Saturday, April 2, 2011

Matt Laur wonders if we should aid Al Qaeda? Sure sounds like it.

Cue the Cluebat:

Mrs. Bachman should have pressed him on this remarkably obtuse question:

Let me flip that coin on its other side. If there are flickers, as you say, of al Qaeda among the rebels, would it not be a sign to them or show them that the United States has compassion and we are willing to use our military might to help all people?

Sign to "them"? Who is them? You're kidding, right? What is the point? If we show "them" that we have compassion, they'll refrain from flying passenger jets into our buildings and the Pentagon? Are you freaking serious?

What a dumb ass question. She should have nailed him on it.

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Dance Off! Brave Sir Julian v Night at Roxbury lads.

First, Brave Sir Julian Asschapeu, Brave Knight of the Multi-hued Coif, international man of mystery, and ladies man:

Not bad. Not bad, for solo-narcissistic dance sans mirrors for self appreciation.

Next: the lads from the Roxbury:

These guys don't need mirrors. They have each other. They could use a fourth.

Sir Julian? Sir Julian?

Goldstone grudgingly admits 2008-09 Gaza war report was a load of old cobblers

From the WAPO

And now admits to breathtakingly naivety vis Hamas. Key bits interspersed with snark:

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

While I welcome Israel’s investigations into allegations, I share the concerns reflected in the McGowan Davis report that few of Israel’s inquiries have been concluded and believe that the proceedings should have been held in a public forum. Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.

Translation: We accused Israel of intentionally targeting and killing civilians on no other evidence that that there were dead civilians. We might have been a bit hasty. Oopsies.

Israel’s lack of cooperation with our investigation meant that we were not able to corroborate how many Gazans killed were civilians and how many were combatants. The Israeli military’s numbers have turned out to be similar to those recently furnished by Hamas (although Hamas may have reason to inflate the number of its combatants).

As I indicated from the very beginning, I would have welcomed Israel’s cooperation. The purpose of the Goldstone Report was never to prove a foregone conclusion against Israel. I insisted on changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was skewed against Israel. I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within. Something that has not been recognized often enough is the fact that our report marked the first time illegal acts of terrorism from Hamas were being investigated and condemned by the United Nations. I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.

Translation: Israel is at least partially to blame for the shoddy report I was responsible for because....they didn't give me every last bit of info they had, which of course, as the grand high poobah of objectivity, I was absolutely entitled to. Oh, and about Hamas: We are SHOCKED, shocked, to discern that they may have a reason for being less than truthful about numbers of killed and ratio of combatant to non-combatant dead. Boy if we knew then what we know now. Man. Were we taken for a ride. Sorry folks.

Cue: Enter cluebat from stage left.

Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.

Cue: Cluebat swings into action, chasing Mr. Goldstone around the stage. Goldstone excitedly dodging the blows, runs around flailing and protesting his innocence.

In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds

Translation: I'm deeply hurt that Hamas didn't behave in a way that is so obviously not in keeping with what is their wont that I....that I....

I continue to believe in the cause of establishing and applying international law to protracted and deadly conflicts. Our report has led to numerous “lessons learned” and policy changes, including the adoption of new Israel Defense Forces procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare and limiting the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas. The Palestinian Authority established an independent inquiry into our allegations of human rights abuses — assassinations, torture and illegal detentions — perpetrated by Fatah in the West Bank, especially against members of Hamas. Most of those allegations were confirmed by this inquiry. Regrettably, there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Simply put, the laws of armed conflict apply no less to non-state actors such as Hamas than they do to national armies. Ensuring that non-state actors respect these principles, and are investigated when they fail to do so, is one of the most significant challenges facing the law of armed conflict. Only if all parties to armed conflicts are held to these standards will we be able to protect civilians who, through no choice of their own, are caught up in war.

...Will now admit the bleeding obvious: our report was a load of old cobblers. And now, the results of my meditations:

We need to hold the barbarian responsible for not adhereing to LOAC. Maybe, just maybe they should not be granted the same rights and privaleges that lawful combatants receive.

Cue: Cluebat.