Saturday, December 8, 2012

Opening the Aperture: Children With Potential Hostile Intent

Under the [relatively new] US definition, all fighting-age males killed in drone strikes are regarded as combatants and not civilians, unless there is explicit evidence to the contrary. This has the effect of significantly reducing the official tally of civilian deaths.


"Under the rules of law you can only target civilians if they are directly participating in hostilities. So, here, this standard of presuming any military aged males in the vicinity of a war zone are militants, already goes beyond what the law allows.”


Children in conflict zones have additional protections under the law.


In comments which legal experts and campaigners described as "deeply troubling", army Lt Col Marion Carrington told the Marine Corp Times that [Afghan] children, as well as "military-age males", had been identified as a potential threat because some were being used by the Taliban to assist in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

"It kind of opens our aperture," said Carrington, whose unit, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was assisting the Afghan police. "In addition to looking for military-age males, it's looking for children with potential hostile intent."


Amos Guiora, a law professor at the University of Utah specialising in counter-terrorism, said Carrington's remarks reflected the shifting definitions of legitimate military targets within the Obama administration.

Guiora, who spent years in the Israel Defence Forces, including time as a legal adviser in the Gaza Strip, said: "I have great respect for people who put themselves in harm's way. Carrington is probably a great guy, but he is articulating a deeply troubling policy adopted by the Obama administration.

"The decision about who you consider a legitimate target is less defined by your conduct than the conduct of the people or category of people which you are assigned to belong to … That is beyond troubling. It is also illegal and immoral."

  UK Guardian

Aside from the obvious immorality of fabricating an official excuse for killing children, I wonder how many children are left in Afghanistan who do not have some potential hostile intent.
"When considering lethal force we ask ourselves whether the individual poses a significant threat to US interests.” ~ White House counter-terrorism chief John Brennan, April 2012
Now, there's a statement and a precedent the entire world should probably pay attention to.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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