Skip to main content

I've seen a number of blogs refer to this AP story about U.S. troops taking wives of insurgents hostage.

The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.

In one case, a secretive task force locked up the young mother of a nursing baby, a U.S. intelligence officer reported. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested to another that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family's door telling him "to come get his wife."

In one memo, a civilian Pentagon intelligence officer described what happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi suspect's house in Tarmiya, northwest of Baghdad, on May 9, 2004. The raid involved Task Force (TF) 6-26, a secretive military unit formed to handle high-profile targets.

"During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target's surrender," wrote the 14-year veteran officer.

So the fact that the U.S. military has done this seems to be an established fact.  I've seen a lot of blogosphere outrage over this.  What I haven't seen is anyone noting that this is actually a war crime.

The Geneva Conventions on Treatment of Prisoners of War, Article 3 states:

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

You cannot take a non-combatant hostage.  I think a woman nursing a child at home is definitely not a combatant, and it is illegal to hold her hostage.

Not that this is new.  Back in November 2003, the U.S. took the wife and daughter of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri hostage.  Izzat was a "top Saddam associate".  And the western media again did not ever mention that this is a war crime.

The Council on Foreign Relations said this in 2003:

What does international law say about prisoners of war?

The most important rule, enshrined in Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, is that prisoners of war (POWs) must be treated humanely.

What are the most serious violations?

Violence, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture.

Violations of personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.

Sentencing and executing prisoners without a judgment handed down by a regularly constituted court that offers all standard judicial guarantees.


You might think that ignoring the Geneva Conventions is something the U.S. can just do whenever it feels like, since "international law" has no forum to prosecute any offenders.

Except that American domestic law specifically states that the U.S. must abide by the Geneva Conventions.  U.S. Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 118 § 2441 states:

(a) Offense - Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

(b)  Circumstances.-- The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of such war crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act).

(c) Definition.-- As used in this section the term "war crime" means any conduct--

(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;
(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict;

C3 is the relevent section, since that's the part about taking non-combatants hostage.  The punishment for a violating this statute is either life in prison or execution in American law.

Holding the wife of a wanted fugitive/terrorist is a war crime in American law.

Here's a few more Geneva Conventions that the U.S. has broken.  The same Article 3 of the POW protocol:

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

Of course the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib certainly rose to the level of "outrage upon personal dignity".  Even if you believe in the "few bad apples" theory, the truth is that not a single person has ever been charged (much less convicted) of violating the Geneva Conventions or American war crimes violations.

You can read the details here by Lynndie England and Graner and the rest were charged with "dereliction of duty" and "maltreatment" of prisoners.  Not a word about either torture or war crimes or violations of the Geneva Conventions.

It also happened to other Iraqi POW's at other locations as well, although those were less well publicized.

But that 4th Protocol of the Geneva Convention is a rather lengthy document.  Article 13:

[p]risoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

You might remember that when Iraqis put American POW's on television, this was considered a war crime and a violation of the Geneva Conventions.  Yet the U.S. has displayed Iraqi POW's on television on multiple occasions.

Not to mention that Saddam Hussein's image was also broadcast all around the world when he was captured.

But wait! There's more.  The Geneva Conventions Article 22:

Prisoners of war may be interned only in premises located on land and affording every guarantee of hygiene and healthfulness. Except in particular cases which are justified by the interest of the prisoners themselves, they shall not be interned in penitentiaries.

In December 2005 inmates stored the armory of their prison, which was run by Americans and not the Iraqis.  The report states that Iraqi prisons are "overcrowded".  Other reports state that the prisons are patently unhygienic.

Geneva Conventions Article 25:

Prisoners of war shall be quartered under conditions as favourable as those for the forces of the Detaining Power who are billeted in the same area. The said conditions shall make allowance for the habits and customs of the prisoners and shall in no case be prejudicial to their health.

The foregoing provisions shall apply in particular to the dormitories of prisoners of war as regards both total surface and minimum cubic space, and the general installations, bedding and blankets.

From a report about what life is like inside Abu Ghraib:

The supplies to prisoners consist of underwear, towels, bed sheets, blanket, detergent powders, soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste. However, when we accessed the prison and queried how many persons received their dues, we found that less than 5% had received their dues. I personally, received none of the above-mentioned items.

Article 119:

Parties to the conflict shall communicate to each other the names of any prisoners of war who are detained until the end of the proceedings or until punishment has been completed.

Meanwhile the U.S. refuses to release statistics on detainees.  By the way, they aren't detainees, they are Prisoners of War.

Article 79:

In all places where there are prisoners of war, except in those where there are officers, the prisoners shall freely elect by secret ballot, every six months, and also in case of vacancies, prisoners' representatives entrusted with representing them before the military authorities

I can find no record of any Iraqi POW's holding such elections.

And so on and so forth.  You might note that all of the above describes POW's taken in Iraq and not Afghanistan.  That's because the Pentagon, Abu Gonzalez, John Yoo and other Torture Masters "determined" that people fighting in Afghanistan somehow do not qualify for the Geneva Conventions.  I vehemently disagree with that legal analysis, as I've written about many times before.

Surely the people "detained" in Iraq are POW's though, right?  Department of Defense legal briefing from April 7, 2003:

Before describing our policies, I should note that in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the United States and coalition partners detained 86,743 Iraqi prisoners of war. These Iraqi prisoners of war were given all the protections required by the Geneva conventions.

Our aims and acts are precisely the same in the current conflict. We are providing and will continue to provide captured Iraqi combatants with the protections of the Geneva conventions and other pertinent international laws.

What's bitterly ironic is that the same legal briefing also noted this:

With respect to Iraqi violations of the Geneva conventions and other laws of war, the Iraqi regime is not complying with the Geneva conventions. Before turning to a summary of the Iraqi violations, I should note that in Operation Desert Storm, in 1991, the Iraqis mistreated U.S. and coalition prisoners and forces in numerous respects, including physical abuse and torture, forced propaganda statements, food deprivation, denial of International Committee of the Red Cross access until the day of repatriation, and much more.

The only atrocity that the Iraqi "regime" committed to POW's that the United States has not is that the U.S. has allowed the Red Cross to visit all Iraqi POW's.  And I note that the Red Cross cited many examples of abuse against POW's by American troops.

But I guess we shouldn't be shocked by the U.S. committing war crimes in Iraq.  After all, the administration doesn't even oppose the mistreatment of Americans by Saddam Hussein:

The Bush administration is seeking to block a group of American troops who were tortured in Iraqi prisons during the Persian Gulf war in 1991 from collecting any of the hundreds of millions of dollars in frozen Iraqi assets they won last summer in a federal court ruling against the government of Saddam Hussein.

In a court challenge that the administration is winning so far but is not eager to publicize, administration lawyers have argued that Iraqi assets frozen in bank accounts in the United States are needed for Iraqi reconstruction and that the judgment won by the 17 former American prisoners should be overturned.

What makes you want to cry is that the judge who awarded the compensation to the American POW's said he did so because it would "likely deter the torture of American POW's by agencies of Iraq or other terrorist states in the future".

Everyone is talking about the NSA surveillance program, which is certainly illegal.  What's ongoing in Iraq however rises to the level of war crimes under American law.

The question is, who shall prosecute the offenders when the prosecutors are allied with the offenders?

Cross-posted from Flogging the Simian


Originally posted to Soj on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 06:09 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  What about reprisals against civilian (4.00)
    populations as in Fallujah? Unless I miss my guess that is also a war crime.

    Excellent diary; makes the case well.

    •  There's nothing in the Constitution that prohibits (4.00)
      war crimes. We don't hold our political system up to international scrutiny, remember? Please stop being so silly.

      Economic Left/Right: -6.63 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.85 That makes me more Gandhi than Stalin

      by TomDuncombe on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:16:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. (4.00)
        The neocons have stolen our elections, our Supreme Court, our legislature, and our constition. We need to throw them all out and start all over again from scratch.
        •  We only won the first American Revolution (3.60)
          with a lot of outside help. Maybe we can interest Hugo Chavez in helping the oppressed millions in the US with the project of starting over?

          Economic Left/Right: -6.63 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.85 That makes me more Gandhi than Stalin

          by TomDuncombe on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:21:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Possibly.... (3.42)
            Chavez is probably the only true foriegn ally of the American people. We should also consider help from Cuba and China. China will not openly support us due to fear of US reprisals but I'm sure they'll help secretly.
            •  I hardly thing we're being oppressed... (none)
              ...look over at China or North Korea and you'll realize that things in the US aren't really that bad, but of course there's room for improvement.
              •  I wouldn't look at China (none)
                as a role model for human rights...EVER.

                Thus far on our worst day the majority of Americans have more going for them in the way of human rights than do the majority of Chinese.

                Though it looks as if this is changing fast and I'm not an opimist...

                "There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice." - Montesquieu, 1742

                by hopesprings on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 10:44:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  We are oppressing others (none)
                disappearing people in secret places of detention and subjecting them to torture.

                "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."- Franz Kafka, "Before the Law"

                by normal family on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 12:45:51 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Tell that to Jose Padilla (none)
                ... or any other citizen "enemy combatants" detained incommunicado for possible torture.

                The whole "We are not being oppressed" line is great for fascist regimes - it worked great for the Germans under Hitler - after all "they" were not being oppressed, either, as long as they defined "We" as NOT jews, NOT gays, NOT mentally retarded, NOT black.

                Same thing here.  "We" are not being oppressed ... as long as you define "We" as being NOT the target of FBI terrorist investigations, NOT citizen "enemy combatants", and NOT one of the male foreign nationals of 22 countries who were required to "register" for possible questioning, etc. after 9/11.

                Our list of horribly oppressed classes of citizens may be small now (see 1933) but it's growing (see domestic wiretaps justifications).

                •  Of course, Jose Padilla (none)
                  is who we know about...
                  get my drift?
                  How can we even know, whom they may or may not have
                  detained incommunicado. When the patriot act makes it a crime to even talk about the patriot act. Hell, there could be thousands of American citizens like
                  Jose Padilla hidden away somewhere.
            •  why would we accept help from China? (none)
              The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend...I have no love whatsoever for China, and since Hugo Chavez went over there and said that he and China are on the same page politically and ideologically,  I am not so sure about him anymore either.
            •  Don't have to look that far... (none)
              North of the Border is pretty darn good.
          •  Amen to revolution (4.00)
            It may be the only way to expose these fucktards.
            The 2nd American Revolution will hopefully be in history books our descendants will study. Otherwise, hello serfdom.

            -6.13,-5.64 Our parents wouldn't allow us to have an easy button, but they did give us state-of-the-art bullshit detectors.

            by imabluemerkin on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:30:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I Don't Think WE Won it At All (4.00)
            I believe independence was declared by our top businessmen.

            That's probably why outside the U.S. it's often called the War of Independence rather than revolution.

            It eventually did lead to a revolution in systems of government, but that too was done by society's leadership.

            The American people have at times staged movements and local or regional insurrections, but I don't think we get credit for any revolutions here.

            We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

            by Gooserock on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 09:25:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Article VI (4.00)
        This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof;and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land;

        Sorry, Tom. (was that a snark?)

    •  ...excellent diary.. (4.00)
      ..and I'm not sure if it was mentioned or linked to in the diary, but there's more on Bush's war crimes at

      The International Commission of Inquiry On
      Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration concluding Session was held Jan. 20-22.

    •  It really depends (4.00)
      If the reprisals are directed at the civilians, then there might be a legal problem.  If the civilians are simply caught in the city when the military attacks combatants, then it is simply part of war. Civilians have always been hurt during wars.  We can debate the ethics of that all day and all night, but, legally, killing a civilian by accident when you are aiming at a soldier is not a war crime.  

      But taking spouses into custody is pretty clearly a directed actions against non-combatants, unless they can somehow prove that the spouses were combatants (unlikely in a country where women are not considered soliders, and even more unlikely in the case of a woman with a nursing baby). Let's not dilute the impact of this.  It is the moral equivalent of the terrorists taking innocent American's hostage in order to try to gain the release of prisoner's.  Except that the terrorists do this from weakness - they have no other weapons, no negotiating tools.  The US simply chooses to take women hostage, even though they supposedly operate from a position of strength.  

      •  Your point is not quite accurate (4.00)
        Even if the target is nominally military, laws of war require that application of the principle of proportionality.  For examples, it is impermissible go after a single combatant among a crowd of non-combatants, where substantial casualties to those non-combatants are likely to result.

        "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."- Franz Kafka, "Before the Law"

        by normal family on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 12:50:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Occupying forces (none)
        must provide protection to the civilians of the occupied power.
        Collective punishment is also a war crime and Fallujah was definitely an example of collective punishment.
    •  Saddam's trial (none)
      who wants to take bets that the trial will be miraculously sped up and a well-publicized conviction will be delivered just in time for the '06 elections? (Like October)

      (-9.13, -8.10) Political violence is a perfectly legitimate answer to the persecution handed down by dignitaries of the state. - Riven Turnbull

      by Florida Democrat on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 11:06:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes -- see Billmon (none)
      on the topic of collective punishment in Iraq.  The case seems pretty clear.

      The Republican party: An alliance of madness and greed.

      by jem6x on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:50:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jailing nursing mothers (4.00)
    with no evidence of their own involvement in crime is sure to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis who are fighting the occupation of their country. Smart move, us.

    I was disgusted when I read articles about this earlier this week--another piece of crap to add to the shitpile of reasons I'm mortified by the government that acts in the name of U.S. citizens.  Good diary, recommended.

    •  this nursing mom (4.00)
      would go apeshit crazy if anyone took me away from my baby. I would want members of my family to take revenge on anyone responsible.

      Also, given conditions in Iraq, it's highly unlikely that clean water, formula and decent bottles would even be available to a family in this situation. Taking a nursing mother into custody is imposing a virtual death sentence on an infant. depending on how long the woman was locked up, her milk supply might dry up even if her infant survived long enough to see her again.

      •  'Operation Mommy Grab' (4.00)
        just doesn't have the ring of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom.' And the thought of mothers being separated from their nursing infants certainly doesn't make it any more palatable.

        So, will this be the one that awakens the public to the fact that this administration is engaged in its own private moral limbo contest?

        Cause if not now, you've certainly gotta wonder the hell when. Disgusting.

        "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy"-- James Madison

        by Bad Cog on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 01:21:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hearts and minds? (4.00)
      That's sooo 2003.

      Now it's all about crushing the insurgents...umm I mean Saddamists, or it is Dead Enders, or maybe radical Islamists... scratch that it's Iranian foreign fighters.

      Ah screw it. Now it's all about crushing terrorists

      Hearts and minds are for Osama and the Democrats.

    •  Same for nursing moms in the US (4.00)
      This needs to get out into the public!


    •  Humans as bait. (4.00)
      For all the military complaints about insurgents using human as shields, they apparently have no qualms when they themselves use humans as bait.  
    •  Paraphrasing George W Bush (4.00)
      I am not willing to trust George W Bush with the life of a single Iraqi. Not one.
  •  Thank you for taking the story..... (4.00)
    ...and bringing it all together for us here at DKos.  I too have read about the hostage-taking.

    I read recently that traditional media is begining to use the blogosphere as its "canary in a coal mine" in terms of vetting emerging issues -- and that bloggers are one of their best "investigative tools".

    I have recommended this diary - and urge others to do so as well - in hope that the issue gets the attention it deserves from traditional media.  

    This is just one piece of evidence that there is a pattern and practice of violating human, constitutional, and civil rights by Bush and the BushCo cabal.

    They must be held accountable.

    Again, thanks.

    "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." --LJ Peter

    by Hells Bells on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 06:38:08 AM PST

    •  Pierce the curtain (4.00)
      I agree with Hells Bells that this is the type of story that needs wide circulation even if it is not fundamentally different from the torture stories in terms of being being about actions that break international conventions. There's a curtain of "American exceptionalism" that allows many people to say: "but if we do it, there must be a good reason," even when confronted with photos or eyewitness accounts of atrocities. Many people apparently have been able to discount previous reports about war crimes in this way. But this is clearly something that many of those same people would have a much harder time explaining away, especially if they claim to be "family values" type people. I think they must already be operating with a heavy load of cognitive dissonance, this story might be enough to break through that curtain. Great diary.
      •  Couldn't agree more (4.00)
        I live in severely red military area, and as soon as I read this, I knew what would be top on our agenda for our meeting of local Democratic strategists.  There is absolutely no way that the veterans of foreign wars that surround me are going to be happy to here this.  It's repulsive.  I predict this is going to be big.  

        Stop calling them the Right if they aren't!

        by jmaps on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:32:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You'll never, ever hear... (4.00)
        ..the family-values fundies protest any crimes committed against non-Christian families.  In fact, the only crimes that register with them are those can be fitted into their 'Christians persecuted for Jesus' frame.  
  •  The obvious question here (none)
    is, "How much did the White House and the Pentagon know, and when did they know it?"

    Jack Murtha is no coward--here's a real coward.

    by Christian Dem in NC on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 06:44:47 AM PST

  •  How (none)
    do we make them stop?
  •  Human rights (4.00)
    do not matter to them. We should always use the words WAR CRIMES in discussing this. My husband, who is mostly apolitical, nearly blew a gasket when I told him of the wives/nursing mothers being taken hostage. Him screaming "Goddammit, that's it" is still ringing in my ears, I have never heard this good man ever utter one curse word. He's going to rant about it at his church today.
    Thanks for bringing all of this together, recommended.

    -6.13,-5.64 Our parents wouldn't allow us to have an easy button, but they did give us state-of-the-art bullshit detectors.

    by imabluemerkin on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 06:55:48 AM PST

    •  Good for your husband - (4.00)
      - and his church members can no doubt use the fire and brimstone.

      By the way, imabluemerkin I get the red-state accent in your user name - but have you ever tried googling for the meaning of 'merkin'?

      You'll kindly forgive me - but blue?  You sorta made my morning...


      It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you.

      by Jaime Frontero on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:32:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  didn't need to google,,, (4.00)
        I learned the word when I was in the eighth friend's older college sister let us spend a weekend w/her. She taught us about music make-up, masturbation and merkins all in two days!!(I did go to my local college library to look it up, though. <heh>) Also, it's shrub's bastard pronunciation of our country's name.
        Red-state of Kentucky, red in more ways than one.

        -6.13,-5.64 Our parents wouldn't allow us to have an easy button, but they did give us state-of-the-art bullshit detectors.

        by imabluemerkin on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:48:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Too right!! (4.00)
          i so wish i had been schooled on the merkin back in 8th grade.. Woulda bought a new color for every day of the week.  

          Then, instead of sprinting out of gym class in my sweaty jeans, i could have strutted around the locker room with my proud fur pie beaming.

          Seriously, i used black marker on my leg hair; you think i wasn't desperate enough for a pube toupee?  Cripes, i woulda performed a comb-over down there, if i had the option.


          <mysig> Is puberty still called puberty when it happens at 30? </mysig>


          •  And that was (none)
            in '68! We thought we we soooo cool for knowing that word. We wouldn't ever tell anyone what it meant, to see if any would look it up.  A few did, (the smart ones)and they got to join the knowin' things club.
            Okay, I'm getting up there, :p

            -6.13,-5.64 Our parents wouldn't allow us to have an easy button, but they did give us state-of-the-art bullshit detectors.

            by imabluemerkin on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 10:50:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Was there (none)
          a tesseract involved with this party? lol
    •  your husband and me too (4.00)
      When I read the first sentences of Soj's diary, I sat up and started saying "What? What? What?"  Each "What?" louder than the one before.

      I can't explain to you how this effects a typical man.  Outrage is too soft of a word.

      Say what you will, but men will fight and kill each other when it comes to protecting their wives and babies.

      The administration does NOT want this to be news, believe me.

      In God we trust. All others must pay cash.

      by yet another liberal on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 08:18:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The media and Congress are complicit (4.00)
    Clearly, no innate sense of decency clouds the Executive's crystal clear vision of a neo-con paradise in which we are the bigges swinging dicks on the planet.

    Hey, bees sting, dogs bark, snakes bite.  You can't expect them to behave counter to their nature.

    But what of the media?  I'll throw a dollar in the kitty every day until someone utter the phrase "war crimes" on one of the talking head suck-fests.  I suspect the pot will be pretty rich before it is claimed.  And what of the Congress?  Giving unfettered authority to this dry-drunk maladministration is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.  And yet, at every opportunity, our legislative branch says, "Drink up, fellas, the highway beckons!"

    Rest assured that this outrage will follow the hundreds preceding it, under the radar and under the rug.  The only explanation that occurs to me is that the Tweeties and Punkinheads expect to be installed as Lords of the Realm in the reign of King Tosspot I.

    May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.--Samuel Adams

    by roxtar on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 06:56:04 AM PST

    •  The Industrial Military Complex (4.00)
      owns the media and the media tells us what the money gubbing capitalists want them to. The only truth they know is the truth of the all mightly Dollar.
      The CPT hostages are being held not by "insurgents" but by King Georges cronnies for the simple crime of assisting those who choose to resist the occupation of US corporations and fight for their freedom.
      When will the sheeple in the Red States wake up and see such simple truth?
      Never, they are brainless fools.
    •  Excellent diary and excellent comment (4.00)
      I will add a dollar to that pot and estimate it will indeed grow immensely rich.

      While the entire west has been more or less complicit in war crimes in Iraq - witness the emerging info on 'extraordinary rendition' - at least Europe has the Council of Europe to which individual nations must provide 'some' answers on human rights.

      The Bush regime has taken us to a full meaning of absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Many, many days emigration feels like a moral choice.

    •  Give them a week (4.00)
      and they'll figure out a shiny new name for this, and then it won't be a war crime anymore.  Just the way "warrantless domestic wiretapping" turned into "the Terrorist Surveillance Program", right before our very eyes.

      -8.25,-8.36 The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

      by sidnora on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:34:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Easy! It's SFAFT (4.00)
        Spousal Freedom Act From Terrorism . We're liberating the wives and family from their brutal terrorist husbands or other family members. Didn't you get the memo?

        Can anyone tell me why my American flag was made in China?

        by Skid on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 11:45:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  bit of snark (none)
      We're killing the terrorists' wives and children over there so we don't have to kill them over here.
  •  New Acronym? (4.00)
    Perhaps we need a new acronym.  We've already got IOKIYAR.  

    New, for Bush Regime use, WWDINC:  When We Do, It's Not a Crime.

    The sheer inability of some people to imagine the humanity of others astounds me.  Did the folks who did this or approved this imagine what it would be like if their wives were held hostage?  If Laura Bush were kidnapped and held hostage by Osama Bin Laden, would we think of it as a legitimate tactic or a heinous crime?  All hands for Heinous Crime?  Heinous Crime wins.

    So if we use the same tactic?  WWDINC.

  •  You say: (4.00)
    The only atrocity that the Iraqi "regime" committed to POW's that the United States has not is that the U.S. has allowed the Red Cross to visit all Iraqi POW's.

    I was under the impression (sans link) that the U.S. has been cited for hiding Iraqis from the ICRC.

    Nice research job. Each time I learn about another war crime committed by this crowd, I think my outrage can't get any higher. But then the next thing happens. And the incidents are now coming closer together and faster, faster.


    The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:03:33 AM PST

  •  Frogmarch King George... (4.00)
    ,,,,and his noecon cabal off to Guantanamo. Deprive them of fair trials like John Walker-Lindh and Jose Padilla.
    When will this madness end??????
  •  Outstanding, well researched post (4.00)
    Now lets all get our letters to the editor out using this information.  We need to spread it far and wide.

    Stop calling them the Right if they aren't!

    by jmaps on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:20:55 AM PST

  •  I wonder (4.00)
     And now when they take our female journalists, and ask us to release their women from being by the military, we know , at least partially, why. Seems they are acting in kind.
  •  Question about Article 3 (none)
    The first graf reads:

    In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

    Can somebody tell me what "not of an international character" means?

    •  doesn't that provision (none)
      regulate the behavior of HIgh Contracting Parties with regard to internal actions, e.g. the "minimum" provisions that would apply to, say, Russia in dealing with the Chechens?   I don't know much international law, but that's my guess from the face of the text.

      Loyalty comes from love of good government, not fear of a bad one. Hugo Black.

      by Pondite on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 08:01:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why I asked (none)
        It's not clear to me that this particular article applies to international conflicts.  However, U.S. Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 118 § 2441 (c) (3) seems to "make" it apply by defining any violation of Article 3 to be a war crime.  

        I just want to be sure I understand the law here.  

  •  Of course, (4.00)
    we have to fight BushCo with facts. Great job.

    I'm sure the argument given to their supporters is that the insurgents don't play by the rules then we don't have to either.

    What we have to do is counter that first with facts then the reasoning behind the rules in the first place. They people who came up with them know that wars are not isolated events and that next time if we don't adhere to the conventions the other guy may use that against us.

    They also knew that the people of the country/group you are fighting are more likely to help if you are seen as honorable and fair.

    I guess we're losing all the way around.

    -4.25, -6.87: Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:34:00 AM PST

    •  Which Rules (none)
      If insurgents don't play by the rules then we don't have to either

      This quote gave me a bit of insight into they way the Theocons see things.

      Which rules don't the insurgents play by? Let's see...the ones saying Jesus is God, you have to be a Southern Baptist or other Protestant, anti-abortion, white, anti-gay, etc.

      If you don't play by those rules, you're not human and you don't deserve to be treated with dignity or any other kind of respect.

      It's a dehumanization.

  •  My first thought was *War Crime* when I read this (4.00)
    I don't have the Geneva Conventions memorised, but I did remember that kidnapping non-combatant civilians for no earthly reason than to torment their loved ones is a war crime.

    The shame deepens daily.  I miss the country my country was five years ago and wonder if the world will ever see that friend again.

    "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

    by LondonYank on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 07:38:06 AM PST

    •  I don't mean to burst the fantasy bubble (none)
      but the country you knew 5 years ago, did the same thing but didn't advertise its actions.

      Vietnam, Central America, University of the Americas, Gulf War 1, and now.

      Maybe it wasn't wives that they took specifically, but the actions of those Administrations was equally shameful.

  •  I wonder what US Army did with the Children (4.00)
    of the imprisoned wives and mothers? Let them fend for themselves?

    US must also have holding facilities for Children of suspected insurgents, and if they will leverage wives of suspected insurgents,     what system of independent checks/monitoring is there in Iraq to stop US military and OGA/contract interrogators from using the children for leverage also?  

  •  More hostages (4.00)
    We can add at least one more confirmed hostage-taking to the mix:

    Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." Such tactics are justified, he said, because, "It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info." They would have been released in due course, he added later.

    The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.

    Source: the Washington Post, July 28, 2003.

    Add to this the story of Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, beaten to death in U.S. custody. It's not completely clear whether his children were held as hostages, but the reporting is certainly suggestive:

    The U.S. military initially told reporters that Mowhoush had been captured during a raid. In reality, he had walked into the Forward Operating Base "Tiger" in Qaim on Nov. 10, 2003, hoping to speak with U.S. commanders to secure the release of his sons, who had been arrested in raids 11 days earlier.

    Source:  the Washington Post, August 3, 2005.

    And then there's this report, originally carried in the Washington Times but quickly disavowed by the administration and since pulled from the Times' website:

    Two young sons of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, are being held by the CIA to force their father to talk, interrogators said yesterday.

    Yousef al-Khalid, 9, and his brother, Abed al-Khalid, 7, were taken into custody in Pakistan in September when intelligence officers raided an apartment in Karachi where their father had been hiding.

    ... "His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him."

    Source: the London Sunday Telegraph by way of Indymedia, March 9, 2003.

  •  Also (4.00)
    They are violating Article VI of the Constitution.

    Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    "The truth is a noble cause".

    by BOHICA on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 08:06:59 AM PST

  •  There's alway two sides (none)
    to a story, we can never take this administration at face value, the devil is always in the details! I really hope this story gets into mainline news, if not by the "news" people, then the politicians. This is our country, I want it back!

    Thank you for a GREAT DIARY. kossacks email this diary everywhere.

    Unitary Executive Power=Dictator Bushco has created a World War Economy. The voice of the people will be forever silenced.

    by mattes on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 08:33:46 AM PST

  •  OK, it is established that (4.00)
    taking noncombatant family members hostage is a war crime.

    Now what? Where do we turn? There is no authority to which we can turn except to the American electorate. Calling it a war crime is an exercise in futility: these bozos are above the law.

    Will we have a Democratic presidential candidate (and other candidates running against Republicans) who will be willing to throw words like "liar" and "war criminal" around? I mean the actual candidate, speaking in public.

    Will we see a presidential debate in which the Democrat asks the Republican, "The current Republican administration committed serious war crimes and violations of US law. What evidence can you present to the American people that those who perpetuated them will be punished, and that they will not continue, under your administration?"

    Or in the event that the Republican candidate was in the Bush administration, the relevant questions would be about their personal involvement in war crimes and/or violations of US law.

    Personally, I doubt it, which means that Bushco will almost certainly get away with this particular offense, and all of the other ones, completely.

    Greg Shenaut

    •  Excellent point (none)
      however a quibble, 'these bozos are above the law' in Fawn Hall tradition might be better put,'these bozos are irrepressable in their illicit illegalities'.  

      And what to do about it? I'm beginning to think mass protest is going to have to be organized, with effigies of Jenna and Barbara held 'hostage', their future progeny 'ripped away', or something along the lines of street theater.  It will be seen as wimpy at first, bombast by some, but lots of this might be a start of something bigger.

      “A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.” Montesquieu

      by sailmaker on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 01:07:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Brainstorm (none)
      Can we organize a call-in to our local police numbers (the desk numbers, not 911), reporting the crime and requesting the arrest of the perpetrators? Get many many people to do it, and find some way of publicizing it?

      Just an idea that popped into my head.

      Also, as the commander in chief, is bush tied by the UCMJ?

    •  Brainstorm (none)
      Can we organize a call-in to our local police numbers (the desk numbers, not 911), reporting the crime and requesting the arrest of the perpetrators? Get many many people to do it, and find some way of publicizing it?

      Just an idea that popped into my head.

      Also, as the commander in chief, is bush tied by the UCMJ?

  •  Excellent diary... (none)
    I too want to know how to get them to it simply to win back control of the House and Senate...and then win the White House in 2008?

    We've got our work cut out for us...but Abramoff is certainly going to make things easier....

  •  Sickening (4.00)
    Thanks, Soj. It's nice (i.e. revolting) to see such a big collection of these in one place. I hope Bush's god hotlists this diary and brings it up with him early in the "heaven application" process.

    Allow me to take a stab at the likely Bush-thug response to this, though:

    Surely the people "detained" in Iraq are POW's though, right?  Department of Defense legal briefing from April 7, 2003:

       ... [I]n Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the United States and coalition partners detained 86,743 Iraqi prisoners of war.... We are providing and will continue to provide captured Iraqi combatants with the protections of the Geneva conventions and other pertinent international laws.

    Hah! We were talking then about "Iraqi combatants." And we have treated all combatants humanely--more humanely than we have to, in fact. Yes, our detained combatant policy is in complete harmony with the letter and spirit of Geneva--to the point that some might say we're mollycoddling the evildoers. Bill Clinton had the same policy.... [blah blah blah]

    As for these isolated, alleged incidents you bring up, my shrill leftist friend... Alas, they have nothing to do with detained combatants. The bad folk you're describing all fall under different categories on the organizational chart: "terrorists," "insurgents," "dead-enders," "regime remnants," "Saddam-loyalists," "evildoers," "foreign fighters," "Islamofascists," and so on. Referring to them as "combatants"--well, that would be about as ignorant and wrongheaded as it is when you lefties call "enduring bases" "permanent bases." Crazy talk! Apples and oranges! Clearly the Left doesn't understand issues of security and how to protect America.

    Plus... extending the protections of Geneva to these people? It would be an outrage. A cruel insult to Geneva. It would dishonor the sacrifices made by those who've come before us.... [blah blah blah, Bush watched a documentary about Churchill, blah blah blah].

    OK. Let's change the subject now, because the real issues aren't about nitpicking over legal details. The real issues are: how the American left is overreacting; how liberals don't have any solutions, just complaints; and how Democrats are a bunch of terrorist-loving cowards. Oh--and Bill Clinton was bad. Gotta work that in again somewhere. Go take our online poll: "Are Democrats overreacting because they want the terrorists to win, because they don't understand security issues, or because they hate President Bush?" We'll discuss the results with our panel at the top of the hour.

  •  Great diary. Thank you (none)
    Connecting the dots is very important these days.

    BTW: John Dean said that this administration is worse than Nixon's because they go after people's wives.
    I turns out that that's true politically and in Iraq.

    Who would have tought that watching "The Land Before Time (IX)- Journey to Big Water" would become a subversive act?

    by mungley on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 09:03:02 AM PST

  •  Brilliant diary! (none)
    I am appalled at this administration.  How does arresting a nursing mother keep this country safe?  What is going on over there???  

    Where is your tip jar, Soj?

  •  Let the trials begin... (none)
    ...but start at the TOP.

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 09:07:58 AM PST

  •  Choices (none)
    The way I see it, everybody on this board has 3 choices: 1.) sit in front of our computers all day/night long wasting our time and gnashing our teeth on these issues; 2.) get off our butts and go out into the real world and recruit the "undecided" voters to vote Democratic; or 3.) move to Venezuela and go to work for Hugo. Lets see how many get off their butts.
  •  I was struck today by the irony, as NPR reported (4.00)
    on Saddam Hussein's trial, that GWB is as responsible  for these crimes as Saddam is for the crimes he is being tried for.

    It's no wonder we don't want an international court of justice, but then as Tom Lehrer said ....

  •  Anticipating the Spin (none)
    In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

    Is Iraq considered one of the High Contracting Parties?

    If not technically because of its new regime, this could be the loophole that Busheviks drive a truck through.

    I hope that the American law covering this is more definitive.

    •  Yes they are. Iraq is (none)
      party to the Geneva Conventions.  (Not to mention to major human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).

      "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."- Franz Kafka, "Before the Law"

      by normal family on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 12:53:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The US millitary (none)
    is clearly proceeding on the assumption that women have no rights and simply "belong" to men whose activities they may not share or know about.  And, like so many other actions, it seems calculated to ensure the opposite of the desired result.  Nothing makes people fight harder than harming their families.

    "As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats." - horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

    by lonespark on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 09:26:08 AM PST

  •  Defeating Fascism (4.00)
    I often think that if the general population of Germany had been fully aware early enough of what the Third Reich was doing in Poland, in Russia, in France as well as within it's own borders, it would never have spun up to the levels it had achieved.

    Today we see once again how the power of the free flow of information impedes the rise of fascism. Those corrupt and amoral individuals who give these orders and who obey them are once again exposed as they attempt to avoid laws and abuse the power that we, the people, grant them. Once again the weapons of the peaceful are wielded to expose the encroachment of evil.

    Despair not that these despicable acts have occurred. Rejoice that we can bring them to light quickly so that they may not continue; so that the perpetrators can face Judge and Jury; so that others will learn that to violating the law comes with repercussions and consequences.

  •  THANK YOU, THANK YOU (4.00)
    for posting this with subject line intriguing enough to catch people's atterntion.  This story was posted at least three times to DK on Friday, once here by Emerald Platinum Cobalt, but fell like a stone after only a few comments and fewer recommends.  And yes, there are a few of us commenting that this is indeed a war crime.

    Sad, that when it comes to a story on how the US is using women as pawns in this war, a diary takes so long to make it to the recommended list.  Maybe it was the time of day the others were posted, or lack of an eye-catching subject line, but I'm afraid it is also partly because the previous subject lines made it seem like a "women's issue."  Very sad.

    Yes, this is a war crime!  

    Stay strong!

    "No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a Party that ignores her sex." -- Susan B. Anthony

    by Yellow Dog Dem Woman on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 09:34:46 AM PST

  •  No Morally Equivalency (none)
    What really pisses me off is this (implicit) idea that there is no possible moral comparison between what the US does "Na guerra contra a terra" (WoT -- war against earth) and what it's enemies do. "Trust us. We're against evil. We're christians"
  •  At what point (none)
    will our military and political leaders have to worry seriously about travelling abroad?  Could they be arrested now?  Anyone know the international law on this?
  •  i think they've been holding onto this story (none)
    --wasn't it released friday, to try and hide it?  this is going to make all americans sick, like abu g did.
    •  My guess is that (4.00)
      the BIG news-dump-day will be Super Bowl Sunday.  Like millions of Americans, I will be watching the game too, but I also will be checking up on the blogs, cuz I expect to learn all sorts of sordid details about how the bushCO neoKKKons are screwing the entire planet.

      I just encourage everyone to keep their eyes open and ears keen...!

      BTW, when I read about the nursing mom being torn from her child, I broke down and wept on my keyboard.

      This "administration" has broken my heart too many times:  9/11, election 04, Katrina, London's bombs, Spain's bombs, Cindy Sheehan, Abu Graib, Jose Padilla, Edgar Hollingsworth, now THIS!  I have no idea how ANYbody can be so heartless and calloused as these mo-fo's.  They make me weep all the time...

  •  To get the whole picture of the role of the U.S. (4.00)
    in the middle east, the full flavor of the history and context, and a true perspective on the immensity of the crime being committed in our name...

    I highly recommend that everyone read Robert Fisk's recently published work "The Great War for Civilization" which is the compilation of 30 years of covering the Middle East by the world's greatest living foriegn correspondent.

    It's a very difficult book for an American to read. But afterwords you will be changed by it.

    I really can't recommend this book too highly.

    "Remember, we are here but by the grace of plate tectonics... Just some perspective, apply it to your idealogies as you will." -- read in a comment by roboton

    by DoDi on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 10:01:49 AM PST

  •  Taking the President into custody (4.00)
    When Bush arrives for his State of the Union speech before Congress, immediately after the speech (which is mandated by the Constitution), he should be taken into custody for war crimes by the U.S. Congress, deputized for this event.

    Of course, this is entirely a fantasy, and probably not constitutional (impeachment is what is first warranted), but it represents the extraordinary circumstances that may arise as the United States government devolves into a terrorist state.

    The taking of spouses as hostages should make any U.S. politician or governmental employee's  spouse shudder as to what can of worms U.S. policy has opened.

    But also consider this front page article concerning U.S. assassination policy and "targeted killing" by Josh Meyer of the Los Angeles Times:

    CIA Expands Use of Drones in Terror War....

    Despite protests from other countries, the United States is expanding a top-secret effort to kill suspected terrorists with drone-fired missiles as it pursues an increasingly decentralized Al Qaeda, U.S. officials say....

    Several U.S. officials confirmed at least 19 occasions since Sept. 11 on which Predators successfully fired Hellfire missiles on terrorist suspects overseas, including 10 in Iraq in one month last year. The Predator strikes have killed at least four senior Al Qaeda leaders, but also many civilians, and it is not known how many times they missed their targets....

    Even today, documents and interviews suggest that the U.S. policy on targeted killings is still evolving.

    Some critics, including a U.N. human rights watchdog group and Amnesty International, have urged the Bush administration to be more open about how it decides whom to kill and under what circumstances.

    A U.N. report in the wake of the 2002 strike in Yemen called it "an alarming precedent [and] a clear case of extrajudicial killing" in violation of international laws and treaties. The Bush administration, which did not return calls seeking comment for this story, has said it does not recognize the mandate of the U.N. special body in connection with its military actions against Al Qaeda, according to Amnesty International. [Emphases are mine--Valtin]

    " this abject posture have ye sworn / To adore the Conquerour?..../ Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n."

    by Valtin on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 10:08:24 AM PST

    •  Drones (none)
      Sent to Pakistan, I consider this an Act of War.  Bush has no shame!  Power hungry dictator.

      The shrub needs to be pulled he is terrifying

      by libbie on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 10:20:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Armed drones (none)
      The logical extension of the way drones are being developed, and what the Army really wants, is an airborne "Terminator."  No exaggeration.  And we're not that far away from having it.

      Just because we can, that doesn't mean we should.

      by Simplify on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 01:00:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, well I thought their goal was to have (none)
        a laser-shooting satellite up in space so they can use google maps (or some equivalent), hit enter, and someone is zapped right where they stand!

        Gosh...I've painted these bastards as REAL evil-doers, eh?  

        But seriously, that's what I thought all along during their big PR push for "space"-related stuff.

        •  That one's called the "Death Star," (none)
          but the more likely one is the proposal to develop non-nuclear ballistic missiles.  You would put a slug of tungsten or some other metal on the top of a ballistic missile, and then you could launch it from a silo in the US and take out someone anywhere in the world in half an hour.  There would be no warning, and then the slug would impact at a speed of 3 miles per second.  

          The nickname for that system:  "Rods from God."

          Relevant Guardian article:

          The air force's intentions were spelt out last September by General Lance Lord, head of its space command, who said satellites had given US military power a decisive advantage with their spying, communications and targeting capacities. That advantage had to be maintained by "space superiority".

          "It can be our destiny if we work it hard and continue to aggressively follow that," he said.

          Straight from Darth Vader's voice synthesizer.

          Just because we can, that doesn't mean we should.

          by Simplify on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 01:33:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is... your destiny (none)
            Even the power of this ballistic missile assassination system is insignificant compared to the power of Jeebus, General.

            Somebody really needs to tell the White House that "1984" is a cautionary tale, not a political guidebook.

            by jabbausaf on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 02:11:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Hope in the Darkest Moment (4.00)
    In the AP story , there is this -

    In one memo, a civilian Pentagon intelligence officer described what happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi suspect's house in Tarmiya, northwest of Baghdad, on May 9, 2004. The raid involved Task Force (TF) 6-26, a secretive military unit formed to handle high-profile targets.

    "During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target's surrender," wrote the 14-year veteran officer.

    He said he objected, but when they raided the house the team leader, a senior sergeant, seized her anyway.

    "The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing," the intelligence officer wrote. She was held for two days and was released after he complained, he said.

    Listen - There are good people in our military, in this case a 14-year military officer, who are resisting these illegal actions.  There are good people in our military and in our government who are complaining, who are speaking out, who are refusing to do the wrong thing.

    These good people are on the line now.  They are the ones who are blowing the whistle to us and to the media.  They are the ones refusing to follow illegal orders.

    The reason this story made it to the public, possibly, was because of ONE PERSON complaining and reporting that we were taking women and children.


    •  the disappointing thing (none)
      is that he sounds like he's in the minority.
    •  Perhaps you might wish to read again (none)
      I totally agree that there are good people in the miitary, people who are trying to do the right thing.  But if you look carefully, I think you will find that the "14-year veteran officer" cited actually refers to the "civilian Pentagon intelligence officer", by definition not a military officer.  Cheers:)

      It is difficult to get the right answers if you don't ask the right questions!

      by wgard on Mon Jan 30, 2006 at 02:18:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Vietnam turned on the My Lai Massacre (4.00)
    The scale of the My Lai incident overwhelms anything we have seen in Iraq, but the pattern is clear. The number of Iraqi civilian casualties is in the tens of thousands, and phosphorous bombs were used on non-combatants.
    All wars, even the good ones, (oxymoron) eventually turn into a campaign of genocide. World War II included the bombing of Berlin, and Dresden, made into a novel, 'Slaughterhouse Five'. Eventually we nuked the Japanese people, after we had firebombed Tokyo. Bush has taken  liberties calling this a war, but the message is clear, he will eventually direct us to commit genocide against the Muslims.  
    That raises some questions. Does Iran deserve nuclear weapons, if it would prevent this madness?
    Should the UN condemn the US prescence in Iraq?
    At what tipping point is the US involved in a policy of genocide? Would arming pro-Shiite militias to carry out genocide against the Sunni minority implicate the President? Are we moral equivlants of the Chinese in Khartoum, sponsoring genocide in Darfur, that we chose to ignore?  

    " the future everything is chrome. Sponge Bob Square Pants

    by agent double o soul on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 10:27:23 AM PST

    •  I suppose the operative word is (none)

      My Lai was a village, Fallujah was a city. But Fallujah wasn't seen.

      On the other hand, My Lai was only one village of many.

      In any case, I'm sure you are right that we have not yet seen the worst atrocities.

      Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

      by Canadian Reader on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 12:34:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Definition of insurgent. (none)
    The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands to surrender

    And keep in mind that for the American military and their policy makers the definition of "suspected insurgent" is anyone in Iraq over the age of fourteen with a penis between their legs.

    The American War Against the People of Iraq continues in its usual manner.

    And then 2/27/33 happened, and that changed everything.

    by Julian on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 10:40:00 AM PST

  •  Don't forget about the Child Testicle Crushing (none)

    Kos: "I was for Hackett before I was against him."

    by Irrelevant Prolixity on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 10:47:04 AM PST

  •  Domestic spying, first. (none)
    How long do you think it will be before the erosion of rights in other countries will be brought back to the US.

    Associates of "criminals" will be held in order to bring them in to custody.  

    Bush is using a well known Roman tactic used by Julius Caesar in Gaul.  The capture of hostages was common in conflicts.

    The comparison goes only so far though. He is more of a Nero, or Caligula.  

    What is GWB's horse's name, and what agency does it work in?

  •  War crime indeed (4.00)
    And a career soldier would know that.

    One of my biggest concerns about having the National Guard and Mercs fight this war is that neither have either training or respect for the laws of combat or international law.

    I have read here, some posters, who say yeah, well they do it here in the US in the drug wars all the time.

    It is a different situation entirely.

    How the US conducts internatl law enforcement operations in the US is a matter of sovereignty- it is the right of the US to do so, as long as the SCOTUS and Congress think its legal and constitutional.

    In international conflicts, however, those oh-so-quaint Geneva Conventions do apply and under international law it is a war war crime.

    What I find particularly disturbing about this is the lack of coverage it has gotten in the media (why am I suprised?) in light of the vast number of kidnappings, executions and the like of Americans and other European civilians (non-combtants) in Iraq. Perhaps, just perhaps, some of these abductions are in retaliation for what our troops have been doing to the wives, families of suspected insurgents.

    It is really fucking twisted.

    Iraq really is becoming another Viet Nam because instead of winning hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, we are hardening them against us and making bitter, bitter enemies.

    If we act like thugs, we will be feared and hated as thugs, and they will fight us and our occupation to the bitter, bitter end.

    •  Even the career soldiers (none)
      might not really care. I know I could go into work today and a majority of the airmen in my shop wouldn't see anything wrong with this. And you could expect to hear the phrase "They attacked us first" tossed about.

      Somebody really needs to tell the White House that "1984" is a cautionary tale, not a political guidebook.

      by jabbausaf on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 02:07:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who is responsible for prosecution? (none)
  •  I hope the pattern is starting to (none)
    come into view for the more thick-headed in this country.

    1. Waging aggressive war
    2. Torture
    3. Rendition
    4. War funded by Chinese purchase of US bonds
    5. War fought by the private sector
    6. Unwarranted claim to use UAVs and other weapons to attack individuals or groups in sovereign foreign countries.
    7. Kidnapping non-comabatants
    8. Expanded domestic surveillance powers
    9. Expanded DOD powers. (my diary from last night)
    10. US soldiers undermanned and under-protected
    11. Stop loss
    12. Administration officials are chickenhawks

    ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

    by Tirge Caps on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 11:46:49 AM PST

    •  many, many more (none)
      We can add:

      Enforced disappearances.

      Indefinite arbitrary detention.
      extrajudicial execution.

      Detaining people incommuicado and in secret.

      multiple war crimes, including failure to distinguish between miltary and civilian objectives.

      denial of the right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial court

      "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."- Franz Kafka, "Before the Law"

      by normal family on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 12:57:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Round up the usual spin. (none)
    I have no doubt that both the WH and the Pentagon (plus the crowd of right wing media marionettes) will spin this story by saying that troops were not kidnapping wives but merely detaining them as "people of interest".

    It's the beat generation, it's be-at, it's the beat to keep, it's the beat of the heart, it's being beat and down in the world and like all time low-down

    by Splicer on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 12:06:34 PM PST

  •  The language used (none)
    What struck me abou this story when I read it is that it calls the practice "leverage" rather than what it is, hostage-taking. That's just one example of how the discussion of the "war on terror" is corrupted.
  •  I'm afraid you're right (none)
    The idea of "fair and balanced" has gripped most of the media. To them, this means they can only print so many "negative" reports about Bush because they're scared the average American will think they have a liberal bias. And that's ridiculous.

    Bushco, putting the mock in democracy.

    by Southern Bell on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 12:35:32 PM PST

  •  Remember near the beginning of the war (none)
    There were reports of children being tortured in front of their parents to get information. Many of the parents were people just swept up in dragnets: taxi drivers, shopkeepers and the like. What about the reports of Iraqui women who were swept up that way and tortured and raped? Some(many?) committed suicide after being released. Those reports temporarily generated outrage in blogistan, but were mere blips in the media.

    What this story proves is that nothing has changed in our conduct of the war. My Lai was horrible, as were what the GI's called "Ronson Raids" during VietNam, but we didn't have pictures of hospitals bombed to rubble displayed proudly on the front page of the NYT then. That also is a war crime. We didn't have US snipers targeting ambulances on purpose(that we knew of) as they do in Iraq (and Israeli snipers do in the Palestinian territories, but that's another discussion about another neocon type government)

    Another Kos poster talked about outrage fatigue. Things are so horrible on so many fronts that you can't keep track of them all, or talk about each one enough to keep them in the spotlight. Each outrage alone is horrible enough to deserve our undivided attention. There are so many top level outrages such as torture, the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans, Medicare part D, disenfranchisement of Democrats both at the polls and in Congress, Abramoff & the K Street project, Diebold, Es&S, etc., spying on Americans and others without warrants and for political reasons, bankrupting our country, destruction of the environment and selling off public lands, selling regulatory agencies, global climate change and the censoring of science, the attempt to kill public education,...the list goes on and on. To me the implications of all this are that the current administration intends to stay in power. They may change out the president (it's Jebbie's turn), but it won't matter.

    Yes we are a fascist police state and on any number of fronts we are doomed. I used to be optimistic we could pull things out in time. Now I don't think so. As the thugs know, voting is the key. Yesterday I went to a forum sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. I got to ask several of them, including Maxine Waters and Sheila Jackson-Lee, about the Rush Holt voting bill. Shorter answer: it's going nowhere. Rethugs won't let it even be discussed in committee.

    Yes hostage-taking is a war crime. So is torture, so is bombing hospitals and clinics, so is poisoning whole populations with DU. So are secret prisons. The current administration doesn't care. They don't plan to be held accountable.

    -9.25 -9.18 Barbara Lee and Howard Dean speak for me

    by laurak on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 12:49:21 PM PST

  •  No member of the Bush Gang (none)
    will be able to travel freely outside the US for fear of facing their crimes in court, nor within the US for fear of facing... us.

    It's a good thing Bush loves his ranch, and I hope he has it well-stocked with Xanax and gin, because he will be under house arrest there for the rest of his sorry life. - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 12:57:44 PM PST

  •  Didn't this happen in The Patriot? (none)
    Except this time the Americans are playing the role of the British.

    Somebody really needs to tell the White House that "1984" is a cautionary tale, not a political guidebook.

    by jabbausaf on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 02:02:20 PM PST

  •  Newsflash! US in Violation of Geneva Conventions! (none)
    We could be raping the wives of Iraqi fugitives in secret prisons somewhere in Romania. Whatever it takes to beat these animals. If you're against it, you are weak on terror.

    How low can we go?

    Bush is the first President to admit to an impeachable offense. - John Dean

    by easong on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 02:38:10 PM PST

  •  The air stinks (none)
    with troll breath in some cases on this thread.  In particular those subborning treasonous commentary.  Hello, FBI guy, how ya doin'?

    CIA Man

  •  2 cents (none)
    The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.

    How thick skulled are these people.  We still have not seen the rest of the Abu Ghraib pictures that are rumored to have shown children being abused.  

    The methods used against our citizens are not justifiable either.  Bush says we are at war; so we are.  And when FISA was set up we were in a quagmire in Vietnam as well as entrencheed in the cold war.  Nonetheless the rights of the American people prevailed.  

    This is one hell of a bowl of soup they cooked up for us.

    BushCo Policy... If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention. -3.25 -2.26

    by Habanero on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 04:58:36 PM PST

  •  To clarify..... (none)
    Caught up in "the fallout of the quagmire" and in particular the decline of helpful relations with southeast Asia.

    BushCo Policy... If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention. -3.25 -2.26

    by Habanero on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 05:10:34 PM PST

  •  UN Charter (none)
    I wasn't able to read ever comment so forgive me if I am repeating, but the invasion of Iraq is itself a violation of international law, specifically the U.N. Charter to which the United States is a signator (and principal author).

    Excellent and important diary.  

  •  Iraq (none)
    Has been under constant US attack for 15 years. This is just the latest act of a WAR WITHOUT END. The MI complex wants to assure itself a constant revenue stream. Prepare your children to be sacrificed on the altar of patriotic idiocy. Tell them stories of our past military victories and how FREE we are.  


  •  One Nation, under fear (none)
    One Nation, under fear, with regulations and mandates for all:

    "What no one seemed to notice. . . was the ever widening gap. . .between the government and the people. . . And it became always wider. . . the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway . . . Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about . . .and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated. . . by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. . .

    Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,'that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'. . . must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. . . .
    Each act. . . is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, alone. . . you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' . . .But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes
    . That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched,all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. . . .You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father. . .could never have imagined."
    -From They Thought They Were Free : The Germans, 1933-45

  •  Good Diary (none)
    This kind of thing has been going on for too long.
  •  Wouldn't it be nice if someone in the WH press.. (none)
    pool would ask Bush the following

    "Considering the FACT that the Geneva conventions and international conventions on war crimes forbid hostage taking, and the US is bound by law to obey these rules, do you have any comments on the policy of taking the wives of high value targets in Iraq into custody as a method of getting their husbands to surrender."

    God I wish they would grill Bush as much as they did Clinton's over the BJ.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Sun Jan 29, 2006 at 09:23:32 PM PST

beedee, Leslie in CA, Deep Dark, Bob Johnson, sandalwood, claude, Jett, Alumbrados, paradox, MichaelPH, Joe Bob, Ptolemy, Stirling Newberry, SteveLCo, JR, coral, kid oakland, i dunno, Julian, pb, oofer, Irfo, abw, musing graze, SilverWings, DC Pol Sci, Chiefpad, daxie, dratman, jotter, TealVeal, murphy, Kelk, Rayne, sheba, deben, snookybeh, laurak, DawnG, roonie, acquittal, acerimusdux, cracklins, gogol, joejoejoe, jneufnyc, yerioy, Detlef, daninoah, TaraIst, GreenSooner, Kimberly Stone, Praetorian42, Raybin, tiggers thotful spot, js7a, kaleidescope, MarkC, Mike Stark, Gooserock, Pandora, Tuffy, sen bob, Unstable Isotope, gandalf, tiponeill, ScientistMom in NY, Dems2004, janinsanfran, RunawayRose, Knut Wicksell, Maryscott OConnor, bribri, Lahdee, Robespierrette, Avila, B Rubble, Shockwave, Del C, donna in evanston, shumard, genethefiend, misterajc, jakbeau, Ralfast, sam3am, LEP, Mnemosyne, tryptamine, Pompatus, lostian1, Karl the Idiot, figdish, LeftHandedMan, Sandy on Signal, Gary in NY, Voodoo, pseudomass, frisco, lilorphant, Matilda, wild salmon, object16, Ahianne, Sandia Blanca, bumblebums, zeroooo, givmeliberty, jancw, Cache, Jerome a Paris, Cecrops Tangaroa, strengthANDwisdom, roxtar, daaawi, shermanesq, RubDMC, fabooj, rasbobbo, Christian Dem in NC, jackspace, km4, mlafleur, Xeno of Elia, ReneInOregon, bronte17, afox, sponson, Athenian, macdust, ProfessorX, bonddad, SamSinister, understandinglife, jem6x, sfgb, PlaneCrazy, Baldwiny, maxschell, b2witte, ask, weirdscenes, wanderindiana, shock, chuckvw, Hprof, Bionic, PBnJ, SLJ, ksh01, pixelthief, Patricia Taylor, Kerry Conservative, Transmission, high5, bfa, roses, khloemi, chechecule, Colman, amberglow, sgilman, larryrant, k2winters, swillesque, kolly, Nate Roberts, ctsteve, Jesterfox, Gonzophile, splashy, nowness, Cedwyn, Alna Dem, Yil, nuttymango, wader, Anderson Republican, PresentMoment, CydeWeys, njgoldfinch, tyukc, normal family, Barbara Morrill, Moody Loner, annan, rcvanoz, BurnetO, commons3nse, sockpuppet, TexDem, SlowToAnger, missliberties, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, Nancy in LA, Sunqueen212, kdrivel, TXsharon, crackpot, rflowers, exiledfromTN, praedor, original practice, katchen, wdrath, BMarshall, Persimmon, Rigjob, i love coffee, Penny Century, dwahzon, Jesus was a Liberal, snakelass, applegal, fromthecorner, tombstone, bobg, Timbuk3, Eddie Haskell, lcrp, Green Tea, Dood Abides, 4jkb4ia, waztec, inclusiveheart, dcookie, walkshills, One bite at a time, frostieb, AnonymousArmy, KateCrashes, parkslopper50, seanleckey, mattes, mungley, smartgo, meagert, kfred, LifeForRent408, schuylkill, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Deward Hastings, fran1, Steven D, Dr Seuss, HK, rickeagle, kd texan, pat208, Shapeshifter, Dave Brown, BDA in VA, Ed J, Gowrie Gal, Tirge Caps, sxwarren, a517dogg, MichDeb, jack rance, Skennet Boch, Bluesee, farleftcoast, TxTiger, DianeNYS, bellevie, Gabriele Droz, BluejayRN, Elise, blueyedace2, lenore68, baccaruda, Tamifah, ek hornbeck, Alice Marshall, mjd in florida, Heronymous Cowherd, d7000, panicbean, Simplify, ZappoDave, Bad Cog, station wagon, Valtin, ChemBob, Yellow Dog Dem Woman, Nordic, stagemom, amRadioHed, Richard Carlucci, yogishan, Back in the Cave, GUGA, Crowdog, majcmb1, concerned, Jaime Frontero, A Ernest Mann, eaglecries, Overseas, Skid, most peculiar mama, Brother Dave, SheriffBart, wgard, libbie, bmaples, RElland, RickE, Habanero, Elastigirl, palachia, Thursday Next, Shotput8, Zergle, mph2005, neroden, wiscmass, desordre remplir, Shaking the Tree, karin, sandmancan, Gjermund E Jansen, Spathiphyllum, JanL, melvin, soyinkafan, sfdoug, drag0n, TimeTogether, occams hatchet, JosephAZ, trashablanca, snazzzybird, PoppyRocks, BalanceSeeker, Jaded Thea, iheartbooks, klevenstein, Keone Michaels, PatsBard, Kingsmeg, BlueInARedState, BeadLady, Ellicatt, Yellow Canary, Patrizio, liberalconservative, The Wizard, ryanfbaker, Leeserannie, Boojum68, mango, quinque, reid fan, TalkieToaster, MJ via Chicago, jguzman17, global citizen, Paranoid Humanoid, Tanya, jasonbl, Joshua Jenks, jmaps, OneCrankyDom, imabluemerkin, The Wife of Bath, Hells Bells, trykindness, bunk, myrealname

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site