More hospitals bombed, this time in Syria


Another war atrocity has occurred, this time in the Syrian city of Idlib where it appears that a hospital has been bombed, killing at least twelve people. It appears that Russian forces now fighting on behalf of Syrian president Assad are behind this latest attack. Like in Kunduz, Afghanistan the medical director says that it looks like the hospital was directly targeted. This was apparently the third such attack on a hospital since the Russian intervention began.

This latest bombing underscores the urgent need to have in place a permanent, independent, and international body that has the authority to immediately investigate allegations of war crimes and be able to take offending nations to an international tribunal.

War is always an abomination. The only thing that prevents it from descending into complete barbarism are the limits that are placed on it by agreements such as the Geneva conventions on the protections of civilians in war that prohibit things like torture and the targeting of civilians and protected facilities like hospitals and essential infrastructure.

It is unfortunately the case that nowadays many take a cynical attitude towards these war crimes, shrugging it off with flip comments like ‘war is hell’ and the like, as long as it is not ‘their’ side that is at the receiving end of the crimes. It is this that results in a spiraling downward, with each side justifying its actions by referring to the crimes of the other.

You can be sure that Russia will oppose any independent investigation into these hospital bombings and will use the US’s refusal to allow investigations into the Kunduz bombing as its justification. They will both oppose setting up any the kind of investigative system. And the supporters of each side will let them get away with it and refuse to hold their own leaders to account.

Comments

  1. tbrandt says

    This is great. Now, when asked about American atrocities and war crimes, we can just point to Russia and say that they’re worse. It’s like we’re back in preschool, except that rather than taking each other’s toys we’re bombing and killing brown people. Only the highest standards for the greatest country on Earth.

  2. Dunc says

    [apologist]It was obviously a mistake. What possible motivation could the Russians have for attacking a hospital?[/apologist]

  3. qwints says

    This latest bombing underscores the urgent need to have in place a permanent, independent, and international body that has the authority to immediately investigate allegations of war crimes and be able to take offending nations to an international tribunal.

    How would this differ from the international criminal court? The US, Russia and China have no intention of allowing anyone other than themselves to have jurisdiction over their armed forces. One reason the US pulled out of Iraq when it did was that its troops might been subject to IraWhen US soldiers <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yangju_highway_incident"killed two South Korean schoolgirls while driving a tank, South Korea was powerless.

  4. qwints says

    Sorry for the double post

    *One reason the US pulled out of Iraq when it did was that its troops might been subject to Iraqi jurisdiction. When US soldiers killed two South Korean schoolgirls while driving a tank, South Korea was powerless. Even Germany and Japan still don’t have jurisdiction over US military personnel for crimes committed while on duty.

  5. says

    If you search youtube for “gopro syria tank” there is some really scary footage shot by Syrian army AFV drivers. It’s really distressing to see how utterly destroyed the cities are, and to watch T72 tanks firing HE into apartment blocks. Or, rather, what’s left of them. The whole city is large chunks of rubble atop small chunks of rubble. No sign of civilians, hopefully they’ve all managed to go somewhere else.

    It’s what American Foreign Policy of “regime change” looks like.

  6. deepak shetty says

    to have in place a permanent, independent, and international body

    Which none of the powers will agree to unless they get veto powers. I would guess the change has to come from within first – Unless the country is willing to act upon its own failings nothing will change. Its still mind boggling that GW Bush/Cheney/Blair etc could say what they did (45 minutes to WMD attack!) , influence opinion , go to war and face no consequences – not much is going to change if they bomb a hospital too. The lack of outrage from citizens about actions being done in their name is the most troubling thing from all of this.

  7. Dave Huntsman says

    the urgent need to have in place a permanent, independent, and international body

    And just who would select the members of this “permanent, independent, and international body”?

  8. deepak shetty says

    @abear
    Yes it was the fault of the muslim terrorists who have the audacity to hide in a hospital. But we did try our best to reduce collateral damage and didnt nuke the entire city. Just like Israel, we go out of our way to reduce the damage caused unlike the filthy terrorists who would kill any innocent people (you know like doctors and nurses) .

  9. abear says

    deepak; It is wrong to blame all this on muslim terrorists. If it weren’t for the way India has savagely mistreated muslims and stole their lands like Kashmir there wouldn’t be nearly as many angry muslims! It was after all the bullying India has done to Pakistan that caused the formation of the Taliban and al Qaeda. not to mention the way they have sparked the nuclear arms race in South Asia. Too bad the UN doesn’t give them the ass wooping they deserve.

  10. abear says

    deepak wrote:

    Yes it was the fault of the muslim terrorists who have the audacity to hide in a hospital.

    You aren’t saying it is OK for combatants to use civilians, hospitals, schools. etc. as human shields are you?
    I certainly am against the bombing of these people and I’m sincerely shocked at the fate of the innocent victims in conflicts like Syria, just so you don’t the wrong idea.
    Don’t you think that people like IS members have any responsibility in this, because it doesn’t sound like it.

  11. laurentweppe says

    Don’t you think that people like IS members have any responsibility in this

    No
    The Idlib province is located outside Daesh-controlled territories: Putin’s strategy mirrors Assad: his troops are deliberately targeting the non-Daesh rebels: slaughtering in priority the secular and moderates rebels who would have a shot at being less terrible leaders than the decadent Assad dynasty.

  12. Lesbian Catnip says

    Gosh, Mano, this blog post too?! Come on. It’s common knowledge that it’s only a war crime if the other side does it.

  13. deepak shetty says

    @abear

    Don’t you think that people like IS members have any responsibility in this, because it doesn’t sound like it.

    The IS has responsibility for what it does – not for what Russia (or the USA) decides to do. Even if you assume that Russia/USA are the good guys and are only doing the above when they have no other choice (ha ha ha – but just for the sake of argument) they are still weighing some innocent lives v/s other innocent lives and acting on it – and surprise surprise the lives of innocent others don’t matter.
    In the real world , the powers that be arent really good guys and are only interested in furthering their agendas and vendettas and say what they need to , to recruit the ordinary people into believing they are the good guys.
    Also because you decided to use India as a response to my mockery – just FYI , I believe that alongside religion , nationalism is the one other thing that can be used to justify any atrocity , any cruelty, any genocide.

  14. abear says

    lw @12: I agree with you. Among the villains in this piece, Assad should take the major responsibility for this catastrophe in a tie with IS. Assad and IS have used each other to their advantage against the people of Syria.
    Also, I’m aware that the airstrikes in Idlib didn’t target IS, my remarks about them were meant to talk about their larger role.
    We also agree about Russia’s actions. For the record I think Putin is a ruthless bastard and an extremely dangerous one.
    deepak@14: I’m well aware there are no good guys in this as well as other situations. Are you? You say IS is responsible for their own actions but haven’t condemned their actions.
    About the Americans: I’m not one and I don’t think they are angels. In this case however they are far from the worst actors. Of the at least 250,000 people killed in this mess how many innocents do you think were killed by American bombs?
    The US has responsibility for what it does- not for what Syrians, Iraqis, Turks, Russians and Iranians do.
    (to paraphrase an Indian nationalist that doesn’t think he is one)

  15. deepak shetty says

    You say IS is responsible for their own actions but haven’t condemned their actions.

    I havent condemned Hitler either.The post deals with Russian bombing of hospitals.
    Do I have any doubt that Islamic fundamentalists are bad – hell, no – but you are missing the point of posts like Mano’s.
    There is a carefully crafted narrative (Like Israel/Palestine or US/Iraq etc) . There is a set of bad guys and a set of good guys with pure and noble intentions , who sometimes , get it wrong , but really they didnt mean to and they didnt have a choice and its all for the good. Does that mean I think that Hamas is good or Saddam Hussein is a good guy ?

  16. abear says

    deepak: I understand Mano’s post and agree with it entirely. You don’t get my point.
    The post deals with the Russian bombing of hospitals as you say, but then why are you apparently shifting the blame to the US and Israel?
    I’m glad to hear you think that Islamic fundamentalists, Hamas, and Saddam was/are bad too, I can’t recall you ever mentioning it. US and Israel have lots of bad behavior to answer for and they are less than honest about taking blame for their mistakes, but in the interest of balance they certainly shouldn’t take all the blame all the time.
    The original snarky comment I made was sort of pointed to Marcus Ranum’s comment:

    If you search youtube for “gopro syria tank” there is some really scary footage shot by Syrian army AFV drivers. It’s really distressing to see how utterly destroyed the cities are, and to watch T72 tanks firing HE into apartment blocks. Or, rather, what’s left of them. The whole city is large chunks of rubble atop small chunks of rubble. No sign of civilians, hopefully they’ve all managed to go somewhere else.

    It’s what American Foreign Policy of “regime change” looks like.

    Unless I misunderstand him he appears to blame the USA for the crimes of Assad.

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