Committing war crimes for no particular reason
Last year during a Senate hearing, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand asked U.S. Central Command commander Gen. Lloyd Austin what the ultimate goal of the war in Yemen was.
Gen. Austin answered with refreshing honesty: “I don’t currently know the specific goals and objectives of the Saudi campaign, and I would have to know that to be able to assess the likelihood of success.” Gillibrand replied, “Well, I do hope you get the information sooner than later.”
Two inevitable results have followed. First, there have been a litany of war crimes of the sort perpetrated last weekend, in which Saudi planes, using American munitions, bombed a school bus killing dozens of Yemeni schoolchildren. Second, the U.S. government has responded to these crimes with silences that might seem chastened, but in truth must be classified as defiant, given the bureaucratic maneuvering undertaken to obscure the United States’ unthinking complicity both to outsiders and to itself.
Eventually the Senate has managed some pushback against our complicity in Saudi war crimes.
But accountability and consequences for complicity in war crimes is still not on the agenda.
Two weeks ago the NY Times finally noticed that we are at war in Somalia.
Stephen Schwartz, United States ambassador to Somalia from 2016 to 2017, told the New York Times, “It could be there is some well-thought-out strategy behind all of this, but I really doubt it.”
The USA has tripled its air strikes in Somalia since 2016, outstripping the number of strikes in Libya and Yemen combined.
Amnesty International says that we recently committed war crimes in Somalia.
The Hidden US War in Somalia details how 14 civilians were killed and eight more injured in just five of the more than 100 strikes in the past two years. These five incidents were carried out with Reaper drones and manned aircraft in Lower Shabelle, a region largely under Al-Shabaab control outside the Somali capital Mogadishu. The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes.
Not coincidentally, these new war crimes happened in roughly the same part of Somalia that Frontier Services Group (FSG), co-founded by Erik Prince who created the U.S. security firm Blackwater, was providing logistics, aviation and security services.
Two wars without goals and objectives. Two war crimes. Two cases of a complete lack of civilian oversight or any accountability.
On one side you have a betrayal of the purpose of the U.S. military.
In not one of the military excursions listed above is there a military strategy with an objective aimed at defeating an enemy. There are no tactical benchmarks whose attainment would herald the successful end of the mission.
Bluntly stated, the purpose of the U.S. military has now become, unequivocally, to engage in permanent combat operations in dozens of countries around the world—none of which enhance America’s national security.
Pointless wars are immoral wars. Pointless wars without end lead directly to war crimes.
Which brings us to the only real threat to the status quo - the International Criminal Court.
There is a twisted logic behind the U.S. threats against the ICC.
If the ICC begins and is allowed to investigate crimes against humanity committed by the West, the entire twisted concept of the U.S. and Europe being pioneers of freedom and democracy could easily and quickly collapse.
Even criticism by Washington, Paris or London of countries such as Venezuela, China or Russia, for their “human rights violations”, would become absurd and grotesque. Entire concept of ‘regime change’ could clearly be exposed for what it always really was – lawless gangsterism.
These crimes are real and indisputable....But Afghanistan could be just the beginning; a proverbial Pandora box could open from there.
Pompeo is right.
Exposing our war crimes in Afghanistan would lead to exposing our war crimes in Iraq.
Exposing our war crimes in Iraq would lead to exposing our war crimes in Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, various Central American nations, and who knows where else.
Exposing all those war crimes would lead to civilian oversight of our military, and worse yet, accountability for both incompetence and criminal behavior.