Inside the Outsider

Existential Questionaire

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“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Existential Crisis

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On 3rd October 2015 the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital was attacked in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Despite the fact the American forces operating in Afghanistan were aware of the hospital's location and were even contacted during the attack in an attempt to stop it, the assault lasted for 30 minutes. In this time at least 42 people were killed including 24 patients and 14 hospital staff.

The report into this despicable action was released by the Pentagon on 2nd May 2016, stating that it was merely a 'mistake'. As such,

Joseph Vote head of U.S. Central Command, said the Pentagon does not consider it a war crime.

Gen. Joseph Votel: "The fact that this was unintentional, an unintentional action, takes it out of the realm of actually being a deliberate war crime against persons or protected locations. So, that is the principal reason why we do not consider this to be a war crime."

The significance of this statement cannot be understated and the ramifications are enormous. Let's put this statement into some context. It implies any bombing or causation of civilian deaths which the American Military considers as unintentional and a mistake, fall outside the definition of a war crime. They are basically saying there is no sanction on any unintentional military action which results in civilian deaths - it is tantamount to declaring that civilian deaths are acceptable if an action is unintentional or considered a mistake.

The problem with this is that it not only legitimises civilian deaths caused by military action, but removes any real incentive within the American military to prevent civilian casualties. By removing the threat of an action being deemed a war crime due to it being unintentional, it promotes a very dangerous precedent and a reckless disregard for life. It means that regardless how incompetent, misjudged or badly planned a military operation may be - the people carrying it out cannot be held accountable. And yet, in virtually any other circumstance in life people are held accountable if they cause injury or death through the mistakes they make from the captain of a ship to a doctor whose operation goes wrong. The question must therefore be asked why these same rules do not apply to the callous behaviour of the American Military?  

 

 

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