AnneZo: No one here advocated putting a tank inside a museum or library. But a tank or two on the street outside would have helped quite a lot. People run rampant when law breaks down. That's just a fact of life. And a mob doesn't have a lot of intelligence. That's another fact of life.
Arguably you are getting into a hazy position even there in regards to the Geneva Convention. Given sometime and a little more research Iím pretty sure I could construct it as a violation.* By parking a tank outside we are fortifying the immediate location and thus drawing fire to the area around the museum. Secondly again it is an untenable military position. What do you expect that tank to do? It isnít exactly like a Bradley could level the Bushmaster cannon and hose down looting civilians with sausage sized DU shells. Iím sure the first time that an Iraqi civilian was blown apart like a ripe melon for looting that the headlines would be just as predicted about the evil US stealing Iraqi artifacts.
Short of physically putting troops fortified in the building with orders to shoot to kill there is no practical way militarily to stop that type of looting in that situation. In order to stop it through nonlethal means that would mean surrounding the building with a numerically larger American force and then chasing down on foot of violators. Again drawing in this number of troops is impractical and dangerous to the civilians and troops. Youíre dealing with a civilian population that has combatants intermixed with it and suicide bombers. Thus US troops would have to go into every situation expecting every looter to be a potential illegal combatant. You have another recipe for disasters for innocent civilians or when a suicide bomber decides posing as a looter would be a great way to get near US troops without getting shots.. Besides this surrounding the building with troops even to just hunt down looters in foot races would be a violation of the Geneva Convention.
AnneZo: Considering the amount of "stuff" that's already hitting the auction houses in France, I'd say a lot of the "cream" probably left the country before the war, yes.
The FBI is dispatching agents to Iraq to track down artifacts and coordinating with Interpol to pick them off as they show up on both the legal and illegal markets. We can track down looted artifacts we couldnít though replace lives that were lost in a foolish, misguided, and illegal bid to protect those artifacts.
AnneZo: It's an unjust and unlawful war based on the Administration's public reasons for waging it.
Iíve been over the legality of this war left and right in regard to cease-fie obligations so Iím not even going to get into that again. I am curious though if you think this war is so unlawful then how is it anymore lawful to violate the Geneva Convention in the manner that you have proposed?
Geneva Convention on the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts:
Article 53: Protection of cultural objects and of places of worship
Without prejudice to the provisions of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 14 May 1954, and of other relevant international instruments, it is prohibited:
(a) To commit any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples;
(b) To use such objects in support of the military effort;
© To make such objects the object of reprisals.
Ilphi: ^ US troops have shot into crowds before.
Ah typical media spin. The article neglects to mention that US forces had rocks being thrown at them by the crowd and members of the crowd were physically attacking the troops. On top of that they started to take fire from several nearby locations while the crowd was attacking.
AnneZo: Ummm...I'm thinking that's sort of wrong. It's Iraq, okay? Drill and ye shall find oil.
You might want to check up on your information here a tad bit. It isnít as easy as just picking a spot and digging.
AnneZo:And a new survey, or a new assay, is a lot easier to produce than reconstructing a few hundred or thousand years of historical documents and artifacts.
Tell that to the people who are starving and dieing in the meantime.
AnneZo: In any case, the country is littered with up-and-running oil wells which, if the profits actually were spent on the people of Iraq, are more than enough to provide every Iraqi citizen with more wealth than they've most of them ever had.
Oil fields that without documentation we have no clue how much of the reserve is left, the extent of the reserve, type of equipment being used, and technique being used to extract the oil. Iím not an oilman but the process is sufficiently complicated that one could really screw thing up without that information. It isnít just drilling a hole and sticking a pipe down it
QuantumFlux: Would you please quote the Geneva Convention articles which say museums may not be entered, even if the sole purpose of entering them is to maintain law and order?
See the above I said on the Geneva Convention and now for:
Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict:
CHAPTER II: SPECIAL PROTECTION: Article 8. Granting of special protection
3. A centre containing monuments shall be deemed to be used for military purposes whenever it is used for the movement of military personnel or material, even in transit. The same shall apply whenever activities directly connected with military operations, the stationing of military personnel, or the production of war material are carried on within the centre.
CHAPTER II: SPECIAL PROTECTION: Article 9. Immunity of cultural property under special protection:
The High Contracting Parties undertake to ensure the immunity of cultural property under special protection by refraining, from the time of entry in the International Register, from any act of hostility directed against such property and, except for the cases provided for in paragraph 5 of Article 8, from any use of such property or its surroundings for military purposes.
By garrisoning troops around the museum we violate both the conditions of The Hague and Geneva Convention. On top of that all protection those building have under those Conventions are then void. Think of the propaganda value the Iraqis would have for blowing up a museum because the US had violated international law by stationing troops in the location.
To answer TT's question, tear gas, sticky foam, rubber bullets, and barbed wire come to mind as ways to prevent people from looting without using lethal force.
All of them are a violation of The Hague and Geneva Conventions because it requires a garrisoning of the site. Secondly as Rov noted many of these sites have underground passages entering them. Thirdly the use of nonlethals in such a scenario puts the troops at great risk to Iraqi Illegal Combatants would could be intermixed with the looters. Try getting close enough to use sticky foam on the guy who has an Ak-47 under his coat.
Edited by CJ AEGIS, 18 April 2003 - 05:06 AM.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
-Fleet Admiral Nimitz
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