Martin Dempsey, the highest ranking officer in the US, this week endangered the lives of US and other civilians by approving military tactics by foreign nations that result in a 75 to 80% civilian death rate.
Having reviewed Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza, Dempsey said Israel acted “responsibly” and went to “extraordinary lengths” to prevent civilian casualties. He said he wanted to further study and learn from the tactics used in the operation, implicitly acknowledging that US operations generally kill a higher percentage of civilians.
Even assuming Dempsey disapproves of Israel’s direct targeting of civilians, including very young children, Dempsey’s statements are outrageous and dangerous. They grant both allied and opposing powers a green light to carry out attacks in similar fashion, with, as Amnesty characterized Israel’s assault, “brazen” disregard for law and carnage.
Worse, since Israel initiated the armed attack, Dempsey’s reckless statements grant approval for the highest crime in international law, “war of aggression”. (Dempsey himself has been an unlawful combatant in US wars of aggression.)
His pronouncements are also disturbing on a personal level, since Israel’s tactics include targeting officers in their family homes, including by hitting them with one ton bombs that kill dozens of their family members and neighbors. Indeed, in its recent attack, Israel wiped out 89 entire family trees.
It is remarkable (and unfortunately typical) to witness a leading US militant like Dempsey, a family man with a wife, three children, and eight grandchildren, give his personal thumbs up to attacks that would kill not only US civilians, overwhelmingly so, but also his entire family.
Robert Barsocchini is a researcher focusing on global force dynamics. He also writes professionally for the film industry. Here is his blog. Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities. Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.