Public: War
osama bin landfill   (+9, -9)  [vote for, against]
al-qa'ida's cave network = usa's garbage dump

the united states is wasting time, money, and, more importantly, lives bombing recklessly throughout afghanistan in an effort to find one elusive man who may never be found, dead _or_ alive.

i propose that instead of the current military campaign, a new, different kind of war be fought. the u.s. should ship it's garbage to afghanistan and use the al-qa'ida cave network as a landfill. slowly, but surely, as the caves are filled to capacity, the terrorists will be driven out, either by the smell (doubtful) or by the fact that there is no room for them anymore.

sounds crazy? well, this _is_ the halfbakery, and at least it's better than destroying entire villages and saying that nothing happened.
-- mihali, Dec 06 2001

one of many similar stories http://news.indepen...ry.jsp?story=108209

Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) http://www.civicweb...va_convention_4.htm
Article 2 defines the scope (Declared wars and occupations). Article 3 refers to civil wars. [mihali, Dec 06 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) http://www.civicweb...va_convention_4.htm
Article 2 defines the scope (Declared wars and occupations). Article 3 refers to civil wars. [pottedstu, Dec 06 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

1977 Addition to the 1949 Convention
Articles 48ff. deal with the treatment of civilians. [pottedstu, Dec 06 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

A Report on United States War Crimes Against Iraq
US respect for international law in past wars (consider also the terroristic attacks on civilian targets by allied bombers against Serbia.) [pottedstu, Dec 07 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Far better than bombing. That story (link) is pathetic.
-- bristolz, Dec 06 2001

makes me feel queasy. Can't read too much of that or will start getting paranoid.
-- lewisgirl, Dec 06 2001

Off topic, but the number one rule in war is to give yourself the greatest advantage over your enemy as possible. It's not to fight gallantly man-to-man. That's for the movies.
-- seal, Dec 06 2001

seal: Nonetheless, there is the Geneva Convention, to which the USA professes some attachment, which places severe restrictions on the widespread and indiscriminate killing of civilians. Or are you advocating we roll nuclear weapons into the caves? And no one here's advocated fighting man-to-man, gallantly or otherwise.
-- pottedstu, Dec 06 2001

Does anyone know if the Geneva Convention covers acts of war committed in situations where no war has been formally declared?

It occurs to me that the US government is currently fighting a nearly covert war against a sovereign state, on the orders of military commanders and former corporate lawyers. Not a nice combination, especially for those of us who want to know when and how our government might be committing war crimes of its own.

As for the landfill idea ... let's ship our wrecked SUV's, car transmissions and crude-oil containers over there, instead of the garden-variety garbage in our own landfills. Osama and his minions would then get to die under the weight of what made them rich in life. Better still, our military might make the connection between what's in the cargo hold and what got us into this mess in the first place.
-- 1percent, Dec 06 2001

'Nearly covert'? It's got almost 24 hour coverage on CNN. How is that in any sense of the word 'covert'?
-- StarChaser, Dec 06 2001

1percent: Apparently, the Geneva Conventions apply only to declared wars, although it is only necessary for one side to accept that a war has been declared. This provision is somewhat ambiguous, since many of the provisions of the Geneva Convention are considered as part of the standard principles of international law, and thus would apply even without the Convention being invoked.

However, the Geneva Conventions have been extended to cover civil wars and similar uprisings, apparently without the requirement that these are formally declared. There is little doubt that a civil war is being fought in Afghanistan, and has been in progress for some time; however, I don't think the provisions necessarily extend to foreign countries joining in the conflict.

The provisions also apply during military occupations, even if unopposed, or without a declaration of war. I've linked to the 1949 Convention and the 1977 extension, if you can read the legalese.
-- pottedstu, Dec 06 2001

Because I grew up during the Vietnam war, I have a certain understanding of what the word "war" means. It's never a single definition. There is the big, public war that each side hears about -- we say we've got Kabul, Al Quaeda says that the Taliban continue to fight and will never surrender. But what we and they do is measurable, writ large: who's bombing what area, who has retreated from where, and when.

Then there is the other war, the one that actually determines who will win, if anyone can. It's the series of actions that includes involvement from CIA and international banks and liberal interpretations of international and Constitutional law. This is what I meant when I used the words 'nearly covert' -- though the meaning I intended was 'incompletely covert'. What we never used to hear about, in previous wars, is now surfacing on the evening news ... a bit at a time, just enough to let us know that carpet bombings are not to be confused with the real war.

The first American casualty of our current war was CIA (though this admission itself was a breach of covert-action protocol). Suspects who are found to have connections to terrorist groups are monitored while in discussion with defense counsel, and can expect to be tried by military tribunal -- though, again, we haven't declared war on anyone. My government is still detaining men whose worst known crime is the possession of expired visas.

During the Vietnam war, the CIA would never have admitted that it was anywhere near Southeast Asia; it was an unpopular war, and the CIA is a classically unpopular organization. Now, they claim it with something close to pride: the first dead man is CIA. They even broadcast the location of his hometown and surviving family -- unthinkable, in earlier conflicts.

So I hear a small news item on covert actions in Afghanistan on the Friday evening news, somewhere between talk about the terrain of Kandahar and the day's stock market results, and I know that much more is happening around that headline, but I realize that I'm not expected to care. No one else does, apparently; if they did they'd be marching and burning things and taking over university offices. So why should I care? If I'm outraged at what happened in New York City three months ago, shouldn't I accept any and all military actions taken in response, overt or covert, whether or not they are covered by international law?

StarChaser, my objections are not connected to the fact that the Big War is broadcast on CNN 24 hours a day. My objections are about the things that aren't broadcast there, the horribly important small things that I think I need to know -- things that will ultimately add fuel to the fire that's already killed too many Americans this year.

I support the *idea* of the war: the idea that you can't fly planes into buildings full of innocent people and not expect to pay for it. But I am a private citizen who will ultimately be held responsible for what her government did when it was at war, and I simply want to know. That's all.
-- 1percent, Dec 07 2001

After that little thesis how can I not give you a croissant?

<satire>I suggest sending Ian Paisley into the caves as a more effective solution- let them know what real fanaticism is! At the very least we'll get rid of Ian Paisley.......</satire>
-- afroman, Dec 07 2001

afroman: We could never discount the slim possibility that Rev Dr Paisley could emerge as some kind of hero, which could interfere with my plans to have him indicted for crimes against humanity at The Hague.
-- pottedstu, Dec 07 2001

[1percent] Actually, I think some guy loading planes in Turkey was the official 'first casualty' of the war. And who says you're not expected to care?
-- phoenix, Dec 07 2001

Shurely shome mistake. We all know what the first casualty of war is.
-- Redbrickterrace, Dec 07 2001

lies, damned lies.
-- lewisgirl, Dec 07 2001

I said "greatest advantage over your ENEMY". I never said to indiscriminantly kill innocent civilians.

Keep in mind that an enemy who uses innocents as cover is also the enemy of those innocents because they put them in harm's way.
-- seal, Dec 07 2001

seal: the Geneva Conventions cover what is proportional in war. If you suspect one of your enemies may be in London, it may fulfil your military objectives to drop a nuclear weapon on London, but that would still be against the Convention. (The convention also specifically prohibits using civilians as human shields, but just because your enemy's using shields doesn't necessarily give you the right to kill the shields.)
-- pottedstu, Dec 07 2001

That is correct sir - Body Counts were staple of Nightly News for years in US.
-- thumbwax, Dec 07 2001

God, I remember that ... it's among my earliest memories. The nightly body count on the news was an unnerving companion piece to the photos of dead Vietnamese children on the covers of my parents' newsmagazines.

These were the things that formed my earliest understanding of my country: the body count, the dead kids, that offensive jowly guy in the White House. I learned, early on, to suspect an unsavory ulterior motive behind almost everything my government does. It's a hard habit to break.
-- 1percent, Dec 07 2001

That makes more sense, 1percent.

To you and UnaBubba; 'Loose lips sink ships'. CNN is the single greatest source of information...for both sides. If you report troop movements, the enemy will have them as soon as anyone else does.

I do not think the public has a 'right to know' while things are going on, because it will endanger those in harm's way. Time enough for that once Osama Bin Liner's head is on a pike on the sidewalk at the former location of the towers, and the rest of his body is buried beneath a pig farm.

Even then, not everything can or should come out; knowing how information is gathered will tell one how to avoid giving it out. If it comes out that Haban El-Kabibble was selling information to the Americans, what's going to happen to him? And if it comes out that he was recruited and contacted by a female CIA agent wearing a blue sarong <or whatever the whole-body condoms they have to wear is> who walked with her kid to the dentist once a month, what will happen to women in blue whatits walking to the dentist?

The military runs on 'need to know'. While you might LIKE to know, do you really NEED to?

The US doesn't deliberately kill innocents. Sometimes it happens by accident. Sometimes specific people do it, but it is not US policy. War is hell, for everyone involved.
-- StarChaser, Dec 08 2001

I agree with Starchaser *and* 1percent; somehow, they're both right. And btw, 1%, that was a very eloquent summation in your long-ish annotation above, of the weird, paranoid vibe I've been feeling for the last couple of months.
-- snarfyguy, Dec 09 2001

<lifts corner of her aluminum-foil-lined cardboard box>

Thanks, snarfy. Trust no one.

<drops corner of box; retreats into darkness>
-- 1percent, Dec 09 2001

HA HA HA HA. All these people going ON and ON about conventions and treaties.

I've got news for you. The winner of a war makes the rules. Might makes right, and all those other sayings. Treaties and conventions have been torn up just as often as they've been made. Read a history book.
-- DrBillH, Dec 09 2001

Why is it that the first thing any n00b does anymore is tell us that we're all stupid?

Go away, n00bie.
-- StarChaser, Dec 09 2001

// The US doesn't deliberately kill innocents. // (StarChaser)

Obviously untrue: if you bomb areas populated by civilians, you will kill civilians. This has been shown time and time again from World War II onwards.

However the US has and does blatantly kill civilians as a technique of war. The basic strategy of the war against Serbia was originally to attack military targets and weaken the ability of the Serbians to carry out atrocities in Albania. However, what happened was this led to increasing atrocities, and greater resolve on the part of the Serbs.

So the allies switched tactics, and started bombing civilian targets: they realised that it was only by wearing down the civilian population they could force a surrender by the Serbs and topple Milosevic. They bombed TV stations; they bombed civilian factories; they bombed hospitals; they bombed bridges with no strategic value. And it worked.

But within that was a calculation that the best way to defeat an enemy is to break its people's will not by attacking the military but by attacking the people (the same strategy that saw the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Americans, and the massive bombing raids by Britain on German cities at the end of WWII). Whether you call this terrorism is a question of definition. But to say the US doesn't deliberately kill civilians is to show a total ignorance of the way wars are conducted in the past 100 years.

And I've not even started on Cambodia, because the reason to kill hundreds of thousands of Cambodians in the 1970s completely escapes me (not to mention half a million South Vietnamese, who were the US's allies). Or US-sponsored death squads in Central America, when to combat communism it was considered legitimate to torture, kill and mutilate women and children.

I quite understand that you may not want to know about this. But hiding such actions is wrong and dangerous on so many levels: encouraging wars and bloodshed in which not only foreigners but Americans will die; dishonouring the memory of the dead; allowing great evils to be carried out.
-- pottedstu, Dec 10 2001

I didn't say anything about hiding it, although it should be amended with 'currently' and 'not at the beginning'.
-- StarChaser, Dec 10 2001

Great idea, but since the Afghan campaign is almost over, maybe we can try it against Iraq instead. Operation desert trash.
-- wood2coal, Jan 19 2002

In the tradition of putting our money where our mouths are - an idea would be to pay Osama BL to allow himself to be captured. $100 million for the promotion of his beliefs through means other than war administered by an independent body provided he claim the prize personally and go into exile voluntarily.
-- ecostrategic, Apr 22 2002

eco, how much money would it take to have you delete that last annotation?
-- RayfordSteele, Apr 24 2002

Mohammed Day oughta make 'em hallaaaaaahhhhhaaappy
-- thumbwax, Apr 25 2002

I like the idea, but I was hoping the U.S. could take over the caves eventually and put them to use.
-- tharsaile, Jun 13 2002

Strangely, I like it!
-- Shadow Phoenix, Sep 10 2007

random, halfbakery