Friday, May 06, 2005

"Self defence" and American exceptionalism

According to One News, the US soldier who murdered a pair of wounded Iraqi prisoners in cold blood during the attack of Fallujah last year will not be charged as his actions were "pretty much consistent with the established rules of engagement". It was "self-defence" in other words.

To see the hypocrisy behind this, we just have to consider what would have happened had the positions been reversed. If an insurgant had been filmed shooting a wounded marine, the US would be holding it up for all the world to see as an example of how its enemies were vicious monsters who did not abide by the rules of warfare.

But hey, American exceptionalism again, right?


The USA may have no business occupying another country and shooting the people who resist that occupation, but soldiers don't have the luxury of refusing their assignments, and the fact is the shooting was consistent with their rules of engagement (and pretty much any other army's). Every unit will kill enemy combatants if the situation isn't stable enough to risk taking them prisoner, and in a guerilla war enemy combatants are pretty much anybody who isn't wearing your uniform. This is exactly one of the reasons why wars aren't a good idea, and people who start them without a damn good reason (G W Bush, for instance), is a candidate for the dock at the Hague.

Of course the US media would have been baying for blood if the situation had been reversed - propaganda is an important part of warfare, and it's the citizen's job to see through it. The fact that most are no good at their jobs is disappointing, but unsurprising.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/07/2005 06:13:00 PM

Yup. Agreed.

Posted by Muerk : 5/07/2005 06:46:00 PM

>enemies were vicious monsters who did not abide by the rules of warfare.

I wonder if there are any examples of this?
It is quite possible that there are - but the decent thing to do when accusing someone of exceptionalism is to demonstrate that they do indeed treat themselves as an exception from those rules as opposed to just having a different set of rules to the person making the accusation.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/07/2005 09:27:00 PM