Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Civilian accountability for war crimes

NYT has a piece on civilian control of the military.

The piece argues that it's a good thing that the military is under the civilians; in theory, this is true, so long as the rule of law guides civilians. The problem we have today is that with that control is no responsibility. Moreover, those speaking out about SecDef are now civilians.

It is one thing to argue for a principle for civilian control. It is quite another to be accountable when that civilian control fails to ensure military operations are consistent with the rule of law, or are premised on imminent threats.

Rumsfeld is a war criminal. Congress is culpable in continuing to fund the illegal expenditures. We do not have civilian control of the military. We have civilians condoning war crimes.

The issue is what is to be done when the civliian control of the military is deferred to as a myth, but the substance of that control is recklessness and conduct contrary to treaties.

The answer isn't to focuse on whether or not there should or should not be civilian control of the miltiary -- there should be. Rather, the issue is what is to be done when the Congress fails to ensure that civilian control remains accountable to the Consititution.

One option is to have a new Constitution which compels members of Congress to assert their oath -- or be found in rebellion, as they are -- and required to defend the Constitution, not simply talk about princples of control and accountability which are clearly not practiced.