The ACLU of Southern California has been working to understand how many people have been killed by law enforcement in America’s most populous state. What they found is alarming. Over a six-year period that ended in 2014, California’s Department of Justice recorded 610 instances of law enforcement committing homicide “in the process of arrest.”
That figure is far from perfect. It excludes some homicides in 2014 that are still being investigated. And it understates the actual number of people killed by police officers and sheriffs deputies in other ways. For example, after Dante Parker was mistaken for a criminal, stunned with a Taser at least 25 times, hog-tied face down, and denied medical care, California authorities classified his death as “accidental.”
Really, there isn't a whole lot of doubt about "whether." We did it. And it's looking as though we meant to do it.
Writing about the Kunduz bombing in the New Yorker, Amy Davidson walks us through the whether-or-not questions and leaves us with these interesting observations:
“We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings,” a nurse named Lajos Zoltan Jecs said, in a statement distributed by M.S.F [Médecins Sans Frontières].
“In the Intensive Care Unit, six patients were burning in their beds.”
... On Saturday, General John Campbell, the American commander of American forces in Afghanistan, said with even greater specificity that the strike was “against insurgents who were directly firing upon U.S. service members advising and assisting Afghan Security Forces,” who were “in the vicinity” of the hospital. Then, on Monday morning, General Campbell said that this was not so after all.
Their [Afghan military's] defense of the strike suggests that the intention was, indeed, to hit the hospital—never mind that it was a hospital run by a reputable aid group that had given the facility’s exact G.P.S. coördinates to all parties involved.
In the end, our government has committed us to work with the Afghan forces and can, with a hair's-breadth of justification, say something like "They told us to do it." How does that work morally, quite apart from strategically?
Some American soldiers said that they found standing by while that abuse took placeimpossible to bear. But this was not so much a matter of the U.S., constrained by the need to fight terrorism, being powerless to change a foreign culture: Afghans themselves resented and hated what these men did to their children. The question, then, might be whether places like Kunduz fall despite what we tell ourselves are tough, pragmatic bargains, or because of them.
There is only so much distance we can claim. On Monday, in response to Campbell’s revised statement, Christopher Stokes, M.S.F.’s general director, cautioned against simply “attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghan government.” Stokes added, “The reality is the U.S. dropped those bombs.”
Yes. We did. We do it over and over and over again. One news report mentioned parallels with Fallujah.
...Or we could go back at least as far as Vietnam.
Sanders is doing well enough to concern the Clinton team, and that creates its own challenges. Garrison Nelson said of Clinton, “She’s not worried about Bernie. But she is worried about the Bernie effect—which is to demonstrate her relative weaknesses as a candidate. He hits at her Achilles’ heel, which is authenticity.”
On the trail, Clinton has avoided mention of him; Sanders, for his part, emphasizes their policy differences. He voted against the war in Iraq; she voted for it. He has opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership; she has voiced support for those pacts. But he has rebuked reporters for pressing him to say more about Clinton herself. In a video made backstage at a rally in Iowa, he complained, “Time after time, I’m being asked to criticize Hillary Clinton. That’s the sport that you guys like. . . . I’ve known Hillary Clinton for twenty-five years. I like her. I respect her. I disagree with her on a number of issues. No great secret.” ...MargaretTalbot,NewYorker
Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he wants to challenge Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for the post of House speaker, saying he's a better communicator and has more credibility with the party's conservative base. ...NPR
If they're going to implode eventually, why not now?! I'd just as soon the tea party representation on the Hill goes out with one great, smelly explosion,rather than our having to watch them in slow motion, disappearing into the past. Chaffetz seems to be a guy whose working up to explosion in plain view. The bigger drama, the better.
Unfortunately, Rep. Chaffetz doesn't seem all that interested...
It lingers on. There were some really bad moments during the most recent Bush presidency that keep resonating -- whether we're talking Katrina anniversary or "Mission Accomplished" or a hundred other pieces of sleaze like the thpecial treatment of Saudis in the US in the immediate wake of 9/11. Huggy kissy, White House protection and discreet flights out. All as toxic as the remains of Saudi oil coming out of your tail pipe.
The favoritism and engagement with a shady, oppressive regime is still in place. Nothing new here:
Overshadowed by its relative smallness and obscured by its relative complexity, the six-month-old civil war in Yemen is the middle child of Middle East conflict. Recently, its most prominent mentions in the U.S. have been in the Republican debates as candidates have placed the rebellion by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government on the list of Iran’s regional evildoings.
This is true, but it also overlooks the fact that great devastation is being wrought at least in part with the tacit blessing of the United States, which has aligned itself with the Saudis. This past week has been particularly tragic, not only on the ground in Yemen, but in the diplomatic realm outside where efforts to contain and reckon with the human suffering in Yemen have fallen short.
On Monday, an airstrike by Saudi-led, American-supported coalition mistakenly hit a wedding party that killed more than 130 people. According to reports, the death toll was exacerbated by a supply shortage, which kept some victims from receiving critical medical treatment. ...AdamChandler,TheAtlantic
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you say. But it was the Saudis: Americans weren't really involved...
“This is warfare,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir explained to CBS News, in describing the efforts to defeat the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. He added: “We are very careful in picking targets. We have very precise weapons. We work with our allies including the United States on these targets.”...AdamChandler,TheAtlantic
The US is trying to keep the eyes of the world away from the slaughter. The Dutch have led a European effort to investigate human rights abuses by Americans and Saudis but have run into a stone wall.