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April 22, 2005

Marla's Law

-- by Thomas Leavitt

[Not sure where to put this other than "News". -Thomas]

"Marla often said that her dream job would be to work at a desk at the U.S. State Department dedicated to tracking civilian casualties caused by U.S. military action. What's needed is legislation to create such a desk. Congressional experts aren't yet sure whether it should be at State or the Pentagon or elsewhere -- something Marla closest friends on the Hill are working on now."

Michael Shellenberger has a piece in The American Prospect entitled Marla Ruzicka's Legacy, where he talks about the political significance of her work - how she managed to get parties on all sides of the war, including active duty U.S. military, to appreciate the importance and value of accounting for the civilian lives lost as a result of U.S. military action. Peace activists and progressives, because it puts a human face on the cost of war, conservatives and military professionals, because they know that collateral damage increases the political cost of war and reduces the effectiveness of operations aimed at not only military, but psychological victory.

He says, "no reason for progressives and conservatives alike not to get behind Marla's proposal for the U.S. government to at least track and study civilian casualties." He calls this "Marla's Law".

The true cost of war, in Afghanistan, Kosovo, or Iraq, requires an accounting of civilians casualties. Marla Ruzicka gave her life to this cause, and her death and the publicity surrounding it creates an opening for such a law to be passed--especially given her ability to rally support for her work from both peace activists and military professionals, conservatives and progressives.

If the blogsphere picks up on this and support for it is heard across the spectrum, Marla's Law could become a reality. If you're a conservative reader, check out this excerpt from the article, and write about Marla's Law on your blog:

Military expert Arkin argues that there is no longer a contradiction between military effectiveness and civilian protection and that the military fully understands its direct and indirect affect of civilian casualties.

"The United States' practice of stiff-arming civilian victims and ignoring civilian casualties has enormous negative consequences," he said. "We're seen as craven. We're seen as indifferent to civilian life. It harms our ability to operate on the ground."

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at April 22, 2005 8:00 PM

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Comments


When I first read this language I immediately thought of Nietzsche’s saying: “were I to believe in nonsense this is the kind of nonsense I would believe in. There are about, literally, a million reasons why “conservatives” would oppose this kind of thing. I mean, come-the-fuck on with this shit. Who does he think he is dealing with here?

Posted by: jon st at April 23, 2005 6:53 AM

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