Saturday, October 15, 2005

Gotta Love That UN Reasoning

From The Independent:

US practice of starving out Iraqi civilians is inhumane, says UN

The United States-led coalition's alleged practice of cutting off food and water to force Iraqi civilians to flee before attacks on insurgent strongholds is a "flagrant violation" of international law, a United Nations rights advocate said yesterday. The action is inhumane and causes innocent people to suffer, said Jean Ziegler, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food.

The Geneva Conventions on warfare, which form the basis of international humanitarian law, not only forbid denying food to civilians, but actually make the occupying force responsible to provide it, he said. "This is a flagrant violation of international law."

A US military spokesman in Baghdad, Lt-Col Steve Boylan, dismissed the criticism as inaccurate. "Any accusations of coalition forces refusing basic needs from the citizens of Iraq are completely false," he said.

"I can understand the military rationale, facing such a horrible enemy, this insurgent, who does not respect any law of war," Mr Ziegler told reporters.

He conceded that the practice helped to "save tens of thousands of lives" but made the point that many civilians were unable to come out. [emphasis mine]

Those that remained behind in insurgent strongholds such as Fallujah, Tal Afar and Samarra have suffered as a result of broken supply lines, he asserted.

And some have even starved, he claimed.

So, as I'm understanding Mr. Ziegler, the United States is doing its best to remove civilians from areas before combat occurs. The U.S. denies withholding food from these civilians. He acknowledges that our enemies do not respect any law of warfare. He also acknowledges that our practice has saved tens of thousands of innocent lives. Given these facts as Mr. Ziegler understands them, who does he decide to condemn? The United States, of course.

"And some have even starved, he claimed." Uh huh.