UN calls missile strikes “summary executions”

posted at 8:48 am on October 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

As it happens, the US is not the only entity turning towards a law-enforcement model in the war on terror.  The UN has taken that approach as well, perhaps to a reductio ad absurdum that nonetheless will test Barack Obama’s decision on whether to pursue counterinsurgency strategy and his commitment to multilateralism at Turtle Bay.  In a report to the General Assembly, the top UN investigator accused the US of breaking international law by killing terrorists through missile strikes:

US drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan could be breaking international laws against summary executions, the UN’s top investigator of such crimes said.

“The problem with the United States is that it is making an increased use of drones/Predators (which are) particularly prominently used now in relation to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston told a press conference.

“My concern is that drones/Predators are being operated in a framework which may well violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” he said.

US strikes with remote-controlled aircraft against Al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan have often resulted in civilian deaths and drawn bitter criticism from local populations.

“The onus is really on the United States government to reveal more about the ways in which it makes sure that arbitrary extrajudicial executions aren’t in fact being carried out through the use of these weapons,” he added.

If I set out to write satire, I couldn’t do it this well.  Suddenly, killing one’s enemy has become a summary execution.  Would an arrest be considered a mugging?

Note too that while AFP mentions collateral civilian deaths, Alston doesn’t make that distinction.  The UN is concerned with whether the US has justification for killing Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, not whether we got the wrong targets.  “Summary executions” mean that we have not provided these poor dears with proper due process to determine whether they should have been killed at all.  It takes the law-enforcement approach to its natural, absurd conclusion, which is that armies are really nothing more than police officers with cooler weapons.

In a rational world, this would prove the utter uselessness of the UN in dealing with terrorism and terrorist networks.  In the Obama administration, however, I suspect that they’re already attempting to justify themselves to Alston, or worse, modifying an effective program that kills terrorist leaders and disrupts their plans to satisfy “international law” that forces us to act against our own interests in war.  The UN and a large number of Americans seem to forget that this is a war, not a domestic organized-crime problem, and that war means killing your enemies on the battlefield before they do the same to you, not finding a way to get them into court.

If this farce helped convince the Obama administration of that, it would be worth the laugh.   Unfortunately, this is not an administration capable of — or inclined towards — telling idiots from multilateral organizations to pound sand.


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Comment pages: 1 2

right2bright on October 28, 2009 at 8:53 AM

Kafir on October 28, 2009 at 9:17 AM

ROFLMAO

ExpressoBold on October 28, 2009 at 10:44 AM

The U.N. should be appropriatly re-badged…U.M. the United Muslims.

royzer on October 28, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Why is aggression a better philosophy than appeasement?

Aggressive policies are easier to control.

csdeven on October 28, 2009 at 9:27 AM

As a philosophy, it is important to remember that man’s natural state is conflict not peace. Appeasement doesn’t generally work because it simply leads to more conflict.

highhopes on October 28, 2009 at 10:51 AM

MaximusConfessor on October 28, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Got a link for this one, Max?

cs89 on October 28, 2009 at 10:52 AM

it is important to remember that man’s natural state is conflict not peace. Appeasement doesn’t generally work because it simply leads to more conflict.

highhopes on October 28, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Since we evolved from what we call the animal kingdom, we need only look at the “political” structure of the animal kingdom where it is constant bettle to be the leader of the pack. The conflict never stops. Since we evolved from this, why would we be any different?

WashJeff on October 28, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Aren’t there many member states in very good standing in the UN for which summary execution is the law of the land?

Zimbabwe seems to come quickly to mind, as does Somalia.

unclesmrgol on October 28, 2009 at 10:54 AM

bettle => battle

WashJeff on October 28, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Suddenly, killing one’s enemy has become a summary execution. Would an arrest be considered a mugging?

Nah….kidnapping.

OxyCon on October 28, 2009 at 10:55 AM

Why, oh why, couldn’t the 9/11ers have chosen the UN building instead?

GnuBreed on October 28, 2009 at 10:56 AM

UN is always on the side of the innocent and the abused :


the United Nations General Assembly … “condemns the military attack perpetrated against the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya on 15 April 1986, which constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law

runner on October 28, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Judging by the comments on this thread, two things seem to be true: (1) the John Birch Society was extremely ahead of the curve on this issue, and (2) a lot of us are Birchers now.

I remember the John Birch Society demanding that the US get out of the UN when I was in grade school. And Ike wuz prez. And dinosaurs roamed the Dakotas. And our house was never locked.

Sorry, got a little nostalgic over what used to be.

platypus on October 28, 2009 at 11:04 AM

UN

Useless Numbnuts.

profitsbeard on October 28, 2009 at 11:05 AM

platypus on October 28, 2009 at 11:04 AM

Yeah, I too remember the Bircher “Get US out of the UN” signs from the 60s. The thing is, back then the UN at least pretended to do good things, and in a few cases they actually did. But they got infected by a Marxist fetish combined with anti-semitism during the 70s and jumped the shark long ago. They are like an aging, partially demented family member who used to be a good guy 50 years ago but now is an embarrassment at every gathering. It’s time to cut our losses and admit that the UN may have sort of worked for a while, but those days are long gone, and now they do more harm than good. I for one am tired of listening to petty tyrants preach to us about human rights and moral conduct of warfare.

jwolf on October 28, 2009 at 11:12 AM

no UN, an execution is what happened to YOUR UN STAFF in Afganistan last night, when Taliban dressed in guard and cop uniforms stormed a hotel area reserved for UN staff and murdered them

THAT is an execution

and this is who Susan Rice and Obama and Samantha Powers want to have in charge of policing the world the UN

my God.

ginaswo on October 28, 2009 at 11:14 AM

If the UN was concerned about non combatants being killed they would put their efforts into demanding the Taliban and AQ wear uniforms.

fourdeucer on October 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM

If the UN was concerned about non combatants being killed they would put their efforts into demanding the Taliban and AQ wear uniforms.

fourdeucer on October 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM

But they already do. Every time the Americans show up, they put on their burkas.

platypus on October 28, 2009 at 11:27 AM

I had read that this will be the biggest issue with the drones, since the attacks are in villages.

It’s a flaw in the Biden plan, for sure.

AnninCA on October 28, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Would an arrest be considered a mugging?

No, actually they would more likely cinsider it kidnapping.

MikeA on October 28, 2009 at 11:58 AM

It’s a flaw in the Biden plan, for sure.

AnninCA on October 28, 2009 at 11:35 AM

LOL, “a” flaw Ann? Without boots on the ground giving confidence to the locals, we do not recieve intelligence. Without intelligence, the drones are next to useless. Biden is a fool, and should not be allowed within 50 miles of anything related to military strategy.

JusDreamin on October 28, 2009 at 12:01 PM

The UN is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Once you get that, everything the UN does these days makes sense.

Beagle on October 28, 2009 at 12:10 PM

It’s a flaw in the Biden plan, for sure.

AnninCA on October 28, 2009 at 11:35 AM

It’s a typical flaw in the minds of a Californian.

TheAlamos on October 28, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Why, oh why, couldn’t the 9/11ers have chosen the UN building instead?GnuBreed on October 28, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Why would they attack their allies?

18-1 on October 28, 2009 at 12:27 PM

I don’t much care what the looters and leeches at the Underfunded Nations thinks about anything.

I say surround the building, frog march them all to the nearest airport, give them a one-way ticket back to where ever the hell they came from, and let them go back and stand around and urinate in their own drinking water, just like the folks back home are doing now.

Dave R. on October 28, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Obama should not only be stripped of his peace prize..Obama should be charged with war crimes and should be imprisoned!

This war is not helping Americans one bit. It is only hurting us. Our troops are being killed for no reason and the military industrial complex is making trillions on it.

For all of you who don’t know this:

The U.S. military is spending $400 per GALLON of fuel in afghanistan! Yes $400 per gallon!

This amounts to over $320 MILLION PER DAY!

Only a country totally out of control with spending and with FRAUD and corruption would waste resources like this!

MaximusConfessor on October 28, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Got a link for this one, Max?

cs89 on October 28, 2009 at 10:52 AM

You don’t believe me CS?

I always and only say the facts.

http://digg.com/world_news/US_Military_Pays_400_A_Gallon_For_Fuel_In_Afghanistan

Yes the military is spending $400 per GALLON or $320 MILLION + per DAY on fuel in Afghanistan!

Fraud and corruption dominate.

MaximusConfessor on October 28, 2009 at 1:04 PM

I say we let the UN have their way. If they want them arrested, then they should go arrest them. If they’re unhappy with how we’re handling it, then let them step up. But, they must get the job done. All US funding of the UN would be contingent on the successful arrest and prosecution of all terrorists, worldwide. Until they can do that, no US $.

dcman98 on October 28, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Appeasement doesn’t generally work because it simply leads to more conflict.

highhopes on October 28, 2009 at 10:51 AM

And usually greater destructive forces are used.

csdeven on October 28, 2009 at 2:16 PM

As soon as the UN stops IED attacks on the US military and truck bombs all over the place, than tell the US not to bomb targets that we see in the area.

jimw on October 28, 2009 at 2:41 PM

In the past, with BDS in full bloom, I worried that congress under the control of Democrats was developing a national suicide pack. With Obama as president, I now know they are, but neither the Constitution or the UN Global Compact mandates national suicide.

amr on October 28, 2009 at 2:52 PM

If only we had someone in charge who would take this position:

I say we let the UN have their way. If they want them arrested, then they should go arrest them. If they’re unhappy with how we’re handling it, then let them step up. But, they must get the job done. All US funding of the UN would be contingent on the successful arrest and prosecution of all terrorists, worldwide. Until they can do that, no US $.dcman98 on October 28, 2009 at 1:21 PM

EconomicNeocon on October 28, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Gee that little problem of congress never having officially declared war creeps up on us again…

paulsur on October 28, 2009 at 3:37 PM

So when does Obama apologize?

PattyJ on October 28, 2009 at 4:26 PM

Yeah, I too remember the Bircher “Get US out of the UN” signs from the 60s.

jwolf on October 28, 2009 at 11:12 AM

“Get the UN out of the US” would be th 21st century version.

mrt721 on October 28, 2009 at 8:40 PM

yeah, the UN doesnt like the most modern weaponry making dust of the worst

of course lobbing grenades on bottle rockets in descriminantly into Israel doesnt get much of a notice

Nice to know our tax dollars put savages in suits

Sonosam on October 28, 2009 at 9:17 PM

So which European liberal will be the first to call for arresting Obama if he visits their country?

“Look, it’s Obama — call the ICC stat!”

Paul_in_NJ on October 29, 2009 at 7:31 AM

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