Thursday, June 22, 2006
Editorial Of The Day
Great editorial in today's Wall Street Journal.
Combatants who fail to obey those laws--by not wearing distinctive military insignia or targeting civilians--are not entitled to its privileges. If they were, the very purpose of the Convention would be rendered a nonsense. And this is why the
U.S.has refused Genevaprivileges to the enemy combatants at , which we hope is an argument heeded by the Supreme Court as it decides the Hamdan case. Guantanamo
Is a combat someone carrying a gun in an area where US troops are having a military action? Is a combatant an unarmed person in an area where there is military action? Is a combatant whoever our allies of the week in a neighboring village tell us is a combatant? Or is a combatant defined as anyone our a US government official decides is a combatant?
My point here is that we currently have a system with no checks or balances where anyone can end up a jail up in a jail and even be tortured based on essentially one person's opinion. Granted I'll give the benefit of the doubt and say that we catch the right people 99% of the time, but what does it mean to say that 1% of the people rotting in Guantanamo for the past several years are innocent? If you think they are all guilty, provide any bit of information that supports that besides "GWB said so."
In general without the Geneva conventions, between capture and the tribunal (be it a day, week, or year), anything is allowed.
That is why some public standards are required... even if they are less than the full Geneva convention rights.
And stop with the torture rhetoric. No one is being fed into woodchippers or being hung from their tonails. I'm all in favor of heavy handed interogation tacticts. We're not talking about criminal matters, we're talking about terrorism.
What is your distinction between heavy handed interogation and torture? Do you follow the current policy of if there is no long-term physical injury (unless the person dies by accident), it's not torture? Do you have no problem with sufficating people (waterboarding)? How about long periods of forbidding sleep (known to cause hallucinations... great for extracting useful information)? How about some good old-fashioned beatings and broken bones (they'll heal)?
I can't imagine you that you would treat a terrorist the same way you treat a common criminal.
You also keep calling these people terrorists, but you seem fine allowing torture on them even before military tribunals. Are the terrorists the minute they are arrested?
I use them as a reference because the military won't do anything to its soldiers that would permanently harm them. I see no reason then for not being allowed to use these techniques on terrorists.
And yes, there is a presumption that they are terrorists. This is war, not police work.
What's the difference between this as the Soviet system of "justice"? What was done to Natan Sharansky that wouldn't be allowed in the US according to your reasoning? Was the Soviet treatment of Sharansky and many others fully justified since he was a threat to the State?