US Cmdr in Iraq: Human Rights Law Doesn’t Apply

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I’m in kind of a cranky mood. I don’t have much to say about this article, and I’m sure many of you have already read it: Iraqi court rulings stop at U.S. detention sites.

BushCo are masters at trying to legitimize illegality. It is their terrifying, unjust, enraging M.O. We see it at home, and abroad, in the conduct of this so-called GWOT. It is S.O.P.

They create legal limbo for all kinds of our fellow human beings, most innocent of any crime. GITMO is a terrible, shocking example of being in and out of the law.

The article linked above is no surprise then, but still outraging. The Kafkaesque twists and turns detailed in the article offend the sense of justice and reason. The U.S. has helped create a system of justice that it then only adheres to partially, practicing a take what you want and leave the rest approach–“justice” a la carte, I suppose, as if that were justice and the rule of law at all.

And now comes the “problem” of amnesty, which is seen by Iraqis as a crucial step in moving forward to political reconciliation, an amnesty which the U.S. has pushed for:

These dual realities – freedom granted by Iraqi courts but continued detention by the Americans – have been faced by about 3,000 Iraqis since 2003 and stand as a sharp contrast between U.S. policies on the battlefield and Washington’s appeals for Iraqis to build credible civic institutions.

The differences could grow even more pronounced as Iraqi authorities move ahead with an amnesty program that was strongly supported by the White House as a step to reconcile Iraq’s rival factions.

The amnesty rulings could offer an early exit for many of the 27,000 prisoners in Iraqi hands. They also could wipe the slate for hundreds of the roughly 22,000 detainees held by the U.S. military – which then must decide whether to abide by the decisions or ignore a formula that Washington applauded.

(My emphases.)

Well, Maj. Gen. Doug Stone, commander of detainee operations in Iraq assures us that everything’s cool and legal:

[The U.S. Military] insists, however, that the detention system is authorized by a U.N. resolution under which the Iraqi government allows U.S. troops to detain people at will. U.S. military attorneys also say it complies with international laws covering warfare and was created in “the spirit” of the Geneva Conventions.

In the spirit of the Geneva Conventions? The spirit cannot be honored if the letter is contravened. Do these criminals even know what the Geneva Conventions are?

Apparently not, as Maj. Commander Stone discourses on war and law:

But Stone and his staff insist they are operating under the laws of war, which supplant standard human rights law.

“The conditions on the ground require us to temporarily derogate from certain rights in order to ultimately lay the groundwork for civil society and the implementation of human rights law,”
Stone said.

My emphasis, of course.

What is there to say? These people think that human rights law is contingent, that the basic respect for human dignity is not the first plank of all law and justice.

We will not be silent about these outrages.

END THE OCCUPATION. Keep calling your congresscritters. The end of the occupation is not enough. BushCo must be held accountable. The next president must investigate these crimes.


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    • srkp23 on May 18, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Also posted at that orange electoral politics blog.

    • Alma on May 18, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    This administration has shit on so much that its going to take huge steam shovels and dumpsters to even start to clean it up.

    There really is no way to say just how evil this group is.

    • Robyn on May 18, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    …of human rights law, there is no human rights law…anywhere.

    But some of us have been all too aware of that for all too long.

    • Viet71 on May 18, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    1968:  We had to destroy a village to save it.

    2008:  We’ve had to destroy Iraq to save it.

    • brobin on May 18, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    In the spirit of the Geneva Conventions? The spirit cannot be honored if the letter is contravened. Do these criminals even know what the Geneva Conventions are?

    Ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales found them to be “quaint.”

    Criminals, each and every one of them.

    • Mu on May 19, 2008 at 5:05 am

    . . . extraterritoriality is much of what gave the U.S., U.K., and European powers such a very, very bad name and reputation in Asia in the 19th-cum-20th Century.  The “agreements” were NOT, in fact, usually negotiated at arms length between 2 equal powers, but, rather, were imposed upon the weaker nation by the stronger one.

    Mu . . .

  1. But Stone and his staff insist they are operating under the laws of war,

    are the Laws of War.

    There was a time in this country when a US military officer who disputed that simple fact would have been cashiered immediately.

    • Edger on May 19, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Iraqis wear strange clothes, talk funny, want freedom (instead of hating freedom) and are determined to have their country back.

    And they’re brown.

    And Bush is a “christian”.

    What’s not to get here?


    The Bush Crusade

    By James Carroll

    The Nation, September 2, 2004

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