|Donkeys fighting, Kunduz, via Heilige Stätten, watan-afghanistan.de.|
President Obama personally apologized on Wednesday to the head of Doctors Without Borders for what he described as the mistaken bombing of its field hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, promising a full investigation into the episode, which took the lives of nearly two dozen doctors and patients.That's good,
White House officials said Mr. Obama told Dr. Liu that he would make any changes necessary to ensure that such incidents were less likely in the future. And they said that the president promised a “full accounting” of who was to blame, and whether the military’s rules of engagement need to change.That's better. What would be best would be to honor the request of the Médecins Sans Frontières president, Dr. Joanne Liu:
Dr. Liu reiterated the organization’s request that the United States “consent to an independent investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.”As the Times points out, the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, created in 1991 and never yet used, has 76 signatory countries of which the US is not one, as it is not part of the International Criminal Court, or the Law of the Sea treaty, or the Ottawa Treaty banning the use of anti-personnel mines (alongside our mine-loving friends China, Iran, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia), and so on.
The invariable US insistence on remaining outside any mechanism broader than the Security Council for enforcing international law, on grounds evidently of American and/or Israeli exceptionalism, is a terrible thing, and makes a mockery of US claims to lead the forces of rule of law, which are mocked enough by the situation as it is. Everything the US government says about Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin may well be true, as I generally think, but if some of the things Putin says about the US government are also true the argument isn't very convincing.
The US should be setting an example to other countries of submitting to the rule of law, and readiness to live with the consequences.