Monday, September 10, 2007

Yes and No

Bubblehead: An interesting question. If Clinton attacked Kosovo entirely on his own, against the wishes of most everyone on earth, I would say yes, that would certainly be a war crime. It is complicated, however, if the U.N. is included. I confess I don't remember all the details of the Kosovo situation. But if the U.N. agreed there was a problem that required a military solution I guess I would not consider that a war crime (and perhaps not, strictly speaking, even a preemptive). But remember, there was no agreement from the U.N. for Bush/Cheney to attack Iraq and, indeed, they were opposed as were most of the nations and people on earth. In any case, Kosovo wasn't attacked to try to control their oil. There must be a difference between a military involvement to deal with an agreed upon humanitarian problem and one designed for purely material reasons. Whether Clinton and the U.N. were guilty of war crimes or not, Bush/Cheney clearly are. Why is it that any criticism of Bush/Cheney is met by Republicans with something about Bill Clinton? Clearly Clinton was no great shakes and had his serious problems (Monica and Whitewater were not truly among them) but he is not responsible for the much greater problems of Bush/Cheney.

As near as I can determine Petraeus and Ambassador Cranky (or whatever his name is) are just telling us once again to "stay the course." But realizing, of course, that sufficient troops will not be available next year they are graciously suggesting very modest drawdowns. The Bush/Cheney shell game continues. I suspect the Democratics will eventually cave once again after pretending to want to do otherwise. I will be very surprised if they don't give Bush another 50 billion as money seems to have ceased to have any actual value.

Rummy has surfaced again and is just as nonsensical as ever. I particularly liked his claim that Afghanistan is a success

An interesting piece on Smirking Chimp today about the draft being a moral abomination. Everyone should read it.

Some guy is going to come out with a documentary extolling the notion of Intelligent Design. What a wonderful waste of time and money. No doubt the evangelicals will eat it up, proof, of course, that there is no such thing. Think about it, would an intelligent designer have ever created human beings, creatures who have fouled their own nest so badly it may well be beyond repair, who kill each other by the millions and take pride in it? I don't think so.

"The heart of man is the place the devils dwell in: I feel sometimes a hell within myself."
Sir Thomas Browne


Bubblehead said...

With Kosovo, the UN didn't agree -- the Russians would have vetoed a Security Council resolution. It ended up being a NATO operation -- against a country that had never attacked NATO. Essentially all the combat power was US and UK, however; the Italians provided use of their airbases. (It also happened in 1999, vice '98 as I originally said.)

In Iraq, before March 2003, the Iraqis were attacking Americans with regularity -- I saw the gun camera footage and talked to the pilots who got shot at. These American pilots were enforcing the No-Fly zones set up as a result of the UN mission to liberate Kuwait. Iraq was breaking the ceasefire -- by international law, the UN had the option to declare the ceasefire null and void. The UN didn't have the stomach for it, so 2 of the 5 Security Council members did what they needed to do -- it was their planes being shot at. The fact that Rumsfeld screwed the pooch in the planning doesn't mean that the original invasion wasn't technically legal. The current "occupation" (or assistance mission), on the other hand, in indisputably legal, using your "if the UN says it's OK, it's OK" theory. The UN regularly re-authorizes the US/UK/Coalition mission in Iraq after first authorizing it in May 2003.

Bubblehead said...

Re: why people bring up Clinton, I personally never had any problem with President Clinton. I bring it up to see if the person arguing a certain point is doing it just from a partisan POV (it's bad if a Republican does it, but not bad if a Democrat does it), or if they really have the conviction that the thing is bad no matter who does it.