Jesurgislac’s Journal

December 22, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize Winner & War Criminal

Someone needs to remind President Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner extraordinaire, of a plain fact that Fred at Slacktivist likes to point out: You’re not allowed to kill civilians: “It’s been awhile so it seems again it’s time for a helpful reminder that noncombatant immunity isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. In other words: You’re not allowed to kill civilians. Killing civilians is against the law. Killing civilians makes you a criminal.”

Planning to kill civilians – even if your stated plan is to kill al-Qaeda operatives by launching military strikes at a civilian population where you believe al-Qaeda operatives may be located, you are by that planning to kill civilians – is a war crime. (Via, worth reading.)

It’s not the first time the Nobel committee have awarded the Peace Prize to a war criminal, of course…


  1. Isn’t it obvious? Obama was awarded the Peace Prize mostly for not being Bush.

    Comment by Rob F — December 22, 2009 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  2. I have to admit: it’s great Obama’s not Bush. But this is a fairly low test of achievement. McCain wasn’t Bush. (Of course McCain picked Palin, who was amazingly worse than Bush, but…)

    Comment by jesurgislac — December 23, 2009 @ 7:42 am | Reply

  3. I’m going to have to disagree slightly. Deliberately killing civilians is a war crime. Attempting to minimize civilian casualties while still willing to let them occur is not a war crime. Indeed, in almost all wars, there will be some civilian deaths.

    Pragmatically this seems like a really bad idea given the current attitudes in Yemen and the negative reactions that will likely occur in Yemen from this. But it isn’t at all clear that this constitutes war crimes. More likely than not it does not.

    Comment by Joshua Zelinsky — December 24, 2009 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  4. Deliberately killing civilians is a war crime.

    And when you aim missiles at civilian populations – in Yemen or anywhere else – that is deliberately killing them.

    Of course, regardless, the US military is never formally charged when it commits war crimes – no matter how many civilians are deliberately killed. And Obama is hardly as bad as Bush in this respect: it’s just more ironic because he’s also won a Nobel Peace Prize. But then, so did Kissinger…

    Comment by Jesurgislac — December 28, 2009 @ 9:14 am | Reply

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