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Human Shields as Preemptive Legal Defense for Killing Civilians


Human Shields as Preemptive Legal Defense for Killing Civilians

Neve Gordon, Nicola Perugini

Human shields have been making headlines for some time.


Nothing new, still disgusting.

'It became necessary to destroy the town to save it', a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong."


"What all this means, quite simply, is that human shields can be legally killed so long as the deployment of violence does not breach the principle of proportionality—which requires belligerents to refrain from causing damage disproportionate to the military advantage to be gained."

Ultimately, such a guarantee is about as germane as "Justice for all."

The problem is that those invoking the violence are the ones positioned to defend its use.

That's like asking bank robbers whether robbing a bank is necessary.

There have been times when the worst of human beings (and human nature) has been held in check, when law did what it was supposed to do, when the mass media covered issues from the perspective of humanitarianism and justice, and when legal minds were largely on the side of serving the Greater Good.

That's NOT the case today.

In just about every sector of society from the academic world to congress, from the entertainment towers to Washington, D.C. the calculus comes down to Mars rules: That is, whatever the muscular top dog insists upon becomes the practical law of the land.

Those who worship what Nietzsche termed "the oily muscle" like this aspect of Trump. The man could care less about Truth or any notion of compassion. He's totally into playing the role of Joker-King.

I realized this the other day: that Donald Trump truly IS the personification of the playing card pack's Joker.

Those who resonate with him are ready to just take a walk off the cliff since the Joker CAN do anything. He has no creed neither any ideals. He's the wild card of the pack.

Some prefer THAT to "business as usual."

There's no question that Business as Usual today serves the corporate predators, war profiteers, banksters, drug peddlers, and oil barons.

Yet there IS a 3rd way and it's the only way out of the box that Flat Lands allows for.

Trump supporters think beating each other up IN the box (to determine who's the top dog and/or baddest ass) represents an improvement.

"Along similar lines, the 2015 Department of Defense Law of War Manual underscores the importance of the principle of proportionality, it also notes that, “otherwise lawful targets involuntarily shielded with protected civilians may be attacked… provided that the collateral damage is not excessive compared to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated by the attack.”

Law of War has to qualify as the greatest oxymoron of all times.

It always distills to the Power equation: Who Guards The Guards?


Thanks for exposing the US military's official proportionality fiction. I need a wider range of reaction icons for this one.