The Null Device

Americans cannot be war criminals

It's official: according the the UN, American nationals cannot, by definition, be war criminals, and crimes against humanity can only be committed by non-US nationals. At least for the next 12 months, renewable annually. And so, justice comes from the barrel of the biggest gun.

(What happens when China comes into its own as a world superpower, and demands that Chinese nationals be exempted from prosecution, threatening to sabotage the UN process if it's unfairly denied this privilege that the US has (as would be the rational thing for China to do faced with such a snub); or when Israel pushes for exemption for its operations in the Palestinian territories, with US backing? Or when Indonesia (the world's third most populous nation, and a potential economic and military powerhouse) starts doing so, and pushing its weight around? Or when a dozen other countries do the same? The criterion for exemption from prosecution doesn't seem to be anything other than "might makes right" (unless you believe in the doctrine of America's God-given Manifest Destiny or some other system of teleological mumbo-jumbo, of course). So we'll end up with a club of powerful nations who are above the law, and a puppet kangaroo court existing solely to try their defeated enemies and keep the small fry from rising above their station in world affairs.)

There are 11 comments on "Americans cannot be war criminals":

Posted by: Buster Hihmenn Sat Jul 13 23:04:26 2002

It's fifth, not third. Remember Britain sought an agreement with Afghanistan not to prosecute it's peascekeepers so your fears are coming to pass already.

Paradoxically this strengthens the power of the UN Security Council to oversee international treaties. Without this agreement, the US would have ceased to contribute to peacekeeping missions or worse, sabotaged all of them.

Posted by: Buster Hihmenn Sat Jul 13 23:06:26 2002

Any opinion on the whole Crocodile Hunter phenomenom?

Posted by: alex http:// Sun Jul 14 03:15:23 2002


o/` o/` Doo doooo do do do! o/` o/`


o/` o/` Doo do do do! o/` o/`


o/` o/` Doo doooo do doo doo, do doo doo, do doo do, do doo do doo doo do! do! doo doo! do! o/` o/`

Go back to your CNN, prole.

Posted by: Graham Sun Jul 14 05:11:50 2002

The Croc Hunter is a ruse to make Americans think of Australians as zany, lovable characters who have nothing better to do than to wrestle crocodiles. Fairly easy to do, considering how the yanks treat people like The Rock and Tupac as serious cultural figures.

Posted by: Dalbert http:// Sun Jul 14 15:45:12 2002

The Rock IS The Most Serious Cultural Figure In The YOO ESS AYE since Hulk Hogan!@!!

Posted by: Buster Hihmenn Sun Jul 14 19:21:29 2002

Don't be dissin Tupac

Posted by: Luke Mon Jul 15 06:38:28 2002

Why? 'Cause he'll pop a cap in my ass?


Posted by: quote-quote Mon Jul 15 13:11:55 2002

I, for one, am still awaiting that "Planet Starbucks" that Tyler Durden mentioned. The corporations will end up owning *everything*.

Posted by: acb Mon Jul 15 13:33:51 2002

Planet Starbucks is what some call the American Empire. Only most of America is just as much a colony as anywhere else.

The dominant species on Earth is no longer Homo sapiens; it is the corporation; a highly efficient predator comprised of databases, spreadsheets and countless humans, each seeing at most part of the picture. Its perception and motivation are the sum of the actions of its human and computerised components.

Or maybe not. Still, it's an image to think about, no?

Posted by: Chris Adams Tue Jul 16 07:15:10 2002

"What happens when China comes into its own as a world superpower, and demands that Chinese nationals be exempted from prosecution"? The same thing that will happen anyway - they'll either get it or stop paying attention to the court.

This is the main reason why the whole issue is much ado about nothing - if a superpower behaves in a civilized fashion, the agreement is unnecessary; if it doesn't, the court can't make it.

Posted by: acb Tue Jul 16 08:00:37 2002

Though, by this token, any superpower which intends to behave in a civilised fashion, and set an example for other nations, should have no problems about participating in an impartial international mechanism for punishing crimes against humanity.

Demanding to be exempted from prosecution is tantamount to claiming "we're the good guys, if we massacre civilians, it's for the greater good", or "we're stronger than you, we'll do what we please".

In essence, what the issue comes down to is the US saying that they won't even give lip service to the concept of being accountable for the most grievious crimes. Which (along with tearing up the ABM treaty, the Kyoto protocol, etc.) ushers in the spectre of a barbaric world where everybody does what they can get away with. That may be good enough for Saddam and his like, but we should be above that.

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