“At Risk in Sri Lanka’s War” takes the position that to fight insurgents who are not governed by civilized norms, we are aiding in the demise of innocent civilians–all in the name of “war on terror.” Maybe we should just let terrorists take over? Do you agree or disagree. Comment below.
“Thousands of innocent civilians are dying in the name of the ‘ .’
When we think of mass atrocities, we think of regimes — or their proxies — massacring defenseless citizens, as in Rwanda or Darfur. The situation in Sri Lanka is more complicated, morally and legally: This is a situation of armed conflict in which both parties are acting in ways that pose a grave risk to innocent civilians. The party that is perhaps more culpable — the rebels — answers to no one. And the Sri Lankan government has been able to operate with virtual impunity because it is fighting “terrorists.” Even Western states that usually condemn violations of international law have given the situation a wide berth.
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“But states engaged in combat do not have the right to perpetrate atrocities; nor does the cruelty of armed opponents absolve states of their responsibility to protect citizens. And there is no one better equipped than we in the United States to recognize the cynicism behind the language of the war on terror, which allows states to do as they wish in the name of defeating supreme evil. Over the past quarter-century, Sri Lanka has been accused of fighting the Tigers with a policy of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions. In the current battle, the army has engaged in intense shelling and aerial bombardment of the combat area and an adjacent “no-fire zone,” set aside for civilians.
Colombo is in no mood for lectures. This is one of Washington Post’s Opinion pieces today. You can read the entire essay and come back and comment on