By lex, on March 10th, 2010
The ACLU is ostensibly a group of American lawyers who concern themselves with American civil liberties. Why then is a Canadian lawyer for the ACLU concerning himself with the appropriate number of American soldiers who ought to expose themselves to death or mutilation in the prosecution of stateless terrorists on foreign shores?
Jonathan (Mannes) said, for example, that one of the issues with Predators was that they removed the “natural barriers” that would otherwise have to be fought through in order to attack alleged terrorists. It made it (too) easy for the US to resort to violence… But it would be hard to come up with a more direct statement that the issue for the ACLU is not the usual (at least surface) concern of human rights groups with jus in bello and the conduct of armed operations, but instead a belief that the US needs to be restrained — through direct and personal exposure to death on the part of its soldiers — in order that it have the proper incentives not to over-resort to the use of force.
What the ACLU… seems really to be saying is that “we”… should not make it too easy for the United States to win its wars, if necessary by forcing its troops to fight their way through “natural barriers” and at the appropriate cost in American lives. Wow. Heck of a point of view, at least for an ostensibly American organization and its lawyers. Count me out.
Yeah, me too.
The ACLU, for all its obstreperousness, serves an important national function. But it when it allows itself to dabble, as it all too often does, in issues far outside the organization’s swim lane, they make a mockery of themselves.
Being too cool and refined to take sides is not always a sign of moral superiority… Suggesting, however sophisticated the language, that superior intellects understand that “we” need to have more American GIs killed, or at risked, in order to reach the efficient equilibrium of incentives and disincentives to violence is not a winning argument.
It takes a really smart lawyer to look this stupid.