"Human Shields" - are they misguided nutballs or noble humanitarians?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by JediBeowulf, Feb 21, 2003.

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  1. JediBeowulf Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2001
    star 3
    Personally, i'm of the opinion that these people are lunatics and are prime contenders for the ?Darwin Awards?. While they are there in Iraq living in cushy surroundings, I wonder if they will witness the true plight of the Iraqi people and change their minds on the subject - or continue to be the indirect tools of propaganda that they have come to symbolize.

    So...what do you think? And if any of them should get hurt in the coming conflict, then would they [and others] realize that it is their own fault, and not the fault of the American Government?

    Here's the article (note that these people have a portrait of Saddam Hussein "adorning" their wall):


    'Human Shields' Begin Deploying in Iraq

    By BASSEM MROUE
    The Associated Press
    Friday, February 21, 2003; 8:24 PM

    Seventeen foreigners bunked down Friday night at a Baghdad water purification plant as the first "human shields" to deploy in Iraq in preparation for a looming U.S.-led war.

    The volunteers from Sweden, Spain, Italy and Finland weren't roughing it: Their quarters at the Seventh of April water purification station were a huge room with beds, a television, electric heaters and a large table. The wall was adorned with a picture of President Saddam Hussein.

    "We will try everything to get peace instead of war and to protect civil societies," said Ingrid Ternert, a Swedish member of the group.

    The volunteers planned to spend only one night at the station, but said others would rotate in to protect the infrastructure installation, which wasn't bombed during the 1991 Gulf War.

    Workers at the station were happy with their unusual visitors.

    "We welcomed them. I feel happy and it is nice because they want peace for our country," said Hussein Alwan, a 32-year-old supervisor.

    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday that any Iraqi officials who help in the deployment of the human shields could be punished as war criminals.

    Asked about Rumsfeld's remarks, Ternert, a high school teacher, said: "He doesn't know that this is protecting the society."

    "We do this because we are very angry," said Ignacio Cano, a bearded Spanish university professor. "Our governments, especially in those countries like mine - Spain, Italy and Turkey - are supporting the war even though the population are overwhelmingly against the war."

    Nearby, a woman sat on her bed covering her face with a sweater to prevent television crews from filming her.

    Some of the human shields weren't exposing themselves to much danger. Cano said the United States would be to blame if anyone is hurt - but conceded that likely wouldn't be him.

    "I will be leaving Iraq in two days," he said. "So I personally think I will be all right."




  2. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    They're nutcases and traitors as well.

    They are providing aid and comfort to the Iraqi regime, and if it comes to war, then it is a war crime to aid the enemy in that fashion as a "human shield".
  3. DarthTunick Arena Streak for Colors Commissioner

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2000
    star 10
    if any of them happens to die over in Iraq during military action, you won't get sympathy or tears from me. protesting the possible war on the streets of cities all around the world is fine by me, but these people acting as human shields are just plain morons. they know the risk involved in going there, so i'm not going to really care if any of them dies.


    DarthTunick,
    i [face_love] California!
  4. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Whoa, boys! Reign in those right wing thoughts of yours for a second.

    Let me play devil's advocate.

    They are risking their lives for their stance and their principle by putting themselves in harms way. They are willing to die for something they believe in.

    Are any of you risking your lives in favour of military action?

    //end devils advocacy period

    Guys, think about what they're doing. Sure, they're probably doing more harm than good but you have to really, really believe in something to go to that length for it.

    They are gits though.

    E_S
  5. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    Sounds to me E_S like you are making excuses for these people's misguided and treacherous behaviors.
  6. Jansons_Funny_Twin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    I'd rather not see them die, but if they do, it was their choice, and they have to live (or die) with that choice.
  7. scum&villainy Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 1999
    star 4
    They aren't traitors. They aren't treasonous.

    For God's sake leave this medieval polarized view behind.

    Ender's right to a point - these people are standing up for what they believe in. They believe innocent Iraqis will die if the US goes in. That is an undeniable fact. Their belief that the war in morally unjust also holds some water, as there is a debate (ie look at the pages and pages of Senate Floor discussion) going on as to whether the war is morally just. I believe it is - but only just - others do not. What the shields are doing is actively doing something to try and uphold their beliefs. Part of me admires them greatly.

    The other part of me thinks they're mad. Totally mad.
  8. Kyle Katarn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 1998
    star 6
    How about they bunk in some of the Kurdish villages which have been constantly attacked by Hussein's regeime. Once they do that, then I might have some tiny amount of respect for them.
  9. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    Last I checked s&v, providing aid and comfort to the enemy in the advent of war is called treason.
  10. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Darth Mischeivous - No, I play the middle ground. I'm a legal and political creature, so I can do this. "It's dark and lonely work, Harry - like oral sex, but somebody has to do it." (Anyone know this reference).

    They are dying for their beliefs. I don't notice the pro-war crowd doing the same. No harm in observing that are they? I also said they were gits - surely you know this word?

    E_S
  11. 1stAD Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 5
    The real question is, are they noble nutballs or misguided humanitarians?
  12. JediBeowulf Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2001
    star 3
    [Keannu Reeves]Whoa....[/Keannu Reeves]

    That was deep 1stAd! :D
  13. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    Sorry, E_S, you aren't playing the middle ground on this - you're taking the leftist position.

    The fact is, there is no middle ground on this issue.

    Your argument concerning the pro-war crowd is also absurd. You don't have to be in favor of something in order to participate in it least of all sacrifice your life for it, last I checked. You can support our troops if and when they go to battle, and that indeed is support well spent (trust me, the support of your civilians at home means a lot - take it from a veteran - I had it in Bosnia).

    The fact remains is these protesters are traitors in every sense of the word. They are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    It is also a breach of the Geneva Conventions:

    "International law draws a clear distinction between civilians and combatants. The principle that civilians must be protected lies at the heart of international law of armed conflict. It is the distinction between combatants and innocent civilians that terrorism, and practices like the use of human shields, so directly assaults," said U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a Pentagon press briefing.

    "If death or serious injury to a noncombatant resulted from these efforts, the individuals responsible for deploying any innocent civilians as human shields could be guilty of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions," added Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers.

    Article 51 of the 1977 amendment the 1949 Geneva Conventions specifically prohibits human shields.

    "The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objects from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations," it states.




  14. Vagrant Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2002
    star 3
    The fact remains is these protesters are traitors in every sense of the word. They are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    They are giving aid and comfort to the civilians (children and such).
    The fact that remains is, those Finnish shields who I've listened to aren't there to support Saddam. They are there to protect the civilians. They should be located to hospitals, schools and other similar "targets", which US has bommed before. Of course, if the US military is willing to get collateral casualties as before, though luck. I do admire their conviction. I do admire that they have the guts to do actually do something.
    About that picture of Saddam at their wall. Fricking Iraqian Propaganda. Atleast the Finnish shields are quite clear that they have nothing against bomming the military targes. They are there, so US might, just might, avoid civilian targets.
    But of course, you can't make an omelette without killing a few innocent civilians.

  15. scum&villainy Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 1999
    star 4
    DM, you're view is too polarized.

    Treason is an outdated accusation, and the notion that not supporting the government line is treachery is laughable.

    If the shields were shipping SAMs to Iraq, or if they were detailing troop movements, or assisting the Iraqi military in how best to make Western troops' lives more uncomfortable, I could accept the accusation that they are positively helping 'the enemy' - I love the way you classifiy everything (even at this supposedly diplomatic stage) as 'The Enemy', or 'The Traitors'. It's so, so blinkered and such an easy way to live your life and make your decisions - but, as it stands, they're trying (in a very dangerous and naive fashion) to protect the innoncents.

    That's not treasonous.
  16. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    Let me make this as clear as I possibly can to those of you who seem to be in denial or have an ambiguous view of what reality is in your morally-relativistic ideologies.

    Treachery is indeed applicable in this situation. Treachery is the violation of allegiance or of faith and confidence. These individuals who are Americans are violating their allegiance to the United States. They are also in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Human shields are outlawed by the Geneva Conventions as a war crime. These "human shields" are being used by the Iraqi government, not only as physical presences, but also as tools to be used in the Iraqi governments' propaganda campaign. Therefore, they are providing aid and comfort to the Iraqi regime which makes them traitors.

  17. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    They are giving aid and comfort to the civilians (children and such).

    They are not, unless you think continued terrorization and oppression by Saddam Hussein is far preferable to a swift liberation by allied forces.

    Motives be damned, their actions serve to make it that much more difficult to remove Saddam Hussein from power.


    About that picture of Saddam at their wall. Fricking Iraqian Propaganda. Atleast the Finnish shields are quite clear that they have nothing against bomming the military targes. They are there, so US might, just might, avoid civilian targets.
    But of course, you can't make an omelette without killing a few innocent civilians.


    The implication, of course, is that we go out of our way to target civilians, that the US Armed Forces are now redrawing their battle plans dropping hospitals and orphanages from our list of primary targets. It is a vicious and patently untrue implication.

    Moreover, Saddam has had a year to hide his weapons programs. I bet they've been intentionally moved to the basements of orphanages and hospitals. Have you said one word in protest about this? Not in this thread.


    Treason is an outdated accusation, and the notion that not supporting the government line is treachery is laughable.

    This is crap. Complete crap. Are you actually suggesting that treason no longer exists, or that a government no longer has the right to prosecute those who acting directly against it?

    Two words: Timothy McVeigh.
  18. rsterling78 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2002
    star 5
    I agree with DM.

    So these people are willing to make the supreme sacrifice for something they believe in. What of it? The same can be said for the Kamikaze pilots of Militarist Japan and the 9/11 terrorists.

    Having the courage of misplaced convictions is no virtue.

    I have respect for the brave men and women who will risk their lives to end tyranny and liberate Iraq, not for people who are willing to die to protect a murderous dictator.
  19. Vagrant Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2002
    star 3
    I have respect for the brave men and women who will risk their lives to end tyranny and liberate Iraq, not for people who are willing to die to protect a murderous dictator.

    I don't know how many interviews you have read about these shields, but the Finnish make it clear that they do not support nor protect Saddam. If they are taken to Saddam's palaces, or any military building, they have been kidnapped.

    My modus operandi for removing Saddam=assassination.
  20. Vagrant Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2002
    star 3
    The implication, of course, is that we go out of our way to target civilians, that the US Armed Forces are now redrawing their battle plans dropping hospitals and orphanages from our list of primary targets. It is a vicious and patently untrue implication.

    Lucky for me I didn't implicate such things.
    Unless, US keeps hospitals and orphanages on their list of primary targets? :)
    What I'm saying is this: USAF has been known to mis-place a few bombs. Not on intention, I hope.
  21. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    If any of the human shields are US citizens, then they do meet the definition of the only crime defined by the Constitution. I quote from Article III, Section 3:
    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

    The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.
    John Walker Lindh committed treason by levying war against the United States. These human shields are also committing treason by adhering to the US's enemy, namely Iraq. That means that they are subject to the provisions of Title 18 Part I Chapter 115 Section 2381:
    Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States
    Would anyone (Ender_Sai, this includes you) care to explain how their actions do not meet this legal definition of treason?

    I will also point out, though, that according to that article, the human shields are from Sweden, Spain, Italy and Finland, not from the US. These specific human shields, then, are not traitors. However, any US citizens who do would be traitors. FOr example, Ken Nichols, the former US Marine who is organizing the human shields, is a traitor. He is specifically (and openly) adhering to the US's enemy in the event of a war.

    Question for those leading the human shields: Why don't I see you going? If you believe so much in the cause, why don't you head to Iraq to serve as a human shield? Could it be because it is easier to convince others to stand up for your beliefs instead of doing it yourself?

    Kimball Kinnison
  22. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    The fact remains is these protesters are traitors in every sense of the word. They are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    I didn't know that the Swedish, Finnish, Spanish and Italian government was at war with Iraq.

  23. Vagrant Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2002
    star 3
    Question for those leading the human shields: Why don't I see you going? If you believe so much in the cause, why don't you head to Iraq to serve as a human shield? Could it be because it is easier to convince others to stand up for your beliefs instead of doing it yourself?

    I don't believe that those shields can actually prevent war. US is gonna attack, no matter what.
    I'm trying to explain why those Finnish shields are there. I don't know about the motives of the other shields.
  24. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I'm trying to explain why those Finnish shields are there. I don't know about the motives of the other shields.

    Yes, but my question was not directed to those who are actually in Iraq as human shields. It was directed towards people like Ken Nichols, who are organizing the protesters to go as human shields. Just like with many fundamentalist terrorist organizations, you don't see the leaders out on the front lines. Instead, they seem more than happy to send other people into harm's way first. I wouldn't call that great conviction, personally.

    Kimball Kinnison
  25. Crimson-Larko Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 14, 2001
    star 4
    Two words:

    Mahatma Ghandi

    Think about it...
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