Skip to comments.Bombing of Cambodia Cited to Defend US Drone Strikes
Posted on 03/23/2013 11:54:09 AM PDT by Seizethecarp
A U.S. Justice Department document that says America can legally order the killing of its citizens if they are believed to be al-Qaida leaders uses the devastating and illegal bombing of Cambodia in the 1960s and 70s to help make its case.
American broadcaster NBC News first reported on the white papera summary of classified memos by the U.S. Justice Departments Office of Legal Councilon Monday.
The 16-page paper makes a legal case for the U.S. governments highly controversial use of unmanned drones to kill suspected terrorists, including some U.S. citizens. In making its argument, the document brings up the U.S. bombing of Cambodiawhich claimed thousands of innocent lives in the pursuit of North Vietnamese forcesto argue for the right to go after its enemies in neutral countries.
The Department has not found any authority for the proposition that when one of the parties to an armed conflict plans and executes operations from a base in a new nation, an operation to engage the enemy in that location cannot be part of the original armed conflict, the paper reads. That does not appear to be the rule of the historical practice, for instance, even in a traditional international conflict.
To help make its case, the Justice Department cites an address then-U.S. State Department legal adviser John Stevenson delivered to the New York Bar Association in 1970 regarding the U.S. ongoing military activity in Cambodia.
(Excerpt) Read more at ppcl.mobi ...
I thought summary executions were prohibitetd by the Geneva Convention?
Any comment from our Secretary of State? He served in Vietnam, you know.
Harvard anti-war activist journal article points out the hypocrisy of POTUS Barry using the Cambodian bombing to justify drone strikes beyond the Al Qaeda WOT authorization compared to SOS Kerry’s denunciation of the Cambodia bombings for decades before his new appointment:
Amicus, By Andrew Mamo, Human Rights, Privacy and National Security
“I dont intend to do a complete analysis of the white paper here. This post only concerns the curious invocation of American bombing of Cambodia in the 1970s as precedent for drone strikes in the absence of declared conflict. Pause for a moment to appreciate this, and to appreciate both the domestic and international repercussions of this intervention.”
“President Nixon announced the campaign in Cambodia, on April 30, 1970, describing it as a necessary element of the Vietnam War; the idea was that if troops from North Vietnam were hiding in parts of Cambodia, and if the Cambodian government was unable to do anything to stop it, the United States would.”
“Does the Department of Justice believe that the glorious history of American bombing in Cambodia supports the proposition that intervention in a neutral country is justified by that countrys inability to resolve the situation on its own?
“We know that Obama has largely continued the drone policies of the Bush administration. Even so, the approving nod to Nixons expansion of the Vietnam War across Southeast Asia is an unexpected development. Im reminded of statements made by a Vietnam veteran in 1971: We veterans can only look with amazement on the fact that this country has been unable to see there is absolutely no difference between ground troops and a helicopter, and yet people have accepted a differentiation fed them by the administration. No ground troops are in Laos, so it is all right to kill Laotians by remote control. But believe me the helicopter crews fill the same body bags and they wreak the same kind of damage on the Vietnamese and Laotian countryside as anybody else, and the President is talking about allowing that to go on for many years to come. That veteran is now serving as our Secretary of State. Im curious what he thinks about the use of the Cambodian bombing campaign as precedent for our current situation.”
The bombing of Cambodia was not illegal. A nation can not claim neutrality, according to the Geneva Convention, if it can not defend its neutrality. Cambodia clearly could not defend its neutrality against North Vietnam.
By the U.S. overtly accepting Cambodian claims of neutrality it expanded the DMZ nearly one hundred miles in width. If the U.S. had refuted the Cambodian claims and forced North Vietnam to funnel men and supplies across the Vietnamese DMZ, the area involved would have been approximately seventy-five miles in width, a much smaller patch of ground to control.