Accusations of "rape as a weapon of war" as a weapon of war

Here's a letter I wrote to NDP leaders shortly after they voted to approve extending the war in Libya. (Someone who used to be a colleague at my workplace got himself elected to Parliament recently. I'm sure he didn't think he'd be a pro-war voter within weeks of the election!)

I must say I was taken aback by the NDP's voting for more war in Libya. And I'm sure you think it was a big victory that you got some kind of a promise from the Harperites to prosecute "rape used as a weapon of war."

I presume you mean the allegation by the International Criminal Court that Qaddafi has used rape in this way. But think about it, folks! Qaddafi's forces have had to retreat from hundreds of kilometers they once occupied. If they'd been raping "as a weapon of war," we'd be up to our keesters in rape victims. Reporters would be interviewing them en masse (viz Congo)! We wouldn't be hearing vague, fourth-person allegations. Youtube would have dozens of them. We'd know!

Go to Youtube and look for yourselves. All we have is Iman al-Obeidi, who, despite being "dragged away by Qaddafi thugs" (inspiring world-wide campaigns to un-disappear her), somehow ends up in Qatar, the country that moved Resolution 1973. Huh? Remember the baby incubators in Kuwait City! As soon as they want the bombs to drop, the generals and the ministers start lying, endlessly.

There will, of course, be women, probably many, raped in Libya as the hostilities continue. My guess is they'll be pretty evenly divided between those raped by Qaddafi's military and those by rebels. But "rape as a weapon of war," a concept promoted by humanitarians, has been commandeered by NATO to demonize the Official Enemy alone. And here you are, trolling for polling. Not doing the right thing. Not doing the NDP thing.

How about "use of the ICC as a weapon of war?" Are we to continue to approve of that?

War is disgusting. Every possibility of diplomacy should be exhausted first, but almost never is, where NATO's involved.

You'd have been well-advised to have read Lewis McKenzie and Jeffrey Simpson on this subject before voting for more Bush-like war.

Yours, etc., etc.

Typically, after years of humanitarians trying to get those in charge to recognize the serious matter of systematic mass rape in wartime, it's now being appropriated to be used against people we don't like. Here the NDP was unable to resist the temptation to put on humanitarian dress-up as cover for approving more violence.

(Interestingly, the Globe and Mail is running one of their "Vox Populi" polls on its "politics" web-page, asking the question, Should Canada extend its commitment to the NATO mission in Libya? Currently it's running at 29 per cent yes, 71 per cent no.)

(This was written and posted in June, 2011, as the campaign to assassinate Qaddafi was in a quagmire. Subsequent events changed the military picture, but not my main point. Tens of thousands of Libyans have been killed and much of the country destroyed, but NATO got its guy, so it's been billed as a foreign policy "success." More soon.)

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