The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Civilian deaths are a far-too-common occurrence in wars, but the victims’ families rarely receive justice. Khalid el Hamidi, a retired Libyan general and member of the government’s Revolutionary Council, has filed a civil lawsuit against NATO for killing 13 civilians. Two NATO bombs destroyed his home in Surman on June 20 at 2:30 a.m., resulting in the deaths of Hamidi’s relatives, three children, and household help. As AP reports :

At the time, NATO acknowledged it had targeted the compound but described it as a “command and control” center. [Hamidi’s lawyer] Ceccaldi said it was a residence in a quiet civilian neighborhood and was therefore not a legitimate target under the Geneva Convention on the rules of war.

Ceccaldi also urged the International Criminal Court to take the Hamidi case, which he called an “evident war crime.” He said the court should consider NATO’s commanders as liable for the actions of their subordinates, such as air force bombers.

Hamidi filed the lawsuit in Belgium because, although NATO and other international organizations have diplomatic immunity in criminal cases, the Brussels-based group can still be tried in Belgian civil suits. Hamidi’s lawyers have requested that the Brussels District Court send two experts to Libya “to assess physical and psychological damage from the attack” and determine estimated monetary compensation.

While it is relatively unlikely that Hamidi will successfully hold NATO accountable, it is impossible that any amount of money could match the immeasurable grief and devastation caused by the bombs. Hamidi lost his home and his family, and his country continues to be torn apart by war. Given the millions of dollars the United States pours every year into new military technologies, the “accidental” bombing of civilian residences is hard to bear.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, and President Joe Biden during 2020 presidential debate

I look at September 2019 as a month where I missed something. We began with a trip to New York to do Seth Meyers’s and Dr. Oz’s shows. Why would we go on The Dr. Oz Show? For the same reason we had gone on Joe Rogan’s podcast in August: We could reach a vast audience that wasn’t paying attention to the standard political media. On Dr. Oz, Bernie could talk about Medicare for All and his own physical fitness. While at the time we believed Bernie was uncommonly healthy for his age, he was still 78. Questions would be raised related to his age, and we needed to begin building up the case that he was completely healthy and fit. It turned out to be a spectacular interview, ending with the two of them playing basketball on a makeshift court in the studio. Bernie appeared to be on top of the world.

Yet in retrospect, I should have seen Bernie growing more fatigued. After New York, with the school year starting, we did a series of rallies at colleges and universities in Iowa; this was the kickoff of our campus organizing program in the state. We would then fly to Colorado for a large rally in Denver before heading to Boulder to prep for the third debate, to take place in Houston on September 12. In Iowa, Bernie’s voice was a little hoarse. After the rally in Denver, he had completely blown it out. He sounded terrible.

Keep reading... Show less

Rep. James Clyburn

When I interviewed House Majority Whip James Clyburn in 2014 about his memoir Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, the South Carolina Democrat was confident in America’s ability to find its way, no matter how extreme the political swings might appear at any given time.

“The country from its inception is like the pendulum on a clock,” the congressman told me. “It goes back and forward. It tops out to the right and starts back to the left — it tops out to the left and starts back to the right.” And remember, he said, it “spends twice as much time in the center.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}