Thursday, April 08, 2004

*What's Next 2*

Sorry...this one is not on AI3. Missed it and have only received news of it from Mother...though she says JPL is doing okay...but John Stevens is 'crash and burn'

Anyway, here's a little something on IHL, the 'Mongol Option', the 'Munich Option' and Terrorism.

Internation Humanitarian Law basically governs the treatment of Prisoners of War (POW), enemy combatants, humantarian groups as well as refugees (although I'm not quite sure what the status of Internally Displaced People is currently). So the Geneva Conventions and the International Criminal Court (ICC) are part of this multi-national framework. Admirable work is being done in this regards by noble minded people who attempt to coat the inhumanity of the situations the above mentioned people are in with a veneer of civilisation. So for most parts, torture and demeaning work is out. You're not allowed to shoot or abuse your prisoners and all you're suppose to ask from them is their Rank, Name and IC number. The ICC attempts to bring to justice the main perpertrators of Crimes Against Humanity (Genocide, Mass Rape, Ethnic cleansing etc.) and is an attempt to improve on and codify all the ad hoc tribunals that have been created eg. Rwanda, Kosovo, Yugoslavia etc. Kofi Annan's stand on the Agenda for Peace/Agenda 21 and his belief that Soveriegnty is NOT a Shield has allowed for Peace Making (as opposed to mere peace keeping) to allow for the auspices of the UN (*Cough* NATO, US, Pakistan - the largest contributor to peace keeping forces around the world) to go in and kick some evil butt (if only it were that simple...see Kosovo...)

Two major problems remain. Firstly, that there's a lack of enforcibility. Despite all that's been said and done. NATO only got the blessing of the UN after the bombing had gone under way. It was only after Somalia that things got better and the UN would actively intervene in preventing Genocide. Similarly, Humanitarian agencies are still subjected to killings and bombings by monsters (yes yes I know it's an emotive word) who refuse to abide by IHL (admittedly the US doesn't help by refusing to have anything to do with the ICC - It's a George Washington thing lah....). And that's the second problem, fighting against an enemy that doesn't play by the same rules.

So we come to the crux of the matter. Is the moral hgih ground simply being stupid, or worse unethical? Should the nations involve use all possible means and tools at their disposal to combate an enemy who sees things similarly? Is torture cruel and unusual punishment? Yes it probably some others it's matter of fact. And yes I think it is disgusting that the US hives such work off to countries that don't share the same qualms. I'm hardly concerned by the supposed fact that torture doesn't give the right information (it does by the way) but that there's absolutely no check and balance in these countries. Neither am I concerned about the terrorist who are placed in such a position. I hardly think they would hesitate to do the converse should the situation be reversed. I somethings have the opinion that they should be beaten to death slowly with a baseball bat (thankfully these pass mercifully quickly) But the fact is that this is a war and not taking all measures available to you (and furthermorem measures that the enemy will not hesistate to use) is unethical in the extreme to your own citizens and your way of life. Democracy has shown it can emerge victorious in a way and like WW2 cannot shrink from using everything in its arsenal to protect its people. Lest we forget, the alternative would be a world without independence of thought, of choice, nor of religion.

For those who still feel a little squemish about this, consider the following. An Advisory Opinion (in that it's not legally binding) by the UN finds that Nuclear Weapons are illegal on the basis that it flouts the law of reciprocal damage. If so, then before we ever come to that option, it might be advisable to exhaust other available or non-avaiable options....

The 'Mongol Option' is a very very very extreme from of the 'Munich Option', which advocates 'Targetted Killings' otherwise known as assasiantions. This is named after the Munich Olympic of 1972 where Palestinian Terrorists (the PLO had not renounced terrorism yet) killed 20 members of the Israeli team. In retaliation, the govt of Ben Garion (sp?) spent the next three months hunting down and killing everyone involved in the incident. The 'Mongol Option' advocated the total destruction of a region which is causing trouble...the ultimate in pacification, all associated with the rebels/terrorist involved would be put to the sword. Extremely brutal, it did however, work for the Roman Empire (and the Mongolian Horde). Where it was hard to differtiate between combatants and civilians (while this has seen a reversal ever since, recently, the lines dividing them have gotten ever more narrow especially with the rise of intra-state wars as well as terrorism)

The Munich Option is generally seen as a failure (check out the Middle East) and the Mongol Option simply too indiscriminate. But Osama bin Laden seems to be doing a good job at it isn't he....?

Consider that


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