Next I Read The News Entry Seems Like Old Times in Afghanistan They say that President Obama is meeting with platoons of advisors to determine whether and if so how to carry on that conflict. To those of us old enough to remember Vietnam, it all seems eerily familiar. Take one Democratic president, elected with […]
Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’
“A Few Bad Apples” On October 19, 2003, Specialist Sabrina Harman of the 372nd Military Police Company picked up a Sony Cybershot camera and began taking photographs of life on Tier 1A at Abu Ghraib prison. She documented naked prisoners being stacked like cordwood, prisoners being threatened by attack dogs, hooded prisoners, beaten […]
It may have been lousy intelligence. It was effective public relations, however. In February 2003, 72 percent of Americans polled answered yes to the question: “Was Saddam Hussein personally involved in the September 11 attacks?” And this result was in line with poll after poll.
And here is the moral, strategic, and tactical problem: How we can expect the world to accord full faith and credit to that court’s eventual verdict when we establish and countenance tribunals that are themselves human rights violations? A question urgently worth pondering.
In the global war on terror or, as the Bush Administration likes to call it, the GWOT, the U.S. aspires to the situation of a National League team in interleague play — relaxed rules. This time we consider three aspects of the relaxed GWOT away game we are playing these days: foreign assassinations, extraordinary rendition, and prisoner export.
When the International Committee of the Red Cross reported in February 2004 on our various Iraqi detention centers, they noted that at all of them, there seemed to be a single playbook – the real playbook – of practices focusing on the sexual and religious humiliation of those detainees deemed “high value,” i.e. most likely to yield Actionable Intel.
But we had better be prepared for the consequences. Someone, somewhere, is going to try us, quite seriously, for war crimes. And somewhere else, someone is going to commit war crimes against our soldiers because we fail to recognize their own combatants as POWs. And it won’t be pretty.
To make something disappear, have it occur off the books, on someone else’s balance sheet. This approach works equally well if you want to make a war disappear. Use Special Ops forces, or foreign proxies.
With good leadership, with Eisenhowers and Roosevelts, young men and women will predictably enlist in acceptable numbers. With bad leadership, the discipline of the enlistment market will act as a check. It would be both foolhardy and morally wrong to remove that check.