NATO not immune from

Although the intentions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were at least ostensibly laudable when it led its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia last year, the organization’s actions during the three-week war often brought about more civilian deaths than necessary. Amnesty International released a scathing report Wednesday, accusing NATO of committing war crimes with several assaults on civilian targets. If NATO failed to adequately prevent civilian casualties — as the evidence implies — those responsible should be held accountable, and an international court judge the evidence.
Several incidents are particularly significant in leading Amnesty to question NATO’s efforts to minimize civilian casualties. In their report, the London-based human-rights group cited the April 23 bombing of Radio Television, Serbia’s headquarters in Belgrade, as a “deliberate attack on a civilian object and as such, constitutes a war crime.” NATO defends the attack, saying its purpose was to shut down Slobodan Milosevic’s “propaganda machine.” However, three hours of dead air hardly justify the death of 16 innocent building employees.
Amnesty also criticized NATO for not taking all feasible precautions to reduce civilian casualties, as international law dictates. Flying at altitudes higher than 15,000 feet to protect pilots’ safety, NATO bombers were unable, on several occasions, to properly identify targets on the ground as civilian and off-limits.
As a visible defender of international law, NATO must uphold the highest standards. Rather than ignoring Amnesty International’s allegations, NATO should prove its innocence in an international court.
Label irradiated meat

As local supermarkets stock up on irradiated meat, the ongoing debate over the safety of the new products mirrors common arguments over food safety throughout history. It’s understandable that consumers are often apprehensive. After all, few products on the marketplace — besides carefully regulated drugs — are ingested. Rather than continue the endless debate over the hazards of irradiated food, however, supermarkets should clearly label the products and let consumers decide for themselves. In fact, the current dangers of store-bought meat already warrant a better method, such as irradiation, to safeguard against bacteria and disease. Despite the arguments in favor of irradiated meat, scientists must not become complacent with the technology. Among the complaints against irradiation, the most convincing cite the energy-consuming and environmentally taxing method of radiation. Until a better technology for processing meat is developed, however, irradiation seems promising.
Opponents of irradiation — a technology that indeed has a poor reputation — must remember the already-present dangers of E. coli and salmonella. Rather than banning the new technology from the marketplace, supermarkets should allow consumers to use their own judgment.