Spanish Judge Orders American Soldiers Arrested

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On April 8, 2003 LTC Philip de Camp’s 4-64 Armor was only 24 hours removed from it’s participation in 2d Brigade, 3d Infantry Division’s thunder run that had broken the back of Iraqi resistance and given the lie to left’s Stalingrad on the Euphrates fantasy.

From the upper floors of the Palestine Hotel, Spanish journalist Jose Couso and Reuters cameraman Taras Portsyuk observed a firefight between Captain Philip Wolford’s Alpha Company and Saddam fedayeen.

Read on.

To a young tank commander on an M1A2 Abrams the movement in the window looked suspicious and ordered his tank to take the presumed threat under fire. Both Couso and Portsyuk were killed. David Zucchino’s Thunder Run covers the incident in great detail.

Today a Spanish judge issued an arrest warrant for LTC deCamp, CPT Wolford, and the tank gunner SGT Shawn Gibson for the murder of Sr. Couso.

If there was ever proof that we should not belong to the International Criminal Court and that President Bush was correct in renouncing the Treaty of Rome and negotiating guarantees of immunity for our military from court jurisdiction, this is it.

It has long been said that the ICC agreement would never be used against American troops because one of the key triggers would never be pulled:

The American view of the court, described by the deputy US ambassador to the UN as 'a fatally flawed institution', is that the court will act as a giant conspiracy against America. Accordingly, Americans will be unfairly targeted. But this misunderstands the essence of the court. The ICC is a court of last resort, which prosecutes only the most serious war crimes and crimes against humanity, and comes into play only where domestic courts have shown themselves unwilling or unable to prosecute.

Spanish inquisitor Santiago Pedraz said he issued the warrant because, in his view:

[…] of a lack of judicial cooperation from the United States regarding the case.

The warrant "is the only effective measure to ensure the presence of the suspects in the case being handled by Spanish justice, given the lack of judicial cooperation by U.S. authorities," the judge said in the warrant.

Do we really think that faceless, unaccountable judges in The Hague would have arrived at a different solution? Given the choice between bearding Uncle Sam by prosecuting American fighting men or adhering to a sense of justice and reasonableness it is difficult to comtemplate the ICC choosing to give soldiers the benefit of a doubt

Lest anyone think the decision faced by SGT Gibson that morning two years ago was easy take this test. You’ve been without sleep for two days and looking through the viewfinder on your tank into a distant hotel window, in the middle of a firefight you see this?

Shoot or no?

Your life and the lives of your comrades depends on your decision.

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I have a suggestion for where you can file that indictment--and request that you fold it so as to produce nice pointy corners before you so file it.

And I would recommend that the Spanish government think very, very carefully before they do anything that could be seen as a kidnapping of American soldiers or citizens.

Very, very, very carefully.

doing what's rational in their own best interest.

With their plummeting birthrate and spines of jello, they realize that they will be a Muslim contry (Al-Andalusa)in about 30 years. Time to start getting on the good side of their future caliphate overlords.

.... they should just lay back and enjoy it.

There's no way the Spanish government wants to really pursue this beyond making an empty political statement.  The yahoo news article linked in the diary mentions that there have been constant protests since the killing, and I'm guessing this is just Spain's way of appeasing them.  

Do not under any circumstances shoulder a camera and point it at an American unit under fire, it will be a career limiting decision on your part.

The other lesson here is that the 82nd Airborne can be in Spain in a matter of hours --- long before Zapatero and the Spanish government could find a place to hide.

Staying out of the way will suffice.

Others have stated much better than I can ever hope to, the slight resemblance of the large lens camera sights and sights used on other instruments which do not 'shoot' pictures. Those journalists deserve a DarwinAward.

see raised hands of all those in Congress who like the idea of the US participating in the International Criminal Court?

Clinton, Kerry, Durbin, Kennedy, Kucinich, Pelosi, blah blah blah

"You've been without sleep for two days and looking through the viewfinder on your tank into a distant hotel window, in the middle of a firefight you see this?

Shoot or no?"

You left out the part where the hotel in question was known to be the hotel used by journalists exclusively.

That does kind of change the equation a bit.

"CPJ has learned that Pentagon officials, as well as commanders on the ground in Baghdad, knew that the Palestine Hotel was full of international journalists and were intent on not hitting it.  However, these senior officers apparently failed to convey their concern to the tank commander who fired on the hotel."

source

So maybe the problem is that the judge is ordering the arrect of the wrong soldiers.  Maybe it's their commanding officers that should be facing charges.

How will Democrats respond to this? [I can already predict the Republican response]

I would argue that most Americans would view this "arrest warrant" by Spain very negatively. Democrats have argued two things in relation to George Bush and post 9/11 conduct:

  1. We need to make the rest of the world love us, particularly Europeans, by passing a global test and giving the rest of the world a veto
  2. Only European based institutions such as the EU, ICC, etc have legitimacy, America is a "rogue nation" needing to be punished, etc.

Do Democratic politicians (Hillary, Wes Clark, Biden, Gore, Kerry etc) antagonize their base and side with US soldiers? Or do they side with their base and call for extraditing US soldiers for a political show trial in Spain? [Note all that support for prosecution of Americans for "war crimes" would stop if say Serbia charged Bill Clinton with War Crimes, or Iran did so]

I would expect Dems try to split the middle ala Kerry and "I was for it before I was against it" in the last election. Which to my mind is a disaster for them. I just don't think the Party or Politicians are strong enough to tell the loony anti-Military and pro-European base to go get lost; and I expect some like Al Gore will support extraditing the soldiers for another Stalinesque show trial.

Particularly since I retain a certain sympathy for the Spanish (a sentiment probably not too common around here).  And I'd have a completely different opinion if the incident happened in Spain.

But it didn't.

Because there's absolutely no way some yahoo with a shoulder mount hides out among journalists. None.

Personally, I'm mildly pleased that the gene pool is apparently a touch cleaner. Not Christian of me, but there it is. One or two fewer Spanish judges would round things out nicely. Maybe you can hand-deliver a camera and a ticket to the Green Zone?

same jurisdiction that the U.S. claims over its citizens.

American intellectual of you.

... can thank their lucky stars that the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania is not a "post-modern Democrat." Otherwise they'd be on their way to Madrid.

...and my IQ is down at least a few points* : could you expound a little on that?  :)

Moe

*Yes, yes, so what's my excuse other times, har de har harr.

to answer any Spanish entreaties to hand over our soliders:

Make us.

Doesn't make it any more true for my claim.

Nor theirs, for that matter.

"Because there's absolutely no way some yahoo with a shoulder mount hides out among journalists. None."

I'd be pretty impressed if an insurgent managed to hole up with weapons in a hotel with a 100+ journalists without getting noticed.  But it doesn't matter since that's not what happened.  And these poor tanker's commander knew the target was friendly and apparently failed to pass that along.

"Personally, I'm mildly pleased that the gene pool is apparently a touch cleaner. Not Christian of me, but there it is. One or two fewer Spanish judges would round things out nicely. Maybe you can hand-deliver a camera and a ticket to the Green Zone?"

Charming.

I hold our military to a very high standard, I expect they'd want nothing less.  Furthermore I hold any military to a high standard in a civilian area.

You of course may choose to let slide killing innocents.  Up to you.

American intellectual of you.

I'd be pretty impressed if an insurgent managed to hole up with weapons in a hotel with a 100+ journalists without getting noticed.

Who said anything about not being noticed?

But it doesn't matter since that's not what happened.

Yes, it's not like mens rea is an issue here or anything. Moving along.

And these poor tanker's commander knew the target was friendly and apparently failed to pass that along.

Oh, they knew that the cameraman was friendly. Well, link for that, laughing boy? Or are we just upset because the Ghost of Rachel Corrie Martyr didn't materialize and smite the evil officers?

Huh, history does repeat itself.  Think the French have another Charles Martel?

But I'll bet they have another Robspierre. He'll be heading up the EU's Committee on Public Safety. Because you're right, history does repeat itself.

I'd be pretty impressed if an insurgent managed to hole up with weapons in a hotel with a 100+ journalists without getting noticed.

Huh???

This was April 8, 2003.  There was no "insurgency".  There was still an Iraqi Army commanded by Saddam Hussein.  And that Army was also in charge of the Palestine Hotel (along with everything else in Baghdad), until AT LEAST the next day.

So the question is, could the Iraqi Army put a soldier with a sholder-fired weapon in a hotel that THEY THEMSELVES CONTROLLED?  Duh.  Better trolls, please.

"Who said anything about not being noticed?"

???

You think if a hotel full of journalists found Saddam loyalists in the hotel they'd stick around and also not tell anyone?  Can we assume for the moment that one thing journalists generally don't do is keep secrets?

"Yes, it's not like mens rea is an issue here or anything. Moving along."

Is your intent to kill someone when you fire a tank gun at them?  Certainly there's a tragic issue of mistaken identity but I'm not sure how you'd argue intent here.

"Oh, they knew that the cameraman was friendly. Well, link for that, laughing boy? Or are we just upset because the Ghost of Rachel Corrie Martyr didn't materialize and smite the evil officers?"

Re-read my first post on the matter, the one you replied to in the first place and you'll find the quote and the link.  The commanders knew the hotel was a friendly target and didn't want it attacked.  And you might try being a little less snarky.

"This was April 8, 2003.  There was no "insurgency". "

You are correct, my bad.

"There was still an Iraqi Army commanded by Saddam Hussein.  And that Army was also in charge of the Palestine Hotel (along with everything else in Baghdad), until AT LEAST the next day."

Let me ask you a hypothetical, if you were a journalist in a war zone and some military guys dragged a bunch of rpgs or law rockets up to one of the rooms as the opposing force started rolling in with gunships and tanks, would you hang around?  

You think if a hotel full of journalists found Saddam loyalists in the hotel they'd stick around and also not tell anyone?

Quite possibly.

Can we assume for the moment that one thing journalists generally don't do is keep secrets?

Only if we're keen to dwell in a different reality.

Is your intent to kill someone when you fire a tank gun at them?

Do you suggest one wants to thereby tickle them?

Certainly there's a tragic issue of mistaken identity but I'm not sure how you'd argue intent here.

Well, you are, but that's your issue, not mine.

Re-read my first post on the matter, the one you replied to in the first place and you'll find the quote and the link.  The commanders knew the hotel was a friendly target and didn't want it attacked.

But they didn't know that the hotel would never become an enemy target; and at any rate, the hotel was not the target. The man with the shoulder mounted camera was. But nice sophistry. Try showing me where the actual target was known to be friendly.

You think if a hotel full of journalists found Saddam loyalists in the hotel they'd stick around and also not tell anyone?  Can we assume for the moment that one thing journalists generally don't do is keep secrets?

we'd be lucky of the journos didn't phone the Iraquis with the coordinates of the tank!

...military guys dragged a bunch of rpgs or law rockets up to one of the rooms as the opposing force started rolling in with gunships and tanks, would you hang around?

You mean before or after asking the Iraqis if they could film them attacking the tanks?

"But they didn't know that the hotel would never become an enemy target;"

And?  I might be crazy here but somehow I suspect that the US military doesn't shoot at friendly buildings on the off chance they may some day have an enemy in them.

"and at any rate, the hotel was not the target. The man with the shoulder mounted camera was. But nice sophistry."

You accuse me of sophistry after that piece of gymnastics?  Surely you realize that when the commanders designated the hotel as friendly they weren't speaking exclusively to the physical structure but also to the people within.  Right?

"Try showing me where the actual target was known to be friendly."

the target was a journalist in the Palestine Hotel, the commanding officers knew the Palestine hotel was full of friendlies and didn't want it hit.  They failed to communicate this to the guys in the tank.  I'm really not sure how to make this any more straight forward for you.

And so what happens if one of these soldiers is sent to Germany? Or UK? How would we respond if the EU picked them up and handed them over to Spain? Does a Spanish judge have the authority to issue an "international arrest warrant"? I thought that was done by Interpol. Anybody know how this works?

Should be a new entry in "Recipes for disaster"

After all, didn't that happen in Baghdad just a year ago?

I could swear i read that a camerman pointed his camera at a Hummvee and got lit up by a .50 for his trouble.

They've got to keep in mind, even IF they are recognized as holding a camera, there are Tons of movies that show cameras doubling as weapons and Americans "Know" that technology exists...

In fact, journalists REGULARLY kept secrets about Iraq.  Here's CNN's Eason Jordan:

The News We Kept to Ourselves

By EASON JORDAN

ATLANTA-- Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange

interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard, awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0C16FD3C5F0C728DDDAD0894D
B404482

How is this connected, unless you know of a mosque with a hundred plus foreign journalists that failed to notice that Saddam's forces were using it as a strong point?

I am a grad student at Georgetown working on my final thesis.  It explores the breakdown of the constitutional system which governs how the US enters into obligations under international law.  This sort of case is what prompted my work on the subject.

I have found more confusion about international law, its validity, its source and its role than I expected.

The US is a hug beneficiary of international law properly constructed and construed.  The US, however, is putting into jeopardy the benefits of international law by the way we participate.

The flip side of this coin is a verdict handed down several days ago that awarded almost $100 million to the families of US citizens held captive by terrorists in Lebanon.  The judgment was against Iran and will be paid out of funds frozen and held by the US treasury.



There's more than a slight difference between (1)a journalist protecting a source who might be killed by his boss if they found out he had talked and (2) sharing a hotel with a tank busting unit when the US military is rolling into town.

the Spanish will be more caeful about such things than we have been of late with our "renditions>'  Stupid on policy, legal and moral grounds.

Sad, but true, JSteele.

Also, I bring back the point that while the hotel May Have been designated a friendly target, it was in the middle of combat and an exhausted, anxious soldier, IN COMBAT, I remind you,  saw what appeared to be an enemy preparing his weapon and was lucky enough to fire first.

Think about it.

And?  I might be crazy here but somehow I suspect that the US military doesn't shoot at friendly buildings on the off chance they may some day have an enemy in them.

I can't speak to your lack of sanity, but that's not what happened here.

You accuse me of sophistry after that piece of gymnastics?  Surely you realize that when the commanders designated the hotel as friendly they weren't speaking exclusively to the physical structure but also to the people within.  Right?

Not actually being in the military, just growing up with and around it all my life, I'm kind of at a loss for why you think the Army would designate a place a free-fire safe zone for enemy combatants. They may say, "Don't shoot at the hotel," but no commander who doesn't want UCMJ proceedings is going to add, "Even if some yahoo opens up on you from inside the hotel with shoulder mounts." But, if you think military service is a suicide writ, well, there's nothing I can do for you.

the target was a journalist in the Palestine Hotel, the commanding officers knew the Palestine hotel was full of friendlies and didn't want it hit.  They failed to communicate this to the guys in the tank.  I'm really not sure how to make this any more straight forward for you.

The target was a fellow who looked to be carrying a shoulder mount, the commanding officers knew that the Palestine Hotel was full of friendlies and didn't want it hit, they failed to communicate this down the chain, and this still has nothing to do with your point.

a tanker in the middle of a war zone, being shot at, and you saw what appeared to be a man with a shoulder held device pointing it at you... how long would it take you to fire preemptively.

I personally could care less if the hotel was filled with Red Cross workers or journalists.  When you venture into a war zone you take your chances.  I am willing to mourn the loss of the journalists in question, but only for an appropriate time.  And that's long gone.

is a graduate of the school of actual armored warfare. Anyone who aims a large, shoulder mounted object at a tank in combat is one of a select group, one of whom is going to die that day. The guy who shoots first will live; our guy is alive.

has NO basis is theory or fact.  Law is only law where there is a body who can enforce it.  Let's see, there's the UN.  There's the government of Spain or maybe the EU.  Let them come and get the Sgt in question.

You note that you've found "...confusion about international law, its validity, its source and its role..."  Maybe because it has no validity, no legitimate source and no role since there is no enforcement body.

The example you cite of an award that will be paid from funds frozen and held by the US Treasury is a prime example.  It's not "international law" that is being addressed, it's US law, in a US court, enforced by the power of the US government.

Let's be clear.  Under NO circumstances should US military personnel, or governmental officials for that matter, be put at risk of indictment or extradition by ANY foreign government for any reason.  If the foreign government would like to file a polite request, I'd listen.  Hand me an indictment, come and get 'em.

Include:

20 years from now no one will remember the caliber of the weapons, the brilliance of the strategy, or the well oiled execution of the tactical plan.  They will only remember who lived.

A fair fight is one that you survive.

There are a few more but these pretty well cover the situation in question.

Hospitals, churches, and civilian hotels are all in the category of traditional neutral sites.  The Iraqis were staging in and fighting from these types of sites.

Now, explain to me how a tank commander, in the heat of battle, can know that this particular neutral site, in a battle zone controlled by the enemy, has not been taken over by enemy troops in the last 15 minutes?

is probably as biased as Saddam I don't give it any credibility whatsoever.  

come home alive. If a few war pimps get killed in the process, so be it.

"Not actually being in the military, just growing up with and around it all my life, I'm kind of at a loss for why you think the Army would designate a place a free-fire safe zone for enemy combatants. They may say, "Don't shoot at the hotel," but no commander who doesn't want UCMJ proceedings is going to add, "Even if some yahoo opens up on you from inside the hotel with shoulder mounts." "

Had anyone "opened up on {them} from inside the hotel with shoulder mounts"?  No, then I again seem to be losing your point.  

I'll try again to help you out.  The commanders knew the building was frendly.  They knew the building was full of journalists.  Presumably they were aware that journalists are often accompanied by camera men.  Furthermore camera men tend to have cameras.  Had they passed on this information properly it's quite probable that the guy manning the tank gun would have known not to shoot and kill two innocent journalists.

Let me make it real plain. If anyone points anything at one of our soldiers in a combat zone, I hope and I expect that he will blow them into their next reality and rejoice that he did. As for the dead journalist TFB. Further, I would be very supportive of putting Spain and all things Spanish into the same class as Cuba until the warrants are withdrawn, an apology issued and written assurance, in the form of a treaty, is provided that such stupidity will not be repeated. I also don't appreciate whining, anti-war apologists putting up trash like what you posted. Go over to Kos and Krap there. The smell will fit right in.

Thats what I called it in this humorous look.  And I suggest we just do the same!  Anyhow, compare the Reuters vs AP stories on this, interesting.  Who's a little leftist Spanish judge?  Daddy's going to have to slap your hand...  Or for you literalists, the Spanish Government isn't to happy with said judge.  I see the liberal socialist America hating AP reporter doesn't mention this.  Imagine, a biased media.

There had been gunmen in the Palestine.

"Commanders" did not know, below division level, that journalists were there.

From ground level, multi-story hotels look remarkably alike.

There was a fight taking place.

The reporters were not "innocent". The were paid participants and as the saying goes, "ya buys yer ticket and ya takes yer chances." They pointed a large cylindrical object at a scared young tanker who had been in combat all night and they paid the price.

The fact that you obviously never served but feel free to tell us how it is marks you as a buffoon and not a serious contributor.

You are not helping anything out but you are out of here. Go write your "I was banned at RedState diary." Tschuss.

You are fighting an enemy that uses mosques, schools and hospitals as command & control centers and weapons storage depots.  You are fighting an enemy who hurds civilians into mosques and orders them murdered if US forces attack the mosque.  You are fighting an enemy that pushes women and children between themselves and US forces.  You are fighting an enemy that wears civilian clothes and mingles with civilians whenever possible.  You are fighting an enemy who places powerful explosive devices in areas where they will do the most damage to civilian targets and to civilians.  You are fighting an enemy who places bombs outside of elementary schools and who take teachers hostage and murder them.

I could go on but I won't.  Some reporters were killed while in the war zone outlined above.  They were in a hotel that was known to house journalists.  That's like saying they were in a mosque that was known to house peaceful religious people.  What's your point?

Our military takes incredible risks to minimize "non-combatant" casualties.  My son is a Marine.  His rules of engagement are very restrictive.  The bottom line is very direct, this is a war.  Not an ecology sit-in.  

I consider the civilian population to be innocents and we go out of our way to protect them.  I do not consider journalists to be innocents.  Non-combatants, yes.  Innocents, no.  They should know they are in a war zone, a free-fire zone and conduct themselves appropriately.  I'm sorry the Spanish journalists were killed.  They were on the job, it is a known hazard of war reporting.  Just ask Ernie Pyle.  Oh.

Nuts! would be a more appropriate response.

the hotel only houses journalists.  About 200 of them.  All legitimate news people with no axe to grind.  They are just there for a story, it's just a days work.

All of sudden, I come in with 10 armed men.  I take several of the journalists hostage.  I will kill them and they are sure of it.  I leave one man with the hostages (he's armed, they're not).  I clear the next nine floors of journalists, adding to my hostage count along the way.  I kill a couple just for the heck of it.  I find my way to a high vantage point, break out the shoulder fired missle I brought along for just this time, and lo and behold, there's a US tank.  I don't have to worry because I'm in a building that's been declared a no fire zone.  I wish I'd brought more missles.  My backup plan is that after I take out the tank, US infantry will attack the hotel, my guys on the first floor will kill all the hostages, the US will get blamed and I'll end up with 72 Virginians.  Or is that virgins.  I can never remember.

So, ok that's not what happened and the Spanish journalists got killed.  Given a choice between attending a funeral for the journalists and writing a letter of condolence to their families or sending that same letter to the families of US soldiers, this father of a US Marine doesn't have to think twice.

It is because of these bogus "high standards" our military's both hands are tied behind its back. In much more just wars than this we didn't even think about some civilians mixed in with the enemy when the goal was to win the war, as opposed to just avoiding civilian casualties.

The way to win is to destroy your enemy as swiftly and efficiently as possible, using tactics the enemy does not anticipate, and striking so hard that the enemy cannot recuperate. This is not how the war in Iraq is prosecuted due to the liberals redefining how wars should be fought with their garbage, previously non-existent, revisionist high standards.

I'd give examples, but this whole war is one giant failing example.

As I mentioned in my ranting post on this topic tankers have great fear for anti-tank teams.  They're lethal to your tank.  Nothing a tanker wants to do less than to have his tank turned into a pillbox.  On top of that, the suspected AT team was in a tall building, which affords him the opportunity to destroy the M1A1 by piercing the thin armor on the top of the turret.  M1A1s are tough but certainly not invincible.  (And just because our military kicks huge butt doesn't mean we (or the Spanish) can afford them superhuman powers - and the expectation of superhuman feats.)

Those tankers did the exactly right thing.  Just check out the picture of the dead cameraman holding his rig.  No human at 1000 meters could tell the difference between a camera and an AT missile given a minute to study it.  I suspect the gunner had seconds.

Since when are people mourning journalists getting killed in a war zone?  What happened to personal responsibility?  It's as bad as the criminal getting shot while robbing a house who later sues - and wins.  

Unfortunately you can't fight wars according to Christian principles. Jesus saying "turn the other cheek" is not a safe military strategy.

Holding your enemies closer doesn't work either.

In fact the whole Christian theology does not apply if you actually want to win a war. I mean it does not apply to winning war tactics and am not talking about reasons for the war.

All that combined with liberal cheerleading for the enemy is disastrous for our troops.

There is a young marine in my program (almost everyone in my program is a serving or former officer) who would agree with you and the person below.  But what does that get us?

My point did not touch on the sort of split second decisions required of tank commanders or anyone else serving - I well know the situation.

My point was that the regime of international law is changing and not in ways that should be favored by the US.  It is fine to thump our chest - as one poster in this thread does - and shout Make Us!  This sort of attitude ignores several points:

1.    Modern international law is largely a construct of the US developed by the US to serve US purposes.  See works by William Odom (Lt. Gen, ret; former head NSA and former member of NSC) for more on this theme.

2.    A well functioning international law regime is essential to the US economy.

3.    The military benefits from international law even more than does business.

So, international law is not a monster...yet.  Like Frankenstein, we have started to lose control over our creation.

For someone like myself with a conservative world view the biggest problem is the way the US is allowing itself to be obligated to laws in non-democratic ways.  That is, we are obligated to obey laws that we have not consented to.

There are several reasons for this situation:

1.    Dysfunction relationship between the political branches.

2.    An attempt by the rest of the world to "balance" US power.  They can't match our political, economic and military power, so they seek other ways to bind the American Gulliver. (cf: the current issue of International Studies for four articles arguing this point.)

3.    The Anglo-Saxon passion for establishing the rule of law.  This passion flounders in international law because international law is not really law, but a series of norms.

I'm not sure our liberal brethran would agree with you, but then what do they know :-)

"International law has NO basis is [sic] theory or fact."

Really?  None?  So Grotius, Augustine and the Founders who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are all wet?  Well, you are entitled to your opinion, but you might want to think about where that will lead.

The US (and others) justified the Nazi trials by referring to international law.  We are making similar claims about Iran and North Korea.  But, again, you are entitled to your opinion.

So, let's say a Russian sailor on leave off a visiting destroyer gets drunk, rams his car into yours and kills a pedestrian.  He gets back aboard before being arrested.  Is there no validity to our request for extradition under international law?

You are correct about my example, sort of.  I should have picked a better example.  The case was argued under the TVP which is a law Congress passed in the early 1990s.  Congress passed the law because of a concurring opinion written by Bork while on the D Court of Appeals that might have (correctly) vitiated provisions of a multilateral human rights treaty that the US had signed.

So, it was a US law that flowed from an international law.  As you might know, treaties are usually not "self executing."  That is, they have no force under domestic law and require Congress to act in order to give individuals a right of action.

very seldom agree with me.  Sadly, some of our more blood thirsty brothers on the right also want to kick my head into the trash.

BTW:  As I mentioned, almost everyone in our little program at Georgetown is, or has, worn a uniform.  The ages and ranks vary widely.  I have noiced a little factoid:

The older officers are usually very cautous about the use of force.  The younger officers are, well, raring to go.

Ah, youth.

I wouldn't be impressed. I've read about jouranlists who believe that their job is not to get in the way of the story, or the events about to unfold. If they know of an ambush laid for American troops, their job is not to stop it or warn the Americans if they can, but to stay objective and report what happens. So here I am, reporting in the hotel, and the guy with the RPG goes by as he looks for a good place to secret himself, somewhere where he considers himself to maybe have enough human shields, or just a good vantage point for shooting. Are any journalists going to say, "You can't go in there!"? What's their job--get the story, not get involved in the story. (Also, the job description doesn't include hotel security or even taking an RPG or a bullet to stop someone who's only going to be shooting at American troops.)

Thank God those fighters don't use civilian human shields or wage their attacks from commercial civilian locations. At least we know that they won't fire from hotels, right? Riiiiiight.

While this particular ruling is frivolous, wrong, and utterly pointless I don't see how it supports or  harms the argument for the ICC.

FTR, I don't care much for the ICC.  It seems superfluous to me.  A court enforce a law.  

But I don't see how this ruling has much bearing on the ICC anymore than if the US or Guyana issued an arrest warrant for someone outside their borders.

Why is it some idiots think its safe in a 'war zone'? You go where the war is, there is a chance you will die. Its an 'enter at your own risk' zone. And we did put the world on notice that we were taking guns and things would get ugly.

Now that I think about it, I think we should sue the Spanish for getting in the way and impeding our troops. Putting the troops at risk like that by getting in the way is simply not acceptable.

oh those so long years ago against the fascist Franco. The thousands that perished fighting to be free.

Now what? Spain now shows that "jello" is a substitute for backbone when confronting an enemy such as Islamofascists and kissing their hindquarters when they protest. Just disgusting.

I agree.  Lets sue the pants off the Spanish for getting in the way and then cutting out and running when things get rough at home.  You know the muslims conquered Spain many many years ago and they feel Spain is still a part of greater Islam.  They only have to "scare the Spanish with a bombing and other threats" and the socialist judges will blame everyone for their problems.  When you are a "weakling" you only encourage the "bullies in the world" to take you over.

idea of yours? As a Marine officer, I find your ideas completely unredeeming. If we fight no better than the slime we are up against, then what are we? Men of honor, or beasts? There are rules laid down by the Church for the proper conduct of war. These were somewhat codified by the Geneva Convention. Any men who ever served under me were expected to abide by them. I will answer to God for my actions and those of my men, and will NOT be responsible for massacres.

The problem with the journalists comes down to them treating this like a giant live-fire drill. Would journalists holed up with the German army have expected deference during the assault on Berlin? That would be stupid. Allied personnel should have been withdrawn prior to the commencement of hostilities. The idea that we are somehow responsible for the safety of people that we have no control over is seriously flawed. These are wars, not video shoots.

Finally, one other problem does exist. In a normal war, you slap down the enemy and are done. This is an insurgency. By definition, we are attempting to get the population to support us, and not the insurgents. During heavy combat, use of artillery, tanks, and close air support was justified. However, the reports I am getting indicate the army especially is continuing to rely on heavy firepower. That makes sense when fighting an army, but less so when racking up civilian casualties only increases the insurgents' recruiting chances. Fighting to win also means fighting smart.

could file a class action law suit on behalf of the bulls?

well by Ender

I do not believe I mentioned anything about fighting like beasts and without any honor.

Also I don't believe in any rules of war coming from any Church. Geneva convention is certainly valid however.

I have served for a short duration in the Air Force, so I am not completely removed from the military reality.

I did not advocate massacres or anything of the sort. Please don't attribute that to me. I believe in morality, and military has to be guided by valid moral precepts.

What I was objecting to was treating our enemy as our moral equivalent and as someone who will approve of our civility. To not using full and effective force for fear of killing any civilians. Those animals we are fighting will not hesitate to put women and children in front of them. Will you lose the war to spare those civilians? It is not your fault that civilians die as result of wars. You do not want to intentionally kill them nor do you target them. It is the enemy's fault those civilians die. Did we have to warn Falluja for weeks and weeks that our invasion was coming, until most of the terrorists have left? When terrorists took over a city in Western Iraq, did we have to announce when we'd arrive there and which city we were going to clean up next? The people we are fighting only understand force and strength - your great Christian moral values won't stop them from beheading you and laughing at American weakness.

Look at WW2 and American forces conduct there. Read about Allied bombing campaigns. Were we less moral then? No, we knew how to win a war. We did not massacre civilians just for the sake of killing them. We struck hard, without mercy, and the enemy knew we were not weak. We did not try to build a democracy while the war was still going on either.

You are right in that we do not want to aggravate the population by racking up civilian casualties. Unfortunately there is no balance whatsoever, and this deference to no collateral damage tactic meant our losing this war.

Winning a war means crushing our enemy until there is none left... Not until there is maybe 5 suicide bombings a day instead of 10. Winning a war means we will no longer have to fear anything from them. Which is what happened in Japan and Germany.

Sorry for rambling. :)

IMHO the present framework is attempting the impossible: give power to Europe and various third world countries without any military power to back it up.

An example is the futile effort to "try" Pinochet (of which this is the inevitable outgrowth) or the farce surrounding the Milosevic trial (like he'll ever be convicted of anything).

You are right International Law is merely a series of norms; but Europeans by definition (Clinton, Bush, it doesn't matter) are rivals for power absent the Cold War and enforced reliance on the US with a real Soviet threat. Hence, an effort to use Law for things it doesn't do.

International Law can and does work in say, trade disputes with ourselves and Canada; or extradition issues of normal criminals between say Australia and Sweden. It does not work as a substitute for military power, though the Europeans are trying very hard.

International "law" is more of a suggestion than a precise, codified body of law. It lacks legitimacy in many cases and lacks authority in most instances. It is, essentially, what nations agree it to be-- such that it serves their purposes.

Maybe the EU and others can make it somewhat more favorable to them, as opposed to us, but without some degree of US cooperation no international legal institution can have any success.

Nuremberg was not really conducted in a manner consistent with international law, such as it was... or, in reality, any particular law at all...

Its best to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

If it had been our reporters, we would have been mad as hell and I'd bet we could find some southern judge to issue an indictment.

It is hazardous duty to be a reporter in a war zone.

The shooting was justifiable, just like a cop wasting some kid pointing a toy gun at him in a darken room.

Our leaders should have finished AQ off before whacking Saddam.

Oue leaders should have been better prepared. You go to war to win it with the least cost to your side in blood and treasure.

An unusual number of foreign reporters have been killed by US action, not exactly a way to win friends and influence those foreign guys.

War is hell.

that you have been banned in the past and have decide to generate you own resurrection. We don't do business that way. Once you go to the effort of being banned we feel it is only proper that you enjoy the experience.

This warrant is the essence of the ICC.

Read the post.

The ICC proponents have always said that our troops are not in danger from the ICC because it would only be used against nations who refused to try war criminals.

This judge has said that the US investigation that exonerated the men in question is not sufficient that because they were not tried by the US, Spain can try them.

If the ICC were in existence, this exact reasoning could be used by the same judge to refer the case to The Hague.

Pretty simple.

An unusual number of foreign reporters have been killed by US action, not exactly a way to win friends and influence those foreign guys.

The numbers would seem to be at odds with this.


  1. This is not really an action by the government of Spain. A judge issued this order. The judiciary is of course independent.
  2. The attorney general of Spain has already filed an emergency appeal to nullify the judge's order.
  3. Spain was one of Bush's and US strongest ally in the war on Iraq. Let's remember that the real culprit in the change of position in Spain is the neo-communist government of prime minister Zapatero, a self-avowed "red" who was elected only through the grace of the bombs of Al-Qaeda.

I believe the electorate of Spain will in the near future recover their senses and bring back this country to its position of alliance with the US.

we have to acknowledge that this Spanish judge is part of the Spanish government and that the Spanish judiciary has a history of grandstanding (see Pinochet, Augusto).

The extent to which Spain's equivalent of an attorney general is legitimately trying to quash the warrants, he is part of Zapatero's government, versus doing a bit of kabuki to mollify the US government remains to be seen.

Fine on legal grounds. There's even a duly enacted statute about it. Policy grounds, reasonable minds may differ. Moral grounds, as near as I can figure, appear to be that we should not send people back to their home countries. To say the least, this would produce an ambivalent reaction from Americans.

orders Spainish judge arrested.  I like the sound of it.

Option 1. America is no longer the milk cow/savior of the world including your ***ant country and this doesnt happen because we dont stick our boys' necks on the line.  Option 2.  The status quo is maintained, we keep bailing out the world on the back of our soldiers and our taxpayers.  Under option 2 I hope you will recall that without the US the world would fall apart over night.  As for war crimes, this is exactly why we didn't join the ICC, because those that created have no idea what a 'war crime' is. It is NOT an accident on the battlefield; when big boys play on the world scene bad things can and will happen.  The first real war crimes courts were held after WW II and in germany succeeded, in Japan, they were a general failure.  Spain, you a little fish in the pond, I am sorry if you have a Napolean complex, but get over it.  No country in the modern world bears such a burden in blood and cash to help the world.  Maybe y'all should try being greatful???

Moral grounds, as near as I can figure, appear to be that we should not send people back to their home countries.

Dude... what utterly disingenuous nonsense. That's what happens when you twist yourself into a pretzel to answer a convoluted analogy. Next time, why not just say "rendition has nothing to do with this" and don't attempt to speak for the moral grounds of others, especially if only to construct ridiculous strawmen.

It is generally considered polite to include which facts you are referring to. It is more efficent as someone may miss your point.

It appears from the article that 8 have died as direct action according to this piece. The other 13 can be attributed to the US military's failure to provide security.


Maybe I missed something.


Just looking at the 8 and it seems to be an unusually high number of journalists killed US forces.


The facts seem to me to be that there is a resentment because the US killed an unusual number of journalists. You seem to agree with this fact. Leaving me a be confused why you brought it up

It is a seperate question if this perception is a correct one. IMHO it is a catch 21 type problem. If you do not engage a threat you may get killed, but the more folks you kill, the worst your appearence is.


In the end the appearence becomes so overwhelming that justified or not, sacrifices made, treasure spent and US blood expended are to naught.


That is the basis for an irregular campaign, winning by letting the other side win.


Do a goole on fourth generation warfare and read up on some of the articles.


If I remember correctly, no first world power's government has stayed in power after fighing an insurrection. Franch-Algeria, US-Vietnam, USSR-Afganistan are examples.

If it had been our reporters, we would have been mad as hell

Well, some of us maybe...

I'd bet we could find some southern judge to issue an indictment.

Yeah, you can always find some weak minded southern judge (they marry their sisters you know.)

An unusual number of foreign reporters have been killed by US action, not exactly a way to win friends and influence those foreign guys. War is hell.

If an unusual number of foreign reporters have been killed it could be because they were not bright enough to stay out of the way --- maybe they were southerners.

That is the basis for an irregular campaign, winning by letting the other side win.

Do a goole on fourth generation warfare and read up on some of the articles.

Darth baby, the guy you are "talking" to doesn't need Google to "read up" on irregular warfare --- he lives it.

First we told Spain that North Korea was shipping missiles to Iraq.  Their special forces took down a freighter.  The Saudis squawked and we made them give the missiles to the Yemenis.  (Those are the guys who blew up the USS Cole).

Next we told Spain that we were sure that Sadam was going to have nukes any minute. They sent combat troops to Iraq.  

We told them they would be safer if they kept their troops in Iraq.  Al Qaeda then blew up their commuter trains.

Now Spanish electorate thinks the US is a problem.  They voted our supporters out of office.  Spanish politicos can make a name for themselves by sticking it to us.  It's about the domestic politics, not the justice.  This is the sort of thing that happens when you polarize the world.  "You're with us or against us".  They were with us.  We hung our supporters out to dry.  Now they are against us.

Why is anyone surprised?

I'm a liberal.  I agree with you.  Sorry.

What's the moral dimension to rendition that I'm missing? This has, frankly, always puzzled me.

judging by this year's performance at Pamplona, the bulls don't need our help :-)

is often torture by proxy. Kidnapping a suspect and sending him to Syria is inimical to American justice. I resent that the administration is unwilling to openly advocate for utilizing torture to the American people, but instead chooses to contract out interrogations they say they would never condone.

Some sources: Wikipedia, the New Yorker.

of recipes, just for a laugh. It reminds me of this one.

It looks to me like we're sending folks back to their home countries, where bad things happen to them, knowing that bad things will happen to them, because the people of those home countries tolerate that.

Unless you're proposing that we conquer the Middle East now, I'm still butting up against a wall. We're not torturing these folks, their own governments are. At best, this seems like an ethically questionable, not detestable, practice. YMMV.

Sorry to ask a stupid question, but what does YMMV mean?

You're commenting on Spanish politics when it is clear you have not been following it at all.  The Government was canned specifically for denying that the attacks had Alqueda fingerprints all over them, and basically lying to the Spanish people saying that it was the work of Basque separatists before any analysis of the attack had even begun.  THAT is, specifically, why the government was voted out.  The people went ballistic at the obvious fabrications the government was spitting out.    

Zapetero is a committed communist.  He has spent his career attacking the US and apologizing for the brutality of Eastern Block countries during the Cold War.  He opposed the Iraq War from the outset.  The terrorist attacks did nothing to alter his opposition to the war, and true to his word, he retreated the Spanish forces as soon as he was elected.  Absent the terrorist attacks he would have done exactly the same thing.  

In spite of many brain cells wan and wasted in the effort.  

rendition often involves sending people to countries OTHER than their home country.

stupid things one can do on battlefield. Pointing a large shouldered object with a shiny disk on the front at anything as lethal as an M1A1 tank certainly has to rank right up there in the top ten. The resulting incoming round is simply going to screw up your entire day, what little there is left of it.

We have a Conservative Conversion to perform!

Glad to be reminded that some liberals aren't all bad...

Apparently the lying goes much deeper than "the ETA did it!".  I have seen nothing about this in the MSM.  The translation is quirky, but the scent of a scandal is pungent here:

http://www.eurabiantimes.com/archives/2005/09/the_mystery_of.php#more

But the Wikipedia entry seems to only discuss sending folks back to their home countries.

And so what happens if one of these soldiers is sent to Germany? Or UK? How would we respond if the EU picked them up and handed them over to Spain?

Well, the Euros our "friends" so do we have to be reasonable. I suggest giving them 4 hours to put them on an airplane back to the states. If they don't then we provide our own transport; a few C17s with a company or so of airborne should do the trick.

In 2003, Khaled el-Masri, a Kuwait-born citizen with German nationality, was detained by Macedonian agents in Republic of Macedonia. While on vacation in the republic, local police, apparently acting on a tip, took him off a bus, held him for three weeks, then took him to the Skopje airport where he was turned over to the CIA. El-Masri says he was injected with drugs, and after his flight, he woke up in an American-run prison in Afghanistan containing prisoners from Pakistan, Tanzania, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. El-Masri claimed he was held five months and interrogated by Americans through an interpreter. He wasn't tortured but he was beaten and kept in solitary confinement. Then, after his five months of questioning, he was simply released. "They told me that they had confused names and that they had cleared it up, but I can't imagine that," El-Masri told ABC News. "You can clear up switching names in a few minutes." He was flown out of Afghanistan and dumped on a road in Albania, from where he made his way back home in Germany. Using a method called isotope analysis, scientists at the Bavarian archive for geology in Munich subsequently analyzed several strands of his hair and verified his story. During a visit to Washington, German Interior Minister Otto Schily was told that American agents admitted to kidnapping el-Masri, and indicated that the matter had somehow gotten out of hand. [3]

Also it seems that we like to pick and choose which nationality we will recognize in these matters.  If someone has become a citizen of Canada is it reasonable to send that person back to Syria because he was born there?  

It can be argued that rendition is necessary but I can't see any way it can be argued that it is morally proper.

Canada recognizes dual nationality, as do, if memory serves, all the Commonwealth countries. Its citizens do, too. If he forsook his old nationality, good point. Unlikely, though, so probably a bad point.

According to the article, Spanish law gives the courts authority to invesitgate and prosecute potential crimes committed against Spanish citizens in foreign countries when the potential crime is not being investigated in that country.

Spain operates under the Civil Law tradition in which judges act as investigators prior to the filing of charges.

Spain sent two request to the U.S. asking for either the U.S. to question the soldiers involved or allow Spanish investigators to question them.

The U.S. government did not respond to either request.  It appears that had they agreed to cooperate with the request this arrest warrant would not have been written.  Further, it seems clear that the U.S. government could have cooperated with this request without sending the soldiers to Spain and exposing the soldiers to Spanish authority.

How does one go about forsaking your nationality?  This is a serious question, actually.

3 of those 8 were shot when they ignored warnings to stop at a checkpoint.  Umm, Raise your hand if you can say "DUH!"

The rest just got into bad places during firefights and we were unlucky enough to own the bullets that hit them.

As for "Providing security"  Why?  They aren't soldiers.  They aren't POWs we just rescued or anything else that warrants security.  They were Imbedded with our COMBAT TROOPS of their own volition.  Our COMBAT TROOPS have more important things to worry about (like making sure the enemy and not themselves get their butts shot off.).  The Reporters need to worry about their own lives and let our COMBAT TROOPS do their jobs.

But I believe countries that allow dual nationality allow one, on the immigration form, to select whether dual citizenship is maintained. I'm hardly an expert, though.

I think some obvious clues would be using only the passport of your adopted country, holding yourself out as a citizen of the same, etc.

... from a moderately funny 1984 movie called Johnny Dangerously.

Flyer quotes a newspaper headline that appears near the end of the movie.

that Maher Arar decided to travel into the US with his Syrian passport but I find it pretty unlikely.  

One use does not renunciation make. We're talking a pattern here.

But I didn't want to believe even Flyerhawk would say that.

You're looking for excuses.

Maybe the US government truly wanted to send Arar to the most appropriate place but that seems pretty unlikely.

I'm not arguing for or against rendition here.  I'm simply saying that there is much of a moral high ground in using it.

But every entrance and exit of the borders of this country enters a big ol' database. Not hard to put puzzle pieces together.

It seems morally neutral, to me.

When the muslim's finally take control of Europe (France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland etc.)  in the manner that Germany did twice (WW I & II) and the Russians tried  (Cold War), I vote against going and pulling their chestnuts out of the fire as we did in the above conflicts.  Those fools are not worth it then, now or in the future.

If such a scenario takes place - and I have not even begun to be convinced that it actually will - we still have allies on that continent who have not broken faith with us.  Besides, this isn't 1805, or even 1905.  The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans aren't quite the barriers that they used to be.

Did you say that a conservative government lied to its people about a critical national defense issue?  Thank heaven that sort of thing can't happen here.  

They never would have lied about the origin of the attacks unless they felt that the truth would cost them the election.  Otherwise, why lie?

Polls of the Spanish electorate had them against the war by a large margin before the attacks. They remain against the war today. Any candidate that runs on a platform of becoming comrades in arms with the US again will lose.

your optimism may be premature. When Sarkozy is elected in 2007, I don't think he'll hesitate to do whatever is necessary to avoid a French Islamic republic. In fact, he already has.

You just need to stop believing what you hear about liberals from the powers at be. Turn off Fox and talk to one. You might find we have a lot to agree about.

But you are simply throwing out conjecture.

Here is what wikpedia says about Arar....

On September 26, 2002, Arar was returning to Montreal from a family vacation in Tunisia. During a stopover at JFK Airport he was detained by United States immigration officials. They claimed that Arar was an associate of Abdullah Almalki, a Syrian-born Ottawa man whom they suspected of having links to the al-Qaeda terror organization, and they therefore suspected Arar of being an al-Qaeda member himself. When Arar protested that he only had a casual relationship with Almalki (having once worked with Almalki's brother at an Ottawa high-tech firm), the officials produced a copy of Arar's 1997 rental lease which Almalki had co-signed. The fact that US officials had a Canadian document in their possession was later widely interpreted as evidence of the participation by Canadian authorities in Arar's detention.

Despite holding a valid Canadian passport, Arar was held without access to consular services, without legal representation and without being allowed to contact his family. His deportation to Syria on October 7 or 8 is believed to be part of the unofficial US policy of extraordinary rendition whereby terrorism suspects are sent to countries where torture is practised. The Canadian government was notified on October 10, 2002 and Arar was later discovered to be in a Syrian jail.

The deportation (along with the presumed racial profiling) was condemned by the Canadian government and by groups such as Amnesty International. On October 29, 2002, the Canadian foreign affairs department issued a travel advisory strongly cautioning Canadians born in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan against travel to the United States for any reason. The advisory prompted US conservative Pat Buchanan to describe Canada as "Soviet Canuckistan".

The American ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, later told Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham that all Canadian passport holders would be treated equally. However, incidents of alleged racial profiling continue to be reported. In November 2002, Canadian privacy commissioner George Radwanski recommended that birthplace information be removed from all Canadian passports, in part because of fears of profiling in the United States and other countries. The recommendation was not implemented, but Canadian passport regulations already allowed citizens to request that this field be left blank.

Arar was at a stopover in JFK on his way back to Canada.  

You think sending suspects to countries that are documented to use torture in an attempt to extract information is morally neutral?  OK.  I really don't know what to say to that.

I didn't preview the post and it appears something prematurely ended the cite block.

You need to read the info in the link I put in my reply to "liberal execration".  Things are more complicated than you acknowledge in either of the two comments that I have read by you in this thread...makes me wonder if the unstated name between "Cindy" and "Bravo" is "Sheehan", or maybe it's just a fluke I see.

It seems to me that this war is overrrun with "reporters" when compared with past conflicts.  I don't have any hard numbers, just speculation and a gut feeling.  Though we have many embedded reporters whom the troops can usually keep out from under their boots, we also have a multitude of "out of pocket" media people scurrying around Iraq and popping up in dangerous places (including insurgent and terrorist hideouts) unexpectedly.  Are there more forbidden targets cluttering the landscape this time around?

Now, about this:

"...no first world power's government has stayed in power after fighing an insurrection. Franch-Algeria, US-Vietnam, USSR-Afganistan are examples."

I'm not so sure there's a cause/effect relationship there, even if you meant "losing a fight to an insurrection", and I am not sure what you mean by "government...in power".  As near as I can tell, France still has the same bunch of socialists in power after leaving Algeria and we still have our representaive republic.  The government of the USSR is gone, but it was going anyway, regardless of the war in Afghanistan.  

It is war with the big boys.

CEO is harressed and he pays off the GOP leadership to give the solders back.

responsibility to provide security to non-embedded journalists. Period. So yes you missed a lot.

That is the basis for an irregular campaign, winning by letting the other side win.

Good agitprop but hardly historical.

Do a goole on fourth generation warfare and read up on some of the articles.

Don't need to google. I'm very familiar with it. If you were you'd know that it isn't widely accepted outside a relatively small group of devotees and for good reason.

If I remember correctly, no first world power's government has stayed in power after fighing an insurrection. Franch-Algeria, US-Vietnam, USSR-Afganistan are examples.

Nonsensical statement from two standpolnts. First, US-Vietnam was not an insurgency. Second, I have no idea what "stayed in power means"? You appear to be assuming away a whole series of successful counterinsurgencies fought by colonial powers or by first world nations providing advisors and assistance to allies fighting insurgencies. Since virtually all colonial powers have given up their colonies and advisors returned home having never been in power you eliminate the last half of the 20th century. In your own example there is an definitional inaccuracy: the USSR was never first world.

You also eliminate through this legerdemain a long history of Third World nations fighting successful counterinsurgencies.

How about US-Greece? How about US-Philippines? How about Britain-Malaysia? Britain-Mau Mau? Australia-Indonesia? Britain-Dhofar? Germany-RAF? Italy-Brigate Rossa?

in the same sense that New Yorkers blew up the WTC.

we could have. But why would we tolerate at foreign power's investigation of a combat incident in which that power was not participating. It's a pretty basic issue of sovereignity. If you believe in the concept then the request to interrogate the soldiers was outrageous on its face. If you don't believe in it then we don't need an Army.

that I probably should not.  In the context of this discussion, I am referring specifically to the use of the ICC against our military and government officials.

You are correct in your example of the Russian sailor, and I think the example you cited earlier is a correct application of law.

With respect to "war crimes" tribunals, and I'm using a very broad brush, I generally oppose them.  I have no problem with the post WWII trials in Germany and Japan, they were basicly military tribunals where the winners get to punish the losers.  I have a problem with similar actions being taken at the current time against NK or Iran in the absence of a military victory.

My general opposition to "international law" the lack of accountability on the part of people making the law to those upon whom the law will be applied and the lack of international enforcement ability for such a law.  I consider a US law to be a US law without regard to where it flows from.

the analogy is pretty lame

So, let's say a Russian sailor on leave off a visiting destroyer gets drunk, rams his car into yours and kills a pedestrian.  He gets back aboard before being arrested.  Is there no validity to our request for extradition under international law?

A Russian sailor committing a private tort, not associated with official duties, in a country and kills one of its citizens is markedly different from soldiers acting lawfully killing a third country national during a battle.

How about a Russian sailor driving the car of the Russian ambassador in a motorcade in Algeria clips an American pedestrian who walked into traffic to take pictures. Do you think we should ask for extradition here or that, if we do, the Russians should comply?

Even in your case, I think we should ask for the man to be extradited but shame on the Russians if the comply.

Catch 21?  What the Heller you thinking? ;)

for clarifying the difference between the private tort of my poor Russian and the case with the tankers.  I agree fully.  I brought up the Russian case in response to another post and it was not meant to be analagous with the Spanish case.

I guess my bottom line position is that complaining about international law is something like complaining about the weather.

My goal is an international law that is reigned in.  Or at least,  eigned in US participation in international law.

but accepting international law, IMHO and in extension of your weather analogy, is like going out in the rain and not using an umbrella.

Yep by DonSF

tht's my point.  Rain and international law are going to happen.  So, have an umbrella.  To torture my analogy even more... The U.S. can avoid going out into the rain some days (avoid particpating in international law in some areas).

Nope by DonSF

a liberal agreeing with me dosn't bother me a bit.  Even my wife -- a liberal from, shudder, Madison, agrees with me every now and again.

My dirty little secret is that I find myself getting less conservative as I get older -- the opposite of the Churhcillian trajectory.  If I live to be 110 I figure I'll be a socialist.

here's to  a timely death.

I think you will find that the Spanish Judiciary is not only "doing what's rational in their <the country's> own best interest" but here is also personal self interest involved...

There has been a great deal of terrorism in Spain over the last 30-40 years from the ETA and others. Since the government couldn't handle the problem they passed a program of financial compensation for victims of terrorism. The family of Cous, the cameraman killed in the incident, applied for this financial "re-compensation" and this judicial action is necessary to justify the claim of terrorism.

It's personal experience with liberals that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I have spent my Entire life in the military and know to take anything the PTBs say with a Very large grain of salt...

Can you remind me where Osamas tribal roots are.  Here is a clue.  Its not saudi arabia.

Most of the conservatives I run into confuse libralism with the green party socialism.  I'd point fingers and claim it was a Rovian  consipiracy to mislead the voters if only I didn't know liberals who confused conservatism with Facism.

The truth is that we are all wrong.

 
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