02 August 2007

Not reporting a crime and the ethics of TNR

From the editors at The New Republic trying to explain what they did to confirm Scott Beauchamp's story, a paragraph on one critical part:

More important, two witnesses have corroborated Beauchamp's account. One wrote in an e-mail: "I can wholeheartedly verify the finding of the bones; U.S. troops (in my unit) discovered human remains in the manner described in 'Shock Troopers.' [sic] ... [We] did not report it; there was no need to. The bodies weren't freshly killed and thus the crime hadn't been committed while we were in control of the sector of operations." On the phone, this soldier later told us that he had witnessed another soldier wearing the skull fragment just as Beauchamp recounted: "It fit like a yarmulke," he said. A forensic anthropologist confirmed to us that it is possible for tufts of hair to be attached to a long-buried fragment of a human skull, as described in the piece.
As I looked at earlier, the following pertains to this activity:
Even worse, however, is the blatant disregard for the remains of those in the 'mass grave' found and that is wholly out of line with the general procedures outlined by USAID in their view of identifying mass grave sites to assess criminality involved. And it is against the governmental view given by the Dept. of State for the United States on how mass graves are going to be handled. As we, as a Nation, cannot tell if any grave site is part of a mass grave site, even if the locals give information on the grave site itself, each is to be handled with respect and care. This is re-inforced by the Hague Convention II (1899), Article 56, which the US is a signatory to:
Article 56
The property of the communes, that of religious, charitable, and educational institutions, and those of arts and science, even when State property, shall be treated as private property.

All seizure of, and destruction, or intentional damage done to such institutions, to historical monuments, works of art or science, is prohibited, and should be made the subject of proceedings.
Cemeteries and grave sites, when NOT the sites of criminal mass murders, are under the care of the previous State and are considered to be non-"usufructory" under Article 55 of the same convention: cemeteries are not an area of productive utility and are to be treated as private property for all warfare, and sacrosanct once captured, save to find evidence of war crimes or other crimes. As nearly every cemetery on the planet has *some* affiliation with a religion, it is to be treated with utmost respect even and especially if it has unmarked graves.

To not do that falls under 18 USC 2441:



Sec. 2441. War crimes

(a) Offense.--Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States,
commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection
(b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term
of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be
subject to the penalty of death.
(b) Circumstances.--The circumstances referred to in subsection (a)
are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of such war
crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a national
of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and
Nationality Act).
(c) Definition.--As used in this section the term ``war crime''
means any conduct--
(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international
conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;
(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the
Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the
international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any
protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party
and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or
(4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and
contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or
Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as
amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May
1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully
kills or causes serious injury to civilians.
Can we, perhaps, get off the subject of what Mr. Beauchamp did and get on the subject of why TNR did not report this to the appropriate authorities in the US Armed Forces or Dept. of Justice? For playing around with the bones of children during wartime, in areas under the control of your forces is not just *sick*.

It is a war crime.

This is not about a partisan pissing match, but the behavior of troops in a theater of war contravening the treaties signed by this Nation and the way we fight wars as a Nation. By not reporting this, The New Republic has been taking part in an effort to aid and abet this activity, promulgate it and put no accountability upon it. There is, indeed, accountability involved and the law is quite specific in this, as are the treaties involved.

This is about Justice.

If you complain about the cruelty of war and its dehumanization, then this is a prime concern as we now have civilians aiding and abetting that cruelty by not reporting it directly for investigation and, instead, PUBLISHING IT and purporting that this is something that is not even CONDEMNED by the Armed Forces. Of course someone should really TELL THEM before PUBLISHING, no? War is bad enough without civilian publications trying to demean the Armed Forces by printing this as a representative example of how soldiers conduct themselves. If you can't speak up about a war crime like this, then when, exactly IS IT worth speaking up? Or are those so high above us preaching about inhumanity during war willing to condone such activities by their silence? Because the treaties this Nation has signed on to for fighting wars specifically prohibit such activities.

So where are the nosebleeders who complain about war? Here is a war crime that such should be more than happy to condemn and seek to ensure that punishment is done. Where are they?

Where is the round condemnation of TNR for publishing this material by those who complain about the atrocities of war and always want to see that punished? There should be a few of them alive out there, they certainly can get a few together for their anti-war demonstrations.

No? No interest in trying to keep war as civilized as possible so that nothing extra in the way of harm to those involved is seen?

Or is it that TNR pushes a line you like?

A pro-war crime line, that dehumanizes without recognizing what it is doing in its moral and ethical blindness in pursuit of partisan goals.

There is a word for those that decry injustice during wartime and then do nothing to condemn it:


Maybe, someday, partisanship can get left at the shores of this Nation and we can uphold the treaties signed so that warfare does not dehumanize more than it does. Until I hear the vaunted moral superiority of the Left cry out on this, I shall consider them hypocrites willing to support war crimes so long as it pushes partisan lines.

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