Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More troops deploy to Iraq

The Mattoon Journal Gazette and Charleston Times-Courier reports that a December 17th dedication ceremony at the US Balad base honored a number of soldiers and civilians including four Illinois National Guard service members who died serving in Iraq back in 2004: Sgt Jessica Cawvey (died 10-6-04), Spc Charles Lamb (died 09-05-04), Sgt Shawna Morrison (died 09-05-04) and Spc Jeremy Ridlen (died 05-23-04). Meanwhile Erik Holmes (Air Force Times) reports on a drinking game in Iraq that turned deadly: Corey Hernandez, Michael Garcia were playing "Trust" on December 10th and Hernandez "faces charges of manslaughter and use of a weapon to commit a felony" while Garcia is dead. From the article:

There was not supposed to be a round in the chamber. That's the way the game is played -- buddies trust each other that the weapon is cleared and pulling the trigger will be harmless.
Garcia "took the gun down, he put it in front of [Hernandez], and he says, 'Trust me. Now point it at me and shoot.' And Corey did," Davis said
Hernandez and Garcia had played Trust with the gun before, Davis said, and they usually took turns as the shooter.
"They had done this a number of times," he said. "No one knows why there was a round in the chamber."
Garcia's roommate, also an airman, dialed 911 shortly before 1 a.m. Dec. 11 to report the shooting. When officers arrived a few minutes later, Hernandez, the roommate and another airman were waiting outside.

In the US, Pasquotank Elementary School has lost a teacher for the year. Kristin Pitts (Daily Advance) reports Sarah Lindsay has deployed to Iraq and, "[a]lthough she prepared her students for months, Lindsay’s departure from the classroom was difficult. Her fourth-graders took it particularly hard, but Lindsay says it probably was hardest on her." She also leaves two sons (Liam and Samuel) and a husband (Gerald) in Elizabeth City, NC while deployed in Iraq. Jake Lowary (Leaf-Chronicle) reports on the 22 members of the Tennessee National Guard who are headed to Camp Shelby before deploying to Iraq. Spc William Howard, who leaves his wife (Diana) and their son (Justin) for the twelve-month tour, states, "If I was going to do 12 years (in the military), I wanted to do one of them in an area where they needed me." Clint Confehr (Marshall County Tribune) reports on the Tennessee departure for the 22 members of the Tennessee Army National Guard as family members said their goodbyes:

Pat "Nanny" Estes of Petersburg said before a goodbye hug with Chris Evans, 34, of Lewisburg.
"It could be 12-18 months or longer" before the soldiers' return, Estes said. "It depends on what Obama does with this freakin' war."
Evans married Estes' daughter. Now, she says, "He's like a real son, not just an ex-son-in-law."
Despite the divorce, "Chris ate with us Christmas Eve," she said. "And he spent Christmas Day with us."

Philadelphia's WPVI (link has text and video) reports on the departure of 60 New Jersey Air National Guard members Monday at the McGuire Air Force Base as they headed to Iraq for a six month tour.

Francis A. Boyle is an international law professor (he was also a witness at Ehren Watada's Article 32; however, Judge Toilet -- John Head -- refused to allow Boyle to testify at the attempted court-martial). This is from Boyle's "The United States Promotes Israeli Genocide Against the Palestinians" (Global Research):

As long ago as October 19, 2000, the then United Nations Human Rights Commission (now Council) condemned Israel for inflicting "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" upon the Palestinian people, most of whom are Muslims. The reader has a general idea of what a war crime is, so I am not going to elaborate upon that term here. But there are different degrees of heinousness for war crimes. In particular are the more serious war crimes denominated "grave breaches" of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Since the outbreak of the first Intifada in 1987, the world has seen those heinous war crimes inflicted every day by Israel against the Palestinian people living in occupied Palestine: e.g., willful killing of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army and by Israel's illegal paramilitary settlers. These Israeli "grave breaches" of the Fourth Geneva Convention mandate universal prosecution for the perpetrators and their commanders, whether military or civilian, including and especially Israel's political leaders.
But I want to focus for a moment on Israel's "crimes against humanity" against the Palestinian people-as determined by the U.N. Human Rights Commission itself, set up pursuant to the requirements of the United Nations Charter. What are "crimes against humanity"? This concept goes all the way back to the Nuremberg Charter of 1945 for the trial of the major Nazi war criminals in Europe. In the Nuremberg Charter of 1945, drafted by the United States Government, there was created and inserted a new type of international crime specifically intended to deal with the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people:
Crimes against humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
The paradigmatic example of "crimes against humanity" is what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jewish people. This is where the concept of "crimes against humanity" came from. And this is what the U.N. Human Rights Commission determined that Israel is currently doing to the Palestinian people: crimes against humanity. Expressed in legal terms, this is just like what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jews. That is the significance of the formal determination by the U.N. Human Rights Commission that Israel has inflicted "crimes against humanity" upon the Palestinian people. The Commission chose this well-known and long-standing legal term of art quite carefully and deliberately based upon the evidence it had compiled.
Furthermore, the Nuremberg "crimes against humanity" are the historical and legal precursor to the international crime of genocide as defined by the 1948 Genocide Convention. The theory here was that what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jewish people was so horrific that it required a special international treaty that would codify and universalize the Nuremberg concept of "crimes against humanity." And that treaty ultimately became the 1948 Genocide Convention.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends