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I hope this young Aussie pilot's decision is broadcast far and wide. The Nazi defense "I was just following orders" should not be allowed to stand in the 21st Century as an excuse for murder.. imo. pg New Zealand Herald Australian pilot gives thumbs down to US bombing order 24.03.2003 CANBERRA - An Australian FA/18 Hornet pilot has refused an American command to bomb a target in Iraq in the first conflict between the different rules governing the way the two allies make war. Although Prime Minister John Howard said the incident during the coalition's drive towards Baghdad was not evidence of tension between the two commands, the prospect of a clash of rules was clear from the start. Australia operates under a tougher set of rules of engagement than the US because Canberra has ratified more international agreements than Washington. The refusal of the RAAF pilot to release his precision-guided bombs came as: Australian Navy boarding parties captured three Iraqi dhows loaded with 86 mines and a "wide array of military weapons" as their crews tried to slip through the coalition blockade to seed the top of the Gulf with sophisticated Manta acoustic and other floating mines. SAS soldiers, after a number of firefights over the weekend, called down an air strike on an Iraqi command and control base suspected of being involved in the launching of ballistic missiles. At home, tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied against the war, despite a poll showing opposition to Australian involvement had significantly weakened since the conflict started, with opinion now almost evenly divided. The decision of the RAAF pilot not to attack an Iraqi target was taken when his Hornet, armed with a range of strike weapons, was ordered away from the round-the-clock escort missions the Australians have been flying since war started. "However, the crew chose not to complete the mission because they could not positively identify the target," Defence Force spokesman Brigadier Mike Hannan said. "The crew's decision reflects the ADF's strong commitment to the laws of armed conflict and its support of the Government's targeting policy, right down to the lowest levels." The rules under which Australians are fighting in Iraq are governed by Australian and international law, the 1949 Geneva Convention, and additional 1977 protocols that the US has not signed. A range of weapons in the American arsenal - such as landmines and cluster bombs - are banned by Australia, and Canberra has emphasised that its forces will refuse to attack civilian targets, including key bridges, dams and other vital infrastructure of the kind bombed by the US in the 1991 Gulf War. Australia has also emphasised that its troops remain strictly under national command, but Brigadier Hannan said the final choice of whether or not to attack was a decision made by "ordinary young Australians, often in a split second, that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives". "The rules are all well and good, and they are important and necessary, but they are not of themselves sufficient to ensure that the laws of armed conflict are upheld and targeting policy is implemented." He said such decisions were made by young pilots flying at very high speed, often at night. "In this case the pilot ... decided that the information didn't support the justification for the use of the weapon and aborted the mission." http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3251554&thesection=news&t hesubsection=world _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk