Tuesday | March 25, 2003
US in violation of international law
Read this article.
Suddenly, the government of the United States has discovered the virtues of international law. It may be waging an illegal war against a sovereign state; it may be seeking to destroy every treaty which impedes its attempts to run the world, but when five of its captured soldiers were paraded in front of the Iraqi television cameras on Sunday, Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, immediately complained that "it is against the Geneva convention to show photographs of prisoners of war in a manner that is humiliating for them".The article then lists, in great deal, the 15 articles of the third Geneva convention violated by the US in its Afghanistan conflict, including:
The US government broke the first of these (article 13) as soon as the prisoners arrived, by displaying them, just as the Iraqis have done, on television ... They were then interned in a penitentiary (against article 22), where they were denied proper mess facilities (26), canteens (28), religious premises (34), opportunities for physical exercise (38), access to the text of the convention (41), freedom to write to their families (70 and 71) and parcels of food and books (72).As to arguments that the Taliban are "enemy non-combatants" and not POWs, there's this:
The US government claims that these men are not subject to the Geneva conventions, as they are not "prisoners of war", but "unlawful combatants". The same claim could be made, with rather more justice, by the Iraqis holding the US soldiers who illegally invaded their country. But this redefinition is itself a breach of article 4 of the third convention, under which people detained as suspected members of a militia (the Taliban) or a volunteer corps (al-Qaida) must be regarded as prisoners of war.So seriously, Rumsfeld and Bush and the rest of the Chickenhawk Brigades need to quit their whining. The Pentagon brass opposed the Guantanamo prison for precisely this reason -- it undermined their own efforts to pressure enemy opponents to adhere to the Geneva Conventions.
We've lost all moral ground on the issue.Posted March 25, 2003 08:26 AM | Comments (79)