NATO countries are shocked by the proposal of a leading U.S. military officer on how best to handle drug dealers in Afghanistan. NATO’s senior military commander Gen. John Craddock does not understand why NATO should bother with the need to establish that any given drug dealer is associated with the Taliban. He believes that we should just shoot them all without proof in yet another example of how the United States has emerged as a perceived enemy to the rule of law.
Our allies were reportedly alarmed by the American proposal that was put into a confidential letter on Jan. 5 to Gen. Egon Ramms, a German officer who heads the NATO command center responsible for Afghanistan. Craddock wrote that “it was no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective.” Our allies have correctly denounced the idea as a violation of the most basic principles of law and a radical change in their mission.
Craddock’s proposal is an example of the effect of eight years of Bush policies where such “shoot-first-and-let-God-sort-them-out” approaches were viewed as perfectly legitimate. It also shows that the Obama Administration will have to look closely at the people, like Craddock, who were promoted during these years.
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