Saturday, December 13, 2003
War Is A War Crime!

At least, that's Steven Den Beste's take on the latest Human Rights Watch statement. A few examples:

In other words, even though there were so few civilian casualties, and even though HRW doesn't know how many there were, it knows that we committed war crimes because HRW thinks it could have been even fewer.

The distinction between "extraordinary efforts" and "everything feasible" doesn't just sound small, it sounds like sophistry. It's word games.
[T]he logic of this report seems to be that if anything bad happened, which could conceivably be interpreted as a war crime, then responsibility for it must be born by the US and UK.
Is it a war crime to detonate a carbomb with the deliberate intention of killing civilians? You bet it is. Whose crime is it? Logic would suggest that the insurgency should be held responsible, but HRW blames it on the US and UK, or so the BBC reports.
As is his wont, Den Beste goes on at length - and as per usual, he makes excellent points:
If HRW had written a report as comprehensive as this one which tried to even-handedly evaluate both sides, and which applied wordcount proportional to the severity of violations by each side, then it would have concentrated almost exclusively on Iraqi atrocities. That's because virtually every atrocity and war crime which happened in Iraq was committed by Saddam's forces.

But if HRW had done that, their contribution receipt rate would have dropped like a stone. (That's assuming anyone at HRW might even be motivated to do such a thing, which appears doubtful.)
Does this strike anyone else as an Orwellian situation? One in which language is changed to be the opposite of what it is? Human Rights Watch is, in effect, supporting those who destroy human lives (and rights), by refusing to lay blame and responsibility where it belongs.

Sorry. I'd go on, but I'm feeling sick to my stomach again.
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A webjournal of ideas, comments, and various other miscellany from a Texan university student (with occasional input from his family) living in Toronto, Ontario. Can you say "culture shock?"

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