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Thursday, May 18, 2006

More on the Possible War Crimes 

I have just another point to make about this story of possible war crimes committed by some U.S. Marines (and while I still say "possible," this story seems very nearly offically confirmed to me). In my post here, I mention that the question that hangs over all the death and maiming and injury in Baghdad ER is "Why?" or "For what purpose?". There's a corrolary here concerning war crimes and other war-time atrocities. Historically, the United States Armed Forces have been extremely disciplined and have adhered strictly to the laws of war (notwithstanding My Lai or Tiger Force). In fact, that "notwithstanding" parenthetic really is the whole game. Much like John Kerry asked "How can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" We need to ask that question every day about Iraq. The corrollary I'm pointing out is, that while war crimes are always 100% unacceptable, they will happen. Even in WWII American forces engaged in atrocities.* So, we have to look again at the "Why?" question. And, again, Iraq does not pass that test. In a just war, a revelation such as this, while terrible and worthy of a full investigation and punishment of the guilty, would not take away from the justness of the war. But, in stupid, worthless, counterproductive war such as that we have in Iraq, it needs to be added to the reasons we need to stop the war.

*I'm not talking here about strategic actions that may or may not constitute war crimes such as the firebombing of Dresden or Japan or the nuclear strikes, but in-battle atrocities not part of the strategic plan.
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