media. This is true of Abu Ghraib and the allegations about the abuse of prisoners at Baghram airbase in Afghanistan. “

False. The Abu Graib Story broke in 2004, long before Amnesty’s report. Lindy England and co were still in Iraq at the time.

”In fact, when Amnesty went public last year with accusations of US military transgressions, they did so on the basis of investigative/court martial records that they had obtained under FOI.”

Again, this was a year after the story went public.

”So in other words, Amnesty's big 'scoop' was getting a list of investigations/prosecutions that were already underway.”

As far as Amnesty was concerned yes, nit as far as the media were concerned. Anyway, seeing as the practices are still under way and largely masked by the fact they are being undertaken by military contractors (who are not under Geneva Convention limitations) this is beside the point.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 7:38:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

“The vegitarian inebriate see no difference between the deliberate murder of innocents by terrorists and the accidental deaths of non-combatants as that occur as a corollary to legal strikes against armed enemies”

Official party line propaganda. War is guaranteed to produce the deaths of innocents, so there I no much thing s accidental death in war. I just watched excerpts from a documentary by Iraqi Journalist Ali Fadhil, the one who was grabbed in the middle of the night by US troops and had his film confiscated. Anyway, the documentary reports that innocent Iraqis were shot while still asleep.

“During the liberation of western Europe in 1944-45, scores of thousands of French, Belgians and Dutch were killed during the fighting. Were these deaths deliberately caused by the Allies? Of course not. But to LeftVeg and his ilk, that makes no difference. “
WWII was apparently a war of defense on the part of the allies. The instigators were found to be guilty of the highest war crimes under the Nuremberg Conventions. In the case of the Iraq war, the attack was of choice. It was unnecessary and illegal under the Geneva conventions and the Nuremberg Principals.

“The American military assigns JAG officers to every headquarters at brigade level and above. Those legal officers are tasked with the job of approving every single operation to make sure it abides by the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC).”

This is entirely irrelevant. Otherwise the Fallujah and Tel Afar assaults would not have commenced with the cutting of water and electricity to the towns - both prohibited under the Geneva Conventions. it also closed the main hospitals - again a crime.

In spite of the US miltary reporting that thewre were no people left in Falluhjah prior to the assault, it was revealed thqat 30-50 thousand remained.

The US prevented medicines and water being taken into those towns - again
a war crime.

“And while LOAC cannot entirely prevent the unintentional deaths of civilians, it does reduce them considerably. The US military makes a concerted effort to avoid civilian casualties.”

That’s what they tell us yes. The UIS military is also prohibited to torture, main, kill and rape prisoners, but the LOAC did nothing top prevent any of these things taking place.

”What LeftVeg is proposing is pacifism, because no military operation can guarantee that there will be zero civilian casualties. And pacifism is a recipe for allowing tyrants, brutes and genocidists to flourish. “

Complete rubbish. Military operations are only justified as a means of self defense. The Iraq war was outright aggression on the part of the US and it’s partner for strategic advantage.
Tyrants only flourish when they are supported. They need money and arms. Saddam, Stalin, Pinochet, Karamov, and even Hitler all received support, without which they would not have been able to carry out their carnage.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 7:53:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

David,

"Like those anti-war types who make the absurd claim that Iraqis were better of under Saddam, the application of that argument to WWII would be that the French were better off under Nazi occupation."

A bit over the top mate. Don’t you guy s on the right always beat us on the left for moral equivalent arguments?

Anyway, the Iraq situation is not only a disaster, but it's not even over yet. The costs are projected to be in the trillions and money for reconstruction has run out. So there we have town, turned to rubble and no money to fix them. The US has already put in place oil contracts that will siphon off the fist $200 billion of Iraq’s oil wealth, while they are now telling Iraqi’s to dig deep and pay for their own reparations.

Real progress.

And in spite of the Lancet reports being bagged by the right, subsequent reports are vindicating not only it's findings, but it's claims to have been conservative.

Saddam may be gone, but much of the country is a hot zone of Vilene and Shia Militia are rampaging around the country, doing their best t keep the valence of Saddam’s era fresh in everyone's memory.

A Pentagon report released this week says the US military is at breaking point and wont be able to hold off the insurgents much longer.

Theocratic rule looks lice it will be the winner from the beloved "democratic and free» elections and to top it all off, civil war is still a very real possibility.

The more you look at it, the less well off the Iraqis would appear. No one is sad the arsehole is gone, but when you consider where Iraq might be today had the sanctions been lifted, it would probably bee a very dynamic and thriving society.

The same could be said of it now, but for all the wrong reasons.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 8:30:00 am  
Blogger David said...

I seriously doubt that Addamo has ever bothered to read the Hague or Geneva Conventions. The Fallujah and Tel Afar assaults were conducted in complete compliance with LOAC.

When civilian buildings are used for military purposes, then they lose their civilian immunity and, according to the laws of war, become legitimate military targets. Moreover, it is a war crime to try and use civilians or civilian facilities to shield military operations. The jihadists, in Fallujah were using mosques and hospitals as gun positions, which transformed them from protected civilian sites into legitimate targets of war.

Moreover, the Hague Convention decrees that when an attack is launched against military positions that have been situated in towns and cities, the civilian inhabitants must be warned and given ample chance to leave before the offensive begins. The residents of both Tel Afar and Fallujah were given advance notice (even though that eliminated the element of suprise and endangered US troops), and the opportunity to evacuate.

You say that WWII was fought in self-defense, but Australia was not under any sort of threat by Nazi Germany in September 1939. Moreover it could be argued that even Britain wasn't under attack by Hitler when it went to war on 3 September 1939. So do I think that WWII was an unjust war? Of course not. We should have gone to war in 1936 and save ourselves a lot of trouble.

But Britain and Australia's resort to armed hostilities against Nazi Germany was an act of preemptive war, much like the Bush administration's response to Ba'athist Iraq. In fact, it is arguable that America was under a much greater threat from Saddam Hussein in 2003, than Australia/GB were in 1939.

Sorry, but your argument has just collapsed. Tell Ike to call off the invasion of Normandy because thousands of French civilians will be killed.


In re my other post:

Addamo:

I mispoke. It wasn't Amnesty trumpting their great scoop, it was the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU. Given the similar philosophical outlook of those two groups, I suppose the error was minor.

Here is the URL of a document obtained by the ACLU after a FOIA request that was the source of one of its highly trumpted 'breaking stories':

http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/042105/

The ACLU's 'scoop' is simply a report on prexisting CID/MP investigations into allegations that US troops maltreated prisoners an detainees.

Or in other words, the ACLU has publicized a document that demonstrates how seriously the US military takes allegations of abuse. When American personnel volate the laws of war, they are prosecuted.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 8:49:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

“seriously doubt that Addamo has ever bothered to read the Hague or Geneva Conventions. The Fallujah and Tel Afar assaults were conducted in complete compliance with LOAC.”

Not back to back I haven’t but I have read the important parts. The ones that state that the Ultimate war Crime under the Nuremberg Principals is the attacking a country that has to attacked you first, and that it differs from all other war comes only in that it concludes all of the others.

Also, does the LOAC endorse the act of shooting anything that moves?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/13/iraq/main655523.shtml

”When civilian buildings are used for military purposes, then they lose their civilian immunity and, according to the laws of war, become legitimate military targets.
Moreover, it is a war crime to try and use civilians or civilian facilities to shield military operations. The jihadists, in Fallujah were using mosques and hospitals as gun positions, which transformed them from protected civilian sites into legitimate targets of war.

That may be so, but the stated aim of closing the hospitals was that the US military wanted to prevent a possible propaganda victory for the insurgency, which would have been achieved with pictures of the numbers of dead and injured flooding into the building. It had nothing to do with civil buildings being used for military purposes.

Ion any case, the rules of engagement in Iraq were largely ignored by the US.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/nov2004/iraq-n13.shtml

And the statement that completely puts the nail in the coffin of noble causes is the lien about destroying the city in order to save it.

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0412-01.htm

”Moreover, the Hague Convention decrees that when an attack is launched against military positions that have been situated in towns and cities, the civilian inhabitants must be warned and given ample chance to leave before the offensive begins. The residents of both Tel Afar and Fallujah were given advance notice (even though that eliminated the element of suprise and endangered US troops), and the opportunity to evacuate.”

The Hague convention and the UN also state that the residents of a country are entitled to resist an occupying or invading force. The US invaded illegally, so it’s claims are irrelevant.

The US also made claims that they were attacking Fallujah to pursue Zarqawi. The trouble is that the invasions was the worlds worst kept secret (ie.e the Us military was awaiting the go ahead after the 2004 US elections) and that the bad guys fled long before it was undertaken. The attack was not about defense , but about making an example of Fallujah to the rest of Iraq. It was collective punishment, yet another war crime.

:You say that WWII was fought in self-defense, but Australia was not under any sort of threat by Nazi Germany in September 1939.”

Good point. It was however part of a member of the allies that were essentially fighting a defensive war.

:Moreover it could be argued that even Britain wasn't under attack by Hitler when it went to war on 3 September 1939. So do I think that WWII was an unjust war? Of course not. We should have gone to war in 1936 and save ourselves a lot of trouble. :

Again, this has no consequence with respect to Iraq. Iraq was not attacking anyone, and has been proven beyond all doubt, was in no position to attack anyone.

”But Britain and Australia's resort to armed hostilities against Nazi Germany was an act of preemptive war, much like the Bush administration's response to Ba'athist Iraq.”

Nazi Germany was already in full swing with it’s attack on Poland ect.

“In fact, it is arguable that America was under a much greater threat from Saddam Hussein in 2003, than Australia/GB were in 1939.”

Come on David. That;s absurd in the extreme and you know it. Do you believe that saddam realy did have UAV’s read yto drop chemicals on the East Coast?

”Sorry, but your argument has just collapsed. Tell Ike to call off the invasion of Normandy because thousands of French civilians will be killed.”

Not by a long shot. The Normandy invasion was critical to stymie the Germans What are you going on about? You gotta give me more this mate.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 9:20:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Another thing David,

Does the LOAC also endorese preventing agnecies like the red Cros from entering a city to deliver food and medicines to the wounded?

Does it include preventing all males between 15-55 to leave the city?
and let's be reminded, that Fallujah was not an aberation or extreme case. The US ,olitary repeated the same excercise in Samarra and Tal Afar.

And in direct vilation of hte Geneva Conventions, the US miltary did not allow doctors and ambulances to go inside the main art of the city to help the wounded.

Even worse, there is evidence that the Shia are using the US presence in Iraq to supporess teh Sunni, which in turn has motivated he Sunni's to exact revnge on teh Shia and the US. That might explain attacks on civilians no?

http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/13278134.htm

Doesn't the geneva Conventions ste that the onus is on the occupierst to ensure security for the Iraqi population - as opposed to sittig back and allowing one group to atack another?

Thursday, January 26, 2006 9:35:00 am  
Blogger David said...

Addamo says that before the Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003:

Iraq was not attacking anyone, and has been proven beyond all doubt, was in no position to attack anyone.

That would be news to the American and British pilots who were being shot at on an almost daily basis while flying to enforce the no-fly-zones in northern and southern Iraq. And those no-fly-zones were established by your beloved UN, remember.

By contrast, neither Australia nor Britain were under fire from Germany before they declared war on 3 September 1939. Hitler invaded Poland, not Cambridgeshire.

So let me reiterate my assertion that US troops were under much greater threat from Saddam Hussein's regime than either Britain or Australia were from Hitlerian Germany. Thus WWII was much more a war of preemption than was the war in Iraq in 2003. So unless you are going to criticise our war against the Nazis, your argument against Operation Iraqi Freedom is a non sequitur.

You demonstrate your ignorance of international law with this little gem:

The US invaded illegally, so it’s claims are irrelevant.

But you confuse jus ad bellum (the laws governing the legitimacy of going to war) with jus in bello (the laws governing the actual conduct of war).

There is an extremely cogent case to be made to the effect that the war against Ba'athist Iraq was legal in international law. But, for the sake of argument, let's accept your contention that the war was illegal. But this question of jus ad bellum has nothing to do with the jus in bello principles that rule the way that war was waged. The rules of LOAC still apply to a war that has been illegally begun.

So while Iraqi insurgents certainly had the right to resist US troops, they DID NOT have the right to violate the laws of war in doing so. By using hospitals, mosques, schools and other civilian installations for military purposes, the jihadis simply added to the list of war crimes they had committed (along with the murder of hostages, the deliberate suicide bombing of civilians, etc...)

So, sorry, your argument doesn't hold water on that score.

And as for your sources, you use the Trotskyist website wsws to substantiate your argument. Sorry, but the world socialist website as about as much credibility as the neo-nazi Adelaide Institute. To demonstrate why, let me end with a quote from written by this group's hero and inspiration, Leon Trotsky.

In his pamphlet Terrorism and Communism [Dictatorship versus Democracy] A Reply to Karl Kautsky, Trotsky defended the Bolshevik practice of summarily executing hostages in the following words:

The question of the form of repression, or of its degree, of course, is not one of “principle.” It is a question of expediency. In a revolutionary period, the party which has been thrown from power, which does not reconcile itself with the stability of the ruling class, and which proves this by its desperate struggle against the latter, cannot be terrorized by the threat of imprisonment, as it does not believe in its duration. It is just this simple but decisive fact that explains the widespread recourse to shooting in a civil war.

terror can be very efficient against a reactionary class which does not want to leave the scene of operations. Intimidation is a powerful weapon of policy, both internationally and internally. War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will. The revolution works in the same way: it kills individuals, and intimidates thousands. In this sense, the Red Terror is not distinguishable from the armed insurrection, the direct continuation of which it represents.

This sort of talk reminds me of the justifications offered by abu-Musab al-Zarkawi when he blew up those hotels in Amman Jordan. No wonder the Trots of the wsws are on the side of al-Qaeda in this war.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 9:57:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Violet, you aren't familiar with Tom Englehardt's work. Not surprising. But I suggest you pay closer attention, then you will see that his site is far from "suspect". As for your attempt to discredit the views presented in the article, by your logic we should not listen to anyone who has not served "anywhere near the frontline". Resort to fallacy shows your confusion. Again.

David, you seem to think that long-windedness is a substitute for coherence. Briefly, can you qualify your comparison between the "liberation of western Europe in 1944-45" and the reckless bombing of Iraqi family homes after the "end of major hostilities" in the US invasion of Iraq?

Your assertion that "no military operation can guarantee that there will be zero civilian casualties" is central to the argument against the invasion of Iraq. That's why there should have been no military action against Iraq. Those who authorised the war are now guilty. And their justifications, tenuous as they were, have been proven empty.

Yes, and how dare I outrageously propose pacifism? (Not what I was doing, but anyway.) As King Jr and Gandhi, among others, have shown, it is such a disreputable and retrograde idea.

rhross, you make an excellent point about nationalism and the "support our troops" issue. As your examples show, it is not always right to support your government's military adventurism. Those who are blinded by the concept of nationalism will never comprehend this. They should ask themselves why states were first established and by whom...

Thursday, January 26, 2006 9:59:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

David, that's an excellent quote from Trotsky. How exactly does that disprove the facts presented in the article addamo linked to? Or are you, like others above, simply attempting to poison the well when uncomfortable facts are presented? Another fallacious argument. Yawn.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:03:00 am  
Blogger David said...

Vegitarian Inebriate:

The Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force of November 2001 was a declaration of war on jihadist Islam. And the campaign against Ba'athist Iraq was well within the framework of that war. The fact that George Bush declared the end of major hostilities in Iraq doesn't mean that LOAC ceases to apply. LOAC applies equally to LIC (low intensity conflict) and higher intensity war. So your attempt to distinguish post-liberation Iraq from northwest Europe in 1944-45 fails to meet the test of international law.

So once again you are reduced to the argument that war is illegitimate if it musses the hair on even a single civilian's head. And by that standard the invasion of Normandy would be illegitimate. A morally untenable position. QED

As for Ghandi, I've never been a big fan. I tend to agree with George Orwell, who in his essay Reflections on Ghandi wrote:

In relation to the late war, one question that every pacifist had a clear obligation to answer was: “What about the Jews? Are you prepared to see them exterminated? If not, how do you propose to save them without resorting to war?” I must say that I have never heard, from any Western pacifist, an honest answer to this question, though I have heard plenty of evasions, usually of the “you’re another” type. But it so happens that Gandhi was asked a somewhat similar question in 1938 and that his answer is on record in Mr. Louis Fischer’s Gandhi and Stalin. According to Mr. Fischer, Gandhi’s view was that the German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which “would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler’s violence.” After the war he justified himself: the Jews had been killed anyway, and might as well have died significantly.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:12:00 am  
Blogger David said...

My excellent Trotsky quote demonstrates the moral and factual bankruptcy of those who profess to follow his creed. And given that the Trotskyist world socialist website was one of Addamo's sources, I thought I should impeach it.

In other words, if the wsws said it was raining, I'd still look out the window to see for myself.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:23:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

David, stop obfuscating, you wind-bag. I did not compare Europe in 1944 and Iraq today. You did. I asked you to validate that comparison. You have failed to do so. Think of these keywords while framing your response (if you even bother) - occupation, United Nations, insurgency, smart bomb, body count, terrorist, WMD, freedom, oil.

You show your contempt for the Iraqi people when you talk of "muss[ing] the hair on even a single civilian's head". Either that, or you are completely ignorant.

Your declaration of war against Jihadism is a funny one. Do you believe Saddam was a Jihadist? And you aren't a fan of Ghandi? Well, that clinches that argument, doesn't it?

And let me reiterate your logic re addamo's post: The WSWS, linked to by addamo (among a number of other links providing support for his comments) professes to follow the ideas of Trotsky. Your quote shows that Trotsky believed in the use of violence as a means to an end. As do you. Therefore anything published by the WSWS is a lie. Thus you do not need to bother with the facts the linked article presents. Very fucking convenient.

Elsewhere, this would be considered a fallacious argument, but in your mind it is perfectly sound. Another sidestep. What an intellect.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:42:00 am  
Blogger RHRoss said...

Thanks leftveg
I'm impressed you can use bold type. For some reason the blog page I get doesn't allow such things, nor cut and paste which makes it easier to post links.
Any hints

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:04:00 am  
Blogger RHRoss said...

David
You conveniently overlook the fact that British and American planes were being shot at by the Iraqis because Iraq was being bombed, certainly by American planes, consistently, long before any invasion.

Name me one country that would not shoot in the same situation?

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:06:00 am  
Blogger David said...

I compared the fighting in Iraq to the fighting in northwest Europe in 1944-45 because both are armed conflicts. Different in scope, perhaps, but armed conflicts nonetheless. And as armed conflicts, they are both ruled by LOAC, which attempts to minimise, but doesn't outlaw, civilian deaths if they are accidental and reasonable measures are taken to avoid them.

So I stand my that analogy, which you have utterly failed to refute.

If yo find the declaration of war against jihadism to be a funny concept, I suggest you consult the Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force that was passed after 9/11:

Authorization for Use of Military Force
September 18, 2001
Public Law 107-40 [S. J. RES. 23]

107th CONGRESS

JOINT RESOLUTION

To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were committed against the United States and its citizens; and

Whereas, such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad; and

Whereas, in light of the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence; and

Whereas, such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States; and

Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force'.

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.


And there was a similar act of authorisation passed in 2002 to validate military action against Iraq.

As I previously demonstrated, by firing on US warplanes, Saddam Hussein was already in a state of armed conflict with the US. And yes, Saddam was in league with al-Qaeda well before 9/11. There is no evidence that the Ba'athists were directly involved in the September 11 plot, but there is more than ample material that proves a solicitous and cooperative relationship between the Ba'athists and al-Qaeda. Journalist Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard has written extensively about these ties:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/152lndzv.asp

Or you can read his book on the subject, The Connection

If you knew anything about American history and the US constitution, you would realise that these Congressional Joint Resolutions provided as much, or more authorisation for the waging of war than was given the US military in most of its armed conflicts over the past 200+ years.

So yes, there was Congressional legislation that made the war against jihadism and Ba'athism legal. If you don't like it, move to Vermont, become a citizen and vote for Bernie Sanders, the only independent (Socialist) member of the US House. Not that it'll do you much good, but it might provide you with some symbolic satisfaction.

As for my digressions into the shortcomings of Trotsky and the Mahatma, those merely served to highlight the bankruptcy of Addamo's sources, and one of your cultural icons. Trotsky didn' t just believe in violence. He believed in the legitimacy of terrorism as a means of attaining his end. He was utterly unapologetic about his support for hostage taking and the deliberate murder of the innocent. Do such sentiments impugn the credibility of those who support them? Without question. What the wsws presents as facts are anything but.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:22:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

rhross, heh, I was impressed too! I am slowly overcoming my technical ineptitude. I am just using the < and > things either side... Substituting the square ones so it doesn't work, try [b]something like this[/b] with the < and > things...

David, thanks. Very convincing. I now complete support the further slaughter of Iraqis - and hopefully Iranians, too. And the "cultural icon" bit has floored me.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:27:00 am  
Blogger David said...

rhross:

The no fly zones were put in place to prevent Saddam's minions from continuing their slaughter of the Kurds in the north and the Shia in the south. You seem to regard the enforcement of those UN-sanctioned zones to be illegitimate.

I take it you would have preferred to give Saddam Hussein a free hand to complete his campaign of genocide against the Kurds and Shia?

Wow, your moral fibre (or lack thereof) never ceases to amaze.

But then, I shouldn't really be surprised because this is the implicit default position of the anti-war Left: that the Ba'athist regime should be permitted to continue its murderous reign.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:28:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

PS "The US made a law to justify bombing Iraqis so it is all good." Ingenious. I love it. No wonder you have trouble with Gandhi, all ethical and that.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:29:00 am  
Blogger RHRoss said...

David,
So did these same regulations apply to the Germans, who, like the US and its allies in Iraq were the aggressors and invaders?

Or does it just apply to the guys fighting against invasion? Like the Iraqis and Afghans.


As to 'those responsible for attacks against the US,' wouldn't that be Saudi? There were no Iraqis or Afghans involved in 9/11. In fact, even the CIA admits that Iraq and Saddam had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

So, Iraq, not only had no weapons, it hadn't attacked anyone. Not only that, it didn't have any jihadists until it was invaded and occupied.

Would you like to explain then how this congressional resolution applies to Iraq?

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:33:00 am  
Blogger David said...

Leftveg:

Your argument was about the war's legality. I have demonstrated that it was entirely legal according to US law, and there's a strong argument to be made that it was legal by the terms of UN SC resolution 1441 as well.

But when your argument is factually refuted, you fall back on sneers and sarcasm. Why don't you simply throw in the towel with a bit of magnanimity. It would be so much more dignified.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:34:00 am  
Blogger RHRoss said...

David,
That would be to protect those Kurds which the US and others failed to protect when they rose up against Saddam, at the behest of the US Government, and he slaughtered them with chemical weapons bought from the US and others.

Ah, those Kurds. The same Kurds that were then left to survive as best they could because the US and others were prepared to do nothing to help them. And so the years passed. Saddam did yet more awful things and nothing happened, until, ah yes, until people came to the conclusion that Iraqi oil was not only necessary to the US economy it was vital.

This would be the same Saddam Hussein, you know the bad guy, who was armed by the US and encouraged to attack Iran because it suited US interests.

Would you like to explain why it was that Saddam was an okay bad guy when it suited US interests .... for decades actually ... and that he was an okay enough bad guy to supply him with military hardware and chemical weapons to use in his genocidal practices .... until a few years ago?

The hypocrisy level is astonishing. Saddam was another favourite thug of the US for decades, as long as it suited the US. No-one gave a damn about who he killed.

in fact, the only reason he invaded Kuwait, was because, working on precedence, as in Iran, he figured the US wouldn't mind him attacking someone else.

The records show that he 'floated' the idea past the then US ambassador, who, far from reacting with horror, hardly reacted at all. No, she didn't say yes, but she didn't say no, which, in that part of the world is pretty much a yes.

Given how good the US was at turning blind eyes to such things Saddam thought he had the green light. Wrong, as we know, but an understandable mistake in the circumstances.

By all means condemn the actions of Saddam but have the honesty and decency to admit that the tyrant only existed for as long as he did because he was supported actively by the US and the international community.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:40:00 am  
Blogger David said...

rrhos:

Once again your difficulty with the comprehension of English prose betrays you. I have shown that the Ba'athists were engaged in armed hostilities against US forces prior to March 2003. Yet you assert, once again that Iraq

hadn't attacked anyone

Let me reiterate, that would be news to the American pilots who were being routinely fired upon by Iraqi forces as they enforced the no-fly-zones.

And there were two authorisations for the use of force passed by Congress. The one from which I cut and pasted was focused against the global jihadist movement. But there was a second resolution passed in 2002 that specifically authorised military action against Iraq. It's easy enough to find. Google it and read for yourself.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:40:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

David, please who me where my "argument was about the war's legality". Before you joined the discussion, I was discussing the morality of the war and the deaths of Iraqis. You introduced the legal aspect, no?

Also, your fallacious argument against addamo is still refusing to stand up. All of your bulnderbust about Trotsky is irrelevant. What do you say to the content of the article? Here's an excerpt from the article, describing the assault on Fallujah. Please show how it is factually incorrect and I will concede the point.

While US armour and infantry waited several blocks back, the air power was used to pound office complexes, mosques, schools and homes being used by Iraqi fighters to try and hold off the attackers. The concentration of US aircraft in the skies over Fallujah has been christened the “wedding cake” by American officers, as it consisted of multiple layers, from low altitude helicopter gunships, to AC-130 gunships, to jet bombers, to high altitude unmanned spy planes.

“Our air superiority is incredible,” a marine sergeant told Associated Press. “All we can do now is clear through the city and look for survivors. Air power is our best friend.”

Iraqi fighters, armed with little more than AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, have fought a heroic defence against the overwhelming American firepower. To dislodge just one Iraqi sniper holding up US marines on Wednesday, an embedded New York Times journalist reported that a three-storey complex was hit with two 500-pound bombs, 35 155mm artillery shells, 10 120mm shells from Abram tanks and some 30,000 rounds from machine guns and small arms. The building, the journalist noted, was left a “smoking ruin”.


And,

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society has been denied entry into the city. Fardous al-Ubaidi, a spokeswoman for the organisation, told Associated Press: “There is no water, no food, no medicine, no electricity and no fuel and when we asked for permission, we were only allowed to approach the Fallujah outskirts but had no access to Fallujah itself.” Thousands of elderly, women and children who have escaped since the assault began remain in refugee camps on the city’s fringes, without access to clean water or sanitation.

PS "Vegetarian". Don't get caught out misspelling words like that on another blog... ;-)

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:46:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Sorry, first line should be "please show me where"...

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:47:00 am  
Blogger RHRoss said...

david,
Don't be precious. Iraq did not attack the US or any of its allies who subsequently invaded it. If they were fighting against US forces it's because US forces were attacking them.

The US was bombing Iraq that's why they were fired on. The US was killing Iraqis long before the invasion and that's forgetting the murderous sanctions.

You did not answer. Which nation would not fire upon planes which bombed it?

I don't actually care what Congress passed. What the US does is only ever in US interests and often illegal. It does not have any legality anywhere else in the world.

The United Nations and the international legal community judged the invasion of Iraq to be illegal. It was and remains so.

I would hardly be quoting the US congress given America's long record of human rights abuses both within the country and without. This is a country, the only developed one mind you, that sanctions capital punishment... and I might add, of juveniles and the mentally ill! That's a pretty fine system they have there.

It's also a country that sanctions torture, outsourced of course and one that sanctions the appalling human rights abuses of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

Sadly, these days, Congress doesn't have much of which to be proud and a great deal of which to be thoroughly ashamed.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:51:00 am  
Blogger David said...

Ah, so many myths to puncture, so little time.

The story that April Glasby, the US ambassador to Baghdad in 1990, somehow gave a green light to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait is simply a leftist urban legend.

I agree that the failure of the first Bush administration to finish off the Ba'athists in 1991 was a serious error. And leaving the Kurds and Shiites high and dry during the revolt was worse than a mistake, it was disgraceful. So when we finally knocked off Saddam's regime, it was better late than never.

The US never supplied Saddam with weapons. That is simply untrue. American firms did sell a small amount agricultural equipment/material to the Iraqis that could have been converted to miliary purposes, but those 'dual-use' items were requested by Iraq for farming purposes, and sold as such.

The only serious help given by the US to Iraq was in the form of satellite intel provided during the early stage of the Iran-Iraq war when it seemed as though the Iranians were going to win. The prospect of the Ayatollah Homeni winning in Iraq, and using that victory to fullfill his vow to export his Islamic revolution to every part of the Middle East was quite scary at the time. So Saddam was viewed as the lesser of two evils.

But if you are going to attack this US policy, then you surely also will attack an American alliance with a butcher so murderous that he makes Saddam Hussein look like an amateur. During WWII, America (and Australia) made common cause with one mass murderer (Joseph Stalin) in order to defeat another mass murderer (Adolf Hitler). So if the ends justified the means during WWII, why shouldn't they have justified them during the Iran-Iraq war?

So tell me, are you willing to argue that your principle of morality in foreign policy should be applied to the WWII alliance with Stalin? And if not, why not? Why the selective implementation of your moral principles?

Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:52:00 am  
Blogger David said...

well, Leftveg:

I see nothing from the wsws site that would indicate any violation of LOAC by American troops. Again, US forces warned the civilian population and gave non-combatants more than adequate time to flee, as the Hague Convention requires. The fact that the marines called down air strikes on enemy positions does not contravene LOAC at all. The Trots at the wsws make no bones about their sympathies in this fight, openly barracking for the al-Qaeda insurgents. But even this Trotskyist version of events reveals that the Americans were strictly abiding by LOAC:

While US armour and infantry waited several blocks back, the air power was used to pound office complexes, mosques, schools and homes being used by Iraqi fighters to try and hold off the attackers.

So these office complexes, mosques, schools and homes were being used by the insurgents as fighting positions, thus losing their civilian immunity under international law. These were all legally legitimate military targets, and the Americans treated them as such.

So I really fail to see the problem here. Leftveg swings.... and misses!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:01:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

David,

What is it with you and this 3rd person dialogue. I’m right here mate. Are you grandstanding or just shy?

“That would be news to the American and British pilots who were being shot at on an almost daily basis while flying to enforce the no-fly-zones in northern and southern Iraq. And those no-fly-zones were established by your beloved UN, remember.

The coalition upped the bombing in these zones by 500% and moved the goalposts over the no fly zones for no reason other than to incite Saddam into attacking.

Didn’t workd of course.

The Bush and Blair tried to trip Saddam by making demands that they were sure he’d refuse. When he agreed to the term’s Bush spat the dummy and rejected the offer.

“By contrast, neither Australia nor Britain were under fire from Germany before they declared war on 3 September 1939. Hitler invaded Poland, not Cambridgeshire.”

The operative word is he “invaded”. You might also pause to consider that Saddam hadn’t invaded anyone for more than tem years and got spanker anyway.

You make so many assumptions it’s not even funny. In case you;ve been living in a cave for 5 years, Saddam had no army either. Hitler did.

Huge difference.

Can we lose the irrelevant WWI analogies now?

“So let me reiterate my assertion that US troops were under much greater threat from Saddam Hussein's regime than either Britain or Australia were from Hitlerian Germany.”

Yeah those poor American’s playing table tennis in Saudi Arabia, or taking in some sun on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Scary stuff.

“Thus WWII was much more a war of preemption than was the war in Iraq in 2003. So unless you are going to criticise our war against the Nazis, your argument against Operation Iraqi Freedom is a non sequitur.”

You really thought that you could pass this one by me you sneaky bastard. Aren’t we making one huge assumption? No WMD!! No military. No need for pre-emption get it?

“But you confuse jus ad bellum (the laws governing the legitimacy of going to war) with jus in bello (the laws governing the actual conduct of war).”

There is an extremely cogent case to be made to the effect that the war against Ba'athist Iraq was legal in international law.”

Best you stick to that assumption. There is no way in heel you would win that argument anyway. Most of the “cogent” cases (all 27 of them) were post facto when all the pre facto ones turned out to be complete and utter BS.

“But, for the sake of argument, let's accept your contention that the war was illegal. But this question of jus ad bellum has nothing to do with the jus in bello principles that rule the way that war was waged. The rules of LOAC still apply to a war that has been illegally begun.”



“So while Iraqi insurgents certainly had the right to resist US troops, they DID NOT have the right to violate the laws of war in doing so.”

Neither did the US but that didn’t stop them doing so in catastrophic proportions.

“By using hospitals, mosques, schools and other civilian installations for military purposes, the jihadis simply added to the list of war crimes they had committed (along with the murder of hostages, the deliberate suicide bombing of civilians, etc...)”

That’s always a very nice propaganda argument the US like to use when bombing buildings from a great height. We heard it on the two last occasions when they took out a house of 14 innocents in Iraq and 18 others in Pakistan. Even after it was discovered that the only people in the Pakistan house were women, children and two sets of grandparents, the US continued to say they had struck at a terrorist hangout. What was that about repeating a lie often enough?

“And as for your sources, you use the Trotskyist website wsws to substantiate your argument. Sorry, but the world socialist website as about as much credibility as the neo-nazi Adelaide Institute. To demonstrate why, let me end with a quote from written by this group's hero and inspiration, Leon Trotsky.”

Get off you’re high horse you dill. The MSM, which I take is what you mean when you talk about credible sources have been exposed as a complete sham. The US has been paying for good news in Iraq, faxing talking points to the cable networks, and in the case of the NYT, used to help out in beating the drums for war. The MSM collectively bought into he WMD/911/terrorism BS and here you are, calling alternative sources into question.

What a joke.


“This sort of talk reminds me of the justifications offered by abu-Musab al-Zarkawi when he blew up those hotels in Amman Jordan. No wonder the Trots of the wsws are on the side of al-Qaeda in this war.”

Your ignorance betrays you big time David. Trotskyites were the architects of this bloody war in the first place. But you have a point, though not in the way you think you might.

Zarkawi was perched in Kurdistan rpior to the invasion. Underneath the no fly zones and easily within striking distance of US war planes. The US military actually drew up plans on at least 2 occasions to take him out but Bush rejected the plans. Why, because he wanted Poweel to tell the UN how Zarqawi’s presence in Iraq proved that Saddam has terrorist inks.

So the Trotskyite authors of this war are very much in league with Zarqawi. That David, is called an own goal.

The Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force of November 2001 was a declaration of war on jihadist Islam.”

It was NOT a declaration of war.

“So once again you are reduced to the argument that war is illegitimate if it musses the hair on even a single civilian's head. And by that standard the invasion of Normandy would be illegitimate. A morally untenable position. QED”

Stupid argument. Morally untenable was that the war was based on lies and deceit and you are skirting around it like a ballerina.

“I compared the fighting in Iraq to the fighting in northwest Europe in 1944-45 because both are armed conflicts.”

Duh. Then why not compare it to Vietnam? Ooopps we’re not allowed to talk about that are we? Or the secret bombing of Cambodia?

“Different in scope, perhaps, but armed conflicts nonetheless. And as armed conflicts, they are both ruled by LOAC, which attempts to minimise, but doesn't outlaw, civilian deaths if they are accidental and reasonable measures are taken to avoid them.”

Who gives a crap about the LOAC when the very same government running this war is in the middle of a scandal whereby it had completely circumvented the law and wire taooe it’s citizens without warrants?

The same government that says it does not torture because torture is illegal, and yet runs secret prisons to which is renders people to be tortured?

You honestly think that this LOAC is somehow immune from political manipulation?

“So I stand my that analogy, which you have utterly failed to refute”

No it’s utterly irrelevant and your refusal to let it go is just stubborness on your part.

“If yo find the declaration of war against jihadism to be a funny concept, I suggest you consult the Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force that was passed after 9/11”

Exactly, It was a use of force against the perpetrators of 911. Sand Bush used $700 million of those funds to plan for the Iarq war.

“And there was a similar act of authorisation passed in 2002 to validate military action against Iraq.”

There as no declaration of war against jihadism in Iraq you idiot. Just I your imagination., The declaration was for use of force in forcing Saddam to disarm.

“As I previously demonstrated, by firing on US warplanes, Saddam Hussein was already in a state of armed confli”

And the DSM mentions, the US and Britain wanted the war to happen regardless. They were encroaching on the no fly zones and moving them further north and south and well as scaling up the bombing of Iraq 500%.

"The no fly zones were put in place to prevent Saddam's minions from continuing their slaughter of the Kurds in the north and the Shia in the south. You seem to regard the enforcement of those UN-sanctioned zones to be illegitimate."

The moving of the no fly zines ot beyind the orignal prallels was illegitimate yes.

You really shoudl drop these pathetic straw menarguments agains the left.

Irrespective of your asserions, they are all based on your naive assumtion that everythign we hear in the MSM about the war is fact.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:06:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

david,
The story of April Glasby is not urban legend. It is recorded in her reports to Washington. It's easy enough to find. The US is still a free country, sort of.

Also, Saddam Hussein, like more than one South American dictator, was trained and armed by America. Again, historical record. I don't know why you bother denying it.

And even the Brits and the French admit they sold weapons to Saddam. It's also public record that the US helped arm Saddam to attack Iran. Even the Americans don't deny that they backed him in the past. They can't because it is public record.

And yes, you cite the Stalin alliance. It just supports my case that hypocrisy prevails when it comes to Government. The fact is the US did nothing about Hitler either for a long time.... they didn't care. There's a good case that they would never have become involved if it had not been for Pearl Harbour. But that's a digression.

You also forget, as is your wont, that the battle against Hitler came when he DID invade and even then, only after he had done quite a bit of that invading. A little bit of invading, it seems, can be tolerated.

In the case of Ayatollah Kohmeini there is no case. There was what he said.... lots.... and what he did.... nothing.

If the US were to go to war against every nation that said things it did not like it would be at war all the time. Which, come to think of it, it often is.

As to any principles of morality and there is very little of that around I don't actually believe in war full stop.

But what I truly dislike is deceit and hypocrisy.

Iran, even with a rabbiting religious leader was never a threat to anyone. No more so than some of the religious lunatics in America, Saudi and Israel.

Much of the world considers George Bush a religious lunatic and he has invaded a sovereign nation.

The majority of people in the world, following a survey done last year, see the United States and George Bush as the greatest threat to world peace.

By your critera we should be prepared to 'go to bed' with anyone, even the Chinese and North Koreans, in order to defeat the evil that America has become.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:07:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

David,

All those 'legitimate military targets' pretty much equate with what the Nazis defined as 'legitimate military targets."

Take the French for example. Germany invaded and occupied and the French Resistance fought back from schools, churches, offices...

then we have the Iraqis. The US and its allies invaded and occupied and the Iraqi resistance fights back from schools, churches, offices...

Funny about that isn't it. I guess that is how people do fight when they are fighting against occupiers. The Palestinians do the same thing.

Again, by your criteria you justify some of the worst slaughters carried out by the Nazis against civilian populations.

Or would that be one rule for us and another for everyone else?

And you talk about principles!

As the phosphorus strips the flesh from the bones of Iraqis, as napalm destroyed Vietnamese you try to make the case that people who have been invaded and who live under occupation have no right to fight back?

As a pacifist I wish they wouldn't but you are no pacifist and would be fighting from the office, the church or the school yourself if your country were invaded.

Correct me if I am wrong.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:12:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

David said...
“I see nothing from the wsws site that would indicate any violation of LOAC by American troops.”

The US military field manual says that WP is not to be used against human targets but they did it anyway right?

“Again, US forces warned the civilian population and gave non-combatants more than adequate time to flee, as the Hague Convention requires. The fact that the marines called down air strikes on enemy positions does not contravene LOAC at all.”

The Us military tells us that all the noncombatants had fled the city yet it turns out that was not the case. You see David. You seem to thin the US military, which incidentally is closing down the bogs of US soldiers over there, is incapable of lying.

What was the first reposnse from the Pentagon when the WP sroty broke? Complete denial. You woud have believed thatright? Well, they changed their story to say they used it only on enemy combatants. Ooops. Did you believe that too?

How many times are you going to let these guys got to lie and change their story and still insist they are telling the truth?

What a dufus.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:12:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

And by your criteria, rrhos, we should go to bed with no one, allowing tyranny and evil to flourish throughout the world.

But then, you're a pacifist, aren't you.

So let me pose to you the same question adduced by George Orwell in his Reflections on Ghandi.

You say that you don't actually believe in war full stop. So presumably that means you would have opposed WWII. So that gives rise to two questions:

A) do you think that the Nazi regime should have been overthrown

B) and if the answer to A) is affirmative, how precisely do you think it should have been done, if your pacifism rules out the option of military force?

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:17:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

David, yes, you would fail to see the problem. Fair enough. I see where you are coming from and will not argue any further on that point. You believe that killing civilians is justified and have a swag of legalities to back you up. I find the whole thing repugnant and - unlike the historical events you so selectively cite - unnecessary.

Once again, can you show where my "argument was about the war's legality"? I again contend that the legal claptrap is your hobby horse, not mine. Will you concede that?

And to your statement that "What the wsws presents as facts are anything but": do you dispute these facts (above), or simply the political conclusions drawn from them? Please clarify. You suggested that addamo's argument held no water because his sources were unreliable. Yet you seem to agree that the facts they present are accurate. Which is it?

rhross, I agree with your assessment. David is likely one of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists. Oops, personal attack. Well, only a tongue-in-cheek one. Will I get away with that?

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:18:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

There's a case to be made that the White House, the Pentagon and Congress are buildings used by terrorists so they are legitimate targets.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:18:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

david,
The difference is that you divide the world into evil and good and I do not.

The Hitlers and Saddams and Bushes for that matter, come to power because people sacrifice principle on the altar of self-interest.

There are peaceful ways of controlling nations, even the US.

Do I believe people have a right to fight when attacked or invaded? I believe people have a right to live life by their own values.

i don't actually think there are enough real pacifists in the world to make any of my solutions possible. That hopefully may change.

Do I think the Nazis should have been overthrown? It was never that simple. The Nazis did a lot of good things in the early days and Germans turned a blind eye to the nasty things because of self interest.

Would the Nazis have gone as far as they did if the world at large had seriously tried to intervene earlier? No.

Would as many Jews have died of the international community had interfered earlier? No. Neither would they have died if rich Jews had helped poor Jews get out of Germany when Hitler said they could. They didn't.

There are many thing which could have been done in order to avoid war. They were not done.

There were things which could have been done to control Saddam Hussein. They were not done.

War is only ever a sign of utter failure and a lack of moral integrity in human beings.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:27:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

And you, Leftveg, believe that any military operation that might inadvertendly injure a civilian is illegal and illegitimate, thus consigning the Normandy invasion to the category of a crime against humanity.

War is sometimes the only moral option in the face of tyranny and oppression.

And per your question, rhross, yes the White House and Pentagon are certainly legitimate military targets. But that is really a theoretical irrelevancy because al-Qaeda doesn't give a hoot about LOAC anyway, as its attacks on London, Madrid, Bali and 9/11 amply demonstrate.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:27:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

david,
Dresden was a crime against humanity. The Russian rape and slaughter when they entered Berlin was a crime against humanity. The allies did pretty well on the 'crimes against humanity stakes' as well.

War is not noble although noble acts may take place as a part of it. War is filthy, barbaric, cruel and always morally bankrupt.

War should only ever be a last resort and even then it is a sign of failure.

You might have a case if there were a war on this planet that had ever taken place where one side was absolutely innocent and the other side completely guilty.

It is never that simple. borders are fluid and much conflict has arisen from the wrongs of colonisation throughout the world. Even Kuwait, an artificial creation like Iraq, was seen as a target by Saddam for far more complex reasons than most people know.

The question I would like answered is why the United States spends so much on the military? Do you buy a car if you don't plan to drive it> Or a gun if you don't plan to shoot with it?

The most heavily armed, most aggressive nation on the planet today is America. The question is Why? The answer is a given.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:34:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

"al-Qaeda doesn't give a hoot about LOAC anyway, as its attacks on London, Madrid, Bali and 9/11 amply demonstrate"

As doe the prescision bombing that took out two houses filled with innocents in as many weeks.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:39:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

More sidestepping, David. Do you have an aversion to answering straight forward questions? An odd proclivity for a blogger.

And now, by stating that I "believe that any military operation that might inadvertendly injure a civilian is illegal and illegitimate", you are deliberately distorting my position. Another fallacious argument. And another effort to dismiss the deaths of innocents at the hands of the world's most powerful war machine as "inadvertent injuries". I guess you think destroying a family home is akin to stubbing your toe.

Let me be plain: The war against Iraq was wrong, its conduct has been counterproductive to its (dubious) stated aims, and its continuation is leading to the brutal deaths of civilians. Therefore it is unjustified, regardless of the legal niceties or political ranting used to convince us to support our elites.

"Tyranny and oppression", indeed. That is not why this war is being waged, and you know it. You have demonstrated a grasp of history and politics, now I urge you to consider the political economy of the region, its major players, its resources, and its geostrategic importance for the west. Your "war of liberation", fought by noble soldiers whose actions cannot be doubted, is just another struggle for political and economic dominance between great powers, where the victims, as ever, are the people. Open your eyes.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:41:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Rh,

You forgot to mention that inspite of this massive military, Americans remain among the most fearful in teh world.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:42:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

addamo

What on earth does "among the most fearful in the world" mean for goodness sakes? What is wrong with you people?

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:51:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

addamo,
Yes but there is a lot of fear at work in the world these days... particularly the developed world. It is worse in America but there is greater ignorance there and while John Howard has worked hard to make Australians fearful, the Americans have been far more successful.

I think that is because the US has major literacy problems and instead of news it has infotainment. Also, the Americans are much more religious and therefore easily buy into the good and evil, God and Satan, right and wrong and Armageddon stuff.

But, the reality is that fear is very much a part of the modern world. This is something I noticed after many years living in Africa and India where people really do have things to fear like poverty, illness and war.

Returning to Australia I was always struck by the fear-mongering. Having lived in war zones I couldn't see the reason for people to have bars on their windows.... having lived in Johannesburg it almost seemed a joke.

People are encouraged to fear illness and the nanny state and media are forever advising us to have this test, don't eat this, do eat this...and then we had the Howard Government pumping up fears of invasion by refugees and attacks by terrorists.

It all becomes a bit surreal. The fact is that Australians, and anyone who lives in a developed nation has so little to fear it is not funny and yet in many ways people seem far more fearful than they are in the Third World.

Maybe we just have too much time on our hands.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:57:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:59:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

Rhross, your comment about the Nazis really takes the cake:

The Nazis did a lot of good things in the early days...

Good things? Like the Nuremberg Race Laws (1935)? Like Kristalnacht (1938)?

But I suppose it shouldn't suprise me to see Leftists acting as apologists for Nazism. After all, they've been making common cause with Islamic radicals in the anti-war movement.

Disgusting!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:02:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

Leftveg, you accused me of believing:

that killing civilians is justified and have a swag of legalities to back you up.

Thus you clearly seem to indicate that you believe killing civilians is NEVER justified, even if those non-combatant deaths are the unintended consequence of a legal strike against a legitimate military target. The exercise of legal and operational due diligence in an attempt to avoid collateral damage appears to be irrelevant as far as you are concerned. The only thing that matters to you is that civilians are dead or injured.

So yes, on the basis of the comment above, I assert that my argument is neither fallacious, nor a distortion. If you wish to modify your position, please feel free. But until you do, I stand by my characterisation of your position.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:09:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

david,
Perspective is all. The Nazis helped to stablise the economy and improved the quality of life for Germans. They did a lot of good things from the German perspective and in terms of government.

Their excesses are well documented. That is not the point. The point was they did not start out as bad as they became.

The signs that pointed in the direction they would possibly take were ignored both by the German people and the international community.

A bit like America today. My point was that action could have been taken earlier and should have been taken earlier.

No Government is ever all bad, certainly at the start. Even Saddam Hussein did good things. Iraqis are amongst the most highly educated of Arab nations, well they were until the invasion and occupation. Women had the greatest freedom, well they did under Saddam but no longer under the occupation.

Nothing is ever all good or all bad. That is life. I realise that you and others like you want to divide it into neat piles of good and evil but it doesn't work like that. Never did. Never will.

The capacity for good resides in those who commit acts of evil and the capacity for evil resides in those who commit acts defined as good.

A classic example of this mixed bag is the removal of Aboriginal children from their families if they were considered at risk. It was done from good intention in the main but it resulted in acts of evil at times.

Such complexities of life tend to mess with the minds of some people.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:09:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

David,

Are you really believeing this crap about Senior Al Qaeda members. someone tallied the number fo Zarqawi number 2's that have been killed and it came ot somthign like 30 odd. Has he got an incubator pumping them out or something?

First reports even claimed Zawahiri was killed. How manhy times ws he supposed to have been rubbed out? Zarqawi was supposed to have been rubbed out how many times?

Is the guy even alive?

youcan repeat theis claim abotu the ar being in accrod with Hague and Geneva Conventions all you like, but this is completely refuted by the fact thatGonzales had to issue some leagl rulign that dismissed the geneva convetinos as irrelevatn when it didn't suit the US's agenda.

The abuses a Abu Graib, Goitmo and Bargram proive is evidence enough that the US is more than willing to flout all resoliutions when no one is looking.

"I guess the operative lesson here is don't provide home hospitality to al-Qaeda."

Perhaps the ore operative workd is, be careful who you arm and support.

Either way, it;s quite fitting that the US itself carries the title of being found guilty of State Terror. Most fitting.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:10:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

Addamo:

The Predator air strike in Pakistan took out 4 senior al-Qaeda commanders, including the bin Laden's senior bomb maker. It is unfortunate that civilians were hurt, but as we see with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, terrorists often try to use civilians to shield themselves from attack (which is a war crime according to the Hague and Geneva Conventions- not that they'd give a hoot, mind you).

I guess the operative lesson here is don't provide home hospitality to al-Qaeda.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:12:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

Ah yes, a bit of perspective is what we need on the Holocaust. After all, there's a German side to the story too, no? I was just following orders...

Sorry, Rhross, but I don't buy into this post modernist concept that everything is relative.

There is objective right and wrong. There are some things that are unredeemably evil. And if you can't see that Nazism is one of them, then you are utterly beyond moral or intellectual redemption.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:16:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

david

You didn't answer me. On your criteria, which you have posted above, it was okay then for the Germans to blow up civilians when they thought French Resistance fighters were inside?

Or would you like to explain the difference to me in terms of people fighting against occupation?

When people fight against occupation they are the army. That's the whole point. that's the only way they can fight.

Or shouldn't they fight?

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:16:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

David said...

“But I suppose it shouldn't suprise me to see Leftists acting as apologists for Nazism. After all, they've been making common cause with Islamic radicals in the anti-war movement.”

You really don’t have a clue what your saying do you David. What are you doing? Quoting from some right wing blog recipe book you bought from Michael Savages or Rush Limbaugh’s web site?

Stay on topic mate.

“Thus you clearly seem to indicate that you believe killing civilians is NEVER justified, even if those non-combatant deaths are the unintended consequence of a legal strike against a legitimate military target.”

Like RH keeps drilling into that thick skull of yours, the guy firing the missiles always believes his cause is legitimate. You really are a major victim of moral exceptionalism. The West can do no wrong because it is all benevolent.

The Nazi;s woudl have used the same rhetoric as you i nevery regard. Let's be honest. The guys who set the rules are the ones who win the fight no?

“The exercise of legal and operational due diligence in an attempt to avoid collateral damage appears to be irrelevant as far as you are concerned. The only thing that matters to you is that civilians are dead or injured.”

You don’t even realize that the term collateral damage is a dehumanizing term to somehow cleans ourselves of murder.

Petty lame dude.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:17:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

Gonzales wrote a memo to the effect that the 3rd Geneva Convention on POWs did not apply to al-Qaeda or the Taliban after capture. And he was absolutely correct to do so because, by the terms of the Convention itself, terrorists don't qualify for prisoner of war status.

Once again you are mixing apples and oranges.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:18:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

David,

At lastsome logic and reason:

"There is objective right and wrong. There are some things that are unredeemably evil. And if you can't see that Nazism is one of them, then you are utterly beyond moral or intellectual redemption."

So if we kill it's just as wrong as if they kill. Good, now you're getting it.

And us calling their fighters terrorists is meanigless becasue to them, we are terrorists too.

Bravo. You're on the right path.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:19:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

well, it has been fun knocking your arguments to bits like pinatas, but I must apply myself to more constructive pursuits, namely an Australia day barbie, where we'll indulge in our carniverous passions by cooking and eating dead animals, and gulp down a few chilled stubbies, and talk about how all is right with the country with John Howard at the helm.

Ta

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:21:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Hope you learned something mate. Yo have a long way to go.

No lack of false bravado though.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:22:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

david
Wasn't 'no I was just following orders' the defence from the Abu Ghraib soldieres?

You are being obtuse. Nazism as it manifested was the source of great evil.

That does not mean that everything that every Nazi did was evil nor that there were not 'good' things within it.

Just as their is evil in the actions of the US and Australia for that matter, so that does not deny the good.

Some things are evil but we need to condemn the act, not the individual. We also need to understand why 'evil' happens. In addition, at different times there are different concepts of 'evil.'

Is it evil to cause pain? Yes. Unless you are a doctor treating a patient when often it is No. Pain being a part of the process.

Is it evil to smack a child? Yes unless you are trying to stop a very small child from touching a hot fire when you could get away with a no.

Is it evil to kill? Yes, unless you are helping someone who is suffering terribly to die, as doctors and nurses often do unofficially.

The greatest evil is ignorance.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:23:00 pm  
Blogger RHRoss said...

I also have better things to do.

I see you refused to answer my questions again David. No doubt because there is no answer you can give.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:26:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Don't you love these wet behind the ears kids who delcare themselves the winner in a debate and run?

So adorable.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:28:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Trouble is, he honestly reckons he did knock all other arguments for six.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 2:07:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 3:41:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 8:10:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Apart from the following, I have nothing more to add because David's done a fine job of arguing the point.*

Regarding one of the URLs Addamo posted, the Vietnam era quote is incorrectly attributed to a special forces colonel describing the town Ben Tre. The actual quote was "we had to destroy the village in order to save it". A serviceman was quoted by journo Peter Arnett as saying this regarding the flattening of a village believed to be harbouring VC. Trouble is, the quote is bogus. Everyone around him at the time remembers the soldier saying something much more like "it was a shame we had to destroy the village", and there is no video or audio proof that such a statement was ever made. To believe an adult would utter such an obvious contradiction displays a fervent credulity of anything that shows American forces in a bad light - no matter how ridiculous.

However, there are plenty of credulous people around, and the phrase has sunk into popular culture, destined to be abused and moulded into any anti-American diatribe or trimmed to fit any scenario where American forces are involved.

*Incidentally, DBO, David did provide clear and absolute refutations of Addamo's claims that the US violated the Geneva convention in Iraq. In response, he got opinions, conjectures and a bunch of URLs linking to dubious quality op-eds. Nothing concrete.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 8:12:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Thank goodness you are here to adjudicate, o unbiased one. We'd be silly to expect anything else from the great collectivist swatter.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 9:05:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

James,

"Incidentally, DBO, David did provide clear and absolute refutations of Addamo's claims that the US violated the Geneva convention in Iraq. In response, he got opinions, conjectures and a bunch of URLs linking to dubious quality op-eds. Nothing concrete."

David failed miserably on many counts, and in fact he failed to rebut my very long winded refutation.

1. He sidelines the issue of the legality of the invasion, saying a cogent argument could be made, but passing on the opportunity. He obviously knew that any argument he cold make has long been shot to pieces, instead chosing to write long screeds about Trostkism.
2. He failed to address the fact that Fallujah was a blatant example of collective punishment. It was widely anticipated that the US would attack Fallujah to apparently capture or kill Zarqawi and his minions, yet the delay gave such people ample opportunity to leave. Thus the attack was largely symbolic and meant to intimidate the Iraqi’s into submission.
3. He suggested that the insurgents that were left used public buildings to hide in. Apart from the fact that this is laughable – the insurgents are not a military groups equipped with tanks, and gun-ships, it is irrelevant. The US admitted that the hospitals were being closed so that pictures of the dead and wounded would not reach the media. This violates the Geneva Conventions
4. He failed to address that US armed forces prevented doctors form tending to the wounded in the centre of town. This violates the Geneva Conventions
5. He failed to address that the US prevented the Red Cross from delivering food, water and medicines to the city. This violates the Geneva Conventions
6. He failed to address that napalm and wp are prohibited under the Geneva laws.
7. He dialed to address that the same tactics were used in Tal Afar.
8. Finally. He asserts that the US military stuck to strict LOAC guidelines while all evidence suggests that the US military cast aside rules of engagement out of frustration.
9. He failed to acknowledged that the US Attorney General deemed the Geneva Conventions to be irrelevant, thus implying that they were no longer recognized or applied. It therefore goes without saying that if this position was adopted throughout the armed forces with regard to interrogation, then it would also have been accepted with regard to rules of engagement.
10. He failed to address that the Geneva Conventions with respect to prisoner interrogation, the maintaining of secret prisons, kinapping, and extraordinary continue to be sideline or sidestepped by the US to this day. The very fact that the US are rendering people to other countries where torture is widely practiced is evidence that the US intends for these captives (who’s identities are hidden) are intended to be tortured.
11. David busied himself with entirely irrelevant screeds about WWII, failing to acknowledge that unlike Nazi Germany, Iraq war bereft of a military and essentially disarmed. This was acknowledged that the assault would be over very quickly because the architects knew there were no WMD and that Saddam’s army was no threat to anyone in the region.

I’m sure there is plenty more where David’s logic has completely failed.

Friday, January 27, 2006 12:24:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

What is it with you David and this third party discussion? Do you like to grandstand or are you just shy?

“That would be news to the American and British pilots who were being shot at on an almost daily basis while flying to enforce the no-fly-zones in northern and southern Iraq. And those no-fly-zones were established by your beloved UN, remember.”

Yeah well they kinda were upping the mount of bombs they were dropping on Iraq by 500%, and in the mean time, kinda moving the goal posts of what constituted the no fly zones.

It came out as part of the DSM that the coalition were trying to incite Saddam into attacking, to create a casus belli for war.

Didn't work as it turned out. Nor did it wrkw when Blair and Bush tried to trap sadam by making demands they were sure he would not accept.

When he did accept, Bush spat the dummy and said that Saddam could not be trusted.

”By contrast, neither Australia nor Britain were under fire from Germany before they declared war on 3 September 1939. Hitler invaded Poland, not Cambridgeshire.”

They invaded a contry nonetheless. That’s called aggression. Iraq had not done that if you recall, for more than a decade and on that occasion he got spanked.

”So let me reiterate my assertion that US troops were under much greater threat from Saddam Hussein's regime than either Britain or Australia were from Hitlerian Germany.”

How is that exactly? US troops were either sitting inside Abrahams tanks, inside the cockpit of state of the art planes , playing table tennis in Saudi Arabia or on the deck of a Billion dollar aircraft carrier. Brrrrrrrrrr scary.

“Thus WWII was much more a war of preemption than was the war in Iraq in 2003. So unless you are going to criticise our war against the Nazis, your argument against Operation Iraqi Freedom is a non sequitur.”

You sneaky bastard trying to frame things by using pretzel logic. You go saying, let's assume Saddam was a threat. You thin I woudn't notice or are you so pogrammed with the WMD talking pnt that you have lost all sense of reality?

Germany had already invaded another country and was making very clear signs it intended to move further.

Sadam didn't even have a bloody army incase you hadn't noticed.

”But you confuse jus ad bellum (the laws governing the legitimacy of going to war) with jus in bello (the laws governing the actual conduct of war).”

What the hell?

The US failed on both counts away. So this is indeed irrelevant.

”There is an extremely cogent case to be made to the effect that the war against Ba'athist Iraq was legal in international law.”

No there is not. The only cogent case are post facto rationals (all 27 of them) that can be pulled apart by a pre schooler.

Be a man a accept that this is a losing argument.

“The rules of LOAC still apply to a war that has been illegally begun.”

Whatever. It is clear these meant bugger all to the troops on the ground. And when the JAG boys decided to apply themseves, the DOJ came ot the rescue and changed the rules to ensure there were no crimes to break.

The US ilitary field manual says that WP is not to be used against any persons on the battlefield. How many Us solderis do you think read it?

”So while Iraqi insurgents certainly had the right to resist US troops, they DID NOT have the right to violate the laws of war in doing so.”

Neoither did the US, but they did it anyway and did so repeatedly.

“By using hospitals, mosques, schools and other civilian installations for military purposes, the jihadis simply added to the list of war crimes they had committed (along with the murder of hostages, the deliberate suicide bombing of civilians, etc...)”

Big deal. The US bombed entire enighbourhoods and towns and just usedthis crap as a jutification for using a meat cleaver to squash a fly,

How do you explain British troops dressed in disguise being apprehended in Basra with a car full of explosives? Are these people not violating the same rules you are referring to?

”And as for your sources, you use the Trotskyist website wsws to substantiate your argument. Sorry, but the world socialist website as about as much credibility as the neo-nazi Adelaide Institute. To demonstrate why, let me end with a quote from written by this group's hero and inspiration, Leon Trotsky.”

Oh drop the crap David. The story links to other sources. Besides, you are arguing that unless the mainstream carries the report, it doesn’t hold water. Well, that holds even less water buddy, given the sheer volume of stories about how the US have paid for positive stories coming out of Iraq, to how MSM papers have been in bed with the White House in the lead up to the Iraq war, cherry picking intelligence or stove piping information to scare the public into supporting the war.

All the "reliable" sources reapeated the WH WMD, 911, Terorist lies and yet you maintain that they are the only ones to consider. Way to go Sherlock.

Truly bizarre given that such links have actually been repeatedly vindicated. You programming is a little to obvious my Cyborg.

”This sort of talk reminds me of the justifications offered by abu-Musab al-Zarkawi when he blew up those hotels in Amman Jordan. No wonder the Trots of the wsws are on the side of al-Qaeda in this war.”

Actually you ignorance betrays you. The main architects of this war were a bunch of Trotskyites. But what you say makes sense, though not in the way you intended. Bush had the chance to take out Zarqawi prior to the invasion, but chose not to (on two occasions) because he wanted to use Zarwai’s presence in Iraq (in Kurdistan mind you, under the NO FLY ZONES) so that Powell could tell the UN how Zarqawi’s presence in Iraq was evidence that Saddam was a sponsor of terror.

So you see, the Trotskyites are very much in league with Zarqawi. He has them to thank for him still being alive.

I think that’s what they all an own goal David. Sorry about that.

Friday, January 27, 2006 1:16:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

James,

Another thing.

You seem stuck in the belief that the only sources that can be deeemed credible are establihed main stram sources. This utterly confounds me.

The main stream medea has been utterly discredittte, to the poin where thay have even coneeded to a collective mea culpa for failing to do their job.

Yet the league fo extrardinary lemmings sontinue to maintain that this is what constitutes concrete sources. So let's take a look at what constitutes these concrete sources.

With regard to the war, the MSM draws it's reports fro the following:

1. Official governmnt or miitary sources. These are almost entirely politicised or items fo baltant propaghanda. Just this week, a Pentago report was leaked suggesting the US military wa a breaking point. Rumslfeld came out and denied this. need I say more?

2. Assest on the ground i.e. Iraq's paid to provide informtion on what they see. Darh Jamail hsa reported that this is the onyl safe optino for eitors of the MSM, seeing as unembeeded reporters are in such peril in Iraq. He reports that stories are usualyl sanitised or censored entirely.

3. So called leaked documents. No matter how damning, therse reports are usually blunted by the waning of the public's dissinterest.

4. Reports from whistel blowers. These are subject to powerful slur campaigns, if not ignored and allowed to suffer the same fete as iten 3.

So there you have it.

alrternative sources are questinable indeed, but this is usually based on conventional wisdom rather than fact. the sources aI provided are deemed quesrtionable becasue it is assumed they are not vetted, yet the mountains of propaghanda and lies that made it's way into the NY Times was itself unvetted.

In fact. in the lead up to the war, the Judith Miller would write reports on sources provided by Dick Cheney;s office. When the item was published, Cheny and co woud then refer to the NY times article as further evidecen of their assertions.

Yo really need to get with reality James.

Friday, January 27, 2006 1:29:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, January 27, 2006 2:04:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

It's an issue of the credibility of the websites you source from, Addamo. When you link to articles posted by people with a blatant axe to grind, then yes, I do think you could have found a better source and I will discount its validity markedly. No where did I assert that the only credible links come from the mainstream media - the word I mentioned was "quality". Do you think the MSM is a symbol of quality? Do you think some of the conspiracy- theorising, paranoia, ideologically blinded websites you sometimes choose to lift info from are symbols of quality? Also, if you're honest, you'd admit you too would discount the credibility of my source if I utilised the above kind of websites from the other side of the fence, huh? How's that for realistic?

As for David's argument - I must concede that I only read the first few fusillades between you, DBO et al and him. During that time I have to say he made mincemeat of you all. Addamo was reduced, for the time in question, to conjecture, opinion and dubious URLs (as I said earlier). DBO was blethering on about something that I don't care to remember. David, on the other hand, actually used the Geneva Convention document as his source and pointed out where and how those that opposed him were wrong to assert the USA has some policy of ignoring the rules of war. In regards to the latter posts in the discussion - well, I lost interest. So I suppose I should make it clear that I'm only talking about what I've read.

Another major misconception to clear up - you'll love this, DBO - Saddam was never a particularly close American ally, despite the erroneous assertions of some commenters here. He was a tangential ally for a relatively short period of time. He was such an insignificant ally that the US sold arms to both Iraq and Iran during the war between those two countries. And if you're interested, no I don't have a problem with this.

Addamo - did you find the fact about the phoney "we had to destroy the village to save it" quote interesting?

Friday, January 27, 2006 2:15:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

James,
The entire Iraq war was instigated by people with an axe to grind. You seem to think this is just a phenomenon that afflicts the left. The war was inspired by ideologues motivated by a desire for regime change.
Either way, having an axe to grind doesn’t make you wrong.
Do you think the MSM is a symbol of quality?”
So you? Based on the performance of the past 4 years, you would be daft to suggest it.
“Also, if you're honest, you'd admit you too would discount the credibility of my source if I utilized the above kind of websites from the other side of the fence, huh? How's that for realistic?”
Well, seeing as you use links very sparingly, this in a non issue. You yourself have stated that you avoid using links because they are questionable, no matter what the source, yet like David, you are the first to demand links from those you are debating. That’s not the issue of course. The issue is that you are buying into the status quo or conventional wisdom that suggests anyone challenging the status quo is suspect or driven by an agenda – thus misguided.

” David, on the other hand, actually used the Geneva Convention document as his source and pointed out where and how those that opposed him were wrong to assert the USA has some policy of ignoring the rules of war.”
Fair enough. But my issue with this is that David’s entire case rested on the existence of these documents are proof that this is what happens in reality. In spite of countelss examples to the contrary, David’s idea of debate was sticking to his guns that the existence of these documents in itself was proof that the US has not flouted the Geneva Conventions.
For example, article 14 of the Geneva Conventions reads as follows:
“Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population such as food s-stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of food-stuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigations works.”
Cutting electricity and preventing food and medicine from reaching the towns are explicitly forbidden under this article.
“ He was a tangential ally for a relatively short period of time. He was such an insignificant ally that the US sold arms to both Iraq and Iran during the war between those two countries. And if you're interested, no I don't have a problem with this.”
Not at all. In spite of my bloviating rhetoric, am always interested in what you have to say James. I think you may find that Israel was also a supporter of Iran at the time – how ironic hey?

”Addamo - did you find the fact about the phoney "we had to destroy the village to save it" quote interesting?”
Yes I did and I stand corrected. Thank you for pointing that out to me. In Fallujah alone, t he US destroyed 36,000 houses, 60 schools, and 65 mosques during the first weeks of occupation alone. It seems that in spite of the absence of an official statement, the philosophy itself still holds.

Friday, January 27, 2006 2:54:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

"You seem to think this is just a phenomenon that afflicts the left."

Not at all, as I plainly stated in my last post - if I used the ranty right wing sources (ie, they exist) to provide some factual basis for a claim you would probably - and certainly should - cry foul.

"you are the first to demand links from those you are debating."

Sorry - where have I done this recently? I may have asked for some proof for a claim I fing particularly outlandish, but to say I "am the first to demand links" is obviously incorrect. I demand evidence to back up assertions. As you do and should.

"seeing as you use links very sparingly"

I believe I use them appropriately.

"So you? Based on the performance of the past 4 years, you would be daft to suggest it."

That's not the point I was driving at - I was making clear that it was you who jumped to the conclusion that I was referring to the MSM. Also, there is still plenty of worthy content to be found in the MSM.

"David’s idea of debate was sticking to his guns that the existence of these documents in itself was proof that the US has not flouted the Geneva Conventions."

Take what you consider to be an American warcrime - the engagement of civilian buildings in Fallujah. David pulls a quote from the Geneva Convention stating that if the enemy utilises a civilian building during hostilities, the building loses its GC protections. You claim this to be irrelevant - the Americans did what they did to avoid bad PR. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. It's still a strawman. There's obviously a degree of interpretation of motives, but on a literal reading, the Americans didn't break the Geneva convention in this case. David was right about that, but you countered with your analysis of the US's motives and a WSWS (oh, come on, you can surely find better than that!) URL. Both of which mean nothing to the overarching truth that David made clear - the civilian buildings the terrorists were holed up in lost their Geneva Convention protection. And thus were legitimate targets. No warcrime.

"Yes I did and I stand corrected."

I apologise - I wasn't trying to be pedantic by asking that question. I genuinely thought it interesting because it's such an oft-mentioned quote.

I too enjoy these discussions.

Friday, January 27, 2006 6:10:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

“You claim this to be irrelevant - the Americans did what they did to avoid bad PR. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. It's still a strawman. There's obviously a degree of interpretation of motives, but on a literal reading, the Americans didn't break the Geneva convention in this case.”

What straw man? By denying medical aid to the Fallujans, they were contravening the Geneva conventions. By denying the delivery of food, electriocity and water to the inhabitants of Fallujah, , they were contravening the Geneva conventions .

There is no debate about that.

“David was right about that, but you countered with your analysis of the US's motives and a WSWS (oh, come on, you can surely find better than that!) URL. Both of which mean nothing to the overarching truth that David made clear - the civilian buildings the terrorists were holed up in lost their Geneva Convention protection. And thus were legitimate targets. No warcrime”

Firstly, it was knows to all that the primary targets had already left Flalujah prior to the commencement of the attack:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/oif-phantom-fury-fallujah.htm

The attack went head anyway, because George Bush back home, wanted to prove to that the previous failure to bring Fallujah under control had been a fluke. In any case, this was a prime example of collective punishment to the inhabitants of the village. The Geneva Conventions call that a no no.

What do the Geneva conventions state about Guerilla warfare? If a US soldier enters a fire-free zone (as they declared the entirety of Fallujah to be), then it’s obviously his prerogative to hide behind structures to prevent being shot. Is he not using a civilian structure to protect himself and possibly hide?

In David’s warped reality, the insurgents should have stood out in the open, blazing away with their pathetic munitions and expected some degree of success. Whenever Rumsfled is asked about the conduct of the military in Iraq, what’s his stock response? We are at war. Fact remains that the war was decided in Washington, not in side Iraq.

The US soldiers entered with all manner of armed vehicles. They wore body armour,. They were covered by fighter planes, bombers, gun ships and assault helicopters – not to mention WP. According to David, the insurgents were a bunch of pussies because they hid inside buildings.

Ultimately, this argument about the civilian buildings wouldn’t mean a damn if the US was telling the truth about Fallujah being evacuated. It was partially evacuate. 30-40 thousand citizens remained, and these people were denied medical aid, food, electricity, water for months. This contravened the Geneva conventions

As we saw in New Orleans, the US are fond of designating people insurgents whenever it suits them. Who the hell believes anything these guys say when they say they killed x number of terrorists, when they have to way of telling the difference anyway? It’s all BS for domestic political consumption.

”I apologise - I wasn't trying to be pedantic by asking that question.”

No need to. I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong.

Friday, January 27, 2006 8:06:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

"What straw man? By denying medical aid to the Fallujans..."

But that wasn't the example I was talking about. I was talking about the example where you claimed the US had contravened the GC by attacking civilian buildings like hospitals. Anyway, I think you've missed the point. I was saying that you retaliated against David's QED refutation of your claim about the US breaking the GC by targeting hospitals - which you responded to with a bunch of irrelevant conjecture. Here, you're doing it again; shifting the goalposts by bringing in irrelevant information to the point at hand. If you want to open a new discussion about a different point, fine. But you need to compare apples with apples.

A few other thoughts -

"it was knows to all that the primary targets had already left Flalujah prior to the commencement of the attack"

No, that's not right according to your source - for starters, I don't see anywhere (credible) stating Zarwaqi was the major goal leading up to the attack on Fallujah. However, it's possible he may have been a target - albeit an overarching one not specific to this attack - the Americans probably figured there was a chance he was still in the city, and the potential to capture/kill him was raised. So he may well have been a target. That's tar-get. Not plural, like you claim. Nor is there any proof from your source that the Americans knew he'd left the city prior to the attack. Even if they did know, it would be immaterial if the main aim was to wrest control of the city from the insurgents, which is (going on what I've gleaned from a brief Wikipedia/Google search) what the sane analysts claim.

That globalsecurity.org site* you quoted from also seems to disagree with you about denying medical aid to citizens; it clearly states that a hospital taken early on in the conflagration was kept open to handle injured civilians. So your assertion that the Americans denied medical aid to the Fallujans is starting to look pretty wobbly. Which makes me wonder - how do the rest of your claims, which you assert "there is no debate about", stack up in light of this inconsistency?

*Now that's the kind of quality site I'm talking about when sourcing info. No discernable bias. A good source. WSWS etc are really bad sources when it comes to impartiality and the information contained there will only be accepted by members of the choir. When refuting my argument, would you accept analysis or facts that from me that I'd dug up from a website like Ann Coulter's (or similar)? There's my point.

Friday, January 27, 2006 9:33:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

OK, so I take it that what you're saying is that if my sources were reputable, you would agree with me.

OK I accept that.

As far as Zarqawi goes, the Fallujah campaign was being marketted very much under the banner of getting Zarqawi. You surely cannot deny that.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/11/26/ufallujah.xml&sSheet=/portal/2004/11/26/ixportaltop.html

and here:

"Tony Blair and George Bush, who will hold talks in Washington on Thursday and Friday, are determined to clear insurgents, most notably Zarqawi, from Falluja to allow elections to take place in Iraq in January."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1346014,00.html

And ever on Fox:

"The U.S.-led offensive will target not only regular Iraqi insurgents, but also Islamist followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), the Jordanian militant who recently swore allegiance to Al Qaeda and by his own admission has kidnapped and beheaded several Americans and other foreigners."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,137671,00.html
The globalsecurity.org site is as conservative and pro-establishment as you can get. I listed it becasue I thought that it would at least get your attention.

Here's more of the US military operating within the confines fo the geneva Comventions:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060127/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_leveraging_wives

Now tell me this James. How impartial do you regard the MSM? Do you believe that crimes committed in Iraq by the US forces will always be reported to the public?

If I were to provide a source you regard as reliable, would you condem such activities or defend them?

Saturday, January 28, 2006 8:26:00 am  
Blogger David said...

And what's wrong with targeting insurgents who happen to be Islamists, rather than Ba'athist holdovers? As long as they have picked up an AK and are fighting US troops, it really doesn't matter why they are doing it. They are fair game according to international law.

Once more, Addamo, your stunning talent for the injection of irrelevancy comes to the fore.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:51:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

"OK, so I take it that what you're saying is that if my sources were reputable, you would agree with me. "

No, you've completely missed the point. You use a lot of conjecture when arguing your case, and more often than not it's a very activist-type left wing analysis you offer. That's fine - if you can support it with some firm evidence. Even if you do argue your case well and have good solid evidence to back it up, that doesn't necessarily mean I'll agree with you. Your source/s - despite its credibility - may have missed points that I believe are important. I may also think that you've misinterpreted your source. Sometimes you may have a killer source that might make me stop and say - okay, I accept that. But there's no guarantee of this. My original point about the flaky sources you often post to support your analysis is that you're wasting your time posting them, because I'll discount them entirely. And I'd expect you to do the same thing if I, when arguing my position, starting quoting those righty folks and sources the left loves to hate. Axe-grinding sources are worthless. Incidentally, if I'm supposed to accept you're right if only you post credible sources when backing up your statements, does this mean that when I post a whole lot of rebuttals to things you've previously said (like I did above) and you don't deal with these rebuttals, you're tacitly admitting I am right regarding them?

"As far as Zarqawi goes, the Fallujah campaign was being marketted very much under the banner of getting Zarqawi."

Really? Sounds like editorial spin to me, considering the preponderance of evidence to the contrary. From that same article you linked to:

"We have come close to Zarqawi before. But our main priority was not Zarqawi, it was defeating the insurgents for the people of Fallujah."

Which is precisely what I said in a previous comment. So yes, I can deny that because - once again - you're inserting your conjecture and treating it as fact. Even the Guardian quote you posted agrees with my analysis -

"are determined to clear insurgents, most notably Zarqawi, from Falluja to allow elections to take place in Iraq in January." (my emphasis added)

Of course if Zarqawi was there, they would have arrested or killed him. But do you truly, seriously think that the Americans thought they had a hope of catching Zarqawi - considering they gave Fallujan residents advanced warning of the attack so they could leave? Do you truly believe that the Americans thought Zarqawi would be so dumb as to stick around? Of course they would have arrested him if he was there. But they must have known he would leave town. That's why they said they wanted to clear the city of insurgents - most notably Zarqawi, because he's such a high profile figure.

Regarding your yahoo news source, it is inconclusive if you're aiming to prove that the Americans broke the GC. The Americans clearly stated that the women they detained were enemy combatants (which, as the wives of insurgents, wouldn't be that far fetched). I agree - this might not be the case, and maybe they were using them as bait. But maybe they weren't. You or I will never know. Point is, you can't use that as evidence that the US broke the GC there, because you can't prove anything. You're relying on your instinctive distrust of American military action to make this logical leap of faith.

I think that the MSM is biased - some for the war and the American administration and some against. It's all relative - some are more biased than others. I don't think it's possible to find a completely unbiased source. If you provided me with a strong source (not necessarily MSM) that presented a scenario that left little doubt in my mind of impropriety committed by American troops, then of course I would condemn such impropriety. But you haven't provided me with such an article. Take the Yahoo one you posted. There is a good possibility that the women held were not enemy combatants. There's also a good possibility they were. So, even though an Iraqi commission decided that the women were not enemy combatants, I am not convinced. Who sits on the commission? How impartial is it? What are its motivations, its interests? Is it like an Australian senate committee? Because I discount their findings wholesale all the time. So I am not going to pass judgement on the strength of this article because I think the evidence presented by both sides is inconclusive. You got me?

As for the globalsecurity site, I haven't seen much evidence of editorialising there. It seems pretty dispassionate. I'd say it's a credible source.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 2:07:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

David said...
“And what's wrong with targeting insurgents who happen to be Islamists, rather than Ba'athist holdovers?”
Because given the scale of the failures US and military intelligence continues to demonstrate, how would the occupation know the difference between these as insurgents who are legitimately resisting occupation?
“As long as they have picked up an AK and are fighting US troops, it really doesn't matter why they are doing it. They are fair game according to international law. “
Putting your confusion regarding basic logic aside, according to international law they are resisting what most of them perceive as an illegal and unjust occupation. Again, let’s be reminded that only a small percentage of fighters are foreign and according to surveys, most of those foreign fighters were former moderates radicalized by the resentment in the region towards the US/

“Once more, Addamo, your stunning talent for the injection of irrelevancy comes to the fore. “
Once more, my sunning talent shred your simplistic minded reasoning.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:27:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

Antony:

I have noticed that you have begun to censor the comments on your blog. A rather curious stance by someone who purports to be dedicated to freedom of speech and open discussion. It will be fascinating to see whether you let this through.


This is my response to Addamo's laundry list:

1. He sidelines the issue of the legality of the invasion, saying a cogent argument could be made, but passing on the opportunity. He obviously knew that any argument he cold make has long been shot to pieces, instead chosing to write long screeds about Trostkism.

There is indeed a cogent argument, but that would have taken us off on a tanget that is essentially irrelevant to the issue under discussion - jus in bello (the laws governing the conduct of war) I'd be happy to debate the other issue with you on another thread. Anytime.

But now to the issue at hand.

2. He failed to address the fact that Fallujah was a blatant example of collective punishment. It was widely anticipated that the US would attack Fallujah to apparently capture or kill Zarqawi and his minions, yet the delay gave such people ample opportunity to leave. Thus the attack was largely symbolic and meant to intimidate the Iraqi’s into submission.

Wrong. As I have demonstrated, the US fully abided by the requirements of LOAC by A) giving the civilian population advance warning and the opportunity to leave. B) firing only on those places that, even by the admission of the Trotskyite wsws website, were being used by insurgents to wage war, thus making them legitimate military targets.

3. He suggested that the insurgents that were left used public buildings to hide in. Apart from the fact that this is laughable – the insurgents are not a military groups equipped with tanks, and gun-ships, it is irrelevant. The US admitted that the hospitals were being closed so that pictures of the dead and wounded would not reach the media. This violates the Geneva Conventions

Wrong. Again, even the description of the battle adduced above from the rabidly anti-American world socialist website in an attempt to prove US guilt ends up demonstrating the opposite - that the insurgents used schools, mosques and hospitals as fighting positions. Scroll up and read it yourself.

The Geneva Conventions say nothing about keeping hospitals open for media access. I don't know where you dreamed this one up, but it's off the planet. I challenge you to show me the relevant clause of any of the four 1949 Conventions.

4. He failed to address that US armed forces prevented doctors form tending to the wounded in the centre of town. This violates the Geneva Conventions

Wrong. The US allowed the hospital, which had previously been used as a military base by insurgents, to reopen once the fighting had died down in that part of the city. US military medical officers provided care to civilians who had unwisely chosen to stay in Fallujah, as well as to captured insurgents. But your incomprehension of the GCs is so profound that I rather doubt that you've ever taken the time to read them. The Conventions make the safety of civilian medical personnel the responsibility of the US military, and thus the Marines were acting in compliance with the GC by not allowing non-military personnel to enter the battle zone while hostilities were underway. The US would have been violating the Convention by permitting civilian doctors to endanger their lives by entering a active battle zone.

5. He failed to address that the US prevented the Red Cross from delivering food, water and medicines to the city. This violates the Geneva Conventions

Once again, the Americans complied with LOAC by giving prior warning of their attack (at substantial risk to themselves, I might add) and allowing non-combatants to leave. Again, there is nothing in the Conventions that requires Parties to allow the ICRC to enter an active battlezone while shells and bullets are whizzing by. Moreover, there is nothing in the Conventions that requires Parties to allow that their armed enemies who are actively engaged in hostilities must be supplied with food while they are still hostile. If they surrender, they'll be given food. And once the battlefield was secure, the ICRC was allowed in to supply the necessities of life to those few civilians who stupidly remained in the firing line.

6. He failed to address that napalm and wp are prohibited under the Geneva laws.

Wrong. This one is a slam dunk demonstration of your complete ignorance of the Geneva Conventions and LOAC. There is NOTHING, REPEAT, NOTHING in those LOAC treaties signed and ratified by the United States that prohibits the use of WP or napalm.

7. He dialed to address that the same tactics were used in Tal Afar.

Given that I have proved your arguments to be full of holes you could drive a Mac truck through, so what?

8. Finally. He asserts that the US military stuck to strict LOAC guidelines while all evidence suggests that the US military cast aside rules of engagement out of frustration.

Wrong, as I have conclusively demonstrated.

9. He failed to acknowledged that the US Attorney General deemed the Geneva Conventions to be irrelevant, thus implying that they were no longer recognized or applied. It therefore goes without saying that if this position was adopted throughout the armed forces with regard to interrogation, then it would also have been accepted with regard to rules of engagement.

Wrong. The Gonzales memo related only to the application of the 3rd Geneva Convention on POWS to al-Qaeda/Taliban prisoners who were captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Before the commencement of Operation IRaqi Freedom, the Department of Defense EXPLICITLY stated that the GC rules on POWs would apply in Iraq.

10. He failed to address that the Geneva Conventions with respect to prisoner interrogation, the maintaining of secret prisons, kinapping, and extraordinary continue to be sideline or sidestepped by the US to this day. The very fact that the US are rendering people to other countries where torture is widely practiced is evidence that the US intends for these captives (who’s identities are hidden) are intended to be tortured.

I'll address that, in brief, now. There is nothing in the 3rd Geneva Convention on POWS (3GCPW) that requires the application of the treaty to captured jihadists. In fact, Article 2, paragraph 3 states that Parties to the Convention are under no obligation to apply the Convention's terms to non-Parties that do not abide by LOAC.

al-Qaeda neither signed nor ratified any of the Conventions, and it certainly doesn't abide by LOAC. And the same is true of Taliban forces.

http://usinfo.org/usia/usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/02020818.htm.

Thus US forces are not required to apply the 3GCPW to the war against jihadist Islam.

Moreover, al-Qaeda and the Taliban do not meet the detailed requirements for POW status that are laid out in Article 4 of the 3GCPW.

There has been no confirmation of a US policy of rendition to facilitate torture. There are lots of allegations flying around, but no unimpeachable evidence. And given that the al-Qaeda manual mandates that captured terrorists should lie about allegations of abuse, I am not rushing to accept every torture accusation at face value.

Case in point, Mamdouh Habib. I would argue that Egyptican authorities had a legitimate right to question Habib because he was an Egyptian citizen as well as a naturalised Aussie. After all, the Egyptian government is pretty high on the al-Qaeda hit list.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:39:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

James Waterton said...

“No, you've completely missed the point. You use a lot of conjecture when arguing your case, and more often than not it's a very activist-type left wing analysis you offer.”

James, what concerns me about your argument is that you are assuming that the status quo (i.e. pro war position) is commanding the middle ground and that challenges to that position constitute the radical element. David produced nothing more than links to documents stating official government positions and you seem to have accepted that as evidence in itself. In other words, if the government says it abides by these protocols, it must be true.

This is in spite of an Administration who’s executive branch has been arguing that Congressional approval to use force against Iraq, has somehow mean the executive is free to do anything it pleases. The same executive has argued that the administration is free to do anything it deems necessary to “defend America”, and cast aside the Geneva Conventions as irrelevant and quaint, and yest we are expected to believe that this policy has not been taken literally on the battle field.

“That's fine - if you can support it with some firm evidence. Even if you do argue your case well and have good solid evidence to back it up, that doesn't necessarily mean I'll agree with you. Your source/s - despite its credibility - may have missed points that I believe are important.

No disagreement with that.

“My original point about the flaky sources you often post to support your analysis is that you're wasting your time posting them, because I'll discount them entirely. And I'd expect you to do the same thing if I, when arguing my position, starting quoting those righty folks and sources the left loves to hate.”

Fair enough.

“Axe-grinding sources are worthless. Incidentally, if I'm supposed to accept you're right if only you post credible sources when backing up your statements, does this mean that when I post a whole lot of rebuttals to things you've previously said (like I did above) and you don't deal with these rebuttals, you're tacitly admitting I am right regarding them?”

Of course not.

Axe grinding is driving both sides of the debate don’t you agree? As I stated earlier, the architects for this war all had a serious axe to grind with regard to this war.


“Of course if Zarqawi was there, they would have arrested or killed him. But do you truly, seriously think that the Americans thought they had a hope of catching Zarqawi - considering they gave Fallujan residents advanced warning of the attack so they could leave?”

Exactly. But setting Zarqawi aside, this advanced warning was undoubtedly common knowledge to all insurgents. Now given that the success of insurgent attacks relies almost entirely on catching their targets unaware, how are we to believe that any significant number of fighters remained behind, knowing that they were at a massive disadvantage in terms of firepower?

“Do you truly believe that the Americans thought Zarqawi would be so dumb as to stick around? Of course they would have arrested him if he was there. But they must have known he would leave town. That's why they said they wanted to clear the city of insurgents - most notably Zarqawi, because he's such a high profile figure.”

Hang on a tic James. Are you now saying that Zarqawi was smart enough to get out of harms way, but he other insurgents were not? And if they too fled before the invasion, who was left in Fallujah? With hard core extremists, Baathists and the like already gone, we have those left who were either seeking personal vengeance against the US, or those remaining behind to defend their property.

But what the heck, might as well call them all enemy combatants and be done with it.

“Regarding your yahoo news source, it is inconclusive if you're aiming to prove that the Americans broke the GC. The Americans clearly stated that the women they detained were enemy combatants (which, as the wives of insurgents, wouldn't be that far fetched).”

“Wives” implies that the people targeted were most likely Iraqi’s does it not? The fact that there was very little activity on the part of these “enemy combatants” before they were designated “enemy combatants” also suggests that these were Iraqi’s radicalized by the US invasion. So what makes these people “enemy combatants” as opposed to regular resistance fighters other than the spurious use of a term that according to even more spurious legal advice, alleviated the US of conforming the GC?

Furthermore, the numbers of foreign fighters has been estimated to be a few percent. What ultimate authority gives the US the right to decide who is a an enemy combatant, vs an insurgent, vs a resitance fighter?

“I agree - this might not be the case, and maybe they were using them as bait. But maybe they weren't. You or I will never know. Point is, you can't use that as evidence that the US broke the GC there, because you can't prove anything.”

Either the GC say it’s legal to do this with the wives of enemy combatants or it’s not. I seriously doubt it.

“You're relying on your instinctive distrust of American military action to make this logical leap of faith.”

As you can see from above, it’s a matter of 2+2=4, not a leap of faith. I times of war, propaganda goes into overdrive and anything the American military has to say must be regarded as such. The case for war was based entirely on lies and so has the rational for continuing the reoccupation. The Pentagon is paying for good news items to be written in Iraq, while systematically closing logs of servicemen serving over there. Any sane individual would regard official statements are misleading.

Take the white phosphorous case as an example of US conduct. While the US has recently argued that WP is not a chemical weapon, the Pentagon referred to WP as a chemical weapon when Saddam allegedly used it against the Kurds.

If you want I link I can give you one.

The US Army Field Manual specifically prohibits the use of WP against human targets, yet it was used precisely in this fashion in Fallujah. When the Pentagon was firs confronted with this allegation they denied it’s use for anything other than as an incendiary device to illuminate the battle field. They then changed their story to insist it was used against enemy combatants.


“But you haven't provided me with such an article. Take the Yahoo one you posted. There is a good possibility that the women held were not enemy combatants. There's also a good possibility they were.”

And there is a good possibility that the enemy combatant argument is being used post facto to justify war crimes.
“So, even though an Iraqi commission decided that the women were not enemy combatants, I am not convinced. Who sits on the commission? How impartial is it? What are its motivations, its interests?”

James. Tell me. It is not tenuous to provide any Arab sources as evidence? I’m not implying any racist connotation here, but what I’m saying is that it’s pretty natural to regard Iraqi’s say as unreliable. So where does that leave us? Relying on the same sources that have been proven to be entirely ineffective.

“You got me?”

Yes I got you. But hopefully you got my dilemma also. We find ourselves in a position where anything Al Jazeera reports is designated as Islamic propaganda. The testimony of those who claim to have been tortured by the US or it’s proxies, while horrific, remains largely disregarded because we have been conditions to believe that all Arabs have entered into some pact to discredit the US.

Much of our disagreements obviously stem from our position as to the legitimacy of the occupation. If you consider it legitimate, then percetion will differnt dramatically from one who regrds the occupation as illgal.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 1:24:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

David said...
Gotta make this quick as I have to dasah.

“1. There is indeed a cogent argument, but that would have taken us off on a tanget that is essentially irrelevant to the issue under discussion - jus in bello (the laws governing the conduct of war) I'd be happy to debate the other issue with you on another thread. Anytime.”
Bring it on. You will lose.

“2. Wrong. As I have demonstrated, the US fully abided by the requirements of LOAC by A) giving the civilian population advance warning and the opportunity to leave. B) firing only on those places that, even by the admission of the Trotskyite wsws website, were being used by insurgents to wage war, thus making them legitimate military targets.”
Wrong. You simply eructate official policy and made the blanket assumption that this was evidence of what is taking place on the ground
“3.Wrong. Again, even the description of the battle adduced above from the rabidly anti-American world socialist website in an attempt to prove US guilt ends up demonstrating the opposite - that the insurgents used schools, mosques and hospitals as fighting positions. Scroll up and read it yourself.”
The US has argued that thousands of insurgents remained in Fallujah in spite of the fact that they were given ample time to leave. Insurgents know that they lose head to head combats against US forces, so those that remained would have been almost entirely residents of Fallujah who wanted to wanted to repel the invasion or defend their property.

“The Geneva Conventions say nothing about keeping hospitals open for media access. I don't know where you dreamed this one up, but it's off the planet. I challenge you to show me the relevant clause of any of the four 1949 Conventions.”
I made no statement with regard to media access. Only the continuing operation of the hospital for tending to the injured.

“4. Wrong. The US allowed the hospital, which had previously been used as a military base by insurgents, to reopen once the fighting had died down in that part of the city.”
Wrong. “Once the fighting had died down in that part of the city” does not absolve the US of the crime. The fighting in Fallujah continued for months, so many dies of easily treatable injuries.

“5. Again, there is nothing in the Conventions that requires Parties to allow the ICRC to enter an active battlezone while shells and bullets are whizzing by. Moreover, there is nothing in the Conventions that requires Parties to allow that their armed enemies who are actively engaged in hostilities must be supplied with food while they are still hostile.”
This is next to impossible to determine and once again, you are buying official US military sources as statements of fact, which hundermines any credibility to this assertion.
“If they surrender, they'll be given food. And once the battlefield was secure, the ICRC was allowed in to supply the necessities of life to those few civilians who stupidly remained in the firing line. “


“6. He failed to address that napalm and wp are prohibited under the Geneva laws.

Wrong. This one is a slam dunk demonstration of your complete ignorance of the Geneva Conventions and LOAC. There is NOTHING, REPEAT, NOTHING in those LOAC treaties signed and ratified by the United States that prohibits the use of WP or napalm.”
Which makes the initial Pentagon denial that WP was used against human targets all the most absurd. The GC prohibits the use fo chemical weapons and while WP is not regarded as a chemical weapon, the Pentagon regarded WP as a chemical weoapon when Saddam used them against his own people.
BTW. Does LOAC usually contradict US military field manuals, which prohibits the use of WP against all human targets?

“7. He dialed to address that the same tactics were used in Tal Afar.

Given that I have proved your arguments to be full of holes you could drive a Mac truck through, so what?”
As I have proven. You have failed miserably.

“8. Finally. He asserts that the US military stuck to strict LOAC guidelines while all evidence suggests that the US military cast aside rules of engagement out of frustration.

Wrong, as I have conclusively demonstrated.”
Try harder. You have proved absolutely nothing other than you regard everything the US military and the DOD issues in it’s press conferences as fact,

“9. Wrong. The US does not recognize detainees as POW’s for this very reason. That’s why enemy combatants is used to spuriously. Just this week, as US interrogator was given a slap on the wrist for the death of an Iraqi general in custody, which shows how mush the GC are disregarded.”
The ACLU has successfully sued the Pentagon for the release of material which shows that torture, rape and murder are systematic and wide spread.

“10. I'll address that, in brief, now. There is nothing in the 3rd Geneva Convention on POWS (3GCPW) that requires the application of the treaty to captured jihadists. In fact, Article 2, paragraph 3 states that Parties to the Convention are under no obligation to apply the Convention's terms to non-Parties that do not abide by LOAC.”
That’s an absurb and scrambled piece of logic. So those that do not abide by US military cods of conduct are not protected by them is that it? The only reason the US has detention Cnetres at Guantanamo is to exploit a legal loophole. Try again.

“al-Qaeda neither signed nor ratified any of the Conventions, and it certainly doesn't abide by LOAC. And the same is true of Taliban forces.”
Irrelevant. The code applies to signatories and the US is one of them

“Thus US forces are not required to apply the 3GCPW to the war against jihadist Islam.”
So does this mean that the US forces are free to torture, rape and murder the residents of any country that has not signed the GC? All it need do is designate the residents of a non signatory, enemy combatants and it’s a free for all.
See how absurd your argument is?

“There has been no confirmation of a US policy of rendition to facilitate torture. There are lots of allegations flying around, but no unimpeachable evidence. And given that the al-Qaeda manual mandates that captured terrorists should lie about allegations of abuse, I am not rushing to accept every torture accusation at face value. “
Oh David, talk about scraping the bottom of a barrel. You are delusional. Of course detainees lie. And we also know that toture does not produce reliable intelligence so what is the point of torture other than to inflict boduly harm?

“Case in point, Mamdouh Habib. I would argue that Egyptican authorities had a legitimate right to question Habib because he was an Egyptian citizen as well as a naturalised Aussie. After all, the Egyptian government is pretty high on the al-Qaeda hit list.”
Case is point, Jose Padilla. Detained as an enemy combatant on charges that he tried to create a dirty bomb. Those charges have changed repeatedly and the DOD has admitted that the evidence against him is so weak that a court of law would acquit him. He has been detained for 3 years, during which time the DOD did everything in it’s power (including lie to his legal counsel who never got to meet him) to keep him out of civil courts. Just prior to his appearance in Military court, the Bush administration changed it’s mind and decided to try him in a civil court.
This is worse than Monty Python’s flying circuis.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 1:52:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

One more thing David,

"There has been no confirmation of a US policy of rendition to facilitate torture."

The most rediculous denial in the face of the evidence.

1. The Bush admnistration has admitted to rendering "suspects" to countries that widely practice toture. Rice and co haev made vaccuuos claims that it sends the detainees to these locatiosn with the "understanding" that they wil nto be totured. Of course, this is nothing more than a legal loophole that provides some degree of plausible deniability.

2. If the US did not practice or condone toture, then why has the Bush adminstration been dragged kicking and screaming to approve the McCain amendment? Why did Bush threaten to veto a bill that overwhelmingly voted against toture?

3. Why has the US cretaed Black sites in former gulag prisons in Eastern Europe if not precisly for the purpose of torture of suspects?

"There are lots of allegations flying around, but no unimpeachable evidence."

You mean no evidence that has not been classified.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 3:57:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

Sigh:

This is rapidly approaching the point of diminishing returns. I present well-sourced facts, and you deny them. When asked why, you respond 'cause I say so.

I'll give this one more try.
Addamo accuses me that I simply eructate official policy "Eructate?" Huh? Sorry but there's no such word in the English language.

Now, as for as the LOAC claim goes, there is ample evidence from across the spectrum (including even anti-American Trots cited by you) that US forces conducted themselves in accordance with the laws of war. Addamo make the following ridiculous argument:

The US has argued that thousands of insurgents remained in Fallujah in spite of the fact that they were given ample time to leave. Insurgents know that they lose head to head combats against US forces, so those that remained would have been almost entirely residents of Fallujah who wanted to wanted to repel the invasion or defend their property.

But your argument is sorely lacking on several counts. The insurgents stayed put because A) they found it difficult to leave because US forces encircled the city; B) they wanted a pitched battle in which they could die like martyrs and inflict heavy casualties on the Americans.

The following quote from the 17 November edition of the Washington Post illustrates this quite well:

"The Americans have opened the gates of hell," Abdullah Janabi said Monday in Fallujah, a city U.S. commanders have said they now control after a week of often fierce fighting. "The battle of Fallujah is the beginning of other battles."

Iraqi officials had said they believed Janabi, a 53-year-old Sunni cleric, had fled the city before U.S. troops pushed into the insurgent stronghold. But he spoke from the city's southern section, at times boasting of losses inflicted on U.S. troops and at other times insisting that other insurgent leaders remained in Fallujah with him.


So much for Addamo's thesis that the insurgents all fled from Fallujah and that the only ones staying were innocent civilians. And before he writes off the Washington Post as just another lackey organ of US imperialism, let me once again note that even one of Addamo's own sources, the world socialist website, proudly boasts of the tough fight put up by the insurgents in Fallujah.

Addamo crashes and burns on this score.

But it gets much, much worse.

Addamo baldly claims:

I made no statement with regard to media access. Only the continuing operation of the hospital for tending to the injured.

But in his previous laundry list of attempted rebuttals he declared something else entirely:

The US admitted that the hospitals were being closed so that pictures of the dead and wounded would not reach the media. This violates the Geneva Conventions.

That sure sounds like a statement with regard to media access to me. And of course, the US never made any such admission, and as I demonstrate, treating a hospital that is being used for military operations as a military target is entirely appropriate and legal according to LOAC.

Addamo is demonstrated to be, not only wrong, but also either a sufferer from dementia, or a peddler of blatant falsehoods.

Either way, it isn't a pretty look.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 5:39:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Yikes, Addamo, I thought you were in a hurry :)

"you are assuming that the status quo (i.e. pro war position) is commanding the middle ground"

Not at all. I'm just not instinctively suspicious of American military action. I'll admit that I'm more likely to assume that the US military does the right thing - however I wouldn't say that they *always* do the right thing.

Regarding the specific instance of David's argument that I used (the one about the US targeting of hospitals in Fallujah being a war crime), he didn't provide links to justify his case - he gave a QED answer of why targeting hospitals in that particular circumstance wasn't against the GC.

"how are we to believe that any significant number of fighters remained behind"

I imagine by the reception the Americans received when they rolled into Fallujah?

"Are you now saying that Zarqawi was smart enough to get out of harms way, but he other insurgents were not?"

Oh come on, Addamo. The insurgency is not a loose coalition of free agents working together whilst it suits them. It's a militant organisation with a chain of command. Zarwaqi left Fallujah because the movement wouldn't take the risk of his capture - because he's their leader. They need him in the field. He's much more important than the footsoldiers. Do you think that Rommel and Monty duked it out on their respective frontlines in Africa? Of course not. For the same reason, Zarwaqi left Fallujah whilst other insurgents stayed behind to defend it. And why wouldn't they? They probably thought they had a pretty good chance of repelling the Americans - they'd done it before when Vigilant Resolve petered out.

Fallujah was heavy shit for the Americans - the casualty rate proves that. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe this was inflicted by a small unorganised rabble of those "seeking personal vengeance against the US, or those remaining behind to defend their property."

"Either the GC say it’s legal to do this with the wives of enemy combatants or it’s not."

I suppose it comes down to the information they hold. I wouldn't be surprised if they did hold useful knowledge of various details of enemy combatants - if so then their capture and interrogation seems justifiable. And I'd imagine legal. Though perhaps David could help me out on this one - he seems to know a lot about the LOAC.

However, maybe they were used as bait. This could be the case - there is motive for such action and it might work. The same can be said for the other side of the argument. I suppose it comes down to who you (don't) believe, because we will never know for sure in this instance. That's why it's not a conclusive example of a warcrime.

"it’s a matter of 2+2=4"

It is if you view American military conduct suspiciously.

"While the US has recently argued that WP is not a chemical weapon, the Pentagon referred to WP as a chemical weapon when Saddam allegedly used it against the Kurds."

I think the difference lies in how it's used.

"The US Army Field Manual specifically prohibits the use of WP against human targets"

This requires a deeper explanation. Of course WP is going to be used against human targets - they aren't going to set it off just for the pretty fireworks. It comes down to *how* it's used against human targets. I'm sure that it's permissable to use it as a shock device - which is what the Americans stated they used it as - to scare the insurgents out of their holes where they can be killed with conventional devices (I'm failing to see a great distinction here, but anyway...). There is no conclusive evidence that they fired it into crowds of enemy combatants with the aim of incapacitating them.

"But hopefully you got my dilemma also."

Yes, it is a dilemma.

"If you consider it legitimate, then percetion will differnt dramatically from one who regrds the occupation as illgal."

I'm not sure it comes down to the legitimacy of the occupation, rather more the conduct of American armed forces. I'm more inclined to think they act within the confines of acceptable standards of warfare. You apparently see things differently. As always, evidence can be led one way or another.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 8:06:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

David,

The difference between us is that you feel the need to repeatedly advertise and summon official documents, and everything that implies, in order to make your case.

You’re notion of well sourced facts are not facts at all, but merely the existence of protocols which the US have agreed to. So yes, you have proves that the US is a signatory to the GC and has LOAC, but you have not proved that there are being practiced on the battlefield, other than reciting official US press releases.

“Now, as for as the LOAC claim goes, there is ample evidence from across the spectrum (including even anti-American Trots cited by you) that US forces conducted themselves in accordance with the laws of war.”

So does this imply that my sources are still suspect, or are you picking out the items you are in agreement with to suggest that the sources support your argument while continuing to disregard the inconvenient items as unreliable?
Nice tap dancing mate.
“But your argument is sorely lacking on several counts. The insurgents stayed put because A) they found it difficult to leave because US forces encircled the city; B) they wanted a pitched battle in which they could die like martyrs and inflict heavy casualties on the Americans”

Conjecture at best. The assault on Fallujah was the worst kept secret in Iraq. After the first failed assault by the occupation, it was obvious that the US (and the Bush administration) could not let Flallujah go collectiovely unpunished (Geneva Convention?). Encircling the city was likely futile. The coalition’s ability to stop the flow of insurgents has recently been shown to be a farce by the recent and desperate construction of a sand wall surrounding Siniyah.

“The following quote from the 17 November edition of the Washington Post illustrates this quite well:

Iraqi officials had said they believed Janabi, a 53-year-old Sunni cleric, had fled the city before U.S. troops pushed into the insurgent stronghold. But he spoke from the city's southern section, at times boasting of losses inflicted on U.S. troops and at other times insisting that other insurgent leaders remained in Fallujah with him.”

You want to talk to me about dubious sources and you cite what Iraqi officials say they believe? This is rich! What about the bit about Iraqi officials repeated claims of having killed Zarqawi or how they even let him go after having him n custody. This proves absolutely nothing, and is evidence of you clutching at even fewer straws.

“So much for Addamo's thesis that the insurgents all fled from Fallujah and that the only ones staying were innocent civilians. And before he writes off the Washington Post as just another lackey organ of US imperialism, let me once again note that even one of Addamo's own sources, the world socialist website, proudly boasts of the tough fight put up by the insurgents in Fallujah.”

David, you seem to have made up your long before any critical analysis has ever taken place. My source points to the Wapo and yet you regard my source as unreliable? Maybe you should decide which way is up before partaking in debates.

But the insurgents argument is pathetic to say the least. Prior to the assault, the US declared that only insurgents remained in the town, then declared Fallujah as free fire zone.

“I made no statement with regard to media access. Only the continuing operation of the hospital for tending to the injured.”

The US made it clear that unimpeded reporters would not be protected in Fallujah. In fact, they warned that Arab reporters would be shot.

“The US admitted that the hospitals were being closed so that pictures of the dead and wounded would not reach the media. This violates the Geneva Conventions.”

Offical US statements do not require reporters on the ground.

David, you demonstrate yet again that you blindly and religiously believe that the US is a force for freedom and democracy, and that it is in Iraq for some altruistic reasons, and let’s be reminded that you have avoided addressing the following points:

1. The so called cogent argument for the invasion.
2. The mountains of evidence of US rendering detains to be tortured.

I guess when you’re arguing in favor of moral depredation, you have to pick your battles.

Monday, January 30, 2006 1:35:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

James

“Not at all. I'm just not instinctively suspicious of American military action. I'll admit that I'm more likely to assume that the US military does the right thing - however I wouldn't say that they *always* do the right thing.”

That’s why I sated that I think much of this comes down to your stance on the invasion itself. If you believe the invasion was legal, necessary and morally justified, then it stands to reason that all that follows will be perceived as an extension of pursuing those righteous aims.

If you are of the opposite opinion, then it is the exact opposite. Everything that follows the illegal, unnecessary and immoral invasion is an extension of that corrupt policy. And as you can imagine, it makes the US Military’s references to the resistance all the more unpalatable, for the US military must assume some moral authority and legitimacy to designate their enemies as insurgents and enemy combatants.

“Oh come on, Addamo. The insurgency is not a loose coalition of free agents working together whilst it suits them. It's a militant organisation with a chain of command.”

Actually no. They are very much comprised of dispersed pockets, which is why the US military has had come a difficult time infiltrating them. The fact that there is no chain of command has frustrated the coalitions efforts to divide and conquer them,
“Zarwaqi left Fallujah because the movement wouldn't take the risk of his capture - because he's their leader. They need him in the field. He's much more important than the footsoldiers.”

Zarqawi is a figurehead at best. He is not issuing orders or commands of any kind, TIME Magazine reporter Michael Ware, who famously contradicted Bush’s assertion that Iraqi battalions leading the charge in the Tal Afar battle, has stated this very clearly. Zarqawi is significant only in terms of the fact that he is largely a creation of the US media and the need of the US military to have a prized boogie man on which to hang their angst and reason for fighting.

I mean seriously, this one legged man has more lives than a cat. He has escaped Iraqi custody, by being released, and too many precision guided strikes to count.
Among some insurgents, Zarqawi is actually despised.

Monday, January 30, 2006 1:55:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

I would add that based on the flippant use of the term insurgents in New Orleans to describe wayward residents or looters (which was grossly exagerated), the labelling of Iraqi's as "insurgents" should be regarded with healthy scepticism.

Monday, January 30, 2006 3:09:00 am  
Blogger David said...

ah, Addamo, Addamo, Addamo:

Abdullah Janabi is hardly an Iraqi official. Au contraire, he's a leader of the insurgency. Just goes to show how delusional you are that you can't tell the difference. A quote from a senior insurgent leader that appears in one of the most prestigious newspapers in the United States - the same paper that caused Nixon's resignation - is dismissed by you as conjecture. And you similarly dismiss evidence from a source provided by YOU that large numbers of insurgents were spoiling for a fight and stayed in Fallujah to seek it out.

Sigh. I give up.

Monday, January 30, 2006 5:24:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

"Actually no. They are very much comprised of dispersed pockets, which is why the US military has had come a difficult time infiltrating them. The fact that there is no chain of command has frustrated the coalitions efforts to divide and conquer them"

AND

"Zarqawi is a figurehead at best. He is not issuing orders or commands of any kind"

This is somewhat irrelevant to the case in point - ie. why Zarwaqi would flee and other insurgents would stay and fight. Seems pretty logical to me - an insurgent that never engages the enemy isn't much of an insurgent, eh? And a city like Fallujah strikes me as a theatre that would level the odds considerably in favour of insurgents, who would know the town far better than the Americans. Your point about Zarwaqi does nothing to support your assertion that the forces the Americans were fighting were simply disgruntled residents. The ferocity of the fighting and the American casualty rate would suggest a trained, specialised enemy, not a bunch of pissed off citizens.

Monday, January 30, 2006 8:23:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

"In fact, they warned that Arab reporters would be shot."

Where? By whom? Reliable, non conspiracy-theorising source please.

Monday, January 30, 2006 8:26:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

David said...

"Abdullah Janabi is hardly an Iraqi official. Au contraire, he's a leader of the insurgency."

The Wapo article lists the source fo their news item as an Iraqi official. We know how reliable they are don;t we?

Just goes to show how delusional you are that you can't tell the difference."

Or that you can't read very well. Again, teh Wapo article lists an Iraqi official as the source of their claim that Abdullah Janabi was in Fallujah at the time.

If I were to point to an Iraqi sources, you and James would dismiss it as unrealiable.

"A quote from a senior insurgent leader that appears in one of the most prestigious newspapers in the United States"

I knwo abotu the Wapo David. I spent a lot fo time in the US. The issue is nto the quote, but the source.

"Sigh. I give up."

Good idea. And again, you avoid my questions about the rational for the war and rendition.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:59:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

James,

The fact that Mosul fell almost immediately after the assault on Fallujah is evidence that the co-ordinated element of the resistance (what there was of one) had already moved on. This has become an established pattern, with formely secured towns falling back into the hands of the indurgents as soon as the US military has moved on.

"why Zarwaqi would flee and other insurgents would stay and fight."

The US destroyed 30-40 thousand homes during the assault on Fallujah. That number is in excess of the estimated number of active insurgents in the whole of Iraq at the time. Given that the hard core element had moved on, we deduce that a significant number, if not the majority of the resistace the US encountered was very much home grown.

So yes, the residents would have the advantage of knowing the territory far better than their attackers and also benefited from the ample warning that the assault was comming. The ferocity of the resiatance goes hand in had with those who are defending their homes and have nothing to lose.

"And a city like Fallujah strikes me as a theatre that would level the odds considerably in favour of insurgents, who would know the town far better than the Americans."

Fallujah has a history of being a tough nut to crack. Apparently, Saddam never had his way with Fallujah either.

I wil track down a link about the threat made to non embeded reporters.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 9:56:00 am  
Blogger David said...

Sorry, Addamo, but you are the one with the reading comprehension problem:

The crux of the issue lies with two paragraphs from the November 2004 Washington Post story by Anthony Shadid:

"The Americans have opened the gates of hell," Abdullah Janabi said Monday in Fallujah, a city U.S. commanders have said they now control after a week of often fierce fighting. "The battle of Fallujah is the beginning of other battles."

Iraqi officials had said they believed Janabi, a 53-year-old Sunni cleric, had fled the city before U.S. troops pushed into the insurgent stronghold. But he spoke from the city's southern section, at times boasting of losses inflicted on U.S. troops and at other times insisting that other insurgent leaders remained in Fallujah with him.


You assert that this entire segment is sourced from the unnamed Iraqi officials who are cited at the begining of the second paragraph. But this an obvious misreading of what Shadid wrote. The second sentence of the second paragraph states that insurgent leader Abdullah Janabi spokefrom the city's [Fallujah] southern section. Thus the Janabi's statement in the first paragraph about the Americans opening the gates of hell was clearly a direct quote that was not delivered through intermediaries. The reference to the Iraqi officials only appears to make the point that the government thought that Janabi had left. But now that he surfaced, still in Fallujah, and was making statements to the press, that was clearly not the case.

Wrong, but thanks for playing

And what about your lie/Alzheimer's episode when you declared:

I made no statement with regard to media access. Only the continuing operation of the hospital for tending to the injured.

I note that you duck that one like a bodyline bowl.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:18:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

"The fact that Mosul fell almost immediately after the assault on Fallujah is evidence that the co-ordinated element of the resistance (what there was of one) had already moved on."

Huh? That doesn't make sense. Who was defending Fallujah, then? Maybe Mosul fell so quickly because so many insurgents had been killed in Fallujah? I think the official number is approx 1200. Dead men don't move on to defend other towns. Unless you believe in ghosts, that is.

"The US destroyed 30-40 thousand homes during the assault on Fallujah. "

Eh? How could they have destroyed so many homes? That would constitute a thumping majority of dwellings in the town with an estimated prewar population of 350 000, according to Wikipedia. Wikipedia also claims that between 7000-10000 of the town's circa 50000 buildings were destroyed. This is a lot, but I don't know where you're getting the 30-40000 homes figure from. It was buildings, not homes, and it wasn't 30-40000. That also puts paid to your "home defenders" theory of resistance.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 8:23:00 pm  

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