Saturday, October 01, 2011

The fallen, the continued war

Yesterday DoD issued the following:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn.
Spc. Adrian G. Mills, 23, of Newnan, Ga., died Sept. 29 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by insurgents using indirect fire. He was assigned to the 272nd Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, Fort Polk, La.
For more information the media may contact the Fort Polk public affairs office at 337-531-1344 or 337-531-1392.

So glad Barack declared an end to 'combat operations' on August 31, 2010, aren't you? It made about as much sense as Bully Boy Bush announcing "major combat operations have ended" May 1, 2003.

It's the same sort of lie Barack's planning to resort to in order to keep US soldiers on the ground in Iraq beyond 2011, he'll call them "trainers."

Of DoD's announcement, Susy Raybon (Military Community Examiner) observes, "There was no idication of the number of other Soldiers who were injured in this incident." The Town Talk notes the passing and runs a photo of Adrian Mills. Combat has ended, the war has ended. Mark Brunswick (Minnesota Star Tribune) reports:

For Mickelle Pohlman, the closest she can get to her husband these days is the fish-eye lens of a Skype image from a computer half a world away and the life-size cutout picture of him leaning against a wall of their dining room.
In his dusty room at an Army base in Kuwait, the best that Staff Sgt. Alex Pohlman can do to make sure his year-old daughter, Jayden, remembers him is to make faces and funny noises at her on the Internet.
After months of preparation and anticipation, the reality has sunk in, and Mickelle has become more open about her fears for her husband, now in a desert war zone.

Meanwhile more hiding about what takes place in Iraq. Nathan Hodge (Wall St. Journal) reports, "The internal records of a congressionally mandated panel that reported staggering estimates of wasteful U.S. wartime spending will remain sealed to the public until 2031, officials confirmed, as the panel closed its doors on Friday."

We covered the Commission's public hearings. It was always a waste of time which describe the Commission itself and those members of Congress that pushed for it.

The only value the Commission could have had was in making public its records now while the wars continued. Then journalists and citizen activists could have examined them and publicized what the Commission learned but didn't emphasize.

Instead a number of Congress members wasted tax payer money on a useless commission which had no powers and did nothing but hold hearings and offer a generic finding at the end which the whole world could have provided before a single dime was spent.

The purpose was never to find fraud and abuse. The purpose was to distract outraged Americans from what was being done with their money.

The DPC, chaired by Byron Dorgan, did much better work than that lousy commission ever did or ever could have done.

Those who pushed the creation of this do-nothing commission who are up for re-election should be forced to justify the waste of tax dollars. And they can start with the great whitewash herself, Claire McCaskill. But you couldn't take all that money from Husch Blackwell LLP, could you, and still try to hold anyone accountable, now could you? But hey, another of her top contributors has been Bryan Cave LLP and you wouldn't think the legal defenders of Monsanto would play well for her at home with Missouri farmers. Of course, it would play less well if the press ever actually bothered to report the truth about Claire.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, Jane Fonda, Watching America, World Can't Wait and -- updated last night and today:

We'll close with this from Notre Dame Law professor Mary Ellen O'Connell's "Killing Awlaki was illegal, immoral and dangerous" (CNN):

Every American adult knows what an armed conflict is. The U.S. is engaged in armed conflict in Afghanistan and Libya. It engaged in combat in Iraq from 2003-2011. Thus, every American knows that the U.S. is not engaged in an armed conflict in Yemen - not a real armed conflict. Nevertheless, President Obama placed an American citizen in Yemen on a kill list. Anwar al-Awlaki and several other people were killed on September 20 by a “barrage” of missiles launched from drones operated by the CIA.

The president and his officials know that it is unlawful to kill persons in this way outside of armed conflict hostilities. So they have been asserting the U.S. is in a worldwide “armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces.” This assertion defies common sense. So officials also assert we have a right to kill persons who pose an “imminent” threat under the law of self-defense. In fact, the law of self-defense, found in the U.N. Charter, permits force in self-defense on the territory of a state if the state is responsible for a significant armed attack. Yemen is not responsible for any significant armed attacks.

So are we seeing a repeat of the famous “torture memo” strategy? Arguments are being asserted that are just plausible enough to keep Congress, the courts and U.S. allies at bay so targeted killing can continue. Where we once debated the legality, morality and effectiveness of “harsh interrogation methods”, we now discuss the legality of intentionally killing of suspected terrorists far from any actual armed conflict hostilities. In other words, the end justifies the means, especially with a plausible-sounding legal cover story.

Extrajudicial killing of terrorists suspects, however, is no more efficacious, lawful or moral than torture.

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