Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by BlueTalon, Jul 1, 2006.
Should Geneva Convention protections be extended to al Quaeda members and other terrorists?
I liked the pig vomit option. but voted for a different one.
The fact that Al Queda is an org and not a country is why they aren't covered by the Geneva Convention, according to the provisions of the convention.
Which current situation? Did I try to tie the poll to any specific situation? It's a valid question and topic for discussion whether you say so or not.
My, aren't you selective. Yes, as a signatory to the Geneva Convention, we are bound by the Convention. We are bound to extend Convention protections to all qualified combatants, whether or not the country for which they are fighting is a signatory to the Convention.
However, we are not bound to extend Convention POW protections to those who do not meet the Convention's criteria for combatants. If someone is not wearing a uniform with an identifiable rank structure and carrying an ID card, and does not carry arms openly, that person does not qualify for Convention protections. At least, not according to the Geneva Convention itself. We call those people "terrorists". During WWII, we didn't really have the word terrorist, so we would have called them "partisans" or "spies" or "underground resistance". Such people were NOT entitled to Convention protections.
Someday you ought to take the time and actually read the Convention. There is a reason the wording in legal contracts is the way that it is -- it spells out the obligations of the parties involved. In the case of the Geneva Convention, there isn't any wording about how if we don't treat all prisoners with the same protections that we'll lower ourselves to their level -- that's mush-headed emotionalism. The wording in the Geneva Convention is precise, and it includes some fighters and it excludes others.
Well, we went from my point having no validity to "yeah, but", so I guess that's progress. However, you're still rather divorced from reality, as you seem to be comparing us to them, implying that we are at their level if we retain the right to not include for POW protections those that the Geneva Convention does not obligate us to include. Again, I suggest actually reading the Geneva Convention. I posted the link, so you don't even have to search for it.
You do know, don't you, that the Golden Rule is a biblical principle that was directed towards individuals on not nation/states?
Common sense apparently isn't your strong point. From the Geneva Convention:
This is the legal obligation that a signatory has with its POWs. One side makes a practice of adhereing to this, the other does not. Care to guess which is which?
Also from the Convention:
These are people who are entitled to the legal protections for POWs that the Geneva Convention addresses. Do terrorists fit ay of those categories? There's more, if you care to read it.
At any rate, the language of the Convention is something that can be measured, whereas your emotional opinions aren't terribly helpful.[/FONT]
This is a very good argument for separating parties to the armed conflict with perpetrators of illegal acts or conspiracies, otherwise known as criminals.
We do, in fact, have a criminal justice system in our country as well, and we do in fact have extradition treaties with several other countries, in whose courts the flat-out common criminals can be tried.
This situation is not new. What is new is our approach to the conflict. The very excuse that we'll call them "enemy combatants" and not POWs, includes the wording that makes them POWs.
So, if your contention is that some of them are not combatants at all, and indeed have committed no crime to date (including conspiracy,) there is indeed a hole in the system. To wit, our system has no way of prosecuting people with no grounds.
Fix that system, and you're halfway to an America the right can live with.
The Geneva convention has to be abided by..that simple....if you don't like it. get Congress to de-ratify it.. The US is looking worse and worse..once a champion of human rights..now going the pposite way.
Well if we take the liberal aproach, there's no need to de-ratify it. We just simply ignore it.
I'm not arguing that the Geneva Convention doesn't need to be abided by. It does need to be abided by... in the context of the terms it defines. Saying that a terrorist who doesn't wear a uniform, has no rank insignia, no ID card, hides his weapon when not using it, fires from protected civilian objects like mosques, hides among the civilian population, tortures and beheads his prisoners, etc. is deserving of the same protections as a soldier on the battlefield who has a uniform, rank, ID, openly carried weapon, etc., is just plain liberal!
It's especially liberal when that claim is made without the legal obligation from the Convention we signed that covers this very topic.
And that's the nut of it. We are signatories, we are bound by Geneva, and it is my belief that adhering to our international obligations is in our best interests.
I do further believe that upholding what international institutions exist, is in the interests of the U.S., in particular when discussing among the "family" of "civilizated nations" what options are on the table in regard to stateless groups such as Al Qaeda (there is no "u", by the way; like "qat," "qanat," and a few other words of semitic provenance, "qaeda" is transliterated without regard to the common English-language assumption that "q" is always followed by "u." Probably it should just be a "k", but that's not how the transliteration comes out. In any event, there is no "w" sound as in "queen," hence the transliteration.)
All spelling concerns aside, the internationalist assumption behind abiding by Geneva always looks downright stupid if you take the short view, which assumes that the barbaric non-signatory du jour is the only party we will ever fight, or whose opinions will be affected by how we comport ourselves. Indeed, the whole idea of "more civilized war" is something of an oxymoron, but we can affect the level of savagery on the margins, such as in the case of treatment of prisoners.
We cannot have any moral authority to urge this posture, if we are not willing to pursue this course of action ourselves. To announce that the U.S. is not bound by such instruments is a clear indicator to those who oppose us that the war is total, and that no savagery they commit can be deemed outside the realm of normality. They might not care, but third parties do.
Beyond that, I do. And I'm an American, not a Pakistani or Iraqi or whatever, and certainly no terrorist. I want my country to be different from those groups, and in a meaningful way. Otherwise this whole idea that American presence elsewhere can cause a beneficial change, is self-evidently such bull**** that it is not worth arguing.
If we're in favor of torture and detention without trial, and against Freedom of the Press, what the hell are we fighting for?
So let me get this right -- we have no moral authority to hold others to a higher standard then the Geneva Convention if we don't hold ourselves to a higher standard than the Geneva Convention? I suppose that's a true statement, but rather meaningless. The Geneva Convention IS the standard, for those to whom it applies!
BTw, saying that al Qaeda and other terrorists aren't covered in the Geneva Convention is not automatically an advocation of torture. Trying to paint it that way is disingenuous. POWs would be held for the duration of any conflict anyway, so the detention thing is a non-issue. What does Freedom of the Press have to do with this?
Given that Geneva is binding on a signatory regardless of the signatory status of the opponent, our difficulty thus far is holding to the standards of Geneva, not to a higher standard.
Freedom of the press is another realm in which our current administration appears to want to emulate "the bad guys." "What it has to do with any of this" is having something left worth fighing for.
I do want to defeat Al Qaeda. I don't want to be Al Qaeda.
You missed a key element. As a signatory to the Geneva Convention, we are bound by it regardless of whether our opponents are signatories or not. So far so good. But what is it exactly we are bound to? We are bound to treat as POWs all of the unsigned signatory's combatants who are eligible for such treatment.
In other words, if we were fighting Upper Slobovia, and they were not signatories to the Convention, we would nevertheless be obligated to treat their captured soldiers as POWs, assuming those soldiers wore uniforms with rank insignias, carried ID, carried their weapons openly, etc. We would NOT be obligated to treat upper Slobovia's spies, insurgents, terrorists, etc. as POWs, unless they were wearing uniforms with rank insignia, carried their weapons openly, etc. We would be obligated to treat civilians who had taken up arms at the last moment as POWs, despite the fact that they were not wearing uniforms, "provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war" (that means not lopping people's heads off).
If the Convention intended that everybody captured by a signatory is to be treated as a POW, why on earth did they go to the trouble of defining who is eligible for such treatment and protection?
There's nothing LIBERAL about it..just the law that the US lives by..
and which the Court has said must STILL be used...
Well, then, Blue, you're arguing that since these individuals are irregulars, they are not subject to POW provisions of the Geneva Conventions. This may be so. But said Conventions do not only affect treatment of Prisoners of War, but also of Civilian Populations. The Convention on the treatment of POWs indeed affords POWs a special status, as opposed to a captured Civilian accused (but not convicted) of a crime. So, for example, the irregular is not entitled to the pay advance you must give the enemy soldier, unless you find it embarassing (I love that part,) but must also receive some standard of justice enjoyed among civilized nations.
The populations of occupied countries, whether they have engaged in hostilities or not, are still subject to the conventions, when they are no longer armed. Combatants who have laid down their arms are subject to the conventions, regardless of regular or irregular status; they just do not get special POW treatment as members of regular armed forces. Since we're dealing with an occupation, it is not an international conflict (we are not fighting the nations of Iraq or Afghanistan, because those nations are our titular allies. We are fighting alongside their respective armed forces against their respective irregular insurgencies.) That's why Ar. 3 begins "In the case of armed conflict not of an international character..." The Conventions themselves recognize that such an animal as an irregular might exist, and, while not entitled to POW status, they are not in legal limbo either:
Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
Lest ambiguity ensue, this appears both in the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, and the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. It is Article 3 of both of these documents.
Pay special attention to (d). I believe it's the heart of the issue at Gitmo, although (a), (b), and (c) could be argued. Certainly at Abu Ghraib, (a) and (c) are flouted.
Because they choose to waive protections they would get by wearing identifying insignia and carrying identifications, does not mean they waive general protections for non-combatants that are inalienable within the Conventions. These protections are for "Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat...." In other words, the language applies to civilians AND incapacitated soldiers, regular or irregular. Article 3 does not demand POW status to apply; it applies to anybody who is no longer a threat (vis., Gitmo.) That is to say, you can say irregulars are criminals and try them as such; or you can say they're POWs, and treat them as such; but you cannot say they don't exist, or, for example, summarily execute them (or, along the same lines but much less eggregious, you cannot detain them for several years without charging them.)
The attempt to create a category for irregulars, where the Conventions have already provided a lesser category of treatment for such persons, is plain and simple evasion of the issue. They're either POWs or not, and if not, they're civilians who are at least entitled to fair trial prior to conviction and sentencing. The purist might say give them to the civilian system; you might also argue for the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
But to create drumhead trials, offering a lesser access to justice, after several years of imprisonment harsh enough to provoke mass suicides, simply because the guy is on the other side, is neither the intent of the conventions nor their letter.
Haditha Marines = Cold blooded killers
Gitmo detainees = Innocent until proven guilty
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Speedy trial??? Since when does the US constitution apply to foreigners? And doesnt the Geneva convention only apply to enemy soldiers? Are the Gitmo detainees soldiers? uhhh NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are TERRORISTS WHO ATRYED TO KILL AMERICANS, AND ARE NOW LIVING IN LUXURY AT US TAXPAYER EXPENSE!
ELO, they've been incarcerated by the military, not the courts. We don't do that without applying some duly constituted courts, even the UMCJ, or treating the detainees as POWs. As discussed above, that's also addressed by the Conventions, to which we're signatories. That's exactly what the Supreme Court just got done ruling, from what I can see.
Your position is that anyone in Gitmo is guilty of something, or they wouldn't be there in the first place. But your position has nothing to uphold it, other than "the military says its true."
Well, I can think of many reasons someone could end up in Gitmo without having committed a crime. They could be charged with nothing because they did nothing, but believed something. They could be charged with nothing because they knew something. In short, they could be held without charges, and also without committing crimes, for a variety of reasons. And remember, conspiracy is a crime... so even if they were just planning a crime we could charge them. The point is, whether or not this is the case, even running Gitmo the way it's run points toward a conclusion of "got nothin' on 'em." Additionally, Abu Ghraib is still fresh in the hearts and minds we're supposed to be winning in Iraq.
Good guys don't hide from the light like that, not on matters of human rights, and we're supposed to be the good guys.
Separate names with a comma.