01 July 2011


Coyote Blog | Warren Meyer | On War

Harold Koh on what does and doesn’t make for a war:
Koh, a former Yale Law School dean who wrote about the War Powers Resolution during his academic career, said the “narrow” role of U.S. warplanes in the mission doesn’t meet the definition of hostilities.

The circumstances in Libya are “virtually unique,” he said, because the “exposure of our armed forces is limited, there have been no U.S. casualties, no threat of U.S. casualties” and “no exchange of fire with hostile forces.”

With a “limited risk of serious escalation” and the “limited military means” employed by U.S. forces, “we are not in hostilities envisioned by the War Powers Resolution, Koh said.
As an outsider to the political process, it has been absolutely hilarious watching a White House full of children of the 1960′s retroactively justifying Nixon’s Christmas bombings of Cambodia. It’s not a war, they claim, as long as our soldiers are safe and we are mostly just killing citizens of other nations from the air. Of course, by this definition, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was not an act of war.
(1) Harold Koh, meet Scott O'Grady. Tell him that air strikes guarantee "limited exposure and threat of casualties."

(2) What are we doing when we stop dropping bombs? Seriously, what happens next? We're going to pack it in and go home? Or are we going to do some more of this "nation building" BS? And how is there supposed to be "limited exposure" at that point?

(3) If we believe Koh, it doesn't count as "hostilities" as long as its sufficiently one-sided. So if Viking maradaurs sail up the river and burn your monastery to the ground, it's not really hostile, because the berserkers only had "limited exposure." And if Mike Tyson kicks down my door and beats the bejezus out of me, it's not hostile because he had "limited exposure." That is bullshit on toast.

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