Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Operation Enduring Freedom and Henry Kissinger

So, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1833, of September 22, 2008 states:

"Acting for these reasons under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Decides to extend the authorization of the International Security Assistance Force, as defined in resolution 1386 (2001) and 1510 (2003), for a period of twelve months beyond 13 October 2008;"

According to ISAF: "Based in Kabul, the ISAF Headquarters serves as the operational command for the NATO-led mission. It interacts with the Afghan government, governmental and non governmental organisations present in the country to assist with reconstruction, and supports the work of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)."

According to the CBC, ISAF headquarters "will not control the separate U.S. contingent of about 10,000 soldiers that is deployed along the border with Pakistan, Appathurai said."

So is that "contingent" covered by Resolution 1833?

It's hard to know. There's nothing about OEF in Resolution 1386, and I can't get through to the "Operation Enduring Freedom" website at the Department of Defense, but if it isn't "authorized" by the Security Council, what is it, legally speaking?

There is a press release on the DOD site:

Operation Enduring Freedom was the U.S.-led operation that toppled the Taliban in 2001. American and coalition servicemembers worked with the Afghan Northern Alliance soon after the terror attack in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Part of Operation Enduring Freedom retains that mission: to find and kill or capture terrorists.

Since 2001, servicemembers assigned to Operation Enduring Freedom also have been responsible for training Afghan security forces. Americans assigned to Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan operate under Operation Enduring Freedom, controlled by U.S. Central Command.

While Operation Enduring Freedom troops are focused on forcing out the enemy and training and equipping Afghan forces, NATO forces are focused on Afghan civilians.

“The focus of the International Security Assistance Force is security for the Afghan people, so reconstruction, governance and development work can take place,” Army Lt. Col. Mark Wright, a Pentagon spokesman, said. “The focus of Operation Enduring Freedom personnel is training Afghan security forces and counter-terrorism.”

About 85 percent of the Operation Enduring Freedom effort now is centered on training and equipping Afghan forces, Wright said.

So, really, Operation Enduring Freedom is not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, and is really outside any law, domestic or international. Maybe John "First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully" Yoo has an opinion about that, too, along with Richard "when the president does it that means that it is not illegal" Nixon and "Political satire died when they gave the Nobel Peace Prize to" Henry Kissinger.

If Bush or Cheney ever step outside the United States, their asses should be in The Hague.