Wednesday, January 10, 2007

When Did "Suspecting" Become Justification for Killing?

Recent U.S. airstrikes in Somalia have been rationalized as targeting "suspected operatives of Al Qaeda". Since when is the U.S. Military the judge and jury as well as the executioner?
...the world has become used to what is called “targeted assassinations” -- in Gaza by Israel, in Afghanistan by NATO, and in Iraq, as well. But let us be clear that all such attacks are illegal under international law. No one has been identified and tried and sentenced. Invariably, lots of innocent people die in such attacks, sometimes scores, as happened recently in Pakistan. So these are illegal attacks. (From Democracy Now)

Such an act would never be acceptable within the U.S. We in the Western world are so used to legal protection and due process of law that we'd instantly feel the stirring of injustice and there would be a huge outcry. Can you even imagine? Try a thought experiment. Imagine if the police went around willy-nilly, killing those they suspected of crimes (and killing a few random innocent people in the process)? Any attempt at justification by referring to "suspected criminals" would be ludicrous.

So why is it considered an acceptible justification for killing in Somalia? Innocent civilians (although we don't know how many yet) have been killed by the airstrikes, in addition to the suspects. Again, why is this considered ok?

The only thing I can think of is that American life is seen as somehow more valuable than Somali life. I think that should be expanded, actually; each Western (especially white) person's life is seen as more valuable than each non-white, third-world life.

To underscore this, think about the discrepancy between the American deaths and Iraqi deaths in the current Iraq war. Depending on the estimate there have been something between 17 and 217 TIMES the number of Iraqi deaths compared to U.S. deaths. Even worse, though is the fact that we don't even know how many Iraqis have died. The message it sends? "We don't care."


sparkle hayter said...

Happy birthday Red Jenny!

Lambo said...

I agree with you that life is life. The sad fact of the world is that are people of nationalities, religious, and backgrounds that don't reguard life as high. Or they consider thier lives as high while other people's life as less valuable.

This isn't just Western Point of View.

The whole thing marks of injustice.