I think that some global understanding needs to be established or affirmed regarding asymmetrical warfare. Something useful may not be possible, but I thought it was at least worth discussion.

How does a recognized government face an enemy with no specified geographic boundary, no diplomatic capacity or public leader?

It is very easy to point to formal positions regarding 'unlawful combatants,' but I can't help but think that our current understandings are not really doing the trick.

From Wikipedia: "An unlawful combatant, illegal combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent is a combatant or non-combatant who directly engages in armed conflict in violation of the laws of war. An unlawful combatant may be detained or prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action; subject of course to international treaties on justice and human rights."

I suppose it's rather grisly to recognize that there even is 'Law of War,' but this is the world we live in.

I'm lastly reminded of Voltaire who said “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

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Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 10, 2014 at 12:23pm

Michael, I think the fact that you know anyone at all in Kenya sets you apart and gives you a unique and better informed opinion than myself and many others on this site.

It might be said that the US' statecraft in Iraq has failed. There is certainly a religious component to the deadly belligerence in Iraq, and perhaps dialogue and reason can somehow diminish ongoing human suffering.

 

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 10, 2014 at 12:20pm

@ Michael.........Well said.....The birthers were  just  in denial.....They  refused to accept  a Black President  so  they developed  a conspiracy and no matter  what evidence was introduced they chose  to ignore it.....It is plain bigotry and  malice.....I wonder  what they will say if we get a female President next....

Comment by Michael Penn on August 10, 2014 at 11:23am

ABH, I really do not have a close tie to Obama's in Kenya. In fact, I have not met any of them. My tie to Kenya is the Luo tribe of which they are from, and my estranged wife is also from. It's sort of like saying "we are all Cherokee."

As for Obama and his birth certificate, that mess was started because nobody wanted to see a black man in the white house. What do I mean? Let's suppose your parents are American citizens and you are born in Kenya. Does that make you a Kenyan citizen? Actually that makes you a dual citizen in eyes of the Kenyans, but you are an American citizen to the U.S. There was a time even in America when this lineage of citizenship if you were born overseas went through the father only. Times have changed and today it goes through either parent. OK, Obama's mother was an American citizen. CASE CLOSED. It does not matter where Obama was born.

John McCain was born in the Panama canel zone. Bruce Willis was born in Germany. We have no problem with either of these men and yet we have ignorant shit stirring attorneys wanting to bring up Obama again and again. Mostly the citizenship question would have been addressed way before a man has become president. I find it laughable that some people claim Obama and his friends have spent millions and millions of dollars to keep us from finding out the truth. I don't think Obama has that kind of money, and what is the point?

It's all about the Obama conspiracy, whatever that is!

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 10, 2014 at 11:20am

Freethinker31,

Yes, the two scariest words for me are 'thermonuclear theocracy.' In this sense, time is not on our side.

In the sense that time is on our side, every day it becomes harder and harder for the religious moderates to not question their faith. It's the information age, and I'm hoping that the moderates will become comfortable enough with atheism (reality) to reduce the influence of the eschatological.

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 10, 2014 at 10:47am

@Andrew.......One reason to dismantle and destroy our  nuclear weapons  is the fact that our newest enemy is exactly  what you pointed out...WE no longer  fight a recognized government in a major war, but instead  have to face bands of terrorists in a guerrilla war atmosphere...So rules  of engagement are  totally different...In some ways, fighting  terrorists is  much more difficult and time consuming...and threaten  civilian  populations like we have never seen before....Such is life  in the 21st  century.....

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 10, 2014 at 10:44am

Another thought regarding asymmetrical warfare - if the guerilla forces around the world could establish a better diplomatic front, we might have less bloodshed and human suffering.

I mentioned Iraq in the title to this blog, but really these thoughts apply to any number of other armed conflicts around the world (Afghanistan, the US, Ukraine, etc.).

Once more, what's a president to do when the enemy has no diplomatic front and attacks from behind their women and children?

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 10, 2014 at 10:40am

Michael,

Wow, that's really interesting that you have a close tie to Obama's in Kenya. It's helpful to try and understand different cultures. I've spent a lot of time researching different cultures because I think that when people understand each other, they are more inclined to get along peacefully.

We've all heard that Obama's birth certificate is fake and all sorts of other stuff. In the information age, we need to get better at distinguishing good information from misinformation and disinformation.

My background is in real estate appraisals, which need a reliable data source and a reliable verification source. Verifying information can be very tricky.

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 10, 2014 at 10:30am

Freethinker,

Thanks for pointing out that the tens of thousands of people stranded in the mountains cannot be forgotten. I don't know the answer, but I am hoping to advance the discussion on the ethics or attitudes concerning asymmetrical warfare - what is the best or right approach morally?

Perhaps the best approach would include a more robust effort to establish diplomatic ties, and by that I mean dialogue.

Comment by Freethinker31 on August 9, 2014 at 6:08pm

@Michael Penn,  I feel so bad  for Obama having  to hear and read those false accusations about his religion  and relatives......Ever since he was elected as our President  he has been viciously attacked by the extreme Right....The only way  Rational Thinking  Americans can help is to throw out those that were  elected   in the 2010 election when  the Tea Party won by a landslide...As far as all the others, we need  to make sure those  printed  lies about him  get  retracted...Obama  may be the first Black President  but he will not be the last, so everyone  needs to get their act together.......

Comment by Michael Penn on August 9, 2014 at 5:14pm

I didn't say I was criticizing Obama. I don't agree with everything he does, but how could he do better? Nobody wants to work with him. Then they have the gall to think we should elect those "do nothings" in his place.

I agree that whoever is commanding ISIS knows what they are doing. Most likely they are some of our old enemies and others picked up along the way. Politics is making strange bedfellows here.

http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/o/obama-kenya.htm#.U-aPeaOa8qw

Here's a link on Obama with some truth, lies, and fictions. Obama's father was of the Luo tribe and so is my wife. All of the Kenyan Luo's love Obama and they also love Raila Odinga who is Luo. There is no truth or proof that Odinga was "trying to take down the government." He wanted to be president and did end up prime minister. All of the Luo's would have voted for him. They really love this guy. It's important to understand that Kenyans do not view their politics and world situations through American political filters. They do have tribal loyalty.

Some say Obama and Odinga are cousins, but this is a figure of speech. When I was in Africa in 2004 my brother in law took us to a Pentecostal church in Nairobi. Later he told me "Maybe you can say I favor this pastor because he is my father." We both smiled but the pastor is not his father. He is his uncle, the brother of his father.

Do I believe that Senator Obama went to Kenya and spoke for Odinga at rallies and even channeled 1 million dollars of raised funds into the Odinga campaign? Yes I do, but this is a tribal loyalty. All Luo's want to see Odinga as Kenyan president.

Anyway, I got a bit off topic. Check the link out if you like.

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