Friday, April 04, 2003

War Crimes

I have noticed a disturbing trend in media reports from Iraq. There seems to be a refusal to label any actions by Iraq as a “War Crime”.

An example is in the article that details attacks on US troops from Iraqis firing from ambulances. The report describes this as “unconventional Iraqi tactics”.

In the “Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field.” It is clearly stated ”Article 1. Ambulances and military hospitals shall be recognized as neutral, and as such, protected and respected by the belligerents as long as they accommodate wounded and sick.
Neutrality shall end if the said ambulances or hospitals should be held by a military force.”

The despicable actions taken by Iraqis who used an ambulance as a vehicle of battle erodes the neutrality of all ambulances. The report I linked to above was not an isolated incident. Today outside Baghdad the AP reported “ U.S. troops patrolling checkpoints south of Baghdad found an ambulance left behind after an accident. Inside, along with a stretcher, were rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, military uniforms and helmets.”

These are not ‘unconventional tactics’ they are war crimes. I have not studied the law and I have never received any training in what defines actions war crimes. That said - even I can read the Geneva Conventions and figure out what a war crime is. Why can’t the media?


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