~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Let's all say it together

Krauthammer in the Weekly Standard:

People seem to think that the postwar Geneva Conventions were written only to protect detainees. In fact, their deeper purpose was to provide a deterrent to the kind of barbaric treatment of civilians that had become so horribly apparent during the first half of the 20th century, and in particular, during the Second World War. The idea was to deter the abuse of civilians by promising combatants who treated noncombatants well that they themselves would be treated according to a code of dignity if captured--and, crucially, that they would be denied the protections of that code if they broke the laws of war and abused civilians themselves.

This is the most succinct distillation of the intent of Geneva that I have ever read. Geneva protects civilians by dangling the promise of humane treatment upon capture. For anyone who didn't have spelled out for them in mandatory Law of Land Warfare courses in the military, re-read the above paragraph closely. Try to understand. The protections promised to detainees by the Geneva Conventions are only assured by denying those protections to the rule breakers! Yes, it's ugly. Yes, mankind deserves to live in times where everyone follows a code of civility. These are not yet those times!

Want better treatment for war detainees? Easy! The recipe for better treatment was spelled out decades ago by most of the civilized world: Don't target civilians. It really is that simple.

When all nations abide by Geneva, then war will truly be a police matter. But until then, denying rights to rule breakers is all the incentive we've got to leverage.

You'll notice that the word "torture" does not appear anywhere above. That's cuz torture is already illegal under the Geneva Conventions. Duh. The heartsick bloviations of those who scream torture! over the treaty-mandated, necessarily uncomfortable conditions we keep illegal combatants in, make me weep with frustration. Read the damn treaty! Not punishing the rule breakers puts more civilians in danger! "But we should set a positive example!" they cry. Damnit, we already are the positive example! I have no doubt that when every nation subscribes to that level of civility, we will lead the charge to replace Geneva with something better.

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