Is America a rogue state?


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Eviller Houstonderek? I've only made 4 posts with this alias, I can still change it.

Liberty's Edge

Four? There are two more???

Shadow Lodge

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Doubleplusungood houstonderek?


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Solomon Grundy want Evil too!

Silver Crusade

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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
I am not reassured.

On the other hand-- this article is nothing more, and nothing less, than a blatant piece of propaganda. I'm not reassured that you read and believe this trash.

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:


Also, back to Libya.

I am not familiar with the Foreign Policy Journal, but it can't be any more biased than the my usual round-up of commie websites. I had posted on Majer in the Government Folly thread last year, but that link is no longer active.

The other article's not a whole lot better in its total one-sided view. Not sayin' mistakes haven't been made-- but I have seen many cases where the locals have made the same claims, presented the same sort of falsified evidence after cleaning up the scene, that it was all civilians, all civilian activity, no weapons, no combatants... and been lying through their teeth because there were combatants with weapons present, using the area and buildings as a base of operations, and even shooting on our forces from the location right up until we destroyed it. I sincerely doubt that whomever dropped those bombs, and whichever military personnel on NATO staff made the targeting decisions, did so knowing they were attacking a civilian target-- that is, presuming the locals aren't lying to us again about the presence of fighters at that location. They have also repeatedly set up locations for ammo storage, food, places for fighters to sleep, etc., in and among the civilian population-- in precisely the hope that those civilians will be killed by our weapons when we come after the insurgents located there. BTW-- using human shields is another act that is against the Laws of War, but the groups we're fighting do it all the time anyway.

It's gone round and round like this enough times, that while I'm sure we have bombed a few places that really were purely non-military in nature-- I'm pretty sure a lot of the places we've struck that the parties on the receiving end claim were entirely civilian targets, were in fact exactly the military assembly points and operating stations we thought they were. It's a standard insurgent tactic to blend into the local population, and then pretend that everything the other guys hit was a non-military target deliberately attacked to intentionally murder civilians. From the other side's point of view (ours, in the wars we've been involved in), since the enemy is violating the Laws of War in the first place (attempting to disguise all facilities as civilian/non-combatant installations) it becomes very difficult to ensure that we don't target truly civilian locations by mistake, since the enemies have done everything they can to not only disguise their military installations as civilian sites, but also have gone out of their way to make genuine civilian homes look like legitimate military targets-- in the hopes of getting a propaganda opportunity (usually they don't care how many of their own people die so long as they can score political points off of it).

Silver Crusade

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Sissyl wrote:
National governments make sociopathic eight year olds look good. In all cases, I figure.

Ummm, yeah. Usually. Actually... I really think the comparison is unfair to the sociopathic 8 year olds-- they don't simply look good, compared to governmental behavior-- they look like children utterly without sin by comparison.... :)


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Just wanted to say that I am quite drunk right now and will reply when I am sober.

Silver Crusade

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Just wanted to say that I am quite drunk right now and will reply when I am sober.

'sokay.

BTW-- one of those articles did leave me feeling really pissed off-- so, if my tone is off in the main reply post, please don't take personal offense-- I got a little snappish, and I'm not sure if I can edit that part to remove the snappy remark. I intended (and still intend) to dispute the contents of the articles, not launch personal attacks at you for posting the links.


Finn Kveldulfr wrote:

The 1977 Protocol 1 treaty added to the Geneva Conventions basically says it's okay for insurgent groups, active combatants, to not wear distinguishing uniforms that set them apart from the civilian population, and also sets out the idea that it's okay for them to live among and blend into the civilian population except when they're actually carrying and using their weapons. No, there's no f***ing way we should sign or honor that treaty-- it's basically meant to excuse insurgents from obeying the laws of war that all organized armies are expected and required to follow, it puts the civilian population at greatly increased risk, virtually guarantees that a lot of civilians are going to be mistaken for combatants and will be shot and killed as a result... and it was put together and thrust on the U.N. by a lot of smaller nations that wanted to find ways to inconvenience the major powers in conducting war.

Regarding depeleted uranium-- most countries love this treaty 'banning' depleted uranium, because they can't make it and put it to work anyway. I don't think we should give it up, to satisfy the nations who are scared of it-- because there isn't anything else that is quite as effective for making armor-piercing munitions and better tank armor. If you're going to fight a war at all, fighting it half-a**ed, instead of going out there to win, is actually going to cause more damage in the long run, than being quick, violent and destructive, and getting it over with. Sorry, but this one is the crying of nations who don't have our toys, trying to keep us from using the capabilities we have available.

Cluster munitions and land mines-- we have applied our technology to making sure that we do not use munitions that are going to litter the battlefield for generations afterwards. We're doing our best to making sure that our stuff self-destructs with a fairly short shelf-life, so that we're not endangering local populations through leaving unexploded ordinance there for years and years after the fighting has ended. However, it again comes back to the point that there really isn't anything else that can do the same job that cluster munitions do. Yes, there's a lot of countries that would like the United States to sign that treaty and honor it-- the real reason is NOT the humanitarian bulls**t that people would like to sell you on-- it's that most of these nations can't manufacture and use the sorts of weapons the U.S. manufactures and deploys in battle, and therefore would like to tie our hands so that they don't have to worry about having weaponry used against them that they can't make and use anyway.

No offense taken, my comment was a premptive strike, sort of. Your tone wasn't aggressive, but the topic is... well, volatile.

Warning, wall of text ahead!

1977 Protocol, verbatim:
Art 43. Armed forces

1. The armed forces of a Party to a conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by an adverse Party. Such armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, shall enforce compliance with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict.

2. Members of the armed forces of a Party to a conflict (other than medical personnel and chaplains covered by Article 33 of the Third Convention) are combatants, that is to say, they have the right to participate directly in hostilities.

3. Whenever a Party to a conflict incorporates a paramilitary or armed law enforcement agency into its armed forces it shall so notify the other Parties to the conflict.

Art 44. Combatants and prisoners of war

1. Any combatant, as defined in Article 43, who falls into the power of an adverse Party shall be a prisoner of war.

2. While all combatants are obliged to comply with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, violations of these rules shall not deprive a combatant of his right to be a combatant or, if he falls into the power of an adverse Party, of his right to be a prisoner of war, except as provided in paragraphs 3 and 4.

3. In order to promote the protection of the civilian population from the effects of hostilities, combatants are obliged to distinguish themselves from the civilian population while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack. Recognizing, however, that there are situations in armed conflicts where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself, he shall retain his status as a combatant, provided that, in such situations, he
carries his arms openly:

(a) during each military engagement, and
(b) during such time as he is visible to the adversary while he is engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which he is to participate.

Acts which comply with the requirements of this paragraph shall not be considered as perfidious within the meaning of Article 37, paragraph 1 (c).

4. A combatant who falls into the power of an adverse Party while failing to meet the requirements set forth in the second sentence of paragraph 3 shall forfeit his right to be a prisoner of war, but he shall, nevertheless, be given protections equivalent in all respects to those accorded to prisoners of war by the Third Convention and by this Protocol. This protection includes protections equivalent to those accorded to prisoners of war by the Third Convention in the case where such a person is tried and punished for any offences he has committed.

5. Any combatant who falls into the power of an adverse Party while not engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack shall not forfeit his rights to be a combatant and a prisoner of war by virtue of his prior activities .

6. This Article is without prejudice to the right of any person to be a prisoner of war pursuant to Article 4 of the Third Convention.

7. This Article is not intended to change the generally accepted practice of States with respect to the wearing of the uniform by combatants assigned to the regular, uniformed armed units of a Party to the conflict.

8. In addition to the categories of persons mentioned in Article 13 of the First and Second Conventions, all members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as defined in Article 43 of this Protocol, shall be entitled to protection under those Conventions if they are wounded or sick or, in the case of the Second Convention, shipwrecked at sea or in other waters.

Art 45. Protection of persons who have taken part in hostilities

1. A person who takes part in hostilities and falls into the power of an adverse Party shall be presumed to be a prisoner of war, and therefore shall be protected by the Third Convention, if he claims the status of prisoner of war, or if he appears to be entitled to such status, or if the Party on which he depends claims such status on his behalf by notification to the detaining Power or to the Protecting Power. Should any doubt arise as to whether any such person is entitled to the status of prisoner of war, he shall continue to have such status and, therefore, to be protected by the Third Convention and this Protocol until such time as his status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

2. If a person who has fallen into the power of an adverse Party is not held as a prisoner of war and is to be tried by that Party for an offence arising out of the hostilities, he shall have the right to assert his entitlement to prisoner-of-war status before a judicial tribunal and to have that question adjudicated. Whenever possible under the applicable procedure, this adjudication shall occur before the trial for the offence. The representatives of the Protecting Power shall be entitled to attend the proceedings in which that question is adjudicated, unless, exceptionally, the proceedings are held in camera in the interest of State security. In such a case the detaining Power shall advise the Protecting Power accordingly.

3. Any person who has taken part in hostilities, who is not entitled to prisoner-of-war status and who does not benefit from more favourable treatment in accordance with the Fourth Convention shall have the right at all times to the protection of Article 75 of this Protocol. In occupied territory, any such person, unless he is held as a spy, shall also be entitled, notwithstanding Article 5 of the Fourth Convention, to his rights of communication under that Convention.

I agree that it "says it's okay for insurgent groups, active combatants, to not wear distinguishing uniforms". So ? You know, that's the whole point of an insurgency : the french resistance didn't use uniforms either. Nor the various insurgencies you did back up, including your present afhgani nemeseses when they had the good taste of killing soviet soldiers, not US ones. The afghani/iraqi did fight you because they saw you as invaders on their soil ; maybe they are mistaken or misled, but that's not the point : their purpose has to be respected as you would probably do the same thing if you were in the same situation. Human rights shouldn't be limited to those who do agree with you (or me). Granting them POW status wouldn't change a thing for the USA, except preventing such PR disasters as Guantanamo.

I agree too that only nuclear powers can build DU weapons. That means that France, Germany, UK, Japan, Italy, etc. among a lot of others could too : we are literally sitting on a big pile of the stuff, as DU is a waste product of uranium enrichment process. The problem about such weapons isn't their scary efficiency, but the radioactive mess they leave behind. Are you aware of the telltale spike in stillbirths in Fallujah?

Also, most countries would like to see the USA joining the ban on submunitions ordnance, not because they can't make them and are jealous, but because those weapons are too indiscriminate in their effects. Among your allies, France, UK, Germany, Spain could and did manufacture them, before choosing not to. The US Army is so much more powerful that any other army that it could do without them and still beat the crap out of anybody.

I readily agree that most (99%+) of the time, the US army does take great care to avoid endangering civilians, as all armies from western democracies do. First, because there is no rational need to do so, second, because it would be awfully counterproductive while trying to "win hearts and minds" in a long occupation.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that protecting civilians was a concern in the planning of the Fallujah assault in 2004. Using WP and DU on a crowded town demonstrates that either the brass didn't give a damn about civilian casualties, which is bad, or intended to make an example by using excessive/impressive force, which is even worse.


Kryzbyn wrote:
It's generally bad form to ask a nation guard against the spread of communism, then throw them under the bus when they're caught doing so.

Yep. Except that communism ceased to exist as a credible worldwide bogeyman something like twenty years ago... We are not talking of Cold War dirty tricks here, but of a current trend in US foreign policies. NO snark intended.


Though some were talking about the mining of Nicaragua's harbors, which was a Cold War war crime.

You could also argue that most of the world didn't ask the US to guard against the spread of communism. Nations that had freely-elected socialist leaning governments replaced by US-backed right-wing dictators certainly didn't.

I'd even argue that fighting the spread of communism was a bad idea.
Before the flame war starts, let me explain what I mean:

The regimes in Soviet Russia and in Mao's China certainly needed to be opposed. They were brutal totalitarian regimes and their people suffered greatly, as did those in their satellite nations. Framing that conflict as stopping Communism rather than stopping Totalitarianism was, in my opinion, a mistake.

It made the alternative more attractive, since there are many attractions to communism, especially among the already desperately poor and oppressed. Totalitarianism is a much harder sell to the masses.

It also meant that countries that wanted even moderate socialism had no choice but to turn to the USSR for support, even if they would have preferred alliance with a more open and democratic power.

And of course, it gave us ideological reasons to support brutal right-wing regimes in the name of stopping brutal left-wing regimes.

You might suspect that the US's motives weren't quite what we proclaimed.


Finn Kveldulfr wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Just wanted to say that I am quite drunk right now and will reply when I am sober.

'sokay.

BTW-- one of those articles did leave me feeling really pissed off-- so, if my tone is off in the main reply post, please don't take personal offense-- I got a little snappish, and I'm not sure if I can edit that part to remove the snappy remark. I intended (and still intend) to dispute the contents of the articles, not launch personal attacks at you for posting the links.

Awesome. I await your disputation.

Also, Citizen Kveldulfr, fyi, I am Comrade Anklebiter, Chairman of the Commonwealth Party of Galt (M-L) and Paizo's resident inebriated revolutionary socialist goblin. It is quite alright (and quite common) to get snappish with me.

Vive le Galt!


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Hiding this thread. Political threads may seem fun, but mostly they're annoying


I'm surprised that you even opened it.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
I'm surprised that you even opened it.

I'm surprised you missed the satire =P


Hey, man, it's not my fault that that stooge of the plutocracy, Citizen Byers, closed down those other threads. I was looking forward to more discussion of The Pogues!

Anyway, how are you, my dear Comrade Curtin?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Smarnil le couard wrote:

Also, most countries would like to see the USA joining the ban on submunitions ordnance, not because they can't make them and are jealous, but because those weapons are too indiscriminate in their effects. Among your allies, France, UK, Germany, Spain could and did manufacture them, before choosing not to. The US Army is so much more powerful that any other army that it could do without them and still beat the crap out of anybody.

I readily agree that most (99%+) of the time, the US army does take great care to avoid endangering civilians, as all armies from western democracies do. First, because there is no rational need to do so, second, because it would be awfully counterproductive while trying to "win hearts and minds" in a long occupation.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that protecting civilians was a concern in the planning of the Fallujah assault in 2004. Using WP and DU on a crowded town demonstrates that either the brass didn't give a damn about civilian casualties, which is bad, or intended to make an example by using excessive/impressive force, which is even worse.

I'm a US field artilleryman, so I'm qualified to speak with first-hand accuracy about these munitions. This should not be misconstrued as some kind of official statement of policy.

We have submunition ordnance (Improved Conventional Munitions, or ICM), but we refrain from using them. One reason is that the dud rate is high enough that our infantrymen wouldn't want to be walking around on an ICM target area due to the presence of unexploded ordnance. AFAIK, however, we do have them in the arsenal for use in case of high-intensity conflict against a similarly-armed enemy. Very few things are as effective at disabling armored vehicles. Personally, if my choices were "use ICM" or "be destroyed by tanks" I would use the ICM if I had it. Many of our enemies that have, or may have, ICM capabilities are not signatories to those treaties either. We have, but never employ, victim-operated land mines for the same reasons (but I'm not an engineer, so I know much less about land mines). In fact, we have employed military information support operations in Africa to aid in the publication of mine awareness products. I wonder how many signatories of the land mine treaties have put down resources to actually defeating land mines.

WP is the subject of much misinformation. White phosphorus is a material used in the manufacture of incendiary rounds and tracer rounds. It also makes a big freakin smoke cloud. Conventional smoke takes minutes to build, but lasts a long time, whereas WP builds in seconds, but also dissipates quickly. WP rounds are often touted as incendiary rounds, and it is true that they do have a secondary incendiary effect. However, they are quick-building smoke rounds that also happen to be incendiary, not incendiary rounds that also happen to smoke a lot. Using WP smoke for quick obscuration of enemy positions is standard since regular smoke takes too long to build. If I shoot WP at somebody, it's because I want him to stop shooting at me since he can't see me, not because I want him to DIAF. Rules of engagement usually prohibit the use of WP in urban areas.


Charlie Bell wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:
On the other hand, I'm not sure that protecting civilians was a concern in the planning of the Fallujah assault in 2004. Using WP and DU on a crowded town demonstrates that either the brass didn't give a damn about civilian casualties, which is bad, or intended to make an example by using excessive/impressive force, which is even worse.

I'm a US field artilleryman, so I'm qualified to speak with first-hand accuracy about these munitions. This should not be misconstrued as some kind of official statement of policy.

We have submunition ordnance (Improved Conventional Munitions, or ICM), but we refrain from using them. One reason is that the dud rate is high enough that our infantrymen wouldn't want to be walking around on an ICM target area due to the presence of unexploded ordnance. AFAIK, however, we do have them in the arsenal for use in case of high-intensity conflict against a similarly-armed enemy. Very few things are as effective at disabling armored vehicles. Personally, if my choices were "use ICM" or "be destroyed by tanks" I would use the ICM if I had it. Many of our enemies that have, or may have, ICM capabilities are not signatories to those treaties either. We have, but never employ, victim-operated land...

Thanks for the expertise, it's appreciated.

Legally speaking, WP is a curious beast : it's authrorized by the CWCC (a convention that the USA did sign) as an illumination or smoke agent, but banned in urban zones as an incendiary one. According to US military sources, it was widely used in Fallujah to "flush out insurgents", and civilians did get burnt.

It's the same line of reasoning that led to the ban on cluster weapons, biological weapons, and (maybe one day) DU : non discriminating effects.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Charlie Bell wrote:
Personally, if my choices were "use ICM" or "be destroyed by tanks" I would use the ICM if I had it.

It's hard to find this unreasonable.

Silver Crusade

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From the Geneva Conventions, 1977 Protocol 1, pertaining to conduct during war:

Quote:


3. In order to promote the protection of the civilian population from the effects of hostilities, combatants are obliged to distinguish themselves from the civilian population while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack. Recognizing, however, that there are situations in armed conflicts where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself, he shall retain his status as a combatant, provided that, in such situations, he
carries his arms openly:

(a) during each military engagement, and
(b) during such time as he is visible to the adversary while he is engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which he is to participate.

Acts which comply with the requirements of this paragraph shall not be considered as perfidious within the meaning of Article 37, paragraph 1 (c).

Smarnil--

This part is the reason why the U.S.A. will probably never accept the 1977 protocol 1. The problem is, that this says, in so many words, that's okay to toss aside your weapons and blend right back into the civilian population as soon as your attack is over. It also says it's okay to remain completely blended in with and concealed by the civilian population at all times, except when actively preparing and launching an attack on opposing forces.

Bluntly speaking-- accepting this as law, and abiding by it-- is suicide for ANY military that has to engage a terrorist or insurgent force. The only way you can fight an insurgency at all, while abiding by this rule and the other Laws of War, is to stand around waiting for the insurgents to attack you, while day by day your forces get sniped and blown up by IEDs and generally get nickel and dimed to death. It's a golden gift to insurgencies, but it's also the countries of the world who want insurgencies to succeed basically saying "we want it to be impoossible for organized militaries to ever fight under the Laws of War and actually succeed ever again."

While I agree with you that we should uphold human rights to the maximum extent possible at all times, no matter what is going on in the conflict at hand-- this rule virtually guarantees that many more civilians will die-- because it becomes almost impossible to tell the difference between civilians and active combatants. And, there definitely comes that point where, as careful as we want to be about not causing unnecessary civilian casualties, mistakes are going to be made-- because you cannot reasonably ask soldiers to always hold fire until some of their own have been killed by insurgents masquerading as civilians right up until they started shooting, before they're allowed to open fire. IMO, upholding human rights, and the 1977 Protocol 1, are NOT compatible with each other because of the unfortunate side effects of the quoted section.

What you've said about insurgencies and provisionally granting POW status even to insurgents does make good sense. I'm appalled at the agencies in my own government that have denied POW rights to the combatants we've captured in the field.

Regarding Fallujah, 2004-- I was in Iraq in 2004 (although I was in Tikrit), but from my view on staff I did have a pretty good 'view' of that operation... to the best of my knowledge, NO depleted uranium munitions were used in Fallujah in the April-May 2004 offensive there-- there was no reason for it either, because the insurgents in Fallujah didn't have any tanks. DU Munitions aren't that good for bunker busting. Also, to the best of my knowledge (and certainly the official record), all WP munitions employed in Fallujah were used for smoke, not for incendiary effect. I also do not believe the reports that excessive force was used by U.S. Forces in Fallujah... Besides my own view from division staff, some of the tactical teams from my unit were down in Fallujah supporting the Marines throughout the whole battle-- the insurgent forces in Fallujah in 2004 were numerous, fanatical, dug in quite well, and were surprisingly well supplied. That was a very hard fight against a very determined and prepared enemy, in an urban environment-- it's not the sort of thing that's possible to do, without a whole lot of collateral damage-- which there was.

I can assure you, in spite of the fact that a lot of American troops were very very upset over the murders of American contractors at the end of March 2004(whose bodies were hung from the bridge in Fallujah, in public view and disrespected in ways the locals would not accept, if we did that to bodies of insurgents after killing them)-- our forces still acted with remarkable restraint in conducting that campaign considering how much resistance they faced on the streets of Fallujah.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Finn Kveldulfr wrote:


However, although we do have our share of bad apples in the ranks too (any military does), I am defending the conduct of the U.S. Military at war, because we (in the military) really have tried to conduct ourselves in warfare properly, and have mostly done a pretty good job at it.

I want to point out no other military in history has had as long a period of continuous engagement as the USA military has recently and had as few civilian causalities, military causalities, or incidents. Our armed forces have done an amazing job time and time again, generally with little real support from their country, meager resources for what they are doing, and so much uncertainty on how their efforts were going to end.

If anything is to be a real credit to what we are as a nation it is the armed forces and their continued efforts and behavior.

I hope if is just a simply over sight or maybe you don't consider it recent, but 11.1% of the total population of north korea killed in the korean war, 3 million dead north vietnamese and the undetermined number (over 1 million) of dead iraqis of 2 wars, sanctions and radioactive waste are not a small or acceptable number.

While I know for many of you it is your country and you might be inclined to view it with a forgiving eye, but I cannot hold nations to such low standards. And that it is human nation is not an answer. There have been many anthropological studies showing that while small in numbers that there are many societies that would not imagine inflicting that scale of violence on even an aggressor.


Metamorphosis wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Finn Kveldulfr wrote:


However, although we do have our share of bad apples in the ranks too (any military does), I am defending the conduct of the U.S. Military at war, because we (in the military) really have tried to conduct ourselves in warfare properly, and have mostly done a pretty good job at it.

I want to point out no other military in history has had as long a period of continuous engagement as the USA military has recently and had as few civilian causalities, military causalities, or incidents. Our armed forces have done an amazing job time and time again, generally with little real support from their country, meager resources for what they are doing, and so much uncertainty on how their efforts were going to end.

If anything is to be a real credit to what we are as a nation it is the armed forces and their continued efforts and behavior.

I hope if is just a simply over sight or maybe you don't consider it recent, but 11.1% of the total population of north korea killed in the korean war, 3 million dead north vietnamese and the undetermined number (over 1 million) of dead iraqis of 2 wars, sanctions and radioactive waste are not a small or acceptable number.

While I know for many of you it is your country and you might be inclined to view it with a forgiving eye, but I cannot hold nations to such low standards. And that it is human nation is not an answer. There have been many anthropological studies showing that while small in numbers that there are many societies that would not imagine inflicting that scale of violence on even an aggressor.

I'm sticking to the current conflicts in Afganistan and (recently) Iraq. No other military in history has managed to keep the death count among civilians and its own soldiers as low as the USA military has during over the entirety of these two conflicts.

Spoiler:
I would like to put some sort of equipment clause on this statement, simply because it could be argued that before modern weaponry deaths (especially among civilians) were lower simply because the means weren't available, but I don't think anyone is going to be that pedantic.

Also I'm not sure where you are jumping to with the radioactive waste bit.

Of course if you have someone with a better record than the USA has over these two conflicts go ahead and share it.


The 8th Dwarf wrote:
FuelDrop wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
is smarter than he looks.

I think i may have FUBARed a little there, but in my defence i was refering to australia as an independent nation, rather than a british colony. that means 1901 is the start for my arguement, as before that it was in the name of mother england... and there's a nation that can't even begin to claim a history of peaceful coexistance. however, i was not clear in my meaning and thus your points remain entirely valid.

to be honest i completely forgot about the Eureka stockade, which hurts me as that's always been one of my favorite parts of australian history. as for New Guinea... you're right on all counts.

Could someone please remind me to put my brain into gear before i start posting? it'd save a lot of embarisment :) (hope that's the right one!)

No problem - our history is very interesting and I wish more Australians knew about it.

What's an 'australia'?

Liberty's Edge

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I find it interesting that the couple parody threads (parodies of this thread) were locked. As far as I can tell, they were benign and, in their own way, as valid as this ridiculous thread, which is a painfully obvious attempt to start arguments.


Metamorphosis wrote:

I hope if is just a simply over sight or maybe you don't consider it recent, but 11.1% of the total population of north korea killed in the korean war, 3 million dead north vietnamese and the undetermined number (over 1 million) of dead iraqis of 2 wars, sanctions and radioactive waste are not a small or acceptable number.

While I know for many of you it is your country and you might be inclined to view it with a forgiving eye, but I cannot hold nations to such low standards. And that it is human nation is not an answer. There have been many anthropological studies showing that while small in numbers that there are many societies that would not imagine inflicting that scale of violence on even an aggressor.

I would hope that you are not including deaths of victims of the jihadists attacks into that number and then trying to blame it on the military forces. The tide turned against the jihadists in Iraq because they were targeting civil targets, not the military targets of the infidels.


pres man wrote:
Metamorphosis wrote:

I hope if is just a simply over sight or maybe you don't consider it recent, but 11.1% of the total population of north korea killed in the korean war, 3 million dead north vietnamese and the undetermined number (over 1 million) of dead iraqis of 2 wars, sanctions and radioactive waste are not a small or acceptable number.

While I know for many of you it is your country and you might be inclined to view it with a forgiving eye, but I cannot hold nations to such low standards. And that it is human nation is not an answer. There have been many anthropological studies showing that while small in numbers that there are many societies that would not imagine inflicting that scale of violence on even an aggressor.
I would hope that you are not including deaths of victims of the jihadists attacks into that number and then trying to blame it on the military forces. The tide turned against the jihadists in Iraq because they were targeting civil targets, not the military targets of the infidels.

While I wouldn't blame those deaths on our military forces, there is a valid argument for blaming them on the US. We invaded a peaceful, if repressive, country and created the conditions that allowed the jihadists to thrive.


Metamorphosis wrote:
and the undetermined number (over 1 million) of dead iraqis of 2 wars, sanctions and radioactive waste are not a small or acceptable number.

I believe the number is closer to 2 million. I think the number had already reached 1 million when Madeleine Albright infamously said that American foreign policy goals were worth a half million dead Iraqi babies.


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Andrew Turner wrote:
I find it interesting that the couple parody threads (parodies of this thread) were locked. As far as I can tell, they were benign and, in their own way, as valid as this ridiculous thread, which is a painfully obvious attempt to start arguments.

I have already expressed my solidarity with the closed threads.

That being said: people, exercize some self-control. If a thread with a title such as "Is America a Rogue State?" makes you go into an apoplectic fit, then perhaps you shouldn't open said thread.

Some posters, such as myself, enjoy arguing about politics. Others enjoy talking about bacon. Still others, apparently, enjoy going into a thread and calling people ridiculous for discussing the things that they enjoy discussing.

For the most part I have found that since the introduction of the "hide thread" feature, the political discussions have gotten much, much better. Not that there aren't occasional flare-ups, but they are usually self-controlled with both sides calming down rather quickly.

Of course, my pattern of making internet friends is apparently to start with a flamewar and then have make-up cybersex afterwards (see: Doodlebug Anklebiter vs. Kirth Gersen, Houstonderek, Patrick Curtin, Bitter Thorn, Mama Kelsey, and, of course, my bestest internet friend, Aberzombie), so perhaps my viewpoint is skewed.

Also, I'm going to follow Andrew Turner's example and favorite my own post.


Also, more Pogues links.

There was nothing ever gained by a wet thing called a tear
When the world seems dark and I need the light of sanity
I'll walk into a bar and drink fifteen pints of beer!


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@Andrew Turner : on the contrary, this thread manage to stay quite civil, despite the explosive (no pun intended) topic.

Finn Kveldulfr wrote:

This part is the reason why the U.S.A. will probably never accept the 1977 protocol 1. The problem is, that this says, in so many words, that's okay to toss aside your weapons and blend right back into the civilian population as soon as your attack is over. It also says it's okay to remain completely blended in with and concealed by the civilian population at all times, except when actively preparing and launching an attack on opposing forces.

Bluntly speaking-- accepting this as law, and abiding by it-- is suicide for ANY military that has to engage a terrorist or insurgent force. The only way you can fight an insurgency at all, while abiding by this rule and the other Laws of War, is to stand around waiting for the insurgents to attack you, while day by day your forces get sniped and blown up by IEDs and generally get nickel and dimed to death. It's a golden gift to insurgencies, but it's also the countries of the world who want insurgencies to succeed basically saying "we want it to be impoossible for organized to ever succeed again".

While I agree with you that we should uphold human rights to the maximum extent possible at all times, no matter what is going on in the conflict at hand-- this rule virtually guarantees that many more civilians will die-- because it becomes almost impossible to tell the difference between civilians and active combatants. And, there definitely comes that point where, as careful as we want to be about not causing unnecessary civilian casualties, mistakes are going to be made-- because you cannot reasonably ask soldiers to always hold fire until some of their own have been killed by insurgents masquerading as civilians right up until they started shooting, before they're allowed to open fire. IMO, upholding human rights, and the 1977 Protocol 1, are NOT compatible with each other because of the unfortunate side effects of the quoted section.

What you've said about insurgencies and provisionally granting POW status even to insurgents does make good sense. I'm appalled at the agencies in my own government that have denied POW rights to the combatants we've captured in the field.

Others do, and the sky didn't fall down.

Do note that I'm not arguing that the US army shouldn't retaliate or take measures against insurgents. And I can't blame soldiers who did kill civilians by honest mistake because they truly felt threatened in such a stressful environment.

Civilians taking arms and blending back into the crowd is as old as war. What were Minutemen, if not citizens taking their rifles when needed, to go back to their houses when not? How to blame people who do exactly what our forefathers did ?

Even if you don't recognize that "taking arms and blending back into the crowd" isn't part of the rules of war, what are you (the USA) going to do about it ? Just grab all the insurgents you can and get them before a firing squad ? Why not just treating them as any other POW ?

Signing or not signing this protocol won't change a thing : insurgents will still take the "right" to blend in the population, even if you don't agree, and you will still have to wait for an actual attack to get them red-handed. The only alternative would be to grab random civilians hoping some of them are actual insurgents (this tactic has already been tried in Europe by an occupying army back in the forties, and I can assure you that you can forget about winning hearts and minds afterwards).

What I mean, is that this protocol recognizes an existing fact of war. Not signing it won't change reality.

Finn Kveldulfr wrote:

Regarding Fallujah, 2004-- I was in Iraq in 2004 (although I was in Tikrit), but from my view on staff I did have a pretty good 'view' of that operation... to the best of my knowledge, NO depleted uranium munitions were used in Fallujah in the April-May 2004 offensive there-- there was no reason for it either, because the insurgents in Fallujah didn't have any tanks. DU Munitions aren't that good for bunker busting. Also, to the best of my knowledge (and certainly the official record), all WP munitions employed in Fallujah were used for smoke, not for incendiary effect. I also do not believe the reports that excessive force was used by U.S. Forces in Fallujah... Besides my own view from division staff, some of the tactical teams from my unit were down in Fallujah supporting the Marines throughout the whole battle-- the insurgent forces in Fallujah in 2004 were numerous, fanatical, dug in quite well, and were surprisingly well supplied. That was a very hard fight against a very determined and prepared enemy, in an urban environment-- it's not the sort of thing that's possible to do, without a whole lot of collateral damage-- which there was.

I can assure you, in spite of the fact that a lot of American troops were very very upset over the murders of American contractors at the end of March 2004(whose bodies were hung from the bridge in Fallujah, in public view and disrespected in ways the locals would not accept, if we did that to bodies of insurgents after killing them)-- our forces still acted with remarkable restraint in conducting that campaign considering how much resistance they faced on the streets of Fallujah.

I can't dispute your hands on experience, but the fact is that the rates of stillbirths and other deformities are off the dial in Fallujah and other iraqi cities where major battles took place (Bassorah, etc.). If not in 2004, DU has probably been used in Fallujah to explain this.

You and your buddies were right to be upset at the slaughter of BW operatives in 2004. I surely was! Though, not answering to barbarism with more and ever worse barbarism is the right thing to do. I wouldn't expect such blind mob violence from the US army.

The citation that WP was used in Fallujah in 2004 to "root out insurgents" comes from Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Barry Venable, on the BBC. WP isn't prohibited for illumination or smoke-producing purposes; it's only banned by the Geneva Convention when used as an incendiary in civilian areas. The trick is, even a smoke round can be used as an incendiary, as WP is WP whatever the sticker on the round says. So, according to the Pentagon own spokesman, it seems that such weapons were used outside of their allowed purposes (it was first denied by the Pentagon in 2004, then the denial was withdrawn in 2005 as the evidence accumulated). It's not the worst war crime of the century, but as democracies we should strive to uphold our own principles (including our own laws and treaties).


Pogues links are always good.


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Smarnil le couard wrote:


Finn Kveldulfr wrote:

This part is the reason why the U.S.A. will probably never accept the 1977 protocol 1. The problem is, that this says, in so many words, that's okay to toss aside your weapons and blend right back into the civilian population as soon as your attack is over. It also says it's okay to remain completely blended in with and concealed by the civilian population at all times, except when actively preparing and launching an attack on opposing forces.

Bluntly speaking-- accepting this as law, and abiding by it-- is suicide for ANY military that has to engage a terrorist or insurgent force. The only way you can fight an insurgency at all, while abiding by this rule and the other Laws of War, is to stand around waiting for the insurgents to attack you, while day by day your forces get sniped and blown up by IEDs and generally get nickel and dimed to death. It's a golden gift to insurgencies, but it's also the countries of the world who want insurgencies to succeed basically saying "we want it to be impoossible for organized to ever succeed again".

While I agree with you that we should uphold human rights to the maximum extent possible at all times, no matter what is going on in the conflict at hand-- this rule virtually guarantees that many more civilians will die-- because it becomes almost impossible to tell the difference between civilians and active combatants. And, there definitely comes that point where, as careful as we want to be about not causing unnecessary civilian casualties, mistakes are going to be made-- because you cannot reasonably ask soldiers to always hold fire until some of their own have been killed by insurgents masquerading as civilians right up until they started shooting, before they're allowed to open fire. IMO, upholding human rights, and the 1977 Protocol 1, are NOT compatible with each other because of the unfortunate side effects of the quoted section.

What you've said about insurgencies and provisionally granting POW status even to insurgents does make good sense. I'm appalled at the agencies in my own government that have denied POW rights to the combatants we've captured in the field.

Others do, and the sky didn't fall down.

Do note that I'm not arguing that the US army shouldn't retaliate or take measures against insurgents. And I can't blame soldiers who did kill civilians by honest mistake because they truly felt threatened in such a stressful environment.

Civilians taking arms and blending back into the crowd is as old as war. What were Minutemen, if not citizens taking their rifles when needed, to go back to their houses when not? How to blame people who do exactly what our forefathers did ?

Even if you don't recognize that "taking arms and blending back into the crowd" isn't part of the rules of war, what are you (the USA) going to do about it ? Just grab all the insurgents you can and get them before a firing squad ? Why not just treating them as any other POW ?

Signing or not signing this protocol won't change a thing : insurgents will still take the "right" to blend in the population, even if you don't agree, and you will still have to wait for an actual attack to get them red-handed. The only alternative would be to grab random civilians hoping some of them are actual insurgents (this tactic has already been tried in Europe by an occupying army back in the forties, and I can assure you that you can forget about winning hearts and minds afterwards).

What I mean, is that this protocol recognizes an existing fact of war. Not signing it won't change reality.

I very much agree with this.

If accepting this Protocol is suicide for any conventional military facing insurgents, not using these methods is suicide for any insurgents facing a conventional military, unless they have large areas of wilderness to operate from, not found in all theaters.

What were insurgents supposed to do in Iraq? Build a base, don uniforms and raise a flag? How long before it's bombed to bits?

People are going to resist invaders. There has to be an effective way to do so within the rules of war to do so or they will ignore those rules. It doesn't have to be guaranteed to win, but it has to not be blatantly stupid.

Of course, the smart thing for the US to do might be to sign on to the Protocol and then not invade and occupy countries where there's enough popular support to form an insurgency.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Smarnil le couard wrote:
Signing or not signing this protocol won't change a thing : insurgents will still take the "right" to blend in the population, even if you don't agree, and you will still have to wait for an actual attack to get them red-handed. The only alternative would be to grab random civilians hoping some of them are actual insurgents (this tactic has already been tried in Europe by an occupying army back in the forties, and I can assure you that you can forget about winning hearts and minds afterwards).

On the contrary--you use intelligence and targeting to find the badguys before they strike, or at least before they strike again. The guy building IEDs in his basement is a combatant. The choice is between having treaty obligations to treat him as a civilian criminal or being able to make that determination ourselves as a sovereign nation based on our own priorities and conditions on the ground. By the time we left Iraq, we did in fact deal with enemy insurgents as criminals. During earlier phases of the war (before the Iraqi law enforcement and court systems were reconstituted, for instance) that would not have been feasible. In a counterinsurgency, you cannot deal with insurgents as criminals unless the rule of law is established.

IMO the reason for the US declining such treaties is not because we don't agree in principle, but because we feel it's important to keep our options open, to maintain flexibility in dealing with unforeseen contingencies. This is particularly important because our current enemies are non-state actors who by definition cannot be held to international legal standards of conduct.


Charlie Bell wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:
Signing or not signing this protocol won't change a thing : insurgents will still take the "right" to blend in the population, even if you don't agree, and you will still have to wait for an actual attack to get them red-handed. The only alternative would be to grab random civilians hoping some of them are actual insurgents (this tactic has already been tried in Europe by an occupying army back in the forties, and I can assure you that you can forget about winning hearts and minds afterwards).

On the contrary--you use intelligence and targeting to find the badguys before they strike, or at least before they strike again. The guy building IEDs in his basement is a combatant. The choice is between having treaty obligations to treat him as a civilian criminal or being able to make that determination ourselves as a sovereign nation based on our own priorities and conditions on the ground. By the time we left Iraq, we did in fact deal with enemy insurgents as criminals. During earlier phases of the war (before the Iraqi law enforcement and court systems were reconstituted, for instance) that would not have been feasible. In a counterinsurgency, you cannot deal with insurgents as criminals unless the rule of law is established.

IMO the reason for the US declining such treaties is not because we don't agree in principle, but because we feel it's important to keep our options open, to maintain flexibility in dealing with unforeseen contingencies. This is particularly important because our current enemies are non-state actors who by definition cannot be held to international legal standards of conduct.

I don't see your point. Of course, if you get good intel leading you to a guy building IEDs in his basement, he will be treated as an insurgent with or without Protocol I.

I never said that Protocol I would legally compel the US army to wait to get shot at before doing something about the insurgency. Of course not ! It's just that most of the time, it will happen this way, as good intel is rare (especially among an hostile population).

My point is, even if the USA keep abstaining from signing this Protocol, insurgents won't oblige them by wearing nice uniforms and forming nicely rows on the field of battle. Facts don't go away just because you don't want to acknowledge them; neither do insurgents.

Further, Protocol I isn't incompatible with the criminal angle, provided you have a local friendly government, as in Iraq : first, get the insurgents, treat them as regular POWs in accordance with the Protocol; second, hand them to the local court to be judged as
common criminals. All options are still open. IMHO, the only thing you can't do is treating him as a criminal before your own courts, as you have no juridiction in the country you just invaded.

Finally, do you really think that the perspective of harsh treatment (that is, not getting a regular POW treatment) would deter people wlling to risks their lives to fight you ? I don't think that it takes less courage to become an insurgent than to become a regular soldier.

Also, if I was an insurgent, I would be more prone to surrender if I was sure to get a fair treatment... And more prone to fight to the bitter end if not.

First things first : of course, the guy building IEDs is a combatant. Would be with or without Protocol II.


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Hmmm... It's not strange that any country would want to "keep its options open" and "to maintain flexibility". The question is if that is MORE important than what you are trying to do. The propaganda always paints the US as trying to spread democracy, hope, justice and the light of freedom in the world. Strange thing is, you can only do that by ACTING BETTER THAN THE ALTERNATIVE. And if the options you want to keep open are things like nuking, carpet bombing cities, blowing up weddings and hospitals, spreading mines and teratogenic substances, and such, then you aren't acting better. What you want is to win the hearts and minds of the population... and such acts turn people against you whatever else you then do. The kill counter seems to be above a million iraqis by now, do you seriously think they will see you as an alternative? If you can't win the population over even without doing such things, then maybe you shouldn't be there at all.

Second: Your current enemies are non-state actors. You do not go to war against non-state actors. Then again, the US has even managed to go to war on human emotions like terror, so I guess I should not be surprised.

If this sounds caustic, understand that I do not blame the soldiers. These issues are ones where the responsibility weighs squarely on the shoulders of politicians and other leaders.


Smarnil le couard wrote:

Finally, do you really think that the perspective of harsh treatment (that is, not getting a regular POW treatment) would deter people wlling to risks their lives to fight you ? I don't think that it takes less courage to become an insurgent than to become a regular soldier.

Also, if I was an insurgent, I would be more prone to surrender if I was sure to get a fair treatment... And more prone to fight to the bitter end if not.

This is important. People used to want to surrender to the US, because they knew they'd get good treatment. That's gone now. Gone for generations, at the least.

As I understand the Conventions, there are 2 categories: POWs and criminals. The first you imprison, under the proper conditions until hostilities end. (Which is probably a more difficult question.) The second you try as criminals if you have evidence or release if you don't.
There's no exception for "bad guys" who we can't (or don't want to) prove have committed crimes but we aren't going to treat as POWs so we're just going to lock them up for decades and mistreat them .

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I think I was reading it backwards. I went back and looked at the quote and Protocol I requires you to treat captured insurgents the same as uniformed combatants. I was misreading it that you were supposed to try them as civilian criminals, but that's the opposite of what it actually says.

Either way, the point I was trying to make is that since Protocol I dictates the legal status of non-uniformed combatants, it withholds the ability to determine that status. Non-state actors make that status difficult to determine on a case-by-case basis, let alone with some kind of blanket policy. I don't think that we, as a nation, are at a point where we're willing to abdicate our ability to be flexible in determining these things. Admittedly these are murky legal waters and smarter legal eagles than me are still working it out--so I must defer by saying IANAL.

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Andrew Turner wrote:
I find it interesting that the couple parody threads (parodies of this thread) were locked. As far as I can tell, they were benign and, in their own way, as valid as this ridiculous thread, which is a painfully obvious attempt to start arguments.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:


I have already expressed my solidarity with the closed threads.

That being said: people, exercize some self-control. If a thread with a title such as "Is America a Rogue State?" makes you go into an apoplectic fit, then perhaps you shouldn't open said thread.

Some posters, such as myself, enjoy arguing about politics. Others enjoy talking about bacon. Still others, apparently, enjoy going into a thread and calling people ridiculous for discussing the things that they enjoy discussing...

Also, I'm going to follow Andrew Turner's example and favorite my own post.

I opened this thread to read the arguments--as Paizonians like you know, I enjoy a good argument and the OTD section is my favorite because of the arguments. As to my ridiculous comment (ha, ha), I didn't mean anyone per se was ridiculous, just that the parody threads weren't any more ridiculous than this thread (political parody is as important as political discussion), and that's probably how I should have said it yesterday.

I favorite comments I make that I want to go back to. It's also narcissism--no, it's really just a short-term catalogue method.


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My bad, Citizen Turner. Would you like to have make-up cybersex?


Charlie Bell wrote:
I think I was reading it backwards. I went back and looked at the quote and Protocol I requires you to treat captured insurgents the same as uniformed combatants. I was misreading it that you were supposed to try them as civilian criminals, but that's the opposite of what it actually says.

Could be, legalese can be... well, circonvoluted. No big deal. Law is my main area of expertise (IAAL; had to google this one). On the other hand, my military experience is limited to my draft in 91-92, first in the heavy artillery (155mm howitzers), then in an infanterie de marine armored regiment. No combat experience to speak of, and frankly, glad of it.

Charlie Bell wrote:
Either way, the point I was trying to make is that since Protocol I dictates the legal status of non-uniformed combatants, it withholds the ability to determine that status. Non-state actors make that status difficult to determine on a case-by-case basis, let alone with some kind of blanket policy. I don't think that we, as a nation, are at a point where we're willing to abdicate our ability to be flexible in determining these things. Admittedly these are murky legal waters and smarter legal eagles than me are still working it out--so I must defer by saying IANAL.

I understood this part of your statement, but it seems to me than "keeping our options open to determine the status of insurgents on a case by case basis" is another way of saying "getting ourselves stuck in a legal quagmire".

Granting POW status to insurgents would be simpler. The current case by case policy just means that :
1) whatever CO is at hand will have to take a decision at his whim, or according to the political mood of the moment;
2) nobody sane will surrender to the US army, as he would have no idea if he will end up in a POW camp, be handed to local authorities (which obviously are either US stooges, or cowed into submission by the invasion), get shot as a spy, or disappear in a secret CIA prison to get tortured (it doesn't matter if those practices still exist or not; their reputation will now linger for decades).
3) all the while, you will get booed by the world crowd. Scary !

Obviously, if the US army doesn't know what to do about insurgents, the wisest course would be to abstain from invading and occupying foreign countries for ten years on dubous motives (thinking about Iraq here, not Afghanistan, who deserved it)...

Of course, the grunts are not responsible for that policy : they are just the one who enact it on the field, and have then to bear its ugly consequences.

Anyway, Protocol I or not, the insurgents will keep doing insurgent things. Iraqi and afghani insurgents will keep using guerilla tactics to strike at the world's most powerful army, as any other tactical choice would be doomed to failure, in exactly the same way that french resistants used guerilla tactics against the german army, who at the time had the same reputation for invincibility.

Frankly, taking arms against the US army takes so much balls that you or me would have to walk bow-legged. Dismissing insurgents as stupid, brain-washed scum not worthy of the same privileges as regular soldiers (that is POW status) can be seen as thoughtless arrogance from your governement.

Sometimes, I wonder if the problem could be that your government really can't bring itself to realize that even your opponents can be fellow humans worthy of respect, despite of the fact they don't agree with US policy. I don't know if it comes from dumb naivete ("how could they be so daft to refuse our wonderful gift of democracy? They must hate our liberties!"), cynical hypocrisy ("human rights are only for my friends : long live the Empire!"), intellectual laziness ("I... don't... care... about their... motives. Too complicated!") or another cause.

Please, do consider for a moment that the afghani mujahideen were celebrated by Ronald Reagan as freedom fighters, twenty five years ago. Same guys, same country, same situation : the only change is the troops targeted. How exactly did they morphed into brainless islamist gun-bait zombies ?

A little levity, to conclude : I'm willing to take bets about the time that the local governements put in place in Iraq or Afghanistan will take to crumble if your troops (and NATO's, in the case of the latter) were to finally depart. Could be hours, in Karzai's case : his Most Excellent Scumbagginess will probably rejoin your tax dollars in Switzerland even before the last GI takes off.


About the OP : obviously, "rogue state" is a subjective term, relative to the "norm" that the "rogue" is supposed to violate.

Even more obviously, if the USA are seen as the source of that norm, they can't be rogue as they are the ones to put other states on some sort of "black list of rogue states".

If the norm is the United Nations, then the USA are objectively a rogue state since their non sanctioned invasion of Iraq. They can live with that.

On that topic, I'm under the impression that some posters here have a very low opinion of the UN. Could they explain why they hold that opinion ? I'm curious.

Mine is that the UN had been a major progress of WW2, as its creation provided another way to settle disputes short of armed conflict. It improved on the powerless SDN by allowing resolutions to be backed by armed force (originally, the UN were meant to have their own armed forces, mostly air power).

It surely had been crippled by the Cold War (getting used as a influence tool by one camp or the other), and since its end by the way the USA only considers its authority when convenient, but the idea of a worldwide supreme authority to promote a fair and peaceful resolution of conflicts is still useful.

For instance, withdrawing the decade-long US veto on upholding the UN resolutions on the Palestine conflict would deprieve terrorists of one of their main arguments for easy recruitment... And yes, shrink back Israel to its 1967 borders. Guess it wouldn't please the AIPAC!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

You know the US military isn't in Iraq anymore, right? We have an embassy there now. Iraq continues to deal with criminal violence but you can't explain that by saying they just want the US out of their country.

As to dehumanizing the insurgents: dumb insurgents don't last very long. The smart ones change tactics so we have a harder time tracking them. The top-level guys didn't get there by being stupid. Nonetheless we have some fundamental disagreements with them and I don't mean foreign policy. IMO the worst of these are the suicide bomb facilitators. These are people who will take mentally disabled people, distraught teenagers, and even children and calculatingly manipulate them into blowing themselves up. That's Evil with a capital E.

I can't speak for other posters about the UN, but IMO I think we distrust the UN because we have hegemony and we therefore distrust anything that abridges our independence. I'm a little leery of a body where a voting bloc of third-world banana dictatorships that covet our prosperity could make decisions that are binding on us. You have to remember that it was scarcely 200 years ago that we decided we weren't taking orders from Europe anymore. Another part of this is that I'm a big right-to-bear-arms guy and the UN is continually passing anti-small-arms-proliferation stuff that, if enforced or adopted by the US, would adversely affect our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. I think the UN does have a valuable role in conflict intervention between sovereign nations, but I don't think its mandate covers usurping that sovereignty in any form.


Charlie Bell wrote:
You know the US military isn't in Iraq anymore, right? We have an embassy there now. Iraq continues to deal with criminal violence but you can't explain that by saying they just want the US out of their country.

I know it, but must admit I had completely forgotten about it while adding my last paragraph (the one about the snarkish bet). Sorry, and heartfelt thanks for correcting me.

The violence in Iraq runs along ethnic/religious differences in the population. The Iraqi government is dominated by shiites, who were the whipped underdogs of the previous regime. As the sunnites and chiites represent roughly an equal percentage of the population (with a small advantage for the latter) and hate each others' guts, unrest will probably last a while, with a serious risk of a civil war. Add to this Kurds who dreams to secede to create a new Kurdistan, which will in turn destabilize the turkish Kurdistan, and you have the recipe for a fine mess. Nobody can know how it will end.

Charlie Bell wrote:
As to dehumanizing the insurgents: dumb insurgents don't last very long. The smart ones change tactics so we have a harder time tracking them. The top-level guys didn't get there by being stupid. Nonetheless we have some fundamental disagreements with them and I don't mean foreign policy. IMO the worst of these are the suicide bomb facilitators. These are people who will take mentally disabled people, distraught teenagers, and even children and calculatingly manipulate them into blowing themselves up. That's Evil with a capital E.

I agree with that sentiment, but suicide bombing is a method used by djihadist terrorists, not nationalist insurgents. You had to face both in Iraq, but do not confuse them. They use different methods to reach very different goals.

Charlie Bell wrote:
I can't speak for other posters about the UN, but IMO I think we distrust the UN because we have hegemony and we therefore distrust anything that abridges our independence. I'm a little leery of a body where a voting bloc of third-world banana dictatorships that covet our prosperity could make decisions that are binding on us. You have to remember that it was scarcely 200 years ago that we decided we weren't taking orders from Europe anymore. Another part of this is that I'm a big right-to-bear-arms guy and the UN is continually passing anti-small-arms-proliferation stuff that, if enforced or adopted by the US, would adversely affect our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. I think the UN does have a valuable role in conflict intervention between sovereign nations, but I don't think its mandate covers usurping that sovereignty in any form.

In the UN, the most important body (the one with the power to issue mandatory resolutions) is the Security Council. Its composition heavily favors first world powers. The assembly (where each country has one vote, so dominated by small countries) can only vote non mandatory resolutions, with symbolic value.

From the top of my mind, I'm not aware of UN policies with such direct impacts on the domestic policies of its members. As far as I know, the UN only care about international matters (caveat : interventions motivated by humanitarians emergencies). Do you have an exemple of such sovereignty usurpation?


Smarnil le couard wrote:

On that topic, I'm under the impression that some posters here have a very low opinion of the UN. Could they explain why they hold that opinion ? I'm curious.

Because the UN doesn't interfere when it should. It has no power, it has no balls, it has about as much effect on the conflict as a cheerleader at a football game.

I realize not wanting to step on the US's job as current world ruling empire, but no one is going to sit around and wait for the approval of a body who's only answer to "should we fight NOW?" is no. Its just a place for people to go, yell at each other and pretend they're doing something.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Smarnil le couard wrote:

On that topic, I'm under the impression that some posters here have a very low opinion of the UN. Could they explain why they hold that opinion? I'm curious.

Because the UN doesn't interfere when it should. It has no power, it has no balls, it has about as much effect on the conflict as a cheerleader at a football game.

I realize not wanting to step on the US's job as current world ruling empire, but no one is going to sit around and wait for the approval of a body who's only answer to "should we fight NOW?" is no. Its just a place for people to go, yell at each other and pretend they're doing something.

First of I support the UN - it was through the UN we have things like the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty - Its not perfect but its better than every state and its dog having access to its own H Bomb.

Also the UN is good at organising disaster relief and long term aid for the most part.

"A 2005 RAND Corp study found the UN to be successful in two out of three peacekeeping efforts. It compared UN nation-building efforts to those of the United States, and found that seven out of eight UN cases are at peace, as compared with four out of eight US cases at peace.[34] Also in 2005, the Human Security Report documented a decline in the number of wars, genocides and human rights abuses since the end of the Cold War, and presented evidence, albeit circumstantial, that international activism—mostly spearheaded by the UN—has been the main cause of the decline in armed conflict since the end of the Cold War.[35] Situations where the UN has not only acted to keep the peace but also occasionally intervened include the Korean War (1950–1953), and the authorization of intervention in Iraq after the Persian Gulf War in 1990." (Lifted from wiki)

As for the US paying for the UN for a decade the US hamstrung the UN by refusing to pay its contributions 1995 - 2005 it owed the UN over 1.2 billion. That's not cool, its like refusing to pay for your round of drinks after you ordered the expensive cocktails on other peoples turns when everybody else was buying beer. People noticed and thought less of the US for it.

As an outsider when the US complains about the UN - The rest of the world see it as the US telling the UN what it should be doing the UN disagreeing and the US threatening to take its bat and ball and go home.

Its the United Nations not the United States Nations - The rest of the world is allowed its freedom of speech and its democratic right to disagree. As shytey as that and wrongheaded as some of the UN decisions are, (the US (and its allies) have every right to complain, or abstain from) the UN also represents the say of the rest of the world (even if a lot of those states in the rest of the world are not democracies).


How much does the UN pay the US in rent for the building it uses?
How much would that property go for in NY if it wasn't given to them for free?
Do we seriously pay them 120 mil a year in dues? For 2/3rds success?!?

NOPE:

In 2005, the US paid 22% of the UN's entire budget at 367.2 million dollars.
The next highest, was Japan at 19.47% at 279.6 million.

So, 2 nations carried 41% out of 192 member nations.
This is just money. Which country has fielded the largest percentage of troops when the UN decided military action was necessary?
Yup, the US.

If the US (or Japan) wants to b*~+% about the UN, I say they've earned it. With money and blood.

Source: UN.org


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Kryzbyn wrote:

How much does the UN pay the US in rent for the building it uses?

How much would that property go for in NY if it wasn't given to them for free?
Do we seriously pay them 120 mil a year in dues? For 2/3rds success?!?

NOPE:

In 2005, the US paid 22% of the UN's entire budget at 367.2 million dollars.
The next highest, was Japan at 19.47% at 279.6 million.

So, 2 nations carried 41% out of 192 member nations.
This is just money. Which country has fielded the largest percentage of troops when the UN decided military action was necessary?
Yup, the US.

If the US (or Japan) wants to b$$** about the UN, I say they've earned it. With money and blood.

Source: UN.org

22% is roughly in line with the size of the US economy. Should each nation pay the same amount? Maybe Tuvala (GDP ~$30 million) should pay the same as the US?

And the US gets an absolute veto on almost anything significant the UN does, which it does use. And then complains, when the other permanent members do the same, that the UN is useless.


It is what it is. If Tuvala can't give money, maybe more manpower (not troops, obviously) or something else...or if they are so insignificant, why are they a member nation? But Tuvala isn't the issue. UK only pays 88 mil. France even less.
Paying based on GDP isn't the best method, unless you're encouraging all nations to get to the point that their GDPs can compete equally.

Absolute veto is nice, and deserved. But when you figure if we weren't part of the UN, we'd still have a full veto considering our own sovereignty, and with our reach and power, it's laughable. If the US wasn't part of the UN, there would be no UN.

Dark Archive

I think that all of the permanent members of the UN Security Council can be considered "rogue states", since they have the power to pursue their goals without any fear of any kind of sanction - and they use that power. Frequently. I have a privilege of being a citizen of a country that was bombed by US. At the time, that was called an action of mercy, but we were a bit cynical about that and assumed that it had something to do with spinning away the Monika Levinski scandal.

So, right now most of the people hate US. At the same time, US movies are the most popular ones; most of the younger generation has at least a smattering of English; books by American authors are by far the most popular - even more than those by British or Canadian authors; American comics have a devoted following.

Most people here can perceive the difference between the actions of US government and ordinary American people. The most common opinion of US, perhaps, is that it is the nation of hypocrites with an addiction to bad food. Perhaps that opinion is not based in reality, but there it is.

Silver Crusade

I'm gonna have to make apologies to all, but I have got to get caught up on my school work-- papers are coming due and I do not have time to engage in the debates here as much as they deserve. Gonna try to follow along, but I have to mainly take my leave of actively presenting arguments for a while.

Couple'a quick comments before I fade to watching:

Smarnil-- I agree with you, re-- we need to treat people captured in war (including insurgents) as POWs-- I'm a little surprised you didn't see that already, since I said I was appalled by the way my gov't has decided to handle the issue. I'm not sure there is a good answer to the insurgent dilemma, because you're right: if you're an insurgent, you're going to have to make use of the ability to blend in with the population, or you will be caught and destroyed much faster. On the other hand-- by doing so, they guarantee that the civilian population is at massively increased risk, because it becomes extremely difficult to determine who's an insurgent, and who's just a (stupid) civilian engaged in suspicious-looking but still innocent activity. Insofar as we have actually launched attacks on homes and buildings that really did just have innocent civilians (and no insurgents inside), it's because the mistake is easy to make when the insurgents and the general population all look the same.

Regarding the U.N.-- at this point, yes, I hold a very very low opinion of the U.N.-- because the General Assembly is overrun with the vast horde of small nations with no teeth, run by questionable governments, all of whom think they should get to have an equal voice no matter how little they contribute-- and the resolutions passed by the General Assembly have included a lot of crap; meanwhile, in the Security Council, where the real decisions get made-- sometimes it's the U.S. Veto, sometimes it's the Russians or the Chinese-- but, the U.N. is utterly useless most of the time when it counts, because in most critical situations, one of the five permanent members is going to drop a veto on it. And-- because the U.N. IS functionally impotent-- there ARE NO United Nations forces, there are only the forces that member nations are willing to provide.... and in too many cases, that means either the United States/Europe/NATO gets involved and actually gets the job done-- or nothing gets done. The United Nations is a great idea, but once again it's been very very poor in execution.

TheJeff: Yes, it'd be nice if the United States didn't invade other countries and get involved in counter-insurgency campaigns-- on the other hand-- what should we have done about the September 11th, 2001, attacks? Leave Al-Qaeda's training camps and bases in Afghanistan alone and not done anything at all? And regarding Iraq: wrong war, wrong time-- maybe. But don't blame the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have had to go fight this war-- blame the godd**n politicians (that the American sheep keep sending back to office) who have made the decisions that have sent us to war and have kept us involved in these fights. So long as the orders are legal (as determined under U.S. Law, in U.S. Courts)-- we who serve in the military don't get to decide what wars we will or will not fight in-- that's something the civilians in charge of our government get to decide, and that the folks in the military have to pay the real price, in blood, for those decisions.

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