Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How President Obama holds himself accountable

As I am sure most DH readers have already heard, Barack Obama said today that he is “accountable” for civilian deaths caused by the U.S. military in Afghanistan:
When there is a civilian casualty, that is not just a political problem for me. I am ultimately accountable, just as General McChrystal is accountable, for somebody who is not on the battlefield who got killed. And that something that I have to carry with me, and that anybody who is involved in a military operation has to carry with them.

And so we do not take that lightly. We have an interest in reducing civilian casualties not because it’s a problem for President Karzai; we have an interest in reducing civilian casualties because I don’t want civilians killed.

Jeremy Scahill responded with a series of questions in the virtual pages of The Nation:
That statement is quite remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is not true. How are President Obama or Gen. McChrystal accountable? Afghans have little, if any, recourse for civilian deaths. They cannot press their case in international courts because the US doesn't recognize an International Criminal Court with jurisdiction over US forces, Afghan courts have not and will not be given jurisdiction and Attorney General Eric Holder has made clear that the Justice Department will not permit cases against US military officials brought by foreign victims to proceed in US courts. So, what does it mean to be accountable for civilian deaths? Public apology? Press conferences? A handful of courts martial?
Actually, Obama and McChrystal both put a dollar into a jar for each dead civilian. They plan to donate the money to the USO.

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At May 12, 2010 7:37 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Welcome Micah. And anybody who doesn't admit how big of them it is to do so is just crazy.

At May 12, 2010 7:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this Micah. They're going to need a very big jar I'm afraid. Obama is accountable just like Bush Jr. is accountable. Perhaps this is one of Obama's little jokes like the one about the drones. The whole point of the system is that people like Obama are never accountable.

At May 13, 2010 1:12 PM, Blogger Mimi said...

Well, it's the usual meaningless crap politicians spew out so often. They all love to stand up and say, "I take full responsibiltiy" or "I am accountable," being all noble and brave--and NOTHING HAPPENS! I could say it, too; watch this: "I'm responsible for that volcano ash...that oil spill... those people killed at the wedding party...." Everybody knows I'll never be punished or even chastised. It's a charade. You say I'm a cynic? Now why would you think that?

At May 13, 2010 3:05 PM, Blogger AlanSmithee said...

I heard they're going to start a tip jar on the White House website when Malia and Sasha can get around to it.

At May 14, 2010 5:31 AM, Blogger Ethan said...

I actually hadn't heard this. Thanks for pointing it out. I take back each and every single mean thing I've ever said about Obama. What a great guy.


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