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Richard Galustian

A Milestone in Afghanistan

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Sometime late next year, possibly as early as September, news crews will gather in Afghanistan for a unique event: To interview an American serviceman or woman who was not born when the war they are fighting began. He or she will not remember 9/11, and will have grown up with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as background noise. No doubt also a senior commander will be on hand to pronounce that the war against the Taliban is making progress, the same pronouncements the young recruit will have seen on TV all his or her life.

It will be a stark reminder that America has been at war for 225 of the 242 years of its existence: A handful of those conflicts -- the defeat of Hitler and Japan, for example  --  go down as "good wars." But most go down as operations that cost dearly in blood and treasure for little appreciable result.

In 1961, ​Dwight D. Eisenhower, the only American to make it to the highest offices in both politics and the military, warned, on leaving the presidency more than half a century ago, of the power of the  “military industrial complex”, and how war can become an end in itself.
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Explosions Rock Tripoli Election Commission: Who's Trying to Prevent the Vote?

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To underscore the dire situation in Libya and the extent to which extremists will go, on Wednesday at around noon two huge explosions occurred at the HNEC, the Higher National Election Commission's HQ, in Tripoli, killing over 15 people and wounding many more. The attack suggests that fanatics may be concerned over the rising popularity of Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar and fear that the controversial Haftar could win in the upcoming elections. They may be seeking to derail the vote. If so, their gambit may have the opposite effect: it could actually galvanize Libyan support for elections as a way out of the current political chaos and conundrum.

No doubt a contributing factor to this tragic bombing was the return on Thursday of Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar from a Paris hospital, via Cairo, to Libya on a proverbial "white horse" seen by some to be a drama giving an appearance of a triumphant return to Libya. 

Recovered after two weeks of alleged illness, which was much exaggerated by the media and by those hoping, like the UN, to see the back of him.

If as widely reported he was on death’s door, he would not have smiled for the bevy of photographers and TV cameras, even laughing and joking as he was met by dignitaries at the airport in Benghazi following his flight arrival from Cairo.
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The International Criminal Court is the Antithesis of Justice

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If there was a prize for the world’s most ineffective institution, the International Criminal Court would win hands down.

Consider this: The court has been in operation for fifteen years, has spent over a billion Euros, and has convicted just four war criminals. Yes, that's correct. In a decade and a half, an institution proclaiming itself the world’s first permanent war crimes court has jailed just four war criminals.

In any other justice system that kind of abysmal conviction rate would get its chiefs sacked. But not the ICC. They continue to have a comfortable luxurious life in The Hague, ruling on the handful of cases that come their way, while the world’s wars rage fiercer than ever.​

One reason the ICC is such a disaster is the paradox at the heart of its existence.

The ICC is not part of the United Nations. Instead, it has authority over the 124 states that have joined it. But most states likely to commit war crimes don’t join the ICC. The result?  A court full of states that don’t commit war crimes.

The big three powers, the United States, China, and Russia have have all refused to join, concerned about accountability. The US State Department puts it best, saying there are "insufficient checks and balances on the authority of the ICC prosecutor and judges," and the court has "insufficient protection against politicized prosecutions or other abuses.”
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