The Moral Responsibility for Systematic Civilian Deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan

Muslim Matters

The Moral Responsibility for Systematic Civilian Deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Berkeley–At the end of last year the last year, Neta Crawford, an expert on the morality of modern warfare talked to several of us around a modest table on the “morality” of modern warfare. Of course, Saint Augustine set up the traditional Western norms of the conduct of War in Late Activity in the Fourth Century (CE), but after the Byzantine Empire was crumbling and there was a substantial Islamic presence on the Mediterranean, Muslim philosophers picked up from Augustine, and developed a philosophy that was a logical extension. Therefore, the historical basis for waging and the concept of conflict are similar in both the Christian and the Islamic Worlds!

Neta seemed to be working from the Anthropology of War. Her focus was on collateral damage. For her, accidents and inadvertent damage lead to deliberate deaths. The killings of noncombatants are all too common, but they are, also commonly denied! She began to speak about the frequent military atrocities that are appearing in America’s two concurrent “Colonial” Wars.”

Many of these civilian casualties are avoidable since they occur a considerable distance from the actual battlefield. Dr. Crawford quoted an officer speaking about these native residents of the land, “Each of [these people] are an individual investment” of their humanity.

Most of the deaths have been in combat been between allies! There are no “body counts” anymore as there were during the Vietnam era. So, it is hard to obtain even “ballpark” figures. Yet, is there a pattern in Iraq and Afghanistan? “Who is responsible for these deaths?” W. Bush “insisted on applying a ‘precision’ War upon an already defeated Army!” (This may be why the U.S. military is failing, by the way.) The current regime has applied precision on purpose!

Washington’s numbers of deceased combatants are inflated. Our false claims of insurrections have purposely put innocents in the line of fire! Of course, the United Nations (U.N) and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) on the ground deny the U.S.A.’s assertions. President Karzai of Kabaul has stated, “…This does not mean Afghan lives have no meaning.” These systematic atrocities are decided at the secretarial level – not by individuals. That means that martial torture, comes from a well thought out policy.

“War is a collective activity. Thus, it is outside [the state of] murder.” Therefore also, “We cannot put the blame upon individuals.” War merely follows the rules of engagement. (However, your author gravely disagrees with Ms, Neta’s position. There are War crimes and crimes against humanity, battle must only be fought when there is no other option, and it must be waged with the greatest restraint. This D.C. has failed to pursue with courageous honor through the first decade of the Twenty-first Century.)

If atrocity is normalized; then, it becomes systematic, and, consequently, structuralized. If it deteriorates further, the foundation of the Armed Services will collapse leading to defeat. That is the danger that District of Columbia finds itself at the moment because, as a strong country, it has decided to contest our martial competitors at their weakest moral level.

Fortified bureaucracies differ than other specialized orgs. An American General confessed to Neta Crawford, “We are own worst enemies.” Many tactics are more likely to cause Civilian casualties than others violating the Geneva Conventions. Lately, “…the United States of America’s divisions are showing improved [restrain] prospectively and retrospectively.”

Except for non-State phenomena like Al-Quaida, “State-run actors make War decisions,” and their “…institutions are made accountable for their ensuing aggression!” D.C. does not provide enough oversight over our Armed Forces or their Institutions within. Independent auditors should be hired, and brought into the Pentagon to produce a consistence and regular report for Congress.

Yet, there are no moves to reign in an almost rampant bellicose establishment. Any audit should promote reform within the ranks. Unfortunately, the public sphere cannot not function, for they cannot act effectively, however. Not all citizens can perform equally.

A politically charged public can force the State to proceed candidly. The Public should demand that the Army be under the command of the Nationally elected Civil Head of State. We see this evolve the Islamic Country of Pakistan, for instance.

The United Nations along with the International Court of Justice have been creating an International global Civil Society

Neta, in her conclusion, emphasized that an International Civil Society, will change to encourage the responsibility to find peace in the Middle East and the Hindu Kush heights.


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