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Denial Of Water
November 17, 2004 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Denial Of Water Water supplies to Tall Afar, Samarra and Fallujah have been cut off during US attacks in the past two months, affecting up to 750,000 civilians. This appears to form part of a deliberate US policy of denying water to the residents of cities under attack. If so, it has been adopted without a public debate, and without consulting Coalition partners. It is a serious breach of international humanitarian law, and is deepening Iraqi opposition to the United States, other Coalition members, and the Iraqi interim government.
posted by Postroad (31 comments total)

 
I think it's interesting that there are different rules for international and non-international conflicts, Geneva Protocol II vs. Protocol I. Which one applies here? The link cites the non-international one, but the international one has a clause that says you can starve people in territory you control, if it's required by imperative military necessity.
posted by smackfu at 10:52 AM on November 17, 2004


Water turned off? Sounds like a good way to smoke-out the enemy, or weaken them. The civilians who haven't left are forced to leave, or, at least go to a truck or something for water; the Evildoers hide, suffer and weaken.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:56 AM on November 17, 2004


rense. hee hee.
posted by quonsar at 10:59 AM on November 17, 2004


Eh, quonsar, at least Rense has all kinds of quotes and citations this time.
posted by taumeson at 11:05 AM on November 17, 2004


No. Rense is never ever OK.
posted by loquax at 11:08 AM on November 17, 2004


Rense? Don't you mean "rinse"?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:28 AM on November 17, 2004


How's the blog coming PP? I can't wait for more hot "anti-Evildoer" action...
posted by longbaugh at 11:35 AM on November 17, 2004


The civilians who haven't left are forced to leave, or, at least go to a truck or something for water

There are trucks w/ water in insurgent regions? I would imagine they would get kidnapped pretty quick.
posted by dig_duggler at 11:43 AM on November 17, 2004


Water turned off? Sounds like a good way to smoke-out the enemy, or weaken them. The civilians who haven't left are forced to leave, or, at least go to a truck or something for water; the Evildoers hide, suffer and weaken.

And it wasn't for the whole "you're under 24 hour curfew and males over the age of 15 aren't allowed to leave" thing, that might actually make any sense whatsoever.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:46 AM on November 17, 2004


My guess: water was turned of in part of the city for some period of time. And then Al-CNN and company went to work to make the US look ABAP.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:06 PM on November 17, 2004


Call me crazy, but I'm going to go with a report with 30 citations over someone else's guess.

A discussion on the validity of the citations would probably be a good place to start and would make a stronger argument than a guess.
posted by dig_duggler at 12:22 PM on November 17, 2004


it has been adopted without a public debate

Since when do military tactics require a public debate?

This is called siege warfare. Get used to it. More to come.
posted by a3matrix at 12:34 PM on November 17, 2004


My guess: water was turned of in part of the city for some period of time. And then Al-CNN and company went to work to make the US look ABAP.

Yeah, because the US looks much better if this is just an infrastructure failure.
posted by eatitlive at 12:36 PM on November 17, 2004


See why Bush fears the Hague?
posted by rushmc at 12:40 PM on November 17, 2004


So... the attitude is

accept whatever we do as inevitable, after all theres nothing you can do to change it... don't talk about it, and if you hear about it it's the liberal *cough* media making it seem bigger then it is.

?

At this stage there can only be two options for an end to hostility, killing every single person who disagrees with us in Iraq, (in of itself a feedback loop, more people we kill, the more people hate us) or negotiation and a willingness to compromise backed up by definite action. What do you think is going to happen?
posted by edgeways at 1:30 PM on November 17, 2004


See why Bush fears the Hague?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:54 PM on November 17, 2004


See why Bush fears the Hague II
posted by ParisParamus at 1:58 PM on November 17, 2004


PP, your link has nothing to do with your point. The fact that the oil for food program was misused by Saddam Hussien has nothing to do with the US not allowing it's leaders to be prosecuted for war crimes, unless you are suggesting that we can't trust other bodies of government to prosecute us because someone took advantage of a poorly thought out humanitarian program. Our welfare program is taken advantage of, but that doesn't mean our courts cannot make valid legal decsions.

Big leap.
posted by dig_duggler at 2:05 PM on November 17, 2004


Not that big a leap. Europe-dominated international organizations are CORRUPT. And anti-American. I have no confidence in their ability to administer justice.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:09 PM on November 17, 2004


Kofi Annan and his entourage, including Chirac, should be behind bars by bow.

I pray that the US de-funds the UN and starts over.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:16 PM on November 17, 2004


So are you saying corruption = inability to administer justice?

If so, are you suggesting that the US government is devoid of corruption?
posted by dig_duggler at 2:17 PM on November 17, 2004


I'm surprised PP's head doesn't explode from the dissonance.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:58 PM on November 17, 2004


If so, are you suggesting that the US government is devoid of corruption?

Again, it is Axiom#1 of neoconservative ideology, "The U.S. is God's Gift to the World and is therefore always right, especially when in the wrong."

Duh.
posted by wah at 3:46 PM on November 17, 2004


Europe-dominated international organizations are CORRUPT. And anti-American.

What an original thought. Isn't that the basic thrust of every thirst post on FreeRepublic? I never tire of hearing that either.
posted by psmealey at 3:51 PM on November 17, 2004


thirst third

and yes, I am thirsty.
posted by psmealey at 3:52 PM on November 17, 2004


Again, it is Axiom#1 of neoconservative ideology, "The U.S. is God's Gift to the World and is therefore always right, especially when in the wrong."

No, Axiom #1 is that Israel is always right, a light unto other nations, and as long as the U.S. agrees with that, then it's pretty OK too...
posted by cell divide at 4:39 PM on November 17, 2004


Water turned off? Sounds like a good way to smoke-out the enemy, or weaken them. The civilians who haven't left are forced to leave, or, at least go to a truck or something for water; the Evildoers hide, suffer and weaken.

Sure. Why should these fucking civilians be entitled to stay in their own homes, in their own formerly sovereign country, drinking their own city's water....when they could be living in a tent city, defecating in a ditch, and drinking water out of a truck.

That's what the export of democracy is all about, after all.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:26 PM on November 17, 2004


One can avoid the credibility issues of Rense.com by linking to the original at CASI: Denial of Water to Iraqi Cities [PDF; HTML].

smackfu is on the right track (although the correct link was mislaid; it's on Protocol 1, Page 2). First of all, the cessation of hostilities (in a legal sense) was way back in May '03; up to the point of the dissolution of the CPA and the granting of Iraqi sovereignty (whether or not it is a rump sovereignty or not), the US was in the status of an occupying power. The correct applicable Geneva Conventions today are the ones relating to internal national conflicts, however paradoxical that may seem, and they do grant a gray area for this sort of action:

Article 54: Protection of Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Civilian Population
1. Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited
2. It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as ... drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.
3. The prohibitions ... shall not apply to [installations that] are used by an adverse Party:
• 1. as sustenance solely for the members of its armed forces; or
• 2. if not as sustenance, then in direct support of military action, provided, however, that in no event shall actions against these objects be taken which may be expected to leave the civilian population with such inadequate food or water as to cause its starvation or force its movement....
5. In recognition of the vital requirements of any Party ... in the defense of its national territory against invasion, [exceptions are permitted] by a Party to the conflict within such territory under its own control where required by imperative military necessity.


I think the US believes that Article 54(5) protects them in this case, although the case for the holding of Fallujah by insurgents being equated to an "invasion" is certainly weak. In any case they do have a fallback gray area in III.54(3)(2), citing the insurgents as an adverse party and the cutoff not serious or lengthy enough to be "inadequate" for the civilian population, but they're really stretching things there; the purpose probably is precisely to cause a civilian exodus, and if you want to game this, that's probably exactly what they'll claim -- that in essence the purpose is compassionate, to get civilians out of the combat zone. It would be a more believable claim if there weren't so many reports of people having trouble, even losing their lives, doing just that, and if there were adequate humanitarian facilities maintained in a safe area.

For comparison, consider the term hydraulic empire, aka Water Monopoly Empire (a term popularized by sf author Larry Niven). If you're looking for other parallels, consider the Strategic Hamlet and Free Fire Zone.
posted by dhartung at 8:44 PM on November 17, 2004


I hate to be the one to say this but so fucking what about the Geneva Convention?

The US government has proven itself over the years to not give a good goddamn shit about treaties, conventions, agreements, or anything other promise it makes to other nations.

It is obvious, to me at least, that the Geneva Convention has the value of toilet paper in the eyes of the US government. There's no point in bringing it up: it's as relevant as the Greek's agreement with the Persians post-war 480BC.

The USA has become a rogue state (and it might be possible to argue that it has always been a rogue state). And unless the global community grows some balls, it will continue to act with complete disregard of others.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:19 PM on November 17, 2004


Sorry, dhartung, that wasn't actually directed at you. It was a general rant of frustration.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:20 PM on November 17, 2004


Harsh. We can't win hearts and minds if people get dehydrated.
posted by echodolphin at 11:11 AM on November 23, 2004


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