Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Update: Those Other Terrorists

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling for a criminal investigation into October's deadly US  bombing attack on a charity hospital, where the death toll has now reached at least 42. The destruction of the Médecins Sans Frontières facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan was so complete that an accurate death count has been impossible. Some victims were literally incinerated in their beds, while others remain buried beneath the rubble. Moreover, within a few days of the sustained bombing by an AC-130 gunship, American tanks had returned to the scene in order to level what had not already been crushed. 

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:



Jay–Ottawa said...

Some clip at the bottom. Hill looks 'so there' surrounded by those dashing naval officers, not too young, not too old, but just right in their dress blues and white hats. War is so beautiful. Then that shot with Hill stepping, stepping, stepping down from Air Force One. So presidential.

Just to let you know, Anne, I'm renting Air Force One for a couple of hours on Thursday so we can get a series of shots of Bernie stepping down to the tarmac from AF1. Then I'll rent some brass cats with lots of ribbons to stand around Bernie as he practices his new (Anne, is it ready yet?) speech about cutting the Pentagon budget in half and pulling back about 500 hundred foreign bases, for starters. More than anything Hillary is promising, those actions by Bernie will keep us much more "Safe and Strong." Oh, and I know it's a cliché, but can anybody lend us an adorable baby for Bernie to nuzzle for those in-between shots of his next campaign ad?

The next attention getter by Bernie is all arranged. First the announcement: On Christmas Day, when University Whatever's football team kicks off against University Concussion's football team, Bernie at half time does the shimmy with Lady Gaga (the Marine Band providing the music) followed by an announcement that after the holidays a special Senate committee will open hearings on the AC-130/Kunduz event. Then the deed itself: Bernie's lead attorney grilling the Pentagon's reps will be Glenn Greenwald.

annenigma said...

Great ideas, Jay. You're hired as campaign strategist. Absolutely he should start with the worldwide military metastasis and chemo'ing it into remission.

He should also correct Hillary Clinton publicly that it isn't Donald Trump who's helping recruit terrorists "It's the hellish, hawkish foreign policy that you advocate, Secretary Clinton, that helps recruit terrorists. Every drone missile that blows up children, every home, school, and hospital that is bombed to ruins, every city and country that is decimated incites hatred and a desire for vengeance among the victims and survivors. Want to see someone who has contributed to terrorist recruitment? Look in the mirror!" (ok, I need to work on it)

Bernie can also announce that the military will now be holding bake sales for their basic needs, and schools will be fully funded to produce world-class and classy world citizens. "We're going to start investing in Peace, not just praying for it!"

Did you know Bernie actually started working on his Inaugural Address - without me! I'm crushed. He even sounds serious. Yippee!

'Bernie Sanders Says He’s Already Started Writing His Inaugural Address'

“It is a very sobering thing to be thinking about oneself as president of the United States.”


Valerie said...

Years ago, on late night TV they did a replay of all the debates starting with Nixon - Kennedy. I am such a nerd that I actually watched most of them. The Carter Reagan debate really stuck in my mind. Here was Carter - a really smart guy - debating a not very smart guy but someone who had been coached with quick comebacks. It was really hard to watch Reagan get the better of Carter time after time knowing what a buffoon Reagan actually was. As I hear about Bernie and how he is performing at the debates, I wonder if it is a similar problem/situation. Being ready for these superficial shows is not the same as being ready for the presidency. Carter was a wise man who made a lot of really good decisions - but he wasn't able to spin them in a way as to sell them to the American public. Perhaps Bernie is the same. And maybe wise and sincere people like Bernie and Carter simply can't bring their minds to think this way.

Pearl said...

Valerie: The average person is not educated, especially these days, to understand what some of the wise or potential leaders can communicate. It is like having different languages trying to understand each other. Just watch the level of the use of words and accompanying behavior that fills the TV channels on entertainment programs - talk about dumbing down! In order to get viewers to watch these programs or go to movie theatres, the most simplistic plots and sensational topics with accompanying action or violence or obvious sexual scenes have to be included.

The continual covering of a Donald Trump's brain washed language and behavior is sicker than he is and appeals to the limited mindlessness of the public.

Slick camera work, and follow up reports of various politicians by the media don't allow the real messages to filter out. I remember reading articles about Carter in the better news circles which never resembled the interpretations of his speeches or actions I saw in the popular media, some of which were omitted or distorted. It is an old problem and it is interesting that Noam Chomsky who is a brilliant interpreter of the political events going on, is professionally a linguist which is the study of the use of language to control people's thinking and behavior.

People like Reagan who was an average actor in B movies, learned how to use his training to his political advantage, even when having to use Q cards he was so ignorant.

That is what makes intelligent politicians so frustrated trying to get their messages across. Poor Bernie, but again there have been articles about his efforts giving him faint praise and the opposite for Hillary. I guess it depends on where you look.

Pearl said...

Op-Ed Contributor
Bernie Sanders: To Rein In Wall Street, Fix the Fed
The institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the banks it is supposed to regulate.

Or, copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://nyti.ms/1TgOUkb
To get unlimited access to all New York Times articles, subscribe today. See Subscription Options.

Pearl said...

The above is a small miracle from the NYTimes with highly supportive comments. I hope this helps Bernie and I believe the continuing criticism from readers of the NY
times has created a big step forward. What a contrast to the drivel Krugman churns out. Hope this is picked up by the current media involved in covering the Donald.

Karen do you have any information about how this has come about and who are the NYtimes personnel who have created this change to our benefit?

annenigma said...

Sorry to go so far off topic, but...

You know how Democrats say we have to vote Hillary because 'Supreme Court!?

If Bernie wins, he's still going to need the help of the Clinton camp but Hillary is going to be mortified, so he has to give her a consolation prize like Obama did when he named her SoS which also served to help her (theoretically) for a possible White House run. Well, since Bernie has to give her something important (or she'll be his undoing), and since she is virtually synonymous with Supreme Court! per Democratic messaging, it's the perfect fit.

So here's my proposition: Let's start cheering now for Hillary for Supreme Court. She'd be a lot safer there - for our country and the world - than anywhere else, and it's a good fit since she's a lawyer. She can do battle there along with the other female Supremes and she'll be in her element. What a way to cap a career. Think of the legacy. And it's a lifelong job with no need to campaign. And she'll be able to play grandma to her heart's content since the Supremes only work part-time.

So when Dems keep reminding us of the importance of the Supreme Court! let's rally with them and cheer for Hillary for that vital role. Someone needs to drop this hint her way sooner rather than later so that she starts realizing that maybe she doesn't want the Presidency so bad after all, especially with the adorable grandchildren around.

If her nomination can be approved by Congress, it's a Win-Win. If they balk (so their palms get greased first), I'm sure the Clinton Machine/Foundation could take care of that.

Jay–Ottawa said...

The most likely reason for the flat-footedness of Carter and Sanders when in the ring with types like Reagan and Hillary is that the former are not professionally trained as actors or lawyers. (As for Trump, I consider cons and clowns to be subspecies within the actor guild.)

Actors are handed a script by better minds and then add their illusive gift of good timing. Lawyers are trained to tell lies delivered as swiftly as a switchblade on a mission; or at very least they reflexively slant, distort and misquote always in the great cause of defending their clients, good and bad. Once in politics, lawyers serve as their own clients or they defend the deep pockets for whom they serve as mouthpieces.

Actors with depth and lawyers for justice are as rare as journalists who tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And so the Jimmys and the Bernies come away from debates sliced and diced just about every time. This is why our best champions are a Nader or a Greenwald, both accomplished lawyers who didn't sell out.

Back in Nixon's day the great lawyerly mouth for common decency was (Republican) Elliott Richardson. As a Boston Brahmin, he was the real thing and he thought in paragraphs. I once watched Richardson drill holes through William F. Buckley, Jr., on the latter's own show, Firing Line. I have searched the archives in vain for that episode but I'm beginning to think it was sent down the memory hole by the Buckley estate.