in WorldAffairs

Bare Faced Impunity

Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq. These are places , notable but not unique, where America has committed violations to human rights and universal decency. Reserving their right to ‘defend’ themselves against ‘terrorists’ and projecting their agenda of pre-emptive action (albeit on the basis of false intelligence), the US and its allies have crapped all over international law and are getting away with it.

Whilst it may be that Australia , the UK and even Italy (amongst others) ‘stand shoulder to shoulder’ with the US in its operations in Iraq, it seems now that the US’s impunity is not limited to the rest of the international community but even to its ‘friends’.

The killing , by US soldiers, of Italian agent and negotiator – Nicola Calipari – has shown, once again, that there is no honour in this so called coalition. Calipari, who was travelling at high speed, in a car with an Italian hostage whose release he had just negotiated, was shot whilst approaching an American checkpoint in Baghdad. He was trying to shield the hostage from shooting and died a hero.

After a seemingly routine investigation, the US authorities have announced that the shooting was ‘accidental’. The Italians claim they had notified the Americans of Calipari’s route and had permission. Whatever the facts actually are, it remains that there are more versions of what happened and therein lies the crisis.

Friendly fire , as this questionably is, are accidents that happen between allies. Usually they are as a result of miscommunications, carelessness or simple bad luck. But in this case, with US troops on the highest alert and constantly on edge, they rained bullets on this car that they thought should stop, but whose occupants thought they were pre-approved to go. The result is one dead negotiator and two ‘allies’ arguing on whose version of the truth is most accurate.

The underlying doctrine of the US has been and always will be ‘multilateralism when we must, unilateralism when we want’, even if that unilateralism is within a restricted multilateralism. This barefaced impunity that allows the US to do what it likes, when it likes and to whomever it likes is only possible because of the economic and military power that buoys this empire.
The time will come when world commerce is not dictated by the dollar and when bigger and better armies exist to counter America’s. Every empire goes the same way.

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