Sonntag, 29. April 2007

General says marines saw Iraqi deaths as routine

by Josh White, Washington Post, in Guardian Weekly April 27 - May 3, 2007, p.6.

The Marine Corps chain of command in Iraq ignored "obvious" signs of "serious misconduct" in the 2005 killings of two dozen civilians in Haditha, and commanders fostered a climate that devalued the life of innocent Iraqis to the point that their deaths were considered an insignificant part of the war, according to an amry general's investigation.

Major-General Eldon Bargewell's report on Haditha is scathing in its criticism of the marines' actions after a roadside bomb, from the enlisted men involved in the shootings on November 19, 2005, to the two-star general who commanded the 2nd Marine Division in Iraq at the time.
The previously undisclosed report, obtained by The Washington Post, found that officers may have willfully ignored reports of the civilian deaths to protext themselves and their units from blame. Although Gen Bargewell found no specific cover-up, he concluded there was no interest in investigating allegations of a massacre.

"All levels of command tended to view civilian casualties, even in significant numbers, as routine and as the natural and intended result of insurgent tactics,"
Gen Bargwell wrote. He condemned that approach because it could desensitise marines to the welfare of non-combatants.
"Statements made by the chain of command during interviews for this investigation, taken as a whole, suggest that Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as US lives, their deaths are just the cost of doing business, and that the marines need to get 'the job done' no matter what it takes."

The sharp criticism of the marine command appears to have been a contributing factor in recent efforts by top-rank leaders to ensure that US troops exercise restraint around civilians. Lieutenant-General Peter Chiarelli, the top field commander in Iraq last year, and General David Petraeus, the top US commander there now, have emphasised the importance of protecting civilians in counter-insurgency operations and have ordered aggressive investigations of alleged wrongdoing.

weiterführende Literatur:
- Bilder des Krieges
- Miles Kosmopolitis - Brevier für den kritisch urteilenden Soldaten

Montag, 23. April 2007

Immigranten - auch die Schweiz braucht sie!

Don't believe this claptrap. Migrants are no threat to us

by Philippe Legrain
Monday January 15, 2007, The Guardian

Immigration energises our economy, and has made many Britons more productive. We should welcome it. Fear of foreigners is nothing new, yet rarely has panic about immigration been so feverish. It tops voters' list of concerns, jangling raw nerves about jobs, public services, race and terrorism. The new bogeyman is a Muslim asylum seeker. (...).

(...) it is claptrap to blame migrants for overcrowded roads, trains and hospitals, which are largely the result of rising affluence and decades of underinvestment. On the contrary, were it not for foreign doctors and nurses, the NHS would collapse.

Britain's open door for eastern European workers is a huge success. It has proved to be a revolving door - and far from bringing Britain to its knees, temporary migrants fill vital gaps in the labour market. Mostly young and single, they pay taxes but cannot claim most benefits (6% claim child benefit), so they are not a drain on the state but a boon. Nor do they steal our jobs: the employment rate is virtually unchanged on a year ago, while average wages are up 3.8%. Unemployment has nudged up, but not because of migrants. Just as women entering the workforce did not cost men jobs, nor do foreigners: they create jobs as they spend their wages.

"Those parts of the country that are seeing job losses are not those where migrant workers are most prevalent," notes Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary. "They will go where there are job vacancies, not dole queues" - even to the Scottish Highlands, where Poles are reviving communities that young Scots have fled. Precisely because they are more willing to move to where the jobs are, and to do dirty, difficult and dangerous work that young Britons shun, migrants have helped sustain Britain's longest-ever economic boom without sparking inflation.

Consider old-age care, the fastest-growing sector of employment. Young Britons eschew it. To persuade them otherwise would require a huge wage hike - and since public finances are strained, that implies either pensioners making do with less care, budget cuts elsewhere, or tax rises. But immigrants face a different set of alternatives: since wages in London are five times higher than in Warsaw, they are happy doing such work. This is not exploitation: it makes everyone - migrants, taxpayers, Britons young and old - better off. Where there is abuse, legal migrants have recourse to unions and the law. It is illegal migrants, victims of our callous but ineffective border controls, who are most at risk: remember the cockle pickers of Morecambe Bay.

Migrants from poor countries working in rich ones send home much more - $200bn a year officially, perhaps another $400bn informally - than the miserly $80bn western governments give in aid. These remittances go straight into local people's pockets, paying for food, clean water and medicines, enabling children to stay in school, and benefiting the local economy. Just as EU trade barriers that prevent African farmers selling the fruits of their labour in Britain are unfair, so are immigration controls that stop Africans selling their labour here.

Immigrants also make native workers more productive: nurses from the Philippines allow doctors to provide more patients with better care. They also add diversity and dynamism, stimulating innovation and enterprise, and thus economic growth: witness the buzz of a cosmopolitan city such as London.

Innovation most often comes from groups of talented people sparking off each other. If they have different perspectives they can solve problems better. Look at Silicon Valley: Intel, Yahoo!, Google and eBay were all founded by migrants.

Undeniably, learning to live together can be tough. Yet closing our borders would not reduce the terrorist threat from a tiny home-grown minority, while anti-immigrant rhetoric fuels hatred towards existing ethnic minorities. While concern about entrenched segregation is understandable, the real issue is not multiculturalism, but social exclusion. Nobody is terrified of rich whites clustering in Chelsea.

As for shared values, society is broad enough to accommodate nuns and transsexuals, Marxists and libertarians, eco-warriors and city slickers - but we must all abide by parliamentary democracy constrained by fundamental principles such as freedom within the law, equality before the law and tolerance of differences. And while we fall well short of the lofty ideals of liberal democracy - discrimination is rife, tolerance limited - they are still the standards we aspire to and the basis of our peaceful coexistence.

Philippe Legrain is the author of Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them.

Siehe auch:
- Miles Kosmopolitis - Zwei Chance! Ein Plädoyer für eine Öffnung der Schweizer Armee