Saturday, August 12, 2006

War Crimes

The Bushbuckers are at work again, trying to undermine Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which forbids "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment" of prisoners, in order to free themselves from the specter of prosecution for war crimes, R. Jeffery Smith reported in the August 8 Washington Post-- shows how far behind I am on this blog. The public rationalization--the need to protect forces in the field who were simply following orders and the best legal advice.. so they could produce successful prosecutions is exactly wrong. There is no best legal advice when it comes to abuse--nay, let use stop parsing the meaning of torture--Clinton's tortured definitions of sex were much more interesting--and say that there are minimum standards, upon which Common Article 3 is based. If you deny that, as the Bushbuckers do, you are either an idiot who thinks everyone else is an idiot, or a completely venal cynic who believes you can do whatever you damn please. Will the Congress go along and immunize war criminals against prosecution? Sadly, the dog thinks it will, with barely a sigh of protest emanating from its stuffy halls.

The Dog has to play catch-up here with bits and fragments. We watched the other night Occupation: Dreamland, the understated, devastating portrayal of part of the 82nd Airborne in Fallujah, Iraq, by Ian Olds and Garrett Scott. Several things batted the Dog over the head. First, US forces in full battle regalia resemble the Empire's storm troppers in Star Wars. Second, watching young American soldiers in English asking several older Iraqis, who only spoke Arabic, where such and such a suspected 'insurgent' was, the Dog was reminded of a certain type of exchange between De Soto and Coronado's forces and Native Americans in Florida and New Mexico, respectively. The Spaniards bulled through the countryside until they came upon an Indian town or village. Then they would demand treasure and, after finding there was none, or not enough, an inquiry that often involved unimaginable brutality, would demand to be told where was the 'city of gold' they, the Spaniards, knew was out there. The Indians understood enough to point the brutality toward the home of their enemy, off the Spaniards marched. So too, the Iraqis and Americans.

And then there are Israel's assault on Lebanon and the liquid bombers, which the Dog promises to get to tomorrow.

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