Site Meter

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

More on Defending Civilians

Al Jazeera and agencies writes

Meanwhile, United Nations and French military forces also launched attacks against Gbagbo's heavy weaponry on Monday claiming the weapons had been used to target civilians.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke to Ouattara twice on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Cote d'Ivoire.

"There have not been new strikes by the Licorne force this morning," Thierry Burkhard, the French armed forces spokesman, said, referring to France's 1,650-strong force which destroyed rocket-propelled grenade launchers and television transmitters with missiles.

So it seems agreed that television transmitters are "heavy weaponry" and that civilians have to be protected from dangerous TV.

I believe that the US bombing of Serbian TV was a war crime. I don't like typing that. I supported the war on Serbia over Kosovo as the least bad option. But TV journalists are civilians no matter how dishonest they are. To make things as clear as possible, I absolutely oppose bombing Fox News itself.

This case is less clear. I hope that no one was hurt by the French bombs. Knocking out antenae with no people around doesn't seem to me to be a war crime. However it sure looks like an act of war and not an act of "protecting civilians."

I'm old fashioned and I don't think that "making war" and "protecting civilians" have the exact same meaning.

On substance, I think that Sarkozy made the right choice when he ordered his soldiers to join the war against Gbagbo. To my mind the correct definition of sovereignty is that the people are sovereign and if their wish has been made clear to all disinterested observers by an election, foreigners may assist the people in achieving their will.

Also, joining a war in course is different from starting a war.

Finally, the outcome is no longer in doubt, so coming to the aid of the victors is a way of getting the war over sooner.

I merely note that while fighting the good enough fight, French officials are also lying.

No comments: