Thursday, January 01, 2009

Israel's action in Gaza: disproportionate? No

The always insightful and informative Andrew McCarthy explains why at The Corner:

I have an article coming soon which calls (among other things) for a complete reappraisal of what "international law" means in the context of the ongoing conflict. I argue that there is no international law of warfare because Israel, like the U.S., has wisely declined to join the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. It has therefore not consented to Protocol I's effort to convert warfare from a military campaign into a hyper-legal regulatory exercise that favors terrorist factions over national armed forces. . Most of the world has signed on to Protocol I — including, regrettably, our NATO allies (the Brits ratified it in 1998, the same year Blair's government incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law). It is on the basis of this consensus — among countries that have either abdicated their national-defense responsibilities or stand to gain by Protocol I's tilting of the field toward terrorists and so-called "national liberation" movements — that Israel and the U.S. are now routinely accused of war crimes. But a set of obligations only constitutes "international law" if a country has agreed to be bound by it. Israel and the U.S. have not agreed to be bound by Protocol I. Consequently, there is no law violation in failures by Israel or us to meet its impossible terms (impossible, that is, if the objective of a military campaign is to be victory).

No number of loopy "disproportionate" reports by CNN, MSNBC and their stable of human-rights experts can change this. We should understand, moreover, that these are not simply reports; they are very purposeful efforts to advance a leftist antiwar agenda. If adopted, they would prevent the U.S. and Israel from pursuing vital national interests — especially national defense. We ought to be attacking the premise of these war-crimes smears rather than trying to finesse the matter for the purportedly greater good of harmony within the "international community." A community is a place where everyone is bound by the same law. We don't have one..

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