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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Trump foreign policy mirrors nation's own: We do what we want.

It may come as a shock to the Bernie-Bros and Shillary-bots, columnists, foreign policy, political and military experts but, though they may be able to run circles around him in foreign policy theory, the Donald has a clearer grasp of US military practice than any of them.

And he need not bother to "expand" what's on the books. We do what we want.

While punishing pundits and ham-handed hand-holders joined together to gnash their collective teeth in righteous indignation at Trump, a CIA insider reassured us:
Former CIA director Michael Hayden, who also served as a four-star Air Force general and the director of the National Security Agency, sees a remedy: The military would save us from Trump’s excesses if he somehow gets elected. “If any future president wants . . . to waterboard anybody, he better bring his own bucket,” Hayden has said. The Pentagon would never let him get away with war crimes: “The American armed forces would refuse to act,” he told HBO’s Bill Maher recently. “You are required not to follow an unlawful order.” 
Hats off to Maher for not cracking up and sending a cascade of spittle over Mr. Hayden. While you get the sense he would get the irony, Maher is still a "truther" after all, in that he believes the "truth" that Islam is an inherently violent religion  bent on destruction of the west.

Almost 25-years-ago to the day of Trump's latest foreign policy "tough talk", on February 26 and 27, 1991, the White House demonstrated no need to "expand" existing law or even pass bogus legal memos as in the torture fiasco.

For it was on this day the US incinerated tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers in a fiery massacre known as the "Highway of Death". The soldiers were withdrawing from Kuwait in compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions.
U.S. planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles on two major highways in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours. "It was like shooting fish in a barrel," said one U.S. pilot. The horror is still there to see.
In short, rather than accept the offer of Iraq to surrender and leave the field of battle, Bush and the U.S. military strategists decided simply to kill as many Iraqis as they possibly could while the chance lasted. 
The pretext for massive extermination of Iraqi soldiers was the desire of the U.S. to destroy Iraqi equipment. But in reality the plan was to prevent Iraqi soldiers from retreating at all. Powell remarked even before the start of the war that Iraqi soldiers knew that they had been sent to Kuwait to die. Rick Atkinson of the Washington Post reasoned that "the noose has been tightened" around Iraqi forces so effectively that "escape is impossible" (February 27, 1991). What all of this amounts to is not a war but a massacre.
The massacre of withdrawing Iraqi soldiers violates the Geneva Conventions of 1949, Common Article III, which outlaws the killing of soldiers who are out of combat. Additional war crimes are added for intentionally targeting civilians, of which there were busloads caught up in traffic jam.

But this is just not permissible to say.

Even Rosa Brooks, professor at Georgetown University Law Center and a former Pentagon official, overlooks the forest so shaded is she by the trees. While she is clearly troubled by his comments, she can't quite move the ball past the torture extravaganza at Abu Ghirab, Guantanamo and various other 'black sites' post-911.
Think back to the first few years after the 9/11 attacks. The Pentagon initially planned to treat Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners in accordance with the rules laid out in the Geneva Conventions, but the White House considered this inconvenient. (Under those rules, prisoners can’t be detained secretly and with no review process, and they most definitely can’t be waterboarded.) So the White House found some unusually compliant Justice Department lawyers, and by January 2002, the department’s office of legal counsel was instructing the Defense Department that Geneva Convention protections did not apply to Taliban or al-Qaeda fighters.
She is concerned, given the Bush administrations manipulation of "torture memos" - which in effect said what we're doing to captured Al Queda folks isn't torture, therefore it isn't subject to the Geneva Conventions - Trump may do the same thing.

Missing from her post-911 abuse of power critique of Bush is the war crime of invading and bombing Afghanistan at all. We were not attacked nor were we under threat of attack at any time from the sovereign state of Afghanistan. We were not immune to it's charms however, or of our desire to insert ourselves back into that part of the world in a permanent way. All but two of the highjackers were Saudis and none were from Afghanistan.s

US airstrikes in that country, extremely precise "errant" strikes against Doctors Without Borders Hospitals and Saudi led US-weaponized and supported attacks on civilian markets in Yemen are the rule, not the exception. The fact these atrocities and war crimes pass without pause is a testament to our sanctified view of those illegal activities versus the activities of "others."

Or of course we need look no farther than Hillary Clintons favorite war, Iraq III, for which she voted as perhaps the crime of the century. Surpassed only by Hiroshima, Iraq 2003 was a supreme war crime, crime against humanity - more than 1 million Iraqis were killed - and disabused the world of the notion the UN retained any legitimacy whatsoever.

Should I go on? Please. Do your own research and get back to me.

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