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Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Answer Man

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Q: What is The Law of War?

A: Confusing at the least.

Most Americans today are highly concerned about the economic morass we are in, the illegal immigration problem, border drug wars, the right to live issue, or sexual peccadillo. In the meantime constitution expert, and syndicated columnist, Nat Henthoff, pounds relentlessly away on the illegality of President Obama's drone warfare and assassination by presidential approval. He says this is not what we are all about.

(By the way, the prediction here is that Henthoff will go ballistic if the Supreme Court gives police the right for a continuous surveillance on our automobiles.)

Columnist, Donna Brazile, who approves just about everything, Obama does, says, "Those who test Obama will quickly find out he has a " spine of steel." This is the antithesis in meaning about George Bush's aggression. She indicated Bush has a head of steel.

Henthoff and others say that this is against the Law of War; that it is not what America is all about; that it is being carried out in secrecy by the CIA with little care to the collateral damage and murder of innocent people; that it is unconstitutional, "Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Madison, be damned."

Henthoff points out that when General Petraeus (who had led our forces in Afghanistan) became the present head of the CIA he took off his uniform thereby becoming a civilian lacking combatant immunity. He says, once again, it is against The Law of War for the CIA to engage in warfare approved by no one but the President.

The Law of War? Just exactly what does it mean? War has always been about man's inhumanity to man. The strategy has always been to set up if possible a completely unequal balance whereby you can destroy property and slaughter a great many people.

So you look up "The Law of War" on the computer, and it seems to do with certain rights granted by uniformed proprieties recognized by authorized governments. Or does it? The crazed loonies who crashed into our twin towers were not in uniform and not recognized (at least overtly) by any government.

A lot of theory in modern warfare seems to come from the Nuremberg Trials that sat up a guideline for what constitutes a war crime. They say for instance that it is no longer an acceptable excuse to say that I was just following orders from my superior. Well.... except when necessary.

Nuremberg also says that any person charged internationally has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law. That one sort of puts a taint on drone warfare, or assassination by presidential edict.

The problem for those of us not in the know is just what constitutes a "Law of War?" Or has it ever even existed? War, by any other name, is still war. Hasn't trying to some how legalize it become little but hypocrisy? Any nation today can justify their actions on the grounds of fighting fire with fire, or protecting their citizens.

President Bush was excoriated by many people for an illegal invasion of Iraq. Now President Obama is conducting a program of drone warfare where innocents will fall with the guilty.

Nat Henthoff is undoubtedly right from a moral and constitutional standpoint. And he never lets up on his position. Is he, and maybe a few like him, the last bastion of an America we like to think of ourselves as being?

Q: Why doesn't baseball have the hip swaying, strutting, and in your face, that football has.

A: There is a thing called the ninety eight mile an hour fastball that when properly delivered can do serious damage to the noggin. It discourages showing off.

The Answer man
The Answer Man