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  • I hope this is a logical error and not something you actually believe. Were Timothy McVeigh and Terri Nichols trying to “shape a world view based off of a Muslim Fascist policy”? Was the UnaBomber? Was the KKK? If you’re Muslim you’re a terrorist but if you’re Christian, you’re what? A crusader?

    I expected more from a “master debator”, but maybe that’s a typo too. Maybe you’re really referring to yourself as a “masturbator”

    Mary, if that’s the best you can do, why don’t you just chuck it in?  You are reducing yourself to personal attacks.  I am ashamed of you and you give us all a black eye when you do that  :-D.

    Terrorists come in all shapes and sizes.  Yes, Timothy McVeigh, Terri Nichols, and the Unabomber were all terrorists including the KKK, but those are the only ones you can come up with.  I don’t even recall any other white terrorists in this country.  However, over 95% of the world’s terrorists are muslim from Palestine to Indonesia and even in Europe ie France.  I just call it where I see it.

    Just keeping you honest Mary.  You can’t win against me.

    Rune Blade
    The Master of Debate



  • No, not exactly correct.  Occupation entails contested authority.  There’s a reason the war treason category of crimes does not exist anymore.  Plus, just war theories and international law were meant to be casuistic.  While yes, the Iraqi government at least nominally holds legitimate authority, the fact that its military and security structure is run through another country pretty much means that it’s under occupation according to international law.  For example, Syria was occupying Lebanon up until this year (although it may still have units there), despite the responsiveness of the Lebanese government to that Syrian presence.  Similarly with the US and Iraq.  You’re playing on a technicality that is not reflective of political and military reality, and no one serious politician or analyst is going to defend your argument.  As long as US forces are in Iraq, it’s an occupation.

    No that is not correct.  We’re not in charge of the country.  We’re keeping it secure because Iraq has no military.  Once they get theirs trained, we can leave.  Isn’t that the correct way to do it?

    You cannot compare the US to Syria.  Syria occupied Lebanon because THEY WANTED TO OWN IT.  We liberated Iraq and are keeping it safe for the Iraqi people.  We haven’t made one dime on Iraqi land and haven’t taken over anything and claimed it as our own.  Do you know of any examples of us taking Iraqi territory for ourselves and declaring it a part of America.  Watch out yourself for your claims as they are incorrect.

    I mean after all, NATO is in the Balkans and doesn’t own any terrotiry there.  Does that make them occupiers?  What about the UN peacekeeping forces in Pakistan and India?

    Now, this is not to say that occupation is illegitimate.  Far from it.  However, a responsibility of the occupant, and something it should prepare for, is that authority will be contested in occupation.  Look at the former Yugoslavian countries.  Carla Delaponte has the power to restrict or rescind democratic action (elections of ultra-nationalistic politicians), which I believe is fully legitimate, although something that should be done cautiously and transparently.  However, those politicians still had a clearly expressed and legitimate basis of support among the sovereign (the people).  Occupation, sometimes unfortunately, can be thought of as a battle for legitimacy, and it’s really difficult to say one is “right” or “wrong.”

    This is not an occupation.  We could have been out of there sooner if people didn’t feel the need to start killing civilians and trying to overthrow the new Iraqi government.  There is no battle for legitimacy.  The Iraqi people voted.  They chose their goverment.  What more do you want?

    Also, be careful with the term "unlawful combatant."  Again, you’re citing only one part of the Geneva Convention, and frankly, I don’t think really know what that term means.  It exists in the penumbra of international legal discourse, as a repository category since, if there are soldiers who fight legally (according to the laws of war), then there should be those who fight illegally.  But notice here that they are combatants, subject to and protected by the Geneva Conventions’ terms on combatant rights.  The classification of their status has already been established

    Quite simply an unlawful combatant is anyone trying to kill without a uniform.  Example:  The Viet Cong.  Also The German infiltration units during the Battle of the Buldge.  Muslim terrorists without uniforms trying to kill American and Coalition soliders also fall into this category.  Basically the Geneva convention was to try to make combat more "humane"  and that anyone stepping outside the bounds of being a “normal soldier” shouldn’t be protected.  I don’t know how combat can be more humane, but I think the main premise was to have uniformed soldiers fighting so each could distinguish the other.  I figured that much out and I don’t even have a political science degree.

    The point I’m trying to make is that nothing in the Conventions allows for the creation of a null category that the US can put any unpleasant individual into and do whatever it wants to them.  More strongly, it is illegal under international law, and if you want to throw it out, then go ahead.  But be aware of Powell’s concerns, that disregarding international law increases the likelihood of those actions to be done to US soldiers.  In addition, as I said, you abandon the rule of law, and thus, the US has lost in a significant way.

    What about the muslim terrorists cutting people’s heads off?  Are you outraged about that or only when American’s may or may not do it to others?

    Also, don’t forget that with IEDs and RPGs, even those people who use them can be considered legitimate combatants.  It’s really actions like suicide bombings against civilians which calls into question their actions.

    While wearing proper uniform.  I mean, most people in WWII that used these weapons were wearing uniforms.

    RB, you’ve got to watch out for logical leaps.  I’m sure no one on this board liked Saddam’s regime.  But you cannot logically castigate people for exploring alternative policies to assist the Iraqi people short of war and then claim they support Saddam.  It’s only because you’ve set up Saddam as more evil than any other value can you make that argument.  But there are a lot of bad things out there, and it’s an open question whether the controlled anarchy defining Iraqi existence now is actually better than the ordered violence of Saddam.  There are still people in Iraq who do not belong to a terrorist organization or a resistance movement or were former members of the Baath party who nevertheless wish Saddam were there.  Consequently, some analysis of the run up to war and alternative policies is a very fruitful thing, in part because it acknowledges mistakes that were made, creates an opportunity to rectify them, and evinces to the Iraqi people that there is accountability in the US government.

    My friend, you and other’s like you like Mary want to continue to harp on whether or not Saddam could have been peacfully disarmed and that war could have been avoided.  But let me ask you this and I want you to answer truthfully, In the 12 years from the end of the first gulf war to 2003, did Saddam ever do anything that would have enhanced the prospects of a peacful solution?  What else could have been done.  The man snubbed his nose at the world for 12 years and no one stopped him.  He even obtained military hardware from nations like France and Russia (against the terms of the cease-fire in '91 by the way).  So please tell me…what else could have been done to free the Iraqi people except the removal of Hussein?  What else?  I’m not the one making the big leap here, I’m the one seeing the picture for what it is.  People like Hussein would never change.

    Finally, as I’ve written to others before, the standard “hard-nosed” argument that people don’t see the inherent evil in the world is faulty, to say the least.  What defines politics, and frankly almost anything else, is complexity.  Boiler-plate responses about who’s good, who’s bad, who’s right, and who’s evil fail to acknowledge that there are a lot of people stuck in the middle who, quite frankly, are the most important individuals to be looking out for.  Occupations are hard because there are many different actors who have their own interests, most of which are probably legitimate.  Always projecting the worst intentions on anyone you see, and not recognizing their limitations, strengths, weaknesses, and advantages, causes overextension and failure to win the hearts and minds campaign.  After all, if you start seeing enemies in all places, and then acting upon that, you lose an occupation.  Look at Vietnam, Algeria, Lebanon, Armenia, etc.

    And look at the United States and her true allies fighting every day for the safety and freedom of the Iraqi people.  Who else has done more for them?  Has France helped them with all their dealings with Saddam.  No.  It is the constant selflessness of the American solider that pays in blood for the freedom of others even when they themselves may not appreciate it (just look at France since WWII).  It is us and always us.  I am proud to be an American that I can idolize men and women like that.  Huurraah!

    Rune Blade
    The Master of Debate



  • @Rune:

    I hope this is a logical error and not something you actually believe. Were Timothy McVeigh and Terri Nichols trying to “shape a world view based off of a Muslim Fascist policy”? Was the UnaBomber? Was the KKK? If you’re Muslim you’re a terrorist but if you’re Christian, you’re what? A crusader?Â

    I expected more from a “master debator”, but maybe that’s a typo too. Maybe you’re really referring to yourself as a "masturbator"Â

    Mary, if that’s the best you can do, why don’t you just chuck it in?  You are reducing yourself to personal attacks.  I am ashamed of you and you give us all a black eye when you do that  :-D.Â

    Terrorists come in all shapes and sizes.  Yes, Timothy McVeigh, Terri Nichols, and the Unabomber were all terrorists including the KKK, but those are the only ones you can come up with.  I don’t even recall any other white terrorists in this country.  However, over 95% of the world’s terrorists are muslim from Palestine to Indonesia and even in Europe ie France.  I just call it where I see it.Â

    Just keeping you honest Mary.  You can’t win against me.

    Rune Blade
    The Masterbator

    Here’s the problem: you defined terrorism as Muslim oriented and got your ass handed to you. Muslims have carried out two attacks on the U.S., both at the World Trade Center. Christian Fundamentalists have been bombing abortion clinics for the last 20 years.

    "One source reported in late 1996, that there has been “over $13 million in damage caused by violent anti-abortion groups since 1982 in over 150 arson attacks, bombings, and shootings.” http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_viol.htm

    That’s just one group. The IRA has been engaged in terrorism for decades. Ever hear of a certain Pan Am flight that exploded over Lockerbye?

    “The term terrorism is largely synonymous with “political violence,” and refers to a strategy of using coordinated attacks that typically fall outside the time, manner of conduct, and place commonly understood as representing the bounds of conventional warfare.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism

    Note the lack of the word “Muslim”. Know why Muslims are doing a lot of terrorism lately? Cause we fucking invaded a Muslim nation and lied to the world about it! Gee, might that piss some people off, people who’s relatives we killed in our “shock and awe” mad scramble to rid Iraq of WMD’s?

    Look, Chengora politely corrects you. The rest of us don’t have as much patience. Even as a troll you fail. CYA. Lrn2Post.



  • Mary you are a disgrace.  I am sorry to hear such foul language from someone who is filled with such rage.  You have to stop looking at those moveon.org websites.  You are truly out of touch and from the sounds of it unhinged.  I am glad I am getting to you because you need to look outside your leftist prisim.  So far I have schooled you repeatedly about muslim terrorism.

    Here’s the problem: you defined terrorism as Muslim oriented and got your a** handed to you. Muslims have carried out two attacks on the U.S., both at the World Trade Center. Christian Fundamentalists have been bombing abortion clinics for the last 20 years.

    Um did you for get WTC 1993, the African bombings of US embassys?  The USS cole?  Keeping you honest, Mary as you are misleading everyone.  Yes, there are people who bomb abortion clinics.  If they claim to be Christian, they aren’t and I condemn those people, but you need to face the facts about a world-wide epidemic called Islamafacism.  Translation: Muslim terrorism.

    That’s just one group. The IRA has been engaged in terrorism for decades. Ever hear of a certain Pan Am flight that exploded over Lockerbye?

    Another example and it is wrong and evil, but that is part of the other 5%.  Let’s also look to what the Palestinians have been doing to Israel for years as well.

    Note the lack of the word “Muslim”. Know why Muslims are doing a lot of terrorism lately? Cause we fucking invaded a Muslim nation and lied to the world about it! Gee, might that piss some people off, people who’s relatives we killed in our “shock and awe” mad scramble to rid Iraq of WMD’s?

    Now Mary enough with the bad language.  YOu have yet to prove that President Bush lied about WMDs and your pathetic Downing Street Memos are not proof as I recently schooled you on that.  If you are of the mindset that Bush lied, then please also show in your posts that Clinton lied about WMD’s in 1998 when he launched 3 days of cruise missiles that killed how many innocent civilians?  POST AGAINST THAT MARY.  Where is your outcry against those civilians?  Call Clinton a warcriminal right now and I’ll let up on you or are you a hipocrit?  You must be fair and you must have proof if you’re going to play this game.  So far, there is no proof that Bush lied and if you are trying to say that he did, YOU ARE A LIAR!!

    Look, Chengora politely corrects you. The rest of us don’t have as much patience. Even as a troll you fail. CYA. Lrn2Post.

    I see that you resort to the liberal attacks that if you can’t debate someone, try to personally attack them.  Again Mary, you fail because I am not going away.  Love ya and I’ll be seeing ya soon.   😄

    Rune Blade
    The Master of Debate



  • @Rune:

    Mary, if that’s the best you can do, why don’t you just chuck it in?  You are reducing yourself to personal attacks.  I am ashamed of you and you give us all a black eye when you do that

    if it’s ok, i’m just going to go ahead and highlight the personal attacks here.

    you haven’t even demonstrated that they are terrorists.  The US has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not believe in the ideas of “trials” so basically you have convicted people without a trial.  I hope this happens to you one day.

    Considering the fact the the US goverment has let some detainees go especially from Gitmo, I think that it’s a good possiblity that the ones we still have are more than likely terrorists, don’t you?

    this is proof of “fair trials”?

    “torcher” does not work.  Everyone knows this.  And the US military DOES “torcher” people to death - this has been demonstrated in several autopsies.

    And just where exactly is your evidence of this.  Please, Moveon.org does not count.  The US military does not torture people.  Oh and by the way, putting ladies panties on a terrorists’s head is not torture.

    you should look up the term “autopsy”.  It’s hard to require that from simply having ladies panties on one’s head.  Anyway, i garnered this information from a peer-reviewed medical journal, and provided it prior to the hack. 
    But really - do you care?  I mean even if every source in the world came out with proof that the US tortured people to death - would you even care?  Or would you simply say “oh well - they’re terrorists - they deserved it irrespective of whether they got a trial or not”?

    it’s just such a joke that the US does everything that it used as a basis for invading Iraq.  WMD’s, invading other nations, torturing people, killing civilians etc.  You have no credibility.  I realize that you don’t care - but you might as well be aware that few people (outside of you and your buddies) are buying it anymore

    You can buy what ever you want crypt.  I didn’t realize you hated freedom so much.  _I’m sure that according to you, you’d just as well let Iraqi civilians go back to brutal dictatorships like Iraq had under Saddam instead of giving them a fighting chance at freedom.  Sheesh, where do you get off lecturing me?_  At least I believe in freedom.

    note the personal attack . . .
    Anyway, this is a strawman argument.  All it does is tell smart people that you do not know how to properly debate a point by simple use of a projectionist defence mechanism - or so it appears . . . .

    Were there any WMD’s there prior to the war?  So far the evidence is - No.  I say “so far” because even Bill Clinton said back in 1998 when he launched three days worth of cruise missles (killing God knows how many civilians, where is your outrage there?) that Saddam’s WMD’s posed a grave threat.

    again you prove your ignorance.  People here are well aware of my outrage at the fact that Clinton bombed 4 nations in ~1 year. 
    Anyway - again you avoided the point and deflected it demonstrating that there is unlikely an appropriate response pending.

    So people trying to kill US troops are terrorists?  What does that make US troops trying to kill Iraqi troops or civilians?  I thought this was a “war”?Â

    Good question, and one that is easily answered.  If you are not wearing a uniform and are trying to kill US troops, you are a terrorist.  That’s what differentiates these muslim terrorists from the Kamakazis of Japan.  The Kamakazis wore uniforms.   😮

    so CIA operatives who assassinate people are not terrorists?

    Anyway you have not appropriately defined terrorism, and i don’t even think you can properly apply a label to someone who has not been demonstrated to be committing terrorist acts.  Have you even properly convicted one person who you have in Gitmo, Abu Gharab or your secret CIA prisons?  What difference is there between the way you deal with people that you “arrest” and the way SH dealt with people he “arrested”?  None of them got a fair trial.  Face it - GW is SH, but with a lot more power behind him.  He is as evil as SH is.  Too bad that USans are being painted with the same brush as he

    You are as evil and misguided as you accuse me of being

    i havn’t accused you of this yet - i don’t know you well enough thankfully.  Still you engage the “personal attack” as a dear one to your heart.  Sheesh.

    .  Sheesh.  GW is not Saddam.  GW believes in freedom, Saddam did not.  I don’t agree with all of what GW does and says, but I do agree that this war in Iraq must be won.

    no no
    GW CLAIMS to believe in freedom.  Saddam would claim the same thing.  So they both lie.  I just don’t see why we believe one liar and not the one who was maintaining the status quo and not causing a massive influx of terrorists into the country in order to slaughter massive amounts of the populace and killing US soldiers.

    Convicting terrorists?  I really do not care.  As long as they can’t get us, They could be burried in a hole for all I care.

    most people who claim to believe in freedom might also claim to believe in a fair trial.  GW appears not to, so i’m not sure how he can be said to promote freedom.  You see - it might be useful to actually convict the terrorists who are guilty, and release the people who are being held as terrorists who are NOT guilty.  This is not my problem yet as the US has yet to invade my country and detain me as a terrorist.  Still - the possibly obviously exists as history tends to repeat itself.

    Terrorism = Killing and destroying individuals or property in an effort to shape a world view based off of a Muslim Fascist policy.  Muslim Fascism is Hitler with a headscarf.

    I can see where it is difficult to not make personal judgements of a person with a view like this.  I think you need to read more.

    You have just been schooled by Rune Blade, The Master of Debate

    I have just been propositioned by 3700 beautiful supermodels who all want to buy me cars and houses too.  It’s nice that saying these things make them true in one’s mind.



  • CC, you cannot even begin to compare GWB and Saddam Hussein



  • @Candyman67:

    Before the Iraqi government was established, we could have been called occupiers, but not anymore.

    When I used the term non-combatant, I should have used the term ‘unlawful combatant.’

    You mention that the minimum criterian is an open display of arms, but most of them don’t even do that.  Even if you try to be flexible with the criteria, they still can not possibly be defined as ‘comabtants’.

    Hmmm…

    You should look up the texts again.
    definition of combatant:

    1. The armed forces of a Party to a conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by an adverse Party. Such armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, shall enforce compliance with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict.
    2. Members of the armed forces of a Party to a conflict (other than medical personnel and chaplains covered by Article 33 of the Third Convention) are combatants, that is to say, they have the right to participate directly in hostilities.

    It doesn’t say what a “Party” is … the problem might be that the Iraq government faces more than one adversing party.

    Either you are a combatant. Then you are protected by the Geneva convention
    Or you are a civilian … then protection is even stronger !!
    Or you are in between … then -and the conventions are very clear about that- you still are a human being, with all basic human rights: that means. no torture, fair trials etc. etc.
    And it also is very clear that if a status is unclear, then in doubt the person has to be treated as a combatant … until proven that he is not one by a “competent tribunal”.

    A combatant who falls into the power of an adverse Party while failing to meet the requirements set forth … shall forfeit his right to be a prisoner of war, but he shall, nevertheless, be given protections equivalent in all respects to those accorded to prisoners of war by the Third Convention and by this Protocol. This protection includes protections equivalent to those accorded to prisoners of war by the Third Convention in the case where such a person is tried and punished for any offences he has committed.

    Something the US seems to have forgotten is

    If a person who has fallen into the power of an adverse Party is not held as a prisoner of war and is to be tried by that Party for an offence arising out of the hostilities, he shall have the right to assert his entitlement to prisoner-of-war status before a judicial tribunal and to have that question adjudicated.

    Plus:  There is another category that has not been mentioned yet:
    The Mercenary, who indeed is not protected by the rules for comabatants or civilians (yet still by basic human rights)

    Read in PART III of
    http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/93.htm

    So, someone becomes a terrorist not by “shooting at US troops”, that is still way too simplistic (please, , reread my first post, i did not deny that there are terrorists, i just tried to correct the f*cked-up thinking that plain shooting makes a terrorist).
    It happens because of Article 37, I, ©: perfidy

    On the other hand, there is video footage of a US soldier violating Art. 41, 1 … and killing an injured enemy.
    That does not make all US soldiers “terrorists”, if you take the right to see the individual case on one party, you have to do and allow the same with the warring party.

    On POWs, read Art. 44 and 45

    Article 46 covers Spies … another group apart from combatant, civilian and mercenary

    Now, Article 47:
    Mercenaries:

    1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.

    2. A mercenary is any person who:
    (a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
    (b) Does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
    © Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
    (d) Is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
    (e) Is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
    (f) Has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

    So, US troops are not mercenaries because of (f).
    The insurgants are not mercenaries because of ©.

    On the “basic rights”, read Art 75

    It is disputable wether we look at a civil war (are the bombings “sporadic”?) … and the role of the US troops is unclear.
    I have to suppose they have become “unlawful combatants” as well, don’t I? They don’t fit into any description… Does that mean the suicide attacks against them become not perfidic - and thus legal -  again ?
    Seriously: What status do the US troops have there, if they are no occupational force?



  • @F_alk:

    Now, Article 47:
    Mercenaries:

    1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.

    2. A mercenary is any person who:
    (a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
    (b) Does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
    © Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
    (d) Is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
    (e) Is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
    (f) Has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

    So, US troops are not mercenaries because of (f).
    The insurgants are not mercenaries because of ©.

    Not really true Falk.  The insurgents and/or AQ may be motivated by the promise of “heaven” for killing the infidels in a holy jihad.   Certainly the promise of a guaranteed entry into heaven would be a value well in excess of any possible material pay here on earth - which is one reason there is no shortage of suicide bombers.  Hence at least some of the insurgents could be considered mercenaries.

    Additionally, a weak arguement could be made that the US troops are sent at the request and nominally under the command of the Iraqi government though I’m inclined to say you are correct w.r.t. the US forces.



  • @221B:

    Not really true Falk.  The insurgents and/or AQ may be motivated by the promise of “heaven” for killing the infidels in a holy jihad.   Certainly the promise of a guaranteed entry into heaven would be a value well in excess of any possible material pay here on earth - which is one reason there is no shortage of suicide bombers.  Hence at least some of the insurgents could be considered mercenaries.Â

    Additionally, a weak arguement could be made that the US troops are sent at the request and nominally under the command of the Iraqi government though I’m inclined to say you are correct w.r.t. the US forces.

    Interesting argument, but I think that defines the idea of “payment” rather too broadly, no?  I have tended to consider religious motivation for battle under the rubric of ideology, and perhaps this isn’t the way to really think about it.  However, if we assume that for the moment, then promises of heaven are akin to promises of social and political immortalization (kind of).  I wonder if any ideology can fall under this rubric then, and if so, that means that fighting for nationalism or preservation of freedom, etc. could also be considered a reward of some kind.  After all, many people join the military for financial reasons, but realistically, I am reluctant to call them mercenaries in any sense.  I think a much safer ground legally to address the issue of religious motivation is based on discrimination.  Totalizing ideologies make no distinction between civilian and combatant, and it’s easier to assess it on that issue rather than trying to figure out what motivates each individual soldier.  Thoughts?

    Anyway, turning to the easier points to address.  First off, RB, chill.  There’s no need to get hostile.  You make some interesting points, but you can’t constantly see criticism of your position as either anti-American, a personal attack, or outrageous.  Something that your opponents say has to make some modicum of sense.  In any event,

    No that is not correct.  We’re not in charge of the country.  We’re keeping it secure because Iraq has no military.  Once they get theirs trained, we can leave.  Isn’t that the correct way to do it?

    You cannot compare the US to Syria.  Syria occupied Lebanon because THEY WANTED TO OWN IT.  We liberated Iraq and are keeping it safe for the Iraqi people.  We haven’t made one dime on Iraqi land and haven’t taken over anything and claimed it as our own.  Do you know of any examples of us taking Iraqi territory for ourselves and declaring it a part of America.

    You’re splitting hairs here.  Tell me why Syria should believe the benevolence of US intentions.  Better yet, tell me why Russia or China should look on the precedent of preventive war and not look to the stability of their own borders and internal populations.  Wihtin conflict, because you cannot know the intentions of your adversary, you cannot necessarily take their comments at face value.  Trade and economics is a different situation which allows for cooperation, but the use of force, and the reasoning behind it, do lend themselves to caution.  For example, compare Syria and Israel in Lebanon.  To the average Lebanese, they both were occupiers until 2000, when Israel made a unilateral withdrawal.  Up until that point, can you really expect people to believe that either one would be leaving any time soon?  They both made their case on the grounds of security.

    Also don’t confuse occupation with colonialism or mercantilist policies.  I know they are very similar, but remember that colonies were not meant to be temporary.  Occupations by law are, and it’s not about making money.  Israel didn’t make any money from its occupation of Lebanon, but there are a host of other reasons for having one’s military in another’s territory.

    Quite simply an unlawful combatant is anyone trying to kill without a uniform.

    You haven’t been reading the Conventions then.  There’s a lot more in there than you cite.  For example, guerilla resistance can be and has been protected, as well as prisoners of war breaking free and attacking their captors.  Like I said, the war treason crime was eliminated because international law is casuistic.  It recognizes that while a military may occupy a territory, nothing makes it a legitimate authority, only a temporary occupant with certain powers and responsibilities.  But that rule can be legitimately contested, if popular support exists for it.  This is because popular will is the basis of the legal authority of the state, and hence, support is in effect transfering legitimacy to the resistance.  Thus,

    but I think the main premise was to have uniformed soldiers fighting so each could distinguish the other.

    I’m afraid you’re wrong about that.  Falk and Candyman have provided the relevant sections of the Convention for your reference.

    Here, maybe a policy assessment will make all these points clearer.  If you were there right now, what policy prescriptions would you make?  We’ll take as given:  The US does not have enough troops to police every sector of Iraq.  It is facing an insurgency with some local support.  It seeks to create a democratic government, but also to secure its interests in the region.  Also, public support at home is waning for the war, and international assistance will not be forthcoming without major concessions to those previously opposed to the war.

    Given the limitation of the first, who on the ground do you work with?  How do you identify them?  How do you vet them?

    In facing the insurgency, what measures are permissible?  Which ones will increase support for resistance, and do you take those measures anyway?  Why?

    How do you increase support at home for the war?  (I’m going to suggest that propaganda is unlikely to work here, as Bush’s repetition of message has not prevented waning support.)  How does support at home relate to the war effort?

    Most importantly, how do you increase international support for the occupation and developing the occupied government?  While assistance is not mandatory, it would help a lot.  How do you overcome the ill-will generated by the invasion to obtain that assistance?

    These are hard policy questions, and I have a healthy respect for those who have to answer them.  As a point of disclosure, I have that respect because that’s what I do on a daily basis:  assess substantive programs and strategic policy and help develop them.  I can tell you, sweeping generalizations about the nature of Muslims, international actors, the intentions of critics, etc. are not going to help you get out of these minefields.  So, given all that, what would you suggest?



  • Chengora wrote:

    Quote from: 221B Baker Street on Today at 06:52:13 PM
    Not really true Falk.  The insurgents and/or AQ may be motivated by the promise of “heaven” for killing the infidels in a holy jihad.  Certainly the promise of a guaranteed entry into heaven would be a value well in excess of any possible material pay here on earth - which is one reason there is no shortage of suicide bombers.  Hence at least some of the insurgents could be considered mercenaries.

    Additionally, a weak arguement could be made that the US troops are sent at the request and nominally under the command of the Iraqi government though I’m inclined to say you are correct w.r.t. the US forces.

    Interesting argument, but I think that defines the idea of “payment” rather too broadly, no?  I have tended to consider religious motivation for battle under the rubric of ideology, and perhaps this isn’t the way to really think about it.  However, if we assume that for the moment, then promises of heaven are akin to promises of social and political immortalization (kind of).  I wonder if any ideology can fall under this rubric then, and if so, that means that fighting for nationalism or preservation of freedom, etc. could also be considered a reward of some kind.  After all, many people join the military for financial reasons, but realistically, I am reluctant to call them mercenaries in any sense.  I think a much safer ground legally to address the issue of religious motivation is based on discrimination.  Totalizing ideologies make no distinction between civilian and combatant, and it’s easier to assess it on that issue rather than trying to figure out what motivates each individual soldier.  Thoughts?

    Yes, it can be difficult to clearly distinguish between financial incentive and ideological incentives.  For example, I come in contact with people for which money, and attaining it, is their god (for lack of a better word here).  Others however, do not care about money at all but perhaps take great pride in other matters, so I interpret the “private gain” mentioned earlier rather liberally, not necessarily in financial terms.  Perhaps I shouldn’t do so however …  😐



  • FYI - A very useful website on the Geneva Conventions:  http://www.genevaconventions.org/



  • @221B:

    @F_alk:

    © Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;…
    The insurgants are not mercenaries because of ©.

    Not really true Falk.  The insurgents and/or AQ may be motivated by the promise of “heaven” for killing the infidels in a holy jihad. …

    See, doesn’t matter. “Material” is the keyword.



  • Falk,

    It does matter.  That their promised ticket to “heaven” can’t be equated to a monetary figure is irrelevant.  To the suicide bombers, their heaven is much more real to them than a boatload of cash handed to them right then and there.  They might even question why we say that the money, which will be only temporary compared to an eternal heaven, is real?

    Still, Chengora has a good point - when is this motivation an ideology?  I’m still thinking about that.



  • How else would you define “material compensation” and “non-material compensation” then ?

    I think the case is pretty clear here.



  • Well, if you want to be that precise then you are correct.  As I have stated earlier I view this clause with an attempt to determine its intent.



  • I felt it important to address one or two other issues, then wait for replies.  First, I wrote:

    “The point I’m trying to make is that nothing in the Conventions allows for the creation of a null category that the US can put any unpleasant individual into and do whatever it wants to them.  More strongly, it is illegal under international law, and if you want to throw it out, then go ahead.  But be aware of Powell’s concerns, that disregarding international law increases the likelihood of those actions to be done to US soldiers.  In addition, as I said, you abandon the rule of law, and thus, the US has lost in a significant way.”

    RB responded:

    “What about the muslim terrorists cutting people’s heads off?  Are you outraged about that or only when American’s may or may not do it to others?”

    I’m using this as an illustration of logical leaps, and I’m talking not about the content of our post but the methodology and logic behind it.  Your criticism isn’t exactly directed against my argument.  You’re asking me a minor point, whether I think the protections of international law extend to people other than resisters.  To which of course I will say, yes.  Not really that hard a question.  But underlying your statement is an assumption that I’m creating a double standard, or, more tenuous but more troubling, I sense from your other posts as well that you feel a heinous action justifies any treatment at all towards those committing the offense.  Both of that misses the general logical point that Falk, Mary, and others have made, that international convention governing the treatment of combatants and civilians extends to everyone.  There are no legally permissible black holes.  If you want to challenge that point, you shouldn’t really appeal to the awful nature of the crime.  Action and status are not connected through punishment in international law.  Rather, status defines the category for assessing action.  Hence, an awful crime committed by a civilian is still an awful crime.  But it doesn’t allow a government to abrogate that individual’s non-combatant rights.  Likewise, a soldier who kills another soldier in combat is not guilty of murder because of combatant status.

    And finally, a quick response.  You wrote:

    “So please tell me…what else could have been done to free the Iraqi people except the removal of Hussein?  What else?  I’m not the one making the big leap here, I’m the one seeing the picture for what it is.  People like Hussein would never change.”

    And you asked for a response about what else could be done.  Note, however, that you deviate significantly from the official stated reason for going to war:  trying to find and destroy NBC weapons and imminent capability.  The question was never whether it is a good thing for the Iraqi people to have freedom in some abstract sense.  Rather, it was what is the best method for getting to that point, which was the purpose of those policy questions I posed earlier.  As I’ve posted before, different policy goals imply different strategic positions.  If the point was to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people, then how about lifting the sanctions regime?  I’m not saying I would have advocated that, but that was an option.  If it was to find and destroy WMDs, how about a concerted effort to restart the inspections regime while avoiding questions over US intentions.  Bush should never have put “regime change” up in the front if he was serious about disarmament rather than liberation.  There were a host of options which could have been pursued, but when the US made it clear that such actions - which are not unreasonable - would not be contemplated, then international actors began getting worried.  Espousing a comprehensive preventive right to attack?  That threatens international and US interests implicitly.  Does that mean that China can simply go to war with Taiwan and argue that because it poses a threat to its territorial sovereignty, therefore the US and Japan should stay out?  It is a slippery slope entailing potentially huge costs.  I’ve reserved judgment on whether going to war was a good thing, but, as you can see, the situation is full of nuance and complexity.  As such, I don’t know how you can demonize critics as being unrealistic when they urge caution, or show that war was, probably at best, a mixed blessing for some Iraqis, and certainly hell for others.  It’s not a failure of fact and perspective, but rather a failure of analysis and logic.  That’s what I find troublesome with your arguments.



  • @221B:

    Well, if you want to be that precise then you are correct.  As I have stated earlier I view this clause with an attempt to determine its intent.

    If you compare that text to other text of the UN, then i think it really is that precise. I mean, treaties are written by lawyers usually, so i rather stick to the letters when interpreting it. 🙂

    And Chengora, i find it laudable that you tried to understand RB concept of logic.


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