Since the United States has thus far balked at subjecting itself to any outside scrutiny of its rampage, HRW has bluntly told Defense Secretary Ashton Carter that the criminal inquiry must be conducted outside the usual chain of command. It seems that the One Indispensable Nation has a nasty habit of covering its ass in cases like this.
From the HRW press release:
Human Rights Watch analyzed information from the US military, MSF, and other sources and found that there is a strong basis for determining that criminal liability exists. Under the laws of war, hospitals have special protections from attack, and attacks on them can be war crimes.
“The attack on the MSF hospital in Kunduz involved possible war crimes,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director. “The ongoing US inquiry will not be credible unless it considers criminal liability and is protected from improper command influence.”Only a week ago came revelations in the New York Times that members of an elite Navy SEALs unit were promoted, rather than punished, for beating a group of men they had arrested. One of their victims later died.
"It is essential that you publicly and explicitly clarify that ongoing investigations into the Kunduz attack include a thorough inquiry that considers the possible criminal liability of U.S. personnel, including at the command level," HRW's letter to Carter states. "We believe that there is a strong basis for determining that criminal liability exists.... We also call on you to take all necessary steps to ensure that the investigation is independent and not subject to undue command influence."
Carter, thus far, has even balked at releasing the full text of his own internal investigation, instead reducing his alleged findings to the usual "mistakes were made" whitewashing. A separate MSF petition for an outside international investigation was signed by half a million people and was hand-delivered to the White House a few weeks ago. There has still been no response from President Obama.
Where HRW itself falls short, in my view, is in its tepid suggestion that Ashton Carter name his own investigatory panel, to be called the "Consolidation Disposition Authority." That sounds all too coldly close to President Obama's own "Disposition Matrix" measurement for killing any person of military age, any time, any place, anywhere, whom he deems to present a vague existential threat.
And then there's the timing of Human Rights Watch's polite request: only a few days before Christmas, when nobody is paying too much attention to anything other than what they see on the news: in other words, the San Bernardino and Paris massacres, and pundits and candidates demanding ever more American terror strikes and bombings Over There in order to keep us all feeling secure, righteous, heavily armed and eternally paranoid Over Here.
Donald Dumpf doesn't have the fascism market cornered at all. In case you still haven't heard, you won't just be electing a president. You'll be electing the commandant of the Wehrmacht. Cue Leni Riefenstahl: