I started this diary in reaction to the news I read this morning about Salim Hamdan's trial, but I decided to tackle something that no one yet, as far as I know, has stood up and said anything about.
From what I have gathered about this guy, he was Bin Laden's driver. That's his crime. He got a job as a chauffer driving Bin Laden around. For that, he was thrown in jail for six years, denied due process, labeled one of the most dangerous people on the planet, tortured, and now, put on trial for "war crimes," which have been specifically described as "conspiracy" and "providing support for terrorism."
So, if we use that standard, then anyone who drove or flew George Bush from point A to point B deserves the penalty for "conspiracy" to torture.
I believe that penalty would be death.
But let's put aside the question of who should be prosecuted along with Bush, Cheney and the neocons for war crimes.
Instead, let's recognize this fact:
Putting on show trials is a violation of the Geneva Convention.
Even if we allow that Salim Hamdan is an "enemy combatant" captured in war, this judicial proceding is a war crime. If Hamdan is not an enemy combatant, then this judicial proceding still bears more resemblance to other show trials than it does to the principles of due process the United States has held up as an example for the entire world for the last 50 years.
But wait! You might say: Plenty of people have spoken up about THIS.
Why do I claim to be taking on a subject that no one else has?
Because there's something else that has nagged at me for a long time, and Hamdan's current trial spurrede me to write a diary in protest, and I decided that as long as I'm writing about war crimes, I might as well get this off my chest:
THE SURGE is not a "brilliant new military strategy."
IT'S A WAR CRIME.
Perhaps you heard of it before. We sent our military into Bosnia to prevent the Serbs from carrying out this "brilliant new strategy." Not so long ago, we recognized this "brilliant new strategy" by a different name.
Ethnic cleansing was a common phenomenon in the Bosnian war. This typically entailed intimidation, forced expulsion and/or killing of the undesired ethnic group as well as the destruction or removal of the physical vestiges of the ethnic group, such as places of worship, cemeteries and cultural and historical buildings. According to numerous ICTY verdicts, Serb and Croat forces performed ethnic cleansing of their territories planned by their political leadership in order to create ethnically pure states (Republika Srpska and Herzeg-Bosnia).
CLEAR, HOLD, and BUILD.
Does that sound familiar? It should.
"Our political-military strategy has to be to clear, hold and build: to clear areas from insurgent control, to hold them securely, and to build durable, national Iraqi institutions,"
--Condileeza Rice, Oct 19th, 2005
Just a couple more comments, And I'm done.
First, I found that David Ignatius article looking for a description of "clear, hold, and build." I was expecting to find descriptions of David Petreus' "brilliant new counter-insurgency strategy." Dave's brilliant plan was to ethnically cleanse areas of Baghdad where Sunnis lived, and then hold them, and then build upon them, making the Sunnis into permanant refugees, and turning the areas over to the majority Shiites.
Now we know that, had the Serbs been allowed to go forward, their plan would have worked! Lots of people would have been killed and turned into refugees, but no doubt about it, it would have worked.
So you see? War crimes WORK! Especially if you can get the media to describe war crimes differently than they described them a few years ago!
And that's our standard now. Just call war crimes something different, and they aren't crimes anymore!
Second, note the DATE on that Rice quote. That was the strategy, she says, in 2005. So, in 2007, when the Bush Administration announced their "new strategy," what strategy was that? Well, the OLD strategy, but concentrated in one area with more troops.
Third, Note the David Ignatius piece linked above the Rice quote again. In that piece, we are being informed that "clear, hold and build" is part of the Vietnamization strategy which "military fantasyland" believes would have worked in Vietnam, if it wasn't for those damn libruls complaining about the fact that Vietnam had become a pointless slaughterhouse with no end in sight.
Yeah, it's a new stratagy! And it has a new name! And the IDIOTS in the media will have all those Democrats joining in the new fad: calling war crimes by a different name, and admitting that war crimes "work."
We have to admit that the surge is working, right?
If you commit war crimes by killing thousands of innocent people and displacing millions of innocent people and permanantly uprooting and removing their communities, and then hand the area where they lived over to other people who want it, then THAT WORKS.