Secretary of State John Kerry, Our Newest “General” Leading Cambodia 2.0

Congratulations to John Kerry, who now has the job he has always wanted.

I do hope some enterprising journalist asks him about this, a key legal justification for the forever wherever war he is now a critical leader of.

The department has not found any authority for the proposition that when one of the parties to an armed conflict plans and executes operations from a base in a new nation, an operation to engage the enemy in that location cannot be part of the original armed conflict and thus subject to the laws of war governing that conflict, unless the hostilities become sufficiently intense and protracted in the new location. That does not appear to be the rule of the historical practice, for instasnce, even in a traditional international conflict. See John R. Stevenson, Legal Advisor, Department of State, United States Military Action in Cambodia: Questions of International Law, Adress before the Hammerskjold Forum of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (May 28, 1970), in 3 The Vietnam War and International Law: The Widening Context 23 28-30 (Richard A Falk, ed 1972) (arguing that in an international armed conflict, if a netural state has been unable for any reason to prevent violations of its neutrality by the troops of one belligerent using its territory as a base of operations, the other belligerent has historically  been justified in attacking those enemy forces in that state). [my emphasis]

I fear the projectiles he and his team will be throwing this time around will be far more lethal than the medals he once threw.

Update: Thanks to pushingrope for suggesting that this YouTube is more appropriate than old pictures of the Winter Soldiers.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

5 replies
  1. phred says:

    I honestly don’t know which makes me more depressed Kerry at State or Lew at Treasury.

    I wonder if I will live long enough to ever admire a President and his/her cabinet. I’m old enough now that I doubt it.

  2. orionATL says:

    one for the ages:

    “…the department has not found any authority…”*

    we’ve looked in our file cabinets, in our e-mail archives, under the rugs on the seventh floor, in the national archives records, in the cafeteria, but we still can’t find any prohibition on our doing what we frackin’ well please when it comes to militarism.

    and thus ended the era of development and diplomacy “.

    boys and girls, from here on out, it’s all war all the time; fasten your seatbelts and watch your wallets.

    *”…the dep’t has not found any authority… an operation to engage the enemy in that location…”

  3. orionATL says:

    i have an idea.

    in the spirit of i-got-my-ass-kicked-in-november bi-patisianship that’s breaking out like zits among senators in d.c.,

    i suggest the obama admin nominate ex-gov arnold s. as “first-among-equals assistant secretary of state for termination” –

    vengence is mine sayeth the state.

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