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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fighting terror leads to another war crimes investigation

The Washington Times reports that Sri Lanka is facing a 'war crimes' investigation for doing too good a job of fighting terror in its country. And the US is leading the charge.
The Rapp report is not comprehensive, more a list of allegations than a fully documented indictment. Most of the offenses listed are either directly attributable to the Tamil Tigers, such as forcibly recruiting children to fight for them, or the consequence of terrorist activities, such as Sri Lanka shelling hospitals being used by the Tigers as command posts.

The tone of moral equivalence in the Rapp and Goldstone reports is most objectionable. War is by its nature violent, complex and tragic. Rules exist to mitigate war's suffering but can never eliminate it. Terrorist groups like the Tamil Tigers, Hamas and al Qaeda do not consider themselves bound by the rules of war and violate them as a matter of doctrine by targeting noncombatants, using civilians as human shields, torturing and executing prisoners, and by using hospitals and religious sites as headquarters and sniper platforms.

Any war against such an enemy will impose a degree of tragedy on people who under other circumstances would be spared war's horrors. But this is part of the terrorist tool kit, and reports such as these play into their hands. By placing the terrorists' systematic offenses against human dignity on par with the unintentional or otherwise regrettable actions of the regime trying to defeat them, such reports level a moral playing field that by rights the terrorists have no right even to set foot on.

Mr. Leahy should control his zeal to pursue what he views as justice in Sri Lanka. Any objective comparison of Sri Lanka's war against the Tamil Tigers or Israel's offensive against Hamas to America's struggle against al Qaeda would cast the United States in the same light, and elevate our enemies to a status they do not deserve. It hands the enemies of freedom unearned victories even as they are being defeated.
Of course, the Obama administration believes that it can behave this way without it coming back to bite the United States because the Obama administration has no intention of fighting terror anywhere anyway.

What could go wrong?


At 1:40 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Interestingly enough, Sri Lanka was never reproached for using brutal force to wipe out the island's terrorist groups. Therein lies the lesson for Israel: if you're going to take on Hamas, finish the job or don't bother in the first place.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger ehwhy said...

Back in the summer the UNHRC was very concerned about possible war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka. There was additional concern about possible crimes committed outside of the context of defeating the Tamil Tigers. There was legitimate grounds to investigate these allegations.

The UNHRC was so concerned they had Sri Lanka write the resolution, that gave themselves a pat on the back for doing such a great job in handling the situation. They would let the UN know if they needed help.

NormanF, the only reason that Sri Lanka was not rebuked is that Sri Lanka is not spelled I-S-R-A-E_L.



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