New articles in Foreign Policy: crimes against humanity

Nicolas J S Davies on US War Crimes and “normalized deviance.” “The normalization of deviance [Diane Vaughan’s phrase] from the rules and standards that formally govern U.S. foreign policy has been quite radical. And yet, as in other cases, this has gradually been accepted as a normal state of affairs, first within the corridors of power, then by the corporate media and eventually by much of the public at large. ….The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy lies at the very heart of our predicament.” read

Jon Lee Anderson. “Last week, the first tranche of those declassified documents was released. The documents revealed that White House and U.S. State Department officials were intimately aware of the Argentine military’s bloody nature, and that some were horrified by what they knew. Others, most notably Henry Kissinger, were not. ….Unlike McNamara, however, whose attempt to find a moral reckoning Kissinger held in such scorn, Kissinger has shown little in the way of a conscience. And because of that, it seems highly likely, history will not easily absolve him.” read

Melissa Dell, Pablo Querubin: More bombs, more shells, more napalm: Nation building through foreign intervention. Picking sites for top-down interventions: “The Air Force received over half of Vietnam wartime appropriations and twice as many tons of explosives were dropped during the war as during WWII, making bombing particularly central to the conflict (Thayer 1975). Our recent paper exploits a newly discovered algorithm component of US bombing strategy in Vietnam that includes discontinuities useful for identifying causal effects (Dell and Querubin 2016). The US used quantitative scoring of the security of Vietnamese population centres to decide which ones to bomb. A Bayesian algorithm combined data from 169 questions on security, political, and economic characteristics into a single hamlet security rating. The output ranged continuously from 1 to 5 (where 1 meant ‘very insecure’ and 5 meant ‘very secure’), but was rounded to the nearest whole number. Due to computational constraints, the continuous scores were not saved or printed from the mainframe computer, and Air Force planners only saw the rounded scores. ….Lessons drawn from the Vietnam War underscore how intensively focusing on top-down strategies could pose challenges to achieving US objectives, particularly when insurgents are tightly embedded amongst civilians as they are in the Middle East.” read

Claudia von Werlhof: The “Hatred of Life”: The World System which is Threatening All of Us. This term was first used by tthe Zapatistas to describe the system that was oppressing them. Werlfof expands it to cover the versions of patriarchy now dominating much of the world. “Patriarchy is a historical project that has reached its peak with capitalism. Because of its hatred of life it inevitably will collapse. It cannot replace the life it continuously destroys. Capital cannot return anything to life. The process of “patriarchization” is irreversible. It is a religion. And the patriarchs cannot stop believing in it, because they would otherwise be forced to return to matriarchy.” read

New articles in Foreign Policy: crimes against humanity

John McMurtry (2014): US holds record for killing innocent civilians. read

Felicity Arbuthnot: Hiroshima as a criminal enterprise. “Hiroshima’s bomb had a uranium-based detonation. Three days later on 9th August, Nagasaki was destroyed by a plutonium-based detonation to ascertain which would be the most “effective” in the new nuclear age warfare.

Not even a nod or thought had been given to the Hague Convention which had very specific legal guidelines to protection of civilians in war. One might speculate that Hiroshima also vapourised any pretention of such considerations for all time, in spite the subsequent Geneva Convention and it’s additional protocols.” read

Diana Johnstone on the lasting effects of Hiroshima. read

New articles in Foreign Policy: crimes against humanity

Israel Supreme Court continues secrecy on exports of weapons during Rwanda genocide. read

Nicolas Davies: The science of killing has become an impractical instrument of political domination. Agreeing with Richard Barnet’s 1972 book, But “record investments in the science of killing by the post-Cold War U.S. “Empire of Chaos” have failed to deliver political domination of any territory larger than Panama…..Even the most expensive weapons are only tools of death and destruction, not political magic wands. …..ending Obama’s drone wars may be even more vital than closing Guantanamo…..The destructive and destabilizing role our country has played in the world gives us a special responsibility, but also a unique opportunity, to play an equally disproportionate role in restoring peace as we have in plunging the world into war and chaos.” read