The Duck of Minerva

Hobgoblins of a Little Mind

25 October 2011

The US does not negotiate with terrorist groups.*^

*This statement does not yet apply to the Haqqani Network in Pakistan; even though its founder and senior leadership have all been individually designated as terrorists. 

[ Oh, come on Vikash, the US negotiated with “reached out” to that group before Admiral Mullen’s testimony to Congress. Until that testimony we had no idea that  a group founded and led by people we call terrorists could actually be considered a terrorist “group.”  Sure the Haqqanis are vicious individually, but as a group they’re like the Cub Scouts. Seriously, though it’s not like the Haqqani Network is the same as Al Qaeda.  Anyway, if you designate the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization that might mean that Pakistan would be declared a state sponsor of terror and that would be bad because … umm … our ally might stop cooperating with us in the War on Terror. ]

^This statement also does not apply to individual Al Qaeda linked militants who might be of some use to the US in overthrowing the government of Libya.

[ Look, my friend, if he is willing to work with NATO, we should overlook all the indiscretions of his youth, and hopefully he will also overlook the fact that we tortured him and his wife and then handed him over to the Libyan regime for even more torture.  We all know that Qaddafi was the brutal one, right? ]

The US has a Responsibility to Protect unarmed civilians from brutal repression by armed aircraft or ground units.* ** ^

*This offer does not apply to pro-democracy demonstrators who happen to live within shouting distance of a major US military base.

[ Hey! We honestly thought those screams were coming from a loud party.  We did our duty, we called the Saudis and the Emiratis and they said they’d take care of that “noise complaint” for us… and umm… they did. Okay, seriously, we can’t just intervene in the domestic affairs of our allies, especially one that hosts the 5th fleet. Our responsibility isn’t to protect all civilians yearning to be free, only the civilians who aren’t being oppressed by our own allies. ]

**This offer certainly doesn’t apply if you happen to be Palestinian.

[ Don’t even think about it…  Look, if an occupying power has the responsibility to protect civilians under international law as the UN Special Rapporteur is arguing, that would mean that the US also had … ummm, well … let’s not even go there.  R2P can only apply to slaughtering your own citizens, otherwise, well… it is just too broad and there are too many dead bodies and troubling cases to cite the R2P principle… why dig up old war crimes accusations? We’ll be done with that war in December anyway. You have to be realistic, sometimes a state has to use lethal violence to pacify a rebellious population — a little shock and awe. And in the end it doesn’t matter because we’re immune from war crimes charges. So let’s look forward, not backward. ]

^This R2P principle also does not apply to attacks by American drones on American citizens.

[ Stop it.  Yes, he was a 16 year old American citizen — boohoo — but he was also the son of a traitorous citizen we just terminated. By running away from his mother to go look for his crazy father in Yemen, it was almost inevitable that he would become an Al Qaeda terrorist.  Anyway, executing our own citizens with drone strikes is not a form of brutal repression that can in anyway be compared to Libyans massacring or potentially massacring unarmed citizens with helicopter gunships…  For one thing we’ve only murdered three of our own citizens (so far)… stop being intentionally thick, you know there aren’t enough dead bodies to meet the R2P threshold. And your desire to draw an equivalence is really pretty stupid. Let me make it very clear for you my dim witted friend: we can commit as many mini-atrocities as we want; even if we unleash the slaughter of half a million civilians in an illegal war, that will never add up to a mass atrocity and you can’t cite R2P. Right or wrong it doesn’t matter anyway, they’re dead, let’s move on and not dwell in the past… 

And before you start yakking about our complicity in helping Pakistan kill scores of their civilians, let me just stop you and say that as long as we say we are targeting militants, then what we are doing is completely legal. It is tragic that civilians get killed, but that is just what happens and we don’t lose sleep over it. And we don’t have to answer to you or anyone else about what we’re doing over there.

You liberals are so frustrating. First you say we can’t subcontract torture to Syria anymore, then you tell us Libya is off the rendition list because it’s going democratic and now you’re saying we shouldn’t just kill anyone we suspect with drones. Sheez! Thank god we still have our old pals in Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan to protect our nation and humanity from lawless barbarians. ]