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U.S. military breaks international law, kills civilians in unauthorized attack in Syria

October 27, 2008

From CNN:

The U.S. military conducted a successful strike into Syria on Sunday to kill a suspected al Qaeda facilitator, a U.S. official said Monday.

The American official, who would not be identified but who has access to U.S. intelligence, identified the intended target of the attack as “Abu Ghadiya,” an Iraqi whose family the official said has been active in smuggling money, weapons and foreign fighters across the Syrian border into Iraq.

Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Muallem disputed the explanation.

“This is lies from the United States,” al-Muallem said.

Earlier, al-Muallem had said at a news conference in London, England, that the United States violated international law and Syrian sovereignty.

“Killing civilians in international law means terrorist aggression,” he said. “We consider this criminal and terrorist aggression.”

In this act of terrorism, the united states military targeted a farm, not a military target. The deliberate killing of civilians is just as morally grave as the act of abortion.

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79 Comments
  1. October 27, 2008 5:03 pm

    Now what do you suppose the motivation would be for attacking a farm?

  2. October 27, 2008 5:29 pm

    Magdalena, I understand the US Intelligence had/has reason to believe terrorists were operating there.
    But, what gives the US the right to, without permission, exercise a military attack on foreign soil?

    Some Christians would call abortion doctors terrorists of a sort. If the US military can perform attacks like this one, why is not morally licit for other countries (say Islamic countries where abortion is illegal) to perform military strikes against US abortion clinics?

  3. October 27, 2008 5:35 pm

    Some Christians would call abortion doctors terrorists of a sort.

    Sarah Palin doesn’t think abortion clinic bombers are terrorists. So I guess they’re not. ;)

  4. Brett permalink
    October 27, 2008 9:05 pm

    U.S. military has been performing unauthorized attacks in Pakistan and now Syria in recent weeks. These attacks violate just war criteria, especially the announcement and non-combatant (likely) clauses.

    It should be a no-brainer for all Christians to condemn such acts of violence. Only nationalism and pro-death ideologies get in the way. I myself believe that Christian discipleship mandates a strict prohibition against Christian participation in war. But even allowing for Christian participation in just wars, these recent actions are cynical acts of aggression by an imperialistic power hell bent on thumbing its nose at the sovereignty of all nations save our own. These attacks conform neither in spirit or practice with Catholic social teaching. To support them is to be complicit in evil and put your soul at risk. Period.

  5. October 27, 2008 9:28 pm

    Brett — Of course the “pro-life” Cathollic barfosphere, so vocal in the “defense of human life,” remains utterly silent in the face of the Bush administration’s ongoing acts of terrorism. Of course, these weren’t cute white babies who were slaughtered, were they? That explains it.

  6. October 27, 2008 9:31 pm

    Yes, most Catholic abortion opponents in this country are racists. And classists. And sexists. And all the other bad -ists. Pretty much if it’s a bad thing, they do it.

  7. Brett permalink
    October 27, 2008 9:46 pm

    I don’t need to name call. I have not called people racists or any sort of -ist. I don’t write about barfospheres. I want Christians to unite and condemn all acts of violence which do not operate in accord with the social teachings of the Church. To be fair, name-calling and demonizing fall into acts of violence in my book…at least acts of injustice…or lack of charity. It never, never helps. It distracts and gives people permission to be distracted from the only issue that matters: honoring the life God gives. Period.

  8. October 27, 2008 9:52 pm

    Yes, most Catholic abortion opponents in this country are racists. And classists. And sexists. And all the other bad -ists. Pretty much if it’s a bad thing, they do it.

    The lines they draw to mark which lives are worth a damn and which ones aren’t are drawn by various criteria. For some, it’s race, for some its nationalism. It could be a variety of things. At the very least, they are inconsistent at best and hypocrites at worst.

    I’ve noticed your blog, Chris, has not condemned this action of the united states against innocent people. And of course it won’t. You guys are too busy belly aching over how badly Joe the Plumber is being “persecuted.”

  9. Ressourcement permalink
    October 27, 2008 9:56 pm

    Michael I–

    I like you… I really do. And I am sensitive to the … sensitivities that you are… sensitive to.

    That said:

    1) a direct, procured abortion is a direct and intentional act which takes the life of unborn, innocent children.

    2) while I know nothing of the circumstances surrounding the strike, my assumption is that any deaths of innocent civilians was not intentional, but was unintended.

    Is it a conjecture to say, “In this act of terrorism, the united states military targeted a farm, not a military target. The deliberate killing of civilians is just as morally grave as the act of abortion”?

    jn

  10. October 27, 2008 10:21 pm

    What do you mean by “you guys”, Michael? Racist.

  11. October 27, 2008 10:32 pm

    The lines they draw to mark which lives are worth a damn and which ones aren’t are drawn by various criteria.

    I’m fairly confident that most orthodox Catholics — pretty much all the ones I know, at least — don’t employ this kind of line drawing, Michael.

    I’ve noticed your blog, Chris, has not condemned this action of the united states against innocent people. And of course it won’t.

    Well, AC is no more the monolith than is VN, Michael. But either way, you’re correct: no contributor there has done so. Perhaps you’re right and I should be more outraged than I am about it. But please don’t imply that I — or any one else at AC — is a racist or deliberately devalues any innocent life. You might disagree with me, Michael, but please *try* to give the benefit of the doubt.

  12. October 27, 2008 10:47 pm

    while I know nothing of the circumstances surrounding the strike, my assumption is that any deaths of innocent civilians was not intentional, but was unintended.

    I think you should ask yourself what your “assumption” is based on. The idea that the united states would never ever kill innocent people as a matter of policy? Seriously?

    I’m fairly confident that most orthodox Catholics — pretty much all the ones I know, at least — don’t employ this kind of line drawing, Michael.

    Sure. You’re probably right. There are probably very few racist and nationalistic Catholics in the united states.

    Perhaps you’re right and I should be more outraged than I am about it. But please don’t imply that I — or any one else at AC — is a racist or deliberately devalues any innocent life.

    See the recent thread in which many of your readers and not a few of your contributors replied to my remembrance of the Latin American Catholic martyrs with comments like “you’re just mad that your side lost.” This does not resemble Catholicism at all. It’s Cold War americanism, and nothing more. Your brand new blog is already utterly stunning in its celebration of the deaths of “commies” and “terrorists,” even if they’re Catholic priests!

  13. radicalcatholicmom permalink
    October 27, 2008 10:50 pm

    I haven’t read the above comments because I am low on time, but I wanted to say that IF another country were to attack us on OUR soil do you think we would be justifying their actions? I don’t think so. My husband and I were horrified to hear this today.

  14. October 27, 2008 11:01 pm

    The idea that the united states would never ever kill innocent people as a matter of policy? Seriously?

    Maybe some of us are naive or just not that jaded, Michael. That’s not a defense, just an observation.

    I haven’t seen any one *celebrating* the deaths of Catholic priests, Michael… perhaps a bit less hyperbole?

    Sure. You’re probably right. There are probably very few racist and nationalistic Catholics in the united states.

    You missed the “orthodox” qualifier, Michael.

    I’m not that a bad a guy Michael. Seriously.

  15. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 12:51 am

    Michael I–

    You stated, I think you should ask yourself what your “assumption” is based on. The idea that the united states would never ever kill innocent people as a matter of policy? Seriously?

    You are putting words into my mouth, then critiquing them. There is a name for that…

    I don’t believe that there is any reason to assume at this time that the US government was doing anything other than what it said it was doing.

    As such, the “assumption” would be your own: to state that the US government was not doing what it was intending to do, but, rather, go in and intentionally procure by a deliberate act the life of innocent civilian Syrians.

    Since my “assumption” is based on the stated information as we have at that time, is your “assumption” warranted? If not, then the entire post is poor for two counts:

    1) it is based on the “assumption” that the US government was intentionally killing innocent human beings–an “assumption” that not only can not be based on the material that we presently have, but an “assumption” that would inevitably lead you to assume that any strike at any time on foreign soil that isn’t a war zone would be “an attack on innocent human life”–terrorism.

    2) you then take the story and relate it to the seriousness of abortion, which you and I both know, has no confusion surrounding it: it is the intentional killing of innocent human beings who are not only innocent, but voiceless as well.

    I was being very honest when I said that I generally share in your sympathies and agree to a large extent with your posts. However, if you insist on making such poor arguments and outlandish analogies that are truly based on “assumptions”, my feelings toward your respectability is subject to change. This is all very sensationalistic on your part, is it not?

    In other words: give it up, dude. :)~

    In fact, I might submit that the sensationalistic and fallacious content of this post is so sub par, that you may consider removing it just so you don’t have your name attached to it.

    Cheers for now.

    jn

  16. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 12:54 am

    And I can testify from my days on my own blog (which used to be http://www.nouvelletheologie.blogspot.com) that Chris Burgwald is as he says: “not that bad of a guy”.

    Cheers.

    jn

  17. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 1:06 am

    On another note: has anyone told you that you sort of look like Ryan Adams ( http://www.catholicanarchy.org/miafrate/?page_id=6 )? If not, I would be surprised. That said, I don’t believe that most “Catholics” would even know who Ryan Adams is. — jn

  18. S.B. permalink
    October 28, 2008 9:20 am

    It’s hard to believe that someone who voted for Obama really cares that much about this Syrian military strike. One of Obama’s chief planks throughout this campaign has been that he would engage in precisely this same sort of military strike in Pakistan, and Obama has even ridiculed McCain for NOT promising the same.

  19. October 28, 2008 9:28 am

    SB, I thought something similar, and concluded that it’s another Obama position that Michael et al. don’t care for.

  20. October 28, 2008 10:27 am

    jn – It is not outlandish to compare this action with abortion. Intentional unjustified killing is condemned by the Church across the board, no matter who the victims are.

    And um, whatever happened to just war teaching? Did you people forget all about it?

  21. S.B. permalink
    October 28, 2008 10:30 am

    But, of course, Michael doesn’t know that any killing of civilians even occurred here, let alone that it was “intentional” or “unjustified” under the double effect theory.

  22. October 28, 2008 10:33 am

    S.B. – Not only are you in denial about u.s. history, you also deny news reports right in front of your eyes. Every report on this confirms that civilians were killed.

  23. October 28, 2008 10:35 am

    Maybe some of us are naive or just not that jaded, Michael.

    Hiroshima. Nagasaki. Need I go on, or does that suffice to shake you out of your naivete?

  24. S.B. permalink
    October 28, 2008 10:38 am

    If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about journalism, it’s that you can’t be sure of all the facts until the smoke clears.

    Nice way to avoid dealing with the fact that your guy Obama has made political hay out of bragging that he would be more eager than McCain to engage in attacks just like this one.

  25. S.B. permalink
    October 28, 2008 10:39 am

    And where did I say anything about US history? Never mind, you’ll just seize that supposed point as another reason to ignore the fact that the more you condemn this Syrian attack, the more you condemn your own vote for Obama.

  26. October 28, 2008 10:57 am

    If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about journalism, it’s that you can’t be sure of all the facts until the smoke clears.

    Uh huh. Unless it’s journalism that supports your own politics, like all the news articles you cite here day in and day out.

    …the more you condemn this Syrian attack, the more you condemn your own vote for Obama.

    Absurd. Unlike you, my views on right and wrong are not constrained by political parties or how I have voted.

  27. S.B. permalink
    October 28, 2008 11:41 am

    So you admit that Obama is not just wrong on this point, but worse than McCain. Good.

    Unlike you, I don’t cite news articles about a disputed international incident and blindly assume that journalists instantaneously had all the facts. Ask yourself whether the news stories on Sept. 11 had all the facts about what happened.

  28. October 28, 2008 1:22 pm

    Michael,

    Maybe you and Ryan Adams also have the same temperament. :) Whenever he was in PGH a few years ago, he so got ticked off about people’s in the back of the audience talking too loudly at the concert that he left the stage…I applauded him, btw.

  29. October 28, 2008 1:36 pm

    Mark – I’ve never done that at one of my shows, although I have felt like it occasionally. :)

  30. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 1:38 pm

    It is not outlandish to compare this action with abortion. Intentional unjustified killing is condemned by the Church across the board, no matter who the victims are.

    Michael,

    Of course.

    Did you read my post?

    jn

  31. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 1:48 pm

    Michael,

    I am not justifying the strike. I don’t know anything about it. And of course I agree with the Church’s just war teaching.

    But I still don’t see the ease of your connection to abortion.

    I am not critiquing your sensitivity towards what may or may not be a justified strike. I am critiquing your a) assumption that it was intentional and, b) your comparison between that and abortion.

    jn

  32. October 28, 2008 1:48 pm

    jn – Yes, I read it. I was responding to the particular objection you raised marked by “2)”.

  33. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 1:49 pm

    Maybe you and Ryan Adams also have the same temperament.

    Quite possible. – jn

  34. October 28, 2008 1:49 pm

    jn – Assuming for a moment that it was intentional, why are you uncomfortable with the comparison to abortion?

  35. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 1:50 pm

    2) you then take the story and relate it to the seriousness of abortion, which you and I both know, has no confusion surrounding it: it is the intentional killing of innocent human beings who are not only innocent, but voiceless as well.

    What in that do you disagree with? –jn

  36. October 28, 2008 1:56 pm

    I disagree with you when you imply that abortion is so completely unique that we may not relate other forms of intentional killing to it.

  37. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 1:57 pm

    If intentional, I assume that there would be little for me to disagree with. –jn

  38. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:00 pm

    Do you not feel that abortion is unique (for the sake of argument) in at least the following manners:

    1) the amount of people killed.
    2) the ability for high numbers to be killed due to the legality of it and the discreet nature of the visit to the clinic.
    3) the inability for the unborn child to protect themselves in anyway, or to voice a complaint.
    4) the foundational nature of a person’s time in his/her mother’s womb: the beginning of life itself.

    just a couple thoughts… — jn

  39. October 28, 2008 2:03 pm

    And does the u.s. military have a history of intentional killing of civilians or not?

    (I am assuming that, unlike many of the readers and contributors of that “other” blog, you have done some study of the history of u.s. military interventions and do not let “love of country” blind you to the reality of its history.)

    I think if you answer honestly, looking at history, it’s difficult to maintain that I went overboard in calling this action a terrorist action. Sadly, this raid in Syria is simply business as usual.

  40. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:03 pm

    5) while the death of a human being is the death of a human being, and murder is murder, I would also add that it would not be “proportionate” given, at least, the sheer number of abortions which take place. I suppose that the word “proportionate” would also be a direct critique of the “analogy” to begin with.

    just thoughts… — jn

  41. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:06 pm

    Sure: people within the US military have had a history of intentionally killing non-combatants in war (I think of Vietnam, for instance).

    There is a difference between that and the “policy”, I think.

    No: my love for Country is probably lacking and something that I actually need to work on. That is, if it is true that “patriotism” is a virtue.

    Yes, I think the assumption of terrorism might be a bit overboard. :)

    jn

  42. October 28, 2008 2:13 pm

    jn – Of course I think abortion is in many ways unique. I don’t think that the four qualities you listed are what make it unique, however.

    1) The number of abortions compared to other types of killing makes no difference when looking at the act itself. Even if 20 abortion happened in the united states each year, those 20 deaths would remain unique forms of killing innocent human beings. This is why I don’t get into the numbers game on this issue. Pro-life people who make this argument don’t seem to realize what they are saying. Another reason is that I don’t think body counts are easily achievable in other areas. If we want to talk real numbers of deliberate human death, why omit statistics on death due to hunger which is caused not by a shortage of food but by deliberate policies of global capitalism? Those numbers far outweigh the number of abortion deaths.

    2) Yes, the legality of abortion is an obvious injustice but I don’t think this makes abortion unique. Lots of things are legal which bring death to countless human beings.

    3) The “defenseless” argument is true, yet if we could somehow give fetuses the ability to protect themselves, would it take away the sinfulness of killing fetuses? Does the u.s. military not kill defenseless people? Are people in the cities of Afghanistan really supposed to “defend themselves” against bombs that are dropped on them?

    4) Your fourth point doesn’t make much sense to me in light of the Catholic view of the sacredness of all life from birth to natural death.

  43. October 28, 2008 2:16 pm

    Sure: people within the US military have had a history of intentionally killing non-combatants in war (I think of Vietnam, for instance).

    There is a difference between that and the “policy”, I think.

    If you are TRULY thinking of Vietnam then surely you recognize the absurdity of saying that the killing of non-combatants was not a matter of policy. Either that or you must be thinking of some other Vietnam war that I don’t know about.

    Yes, I think the assumption of terrorism might be a bit overboard. :)

    If the killing was intentional, then there is no other word for it but “terrorism.” If you disagree with this, then I don’t see how you could possibly have any sort of meaningful definition of terrorism.

  44. October 28, 2008 2:18 pm

    (I am assuming that, unlike many of the readers and contributors of that “other” blog, you have done some study of the history of u.s. military interventions and do not let “love of country” blind you to the reality of its history.)

    Why, why, why? What *possible* good do comments like this serve, Michael? Do you seriously find this to be an effective form of discourse? I’d hope that your purpose is more than just to use online fora to rant and rave, and that your goal is to persuade others and convince them with regard to your position.

    Am I wrong?

  45. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:19 pm

    Michael,

    With Vietnam, I can’t say that I know enough about it to know whether or not it was “policy” on the part of American government. I can say that the entire war, as far as I know, was not justified, and that American military who choose to kill non-combatants was wrong. But, you probably know more about the history of Vietnam than I do.

    It was the “assumption” of terrorism that I was concerned with, not the definition of it.

    peace, –jn

  46. S.B. permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:24 pm

    If we want to talk real numbers of deliberate human death, why omit statistics on death due to hunger which is caused not by a shortage of food but by deliberate policies of global capitalism?

    Evidence? Real statistical evidence, not just communist tracts.

  47. October 28, 2008 2:24 pm

    Chris – Rather than moan “Why, O why,” you could perhaps prove me wrong regarding your blog and offer a better example to your readers (and fellow contributors) who seem to remain stuck in a “my country right or wrong” mindset. You’re an educated fellow and you have the ability to show them what it means to think critically, if this is indeed something you think is of value (and I assume you do).

  48. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:31 pm

    Michael,

    Still: the posture of “assumption” on your part. ?

    jn

  49. October 28, 2008 2:32 pm

    Michael, that’s not my point… while I don’t think it’s true, let’s pretend for a moment that the contributors and readers of AC are all ignoramuses wrt to the history of American atrocity… the approach you’re employing is not conducive to convincing others of your case. That’s my only point, Michael.

    I applauded the entrance of VN to blogdom (and now AC) because I wanted to see a robust yet civil discussion between serious Catholics of differing political views of the issues of our day. I’m harping on tone because it strikes me as the largest obstacle to that discussion.

    FWIW.

  50. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:37 pm

    What is AC?

  51. October 28, 2008 2:38 pm

    One point, jn, to consider is that we are both making assumptions. You assumed that the massive killing of civilians in the Vietnam war was not a matter of policy, against all evidence that is quite well known by now that it was. You justified your assumption by claiming ignorance about the history of the war. Yet you take issue with my assumption that this killing in Syria WAS a matter of policy, when my assumption is based on some knowledge of the history of similar u.s. activity.

    S.B. – The information is readily available. For example:
    http://www.bread.org/learn/hunger-basics/hunger-facts-international.html

    You would, of course, be likely to dismiss anything I point to as “communist.”

  52. Ressourcement permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:42 pm

    Michael,

    ok. :)

    That is all.

    jn

  53. October 28, 2008 2:42 pm

    Ressourcement,

    AC would be American Catholic: http://the-american-catholic.com at which Chris and I are (along with a number of others) contributors.

  54. October 28, 2008 2:48 pm

    BTW, the link you provide, Michael, does not substantiate your claim that hunger is the result of the direct policy of “global capitalism” — indeed, one might ask if it can be accurate to speak of “global capitalism” as having policies.

    It might be rather more accurate to say that hunger is generally the result of:
    -Failed, kleptocratic governments
    -Poor agricultural techniquest
    -Natural resource paucity and short term disasters

    In roughly that order.

    Also, I’m a little unclear on your argument as regards the Syria strike. Is it basically that because in the 1960s and 1970s you believe the US had a policy of directly targetting civilians in Vietnam, that therefore it must be the case that when nine people are killed in Syria in what the US claims was a surgical strike against the compound of a guerilla fighter, it must actually have been a terror attack against Syrian civilians?

    If the US wanted to instigate terror attacks against Syrian civilians, wouldn’t it be simpler to just napalm Damascus?

    Or might the small size and targetted nature of the attack suggest that there was some sort of defensive strike against someone who was attacking Iraqis across the boarder?

  55. S.B. permalink
    October 28, 2008 2:48 pm

    S.B. – The information is readily available. For example:
    http://www.bread.org/learn/hunger-basics/hunger-facts-international.html

    That page consists of information about hungry people around the world. It does absolutely nothing to support your claim that hunger is a “deliberate” result of “global capitalism.” Again, can you point to any legitimate evidence for that claim? (Keep in mind that hunger isn’t far from being a new phenomenon.)

  56. October 28, 2008 2:58 pm

    …indeed, one might ask if it can be accurate to speak of “global capitalism” as having policies.

    One might ask that if one is completely unaware of global trade organizations and the policies that they impose upon the economies of the world. Surely you are aware of such global structures?

    Or might the small size and targetted nature of the attack suggest that there was some sort of defensive strike against someone who was attacking Iraqis across the boarder?

    Even if it were “defensive,” the u.s. has no right to do what it did.

  57. digbydolben permalink
    October 28, 2008 3:26 pm

    The American International School in Damascus, a school whose principal I know from interviews last spring, will be closed by the Syrian government, as a consequence of this continuation of Bush Administration blunders in the Middle East. The Damascus school principal assured me, when I was contemplating a position in his school, that almost ALL the American government’s charges against the Syrian government are vastly overblown and “preposterous.”

    Here’s how Professor Juan Cole describes this new murderous foolishness of Dubya and his fellow war-criminals:

    Apparently Syria declined to move against al-Mazidi, leading to charges by the US military that the ruling Baath Party in Syria was actively harboring al-Qaeda. That charge does not seem plausible to me, since the Alawis at the top of the government are terrified of Sunni fundamentalism and are vulnerable to being overthrown by it. (Sunnis are some 80 percent of Syrians; a folk Shiite group,the Alawis, are at the pinnacle of the government). The US is always over-estimating how powerful and efficient these ramshackle, personalistic regimes in the Middle East are, and attributing things to deliberate plotting that are likely just the result of incompetence or cowardice. Washington also tends to over-estimate the importance of individual leaders such as al-Zarqawi and al-Mazidi. Mostly they are fairly easily replaced. It is not as though they have been through a military academy or anything. When al-Zarqawi was killed, it changed absolutely nothing with regard to violence in Iraq. Others than Mazidi can smuggle North African volunteers into Iraq.

    [So, in other words, as Cole implies, this “collateral damage” is ABSOLUTELY FUTILE AND UNNECESSARY—murder in the interest of foolish posturing.]

    I still think the timing of the raid had to do with the US presidential election, and that it is likely Bush and Cheney want to make sure Iraq stays off the front pages for McCain’s sake, since otherwise his talk of “victory” might seem hollow. It is also possible that the White House was offering the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad a carrot in hopes it would smooth the passage of the draft security agreement.

    In fact, some Iraqi politicians said that the raid would complicate negotiations on the security agreement. Certainly, Iran’s opposition will have stiffened.

    Apart from harsh Syrian condemnation, limited official comment elsewhere generally condemned the US operation. Official Iraqi reaction suggested some confusion within the Iraqi Government. Most regional media reporting of the incident cited Syrian claims that the target and victims of the attack were entirely civilian in nature.

    The Qatari Government-financed Al-Jazirah interviewed former US Ambassador David Mack, who justified the operation as a “last resort” in response to the infiltration of foreign fighters into Iraq across the Syrian border. It also carried a Syrian TV clip of a woman said to be a victim of the operation, and its own correspondent’s statement that witnesses claimed US soldiers fired “indiscriminately” during the operation.

    http://www.juancole.com/

    Aljazeera’s reportage on this stupid, callous blunder:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/10/2008102815052252838.html

  58. October 28, 2008 4:40 pm

    I am aware that a number of global trade organizations exist, but it would not be accurate to say that they “are” global capitalism, since capitalism is an economic system not an organization.

    I’m not, however, aware that global trade organizations have made a policy of starving the world’s poorest.

  59. October 28, 2008 5:52 pm

    I suggest you become more aware. I can’t do the work for you, Darwin.

  60. S.B. permalink
    October 28, 2008 8:01 pm

    Or even provide a single supportive link.

  61. S.B. permalink
    October 28, 2008 11:16 pm

    Hey, you’re the one who made the startling claim, i.e., that worldwide hunger is deliberately caused by capitalists. So you’re the one who needs to produce startling evidence. And so far, you haven’t got it. Indeed, I think you have only a tenuous grasp on what would constitute evidence for a proposition . . . generic links to food activist groups don’t remotely prove your claim. Your first link comes the closest, although I’m a bit dubious of the economic literacy of anyone who claims that Third World people are hungrier due to the availability of cheaper food from American farmers. At any rate, I’d have to see that argument spelled out in detail by someone a bit more sophisticated and technically skilled.

  62. October 28, 2008 11:23 pm

    S.B. – The claim is hardly startling. Click around the internet. I have no doubt there are folks better suited to make the case. But I doubt you have ears to hear and eyes to see.

  63. October 29, 2008 2:56 am

    Michael,

    Pathologies of Power
    Predatory Globalization
    Profit Over People
    The Shock Doctrine

    Just a few books out of hundreds it seems your interlocutors haven’t read yet.

  64. S.B. permalink
    October 29, 2008 9:35 am

    “Click around the Internet” — although such a statement obviously meets your bottom-of-the-barrel standards for finding a proposition convincing, I have rather higher intellectual standards than that. If you really had evidence of “deliberate” starvation of people by “capitalism,” you’d surely have been able to mention it by now. As usual, you’re just making up whatever facts are convenient to your ideology. (And to Mr. Stark, I don’t find ignoramuses like Naomi Klein to be persuasive evidence of anything.)

    And it is indeed a startling claim, given that capitalists usually want to have customers that are at least alive.

  65. S.B. permalink
    October 29, 2008 9:52 am

    As would most conservatives and libertarians, however, I’d agree with your first link that farm subsidies and sugar quotas are an eminently bad idea. Why you blame these on “capitalism” rather than on “democracy” is a mystery.

  66. Blackadder permalink
    October 29, 2008 10:06 am

    As I’ve pointed out to Michael before, the percentage of people suffering from undernourishment in the developing world has been on the decline in recent decades, and while some countries have seen increases, these generally haven’t been the countries that are most involved in global markets (the percentage of people suffering from undernourishment in North Korea, for example, nearly doubled from 1990-92 to 2001-2003, but I don’t think this can be plausibly ascribed to capitalism or free trade).

    Clicking around on the Internet, I also found this report by the Farm Foundation (which does not appear to be a libertarian group), according to which Mexicans spent an average of 26.6% of their income on food in 2005, versus 41.3% in 1984, and that consumption of meat in Mexico doubled between 1990 and 2004, both of which suggest that the food situation in Mexico was not appreciably worse in 2004-2005 than it was before NAFTA.

    I’d also like to join Stuart in saying that I’m opposed to U.S. food subsidies.

  67. October 29, 2008 11:13 am

    Oh. Naomi Klein is the ignoramus. My bad. Until now I had been under the impression that it was the people without the facts on their side. I stand corrected. (Not unlike the author of that hackjob, tendentious review you cited.)

  68. S.B. permalink
    October 29, 2008 12:01 pm

    Yes. And what precisely are your qualifications that would give me any reason to respect your claim that Naomi Klein has the “facts” but that a respected economist’s review is “tendentious”?

  69. October 29, 2008 12:41 pm

    1) I’ve read the book in question, whereas you seem to have not.
    2) I’ve studied global capitalism extensively, in college and independently, and now at the graduate level.
    3) You ignored my other book recommendations and went right for what you consider to be the weakest link, which says something about what underwrites your position.
    4) I’ve read Friedman, and followed his positions up to his death. Tyler Cowen is the ignoramus here, as his review of Klein shows. His critique of Klein’s book as being “emotionally charged” is idiotic and ideological. There’s something wrong with somebody who can write about what Klein is writing about without being “emotional.” But it’s beside the point. Klein has over 50 pages of end notes, and mostly quotes primary sources of the figures she is critiquing. Cowen’s review is simply tendentious. And frankly, the accusation of her being “emotionally charged” is misogynistic.
    5) Who cares whether your think I’m credentialed or not? I could care less. Do the reading, then come back and complain about it. First thing’s first. I’ve read Friedman (Milton andThomas), and many other “respected economists” who are proponents of “free-market” global capitalism. Have you read Chomsky? Falk? Farmer? Rajagopal? Anybody?

  70. October 29, 2008 12:45 pm

    Hello everybody. frst of all please forgive my poor english.
    now: I couldnt read all of the above comments cuz i am low in time but i would like to share some ideas with you maybe it would help to spread the truth about American lies.
    I live in syria and in Area not so far From al bokamal where the US strike took action. i went to the location and took a close look to see what happened, the 8 killed people nd wounded woman. they were the builders of a small house near the river along with the building guard and his wife.
    and by investigating about them and asking their neighbors we found out that they are illiterate -very simple- innocent men, they cant even read (so how about being members of such and orgnization as US claimed) and they are known in their area for working in construction for over 15 years they are only simple builders who are feeding a big family of 16 kid and woman. the tragedy is that US killed the four men of two houses who were so, poor and can do no harm for anybody just because they are building something.
    you may take a look at their houses and their families photos at this link
    its and arabic article but you can have a look at the photos.
    http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=84676
    does they look like terrorists???
    we used to hear lies and believe it from US and even when they performed a strick on the supposed nuclear facility in syria i had a doubt -even that i am syrian and living there that maybe its truth and there is a nuclear facility there- but this time i went and saw with my eyes that they killed innocent people and throw with 16 innocent kids and women to poverty and loss just to show us -third world countries- that they are able to strike whenever they feel its necessary.
    i dont want to take more time from you but i am asking you people. dont let them fool you. dont let them play with your minds. ask for the truth, search for it. know it and help it to spread. alot of articles proved that 11 attacks werent done by alqaida but it didnt see the light because they control the media and they only allow whats good 4 them to be published, i want you all to help us spread the truth about the American lies because we dont want another 1 million innocent war victim be killed by American forces on Syrian soil as in Iraq and we dont want thousands to be killed in another US-arranged terrorist attack on American soil to justify another war.
    regards

  71. October 29, 2008 3:09 pm

    Thank you Mohammad.

  72. S.B. permalink
    October 29, 2008 3:36 pm

    comment deleted

  73. digbydolben permalink
    October 29, 2008 3:39 pm

    Thank you for writing this, Mohammed. I know you’re telling the truth: I, too, have friends who are living and working in an international school in Syria right now.

  74. October 29, 2008 3:47 pm

    S.B., shut up or you will be permanently banned from commenting on my posts. Understand?

  75. digbydolben permalink
    October 29, 2008 3:47 pm

    Here is the announcement of the closure of one of the finest international schools in that part of the world:

    http://www.dcssyria.org/homepage.cfm

  76. January 8, 2009 5:36 am

    If International Law is broken, please quote me the Geneva Convention, word for word along with paragraph number.

    Otherwise, reprisals and other strikes on normally off limits structures are authorized by the Geneva Conventions once they are used for military purposes by belligerents, this can include schools, hospitals, and even mosques/churches/synagogues and other places of worship . This can include manufacture of weapons, command and control for operations, or even a staging area for offensive operations (kinda like a terrorist safe house!).

    Having been intimately involved in the targeting process for Close Air Support in the United States Air Force, I’m quite familiar with such rules and regulations, especially in and around Iraq. I can tell you that the red tape is so thick, and that the rules are so complex, that breaking International Law is darn near improbable with the battalions of military and civilian legal experts on International Law who have to approve bombs being dropped in the first place. One could be fired upon continuously from the same spot, call in a request, and get an answer back (90% of the time a DENIAL) three hours later at best.

    If they say they hit a terrorist, I believe it. Why? Because thats the only way to get through all the parameters to actually even get a request looked at, much less approved.

Trackbacks

  1. Did the United States commit “terrorism” in Syria? « American Catholic
  2. Why Bush’s Terror War Drags on Forever: Militants, Foreign Fighters, Terrorism, and the Solution « Jesus Christ

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