New Agreement on Rules for Interrogating Terrorists: Merely Theatrics
The President and those Senators whom many Conservatives call RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) have reached an agreement that leaves the Geneva Convention intact and sets down the rules for U.S. interrogation of terrorists in detainment — once again stressing the RINOs apparent point that appearances are more important than results.
It’s easy to see why there was opposition to the President’s proposal to revise our interpretation of the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention certainly needs revision, just to clarify it’s too vague language but the opposition is concerned primarily because unilaterally revising the language of the Geneva Convention, in effect, breaks a treaty that has been agreed to and signed by many (approx. 194) nations. Our tampering with the Geneva Convention may also effect the treatment our soldiers are given if they are captured by a nation that has signed the Geneva Convention.
All that, as interesting and important as it is, is really quite beside the point. If we were to go to war with a nation that has not signed on to the Geneva Convention or against fighters that do not recognize the Geneva Convention, they would not follow it’s rules and, of course, we would not be bound by it’s rules. Such was the case in Viet Nam against the Vietcong, such is the case in the current Middle-East conflicts against terrorists.
The Geneva Convention is actually a set of four separate Geneva Conventions, the Third Geneva Convention is the one that governs the treatment of Prisoners of War. Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention defines Prisoners of War as:
1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict and members of militias of such armed forces.
2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, “provided that they fulfill all of the following conditions” (emphasis mine):
a) They must be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates.
b) They must have a “fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance”
c) They must carry their weapons openly.
d) They must conduct their operations “in accordance with the laws and customs of war.”
As anyone can see, terrorists wearing the clothes of the common man of the region, using car bombs and roadside bombs as their weapons of choice, who target non-military (civilian) buildings and situations and who are well known to brutally behead their detainees with dull knives (and video tape it for release to the media), can hardly be considered prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. These people can, IMO, hardly be considered worth of the title: human beings.
Very clearly, you can ignore all references to the Geneva Convention in the press accounts and the Congressional banter — the Geneva Convention does not apply to detained terrorists. The machinations that the President and Congress are going through have, in fact, nothing to do with the Geneva Convention.
What is going on in Washington is partly the continuation of a 5-1/2-year power struggle between Conservatives and Liberals and partly a show put on for the world to see how much we “care” about our imprisoned terrorists. The net result of the show is, at least on the surface, the weakening of our ability to effectively interrogate captured terrorists.
In my opinion, this discussion between the President and the Senate, that the public has been so intimately involved in, should have been conducted in closed sessions — not in the public arena. The public has no pressing need to know about our policies governing our government’s interrogation of terrorists. No private citizen is involved, and no private citizen will benefit or be harmed by those interrogation techniques.
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