Marc Garlasco [Updated]

April 29, 2010

A different Garlasco has surfaced who was the one questioning the radical nature of an organization he was involved in. in the New Republic’s  Minority Report – Human Rights Watch fights a civil war over Israel from within the organization. Apparently he had many personal misgivings and said so within his organization.  When you lie with dogs you should not be shocked to wake up with fleas.  I’m not sure I trust this article.  Garlasco has some very powerful friends who are trying to save his reputation that has been tarnished by some very obvious lies.  Here is the guy writing the paper accusing Israel of war crimes! Marc Garlasco had 7,000 “juvenile” posts?: “I spend my days doing what I can to ensure that such horrors are never allowed to happen again.” http://ff.im/8j63R

In many ways, Garlasco was an odd fit at HRW. Prior to being hired in 2003, he had served as the head of “high-value targeting” at the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Iraq war. He opposed the invasion, however, and joined HRW shortly after the fall of Baghdad. His first assignment at his new job was to investigate collateral damage from the airstrikes he had helped plan. Whitson told me that Garlasco (who was one of only a handful of people at HRW with military experience) brought unique skills to the organization and enhanced its credibility. “He could look at the plumes in the sky and know exactly what weapon that was,” she says. “He could look at a canister and know what kind of a munition it was. He could look and see where the guidance system is.”
Garlasco was hardly a reflexive apologist for Israel. His time on the ground in Gaza convinced him that the IDF had a lot to answer for—using Palestinians as human shields, heavy artillery fire in densely populated areas, and rules of engagement so lax that large numbers of civilian deaths were inevitable. And he thought that both sides, Hamas and Israel, had committed war crimes during the conflict. Still, he believed that there was a fog of war that most of his colleagues failed to appreciate. “He said … ‘If I were an Israeli, I’d be so frustrated,’” recalls one friend. “You are trying to get people who are shooting from civilian areas, and how do you deal with that? I mean, I remember him talking about that—that it’s an impossible quandary for a soldier. Sometimes, they actually turn out to be kids playing on the roof, and sometimes they’re guys with missiles.”
During the war, Garlasco had gotten a lot of attention for discussing Israel’s use of a chemical agent called white phosphorous. CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera ran segments featuring Garlasco explaining the dangers white phosphorous posed to civilians: On contact with skin, it could cause second- and third-degree burns; it could even burn down houses. Soon, news reports all around the world were repeating the story.
But Garlasco would later tell Apkon and others that he thought the white phosphorous controversy had been blown out of proportion. From his experience at the Pentagon, Garlasco knew that U.S. and British forces had used white phosphorous in Iraq and Afghanistan, and usually for the same purpose that the IDF used it in Gaza: as a smokescreen to obscure troop movements on the ground—a permissible use under international law. To be sure, Garlasco did not believe that the IDF had used white phosphorous properly in every instance. But he told multiple people that he thought HRW had placed too much emphasis on this issue—specifically telling one person that he had been pushed by HRW headquarters to focus on white phosphorous at the expense of topics he thought more deserving of attention because, he suspected, it was regarded as a headline-generating story. (HRW denies that it pushed Garlasco on the subject.) What’s more, while making legal judgments was not within Garlasco’s jurisdiction, he told Apkon that he did not think Israel’s use of white phosphorous amounted to a war crime. (In a subsequent report on white phosphorous, the first of six thus far on the Gaza war, HRW would say that evidence “indicates the commission of war crimes.”)
Beyond these disagreements, Garlasco had larger critiques of HRW. He thought that the organization had a habit of ignoring necessary context when covering war, he told Apkon; and he told multiple sources that he thought Whitson and others at MENA had far-left political views. As someone who didn’t have strong ideological commitments of his own on the Middle East, this bothered him. “When he reported on Georgia, his firm feeling was he could report whatever he wanted,” says one source close to Garlasco. “And, when he was talking to headquarters, the feeling was, let the chips fall where they may. He did not feel that way dealing with the Middle East division.” In addition, Garlasco alleged in conversations with multiple people that HRW officials in New York did not understand how fighting actually looked from the ground and that they had unrealistic expectations for how wars could be fought. To Garlasco, the reality of war was far more complicated. “He looks at that organization as one big attempt to outlaw warfare,” says the person close to Garlasco. Around the time he had coffee with Apkon last February, he was beginning to look for another job.
But, before he could find one, the Nazi memorabilia story had landed in The New York Times. The controversy was overblown—Garlasco’s interest in the subject stemmed from the fact that his grandfather had been conscripted into the Nazi army, and he collected all sorts of World War II artifacts, not just Third Reich items—but it was enough to ruin whatever future he had left at HRW. Watching the scandal spin out of control, Apkon took note of the irony that the pro-Israel community had lynched one of the people at HRW who was most sympathetic to its concerns. “You’re sitting there watching this, and you realize: They’re going after the wrong guy!” Apkon says. “He’s not coming with a political agenda. He’s the one guy that’s there that’s trying to make balanced decisions and judgments about this stuff.”

via tnr.com

Perhaps if he was as concerned about world Judaism as he was about his own ass then I might have more empathy to a rich and powerful military insider who had an axe to grind with Israel.  The mere fact that he also has a problem with Hamas does not make anything he did any more true.