R. Linderman's Backtalk
being held "accountable" to a contract is not the same as being accountable
to legal process – the remedy for violating terms of a contract are financial,
Second, even so,
the terms of this contract place primacy on diplomatic security without regard
to the holistic counterinsurgency effort – every time a protected diplomat
or official makes it uninjured from Point A to Point B, Blackwater complies
with the terms of its contract, even when its uses of force in doing so work
counter to counterinsurgency strategy and doctrine.
has a colorable legal argument that the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction
Act (MEJA) does not apply to them because they are not "accompanying the
force" overseas – in light of the fact that they are in Iraq on State
Department contracts, not DoD contracts.
Fourth, no U.S.
attorney is clamoring to have a Blackwater MEJA case tried in his or her jurisdiction
because the alleged offenses do not occur in their districts, and they have
limited resources and plenty of work to do without importing cases based on
alleged crimes that occurred 8,000-12,000 miles away.
Fifth, using MEJA
in any case requires a modicum of political will and assumption of risk that
DoJ is yet to demonstrate.
Sixth, CPA Order
17, still honored by the Iraqi government, has historically been interpreted
so broadly that almost anything a security contractor does in Iraq is deemed
to be within the scope of his duties, and therefore immune from Iraqi process.
Seventh, the Uniform
Code of Military Justice is no help, despite a modest amendment in the FY07
NDAA permitting court-martial jurisdiction over civilians, because implementing
regulations are yet to be issued and because security contractors on DoS contracts
can interpose the same defense as in the MEJA cases.
if the Iraqis could assert legal jurisdiction, they, too, have demonstrated
a lack of will to push the envelope on their criminal jurisdictional powers,
knowing that it would provoke a political confrontation with the U.S. administration.
~ Major Rob Bracknell,
U.S. Marine Corps, judge advocate
Hoping Pelosi Peeves the Turks
Reese says that "The Ottoman government didn't survive much longer than
the Armenians. Defeated in World War I, it was replaced in a revolution led
by Kemal Ataturk. Thus, modern Turks and the present Turkish government are
as innocent as lambs of having played any part at all in the genocide."
He is wrong.
Even Turkish historians
have documented that Ataturk brought into his government many of the Turkish
officials that orchestrated the Armenian Genocide. Ataturk permanently suspended
the trial and prosecution of those responsible for the Armenian Genocide. Ataturk
directed the attack on and mass murder of the Armenians and Greeks at Smyrna
~ Francis K. Krikorian
City of Terror
inhabitants of Hebron massacred the entire Jewish population of Hebron in 1929.
It should only be fitting that when the Jews took over the town, that they should
kill every last inhabitant. In effect, when the first Jewish soldier marched
into Hebron, the Arabs were ready to leave the town. I believe in an eye for
an eye. If you would have lived in Hebron in 1929, you would think alike. Peace
and niceties do not work with Palestinian Arabs. The only thing an Arab is afraid
of is fear. If you, Ran HaCohen, would have lived under Arab/Palestinian domination,
you would have long since been a corpse. You are lucky to have the State of
Israel protect the right of all its inhabitants, Arabs included.
~ Josh Schon
notion that "the inhabitants of Hebron massacred the entire Jewish population
of Hebron in 1929" is totally uninformed. Most of the murderers in August
1929 were not inhabitants of Hebron, but of surrounding villages. They didn't
massacre the entire Jewish population, but 66 Jewish persons. On the other hand,
dozens of Arab families of Hebron gave shelter and saved the lives of more than
200 Jews during the massacre. The offspring of those saviors would undoubtedly
be impressed by your preaching about "an eye for an eye" morality
– a Biblical phrase that even traditional Jewish law has never been primitive
enough to take literally.
Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy
generally supportive of this article, but I would like to correct the record
on the U.S. restoration of Aristide to Haiti.
The author makes
a personal judgment: "African-American legislators pushed the Clinton administration
to invade Haiti. The U.S. had no policy reason to install a violent demagogue,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, as president of Haiti."
This is wrong
on all three assertions: That the U.S. installed him, that he is violent, and
that he is a demagogue.
Aristide had been
elected in the first open and fair election Haiti had ever seen, supported by
an overwhelming majority of the desperately poor population. He remains popular
– nobody contests that if he were to run for presidency today, he would
win hands down.
Soon after he
assumed the presidency, he was overthrown in a coup by elements of the military,
left over from the Tons Tons Macoutes, the brutal gangs of the Duvaliers, which
was supported by the Haitian elite who had benefited during the Duvalier dictatorships.
During the brief time of Aristide's rule, the boat traffic from Haiti basically
stopped. But as soon as he was overthrown, more and more desperate Haitians
took to the sea and fled Haiti on rafts, either to drown or hopefully to make
it to the U.S. The U.S. took to catching as many as it could and detaining them
at Guantanamo before repatriating them.
This was seen
as a major irritant by the U.S. Haiti was a source of instability that might
affect the security of the U.S. or its allies. I have no doubt that the American
invasion of Haiti and restoration of Aristide had much more to do with this
than protests by the "Haitian Lobby," including black Democratic representatives.
Aristide is a "violent demagogue" may spring from a CIA-based disinformation
campaign against him before and just after he was first deposed, accusing him
of being "mentally unstable." There was also a single speech he gave
to his main constituency – the poor – when the level and violence
of opposition to his lawful rule became clear upon his return. He made an offhand
reference to "necklacing" – the barbaric practice of placing
a tire around someone's neck and setting it on fire.
This was an unfortunate
statement, but his actions speak louder. He dissolved the armed forces, who
had been responsible for a great many incidents of lawless capture, torture,
and assassinations, and he moved towards the rule of law – what a concept in
a country that had been ruled by fiat or military juntas for decades!
During the lawless
times after his first ouster and after the U.S.-supported coup against him in
2003, violence, including murder, against his supporters reached epidemic status.
During his time in power, violence decreased and there was motion to increase
general education and decrease poverty. He did the best he could in a desperately
Please take the
time to be more accurate – the statements about Haiti mar an otherwise
~ Peter Henry
and Walt are so correct in their book, which I recently bought. The good news
is that we can still go back to "evenhandedness" and stop treating Israel with
the "Blank Check Syndrome." Maybe the world would have some respect for this
great nation once again.
I happen to be
one of the survivors of the deliberate attack on the USS Liberty on June
8, 1967, so I know how even Americans can be discriminated against. There has
never been a congressional investigation of this attack because the country
that did this seems to think it can just do whatever it wants.
~ Ron Kukal
Has Double Standard at Home and Abroad
Eland makes very good points about countries owning up to the sins of their
pasts (or presents). But he is slightly off in claiming that the U.S. has pressured
Lebanon into making democratic changes. First, Lebanon has been a democracy
since it was founded by the French, and it remained a democracy after gaining
its independence from France. The local elections held after the so-called Cedar
Revolution of 2005 were regularly scheduled parliamentary elections; they did
not arise out of the street demonstrations. Second, the U.S. now finds itself
in the position of preferring the current, less democratic system of presidential
elections (a simple parliamentary majority) than an open popular election. If
popular elections were held, it is likely that a candidate would win who, while
not favored by the U.S., would probably be the best candidate for Lebanon. The
U.S., as usual, is trying to preserve the status quo while masking its preferences
by a show of support for democracy.
~ David Wilmsen,
associate professor of Arabic, The American University of Beirut
I should have said that the U.S. has meddled in Lebanon's democratic process.