Nonetheless, in modern warfare, the need to protect civilians is in constant tension with the desire to destroy the enemy. Getting that balance right has been a rocky process, with one mistake after another jolting U.S. policymakers into improving the way the military deals with civilian harm…
If American leaders abandon the war-fighting model they ultimately adopted in Afghanistan and Iraq, they may find it harder to counter a more brutal and cynical narrative about the best way to win a war — one that treats civilians as irrelevant.
In 2009, the Sri Lankan military cornered an estimated 5,000 or more Tamil Tiger insurgents on a narrow strip of land, alongside hundreds of thousands of uprooted civilians. By shelling the area indiscriminately and summarily executing the group’s escaping leaders, the government wiped out the insurgents — and killed tens of thousands of civilians in the process. Just like Russia’s brutal war in Chechnya during the first decade of this century, Sri Lanka’s campaign proved that if a government is willing to expel aid groups and journalists and employ indiscriminate force, it can defeat insurgents.
To make matters worse, Sri Lanka has been actively promoting its model abroad: since 1999, its leaders have been traveling to other countries facing domestic insurgencies, including Myanmar (also called Burma), Pakistan, and the Philippines, to share the lessons of their victory. They have staged annual defense seminars attended by military officers from across the world. Sri Lanka’s lethal counterinsurgency strategy requires having a strong stomach for civilian bloodshed and turning a blind eye to international criticism. But there are countries willing to go this route, because it can work. As one of the world’s leading exporters of military ethos, aid, and training, the United States can and should provide a counterweight.
“…Against partisans backed by the entire population, colonial armies are helpless. They have only one way of escaping from the harassment which demoralizes them …. This is to eliminate the civilian population. As it is the unity of a whole people that is containing the conventional army, the only anti-guerrilla strategy which will be effective is the destruction of that people, in other words, the civilians, women and children…” Jean Paul Sartre’s Statement ‘On Genocide’
The leaked World Bank spreadsheets broken down by village for the north of the island estimate numbers of returnees to the former conflict area in mid 2010. The Bank also cites Statistical Handbook Numbers for population in 2007 – before the fighting intensified. The two sets of data reveal 101,748 people missing from Mullaitivu District – the area that bore the brunt of the final fighting…
Nearly four years on there is no agreed death toll, even to the nearest ten thousand lives. That’s why an international investigation is required to establish the truth about what may be one of the least reported but worst atrocities of recent decades – both in terms of the speed and the scale of the killing.
Quoting a World Bank document, she said one lakh persons were missing between 2006 and 2010 and there had to be an explanation on where these people are.
During the confrontation with the LTTE, he killed five of the enemy carders. After some years, he predominantly preoccupied with the thoughts that were related to these killings. Although they came to kill us, they too were human beings says Sergeant Sx78.
“They were poor village boys like us who had no many options in life. They were indoctrinated, poisoned with racial hatred and directed to attack us. We had no alternative except firing at them. I in a war things are intense, either you or the enemy. If you don’t kill him he will kill you. Anyhow, these Tamil youths had parents like us, they too had expectations. All ended very sadly. Someone in somewhere may be still missing them. I know killing is bad. It is a violation of the first Buddhist precept. I was compelled to do that act.
Sergeant Sx78 feels that one day he has to face the Karmic repercussions for these killings in 1993 at the Jaffna Fort. His conscience was shattered and he became more religious. Sergeant Sx78 wishes to be a monk after his retirement from the Army.
[T]he captain… was transferred to Colombo, where he helped with search and cordon operations that rounded up ethnic Tamils. He said he knew the army was torturing, beating and raping civilians.
“I admit that it is a harassment of these people,” he said. “I admit that.”…
[T]he board ruled in February he was not eligible for refugee protection because he was complicit in crimes against humanity.