Why Bush Bypassed the Geneva Convention

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by jimnyc, May 14, 2004.

  1. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    In the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, Capitol Hill Democrats and pundits alike are up in arms over the Bush administration's decision early on in the war on terror to selectively suspend the Geneva Convention protocols governing the treatment of prisoners of war.

    These same critics, however, are careful not to explain in too much detail what the GC actually prohibits.

    If they did, most Americans would likely agree that Bush was right to be concerned about the GC's impact on the interrogation of terrorist suspects who may know about plans to attack U.S. soldiers - or, for that matter, about the next 9/11.

    In fact, the Geneva Convention pretty much bans any aggressive interrogation of POWs, limiting what prisoners are required to tell captors to name, rank and serial number.

    Other clauses seem to mandate treatment that in general is better than most soldiers got before they became POWs.

    For instance, the Geneva Convention states flatly: "Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour. . . ."

    Besides banning physical and mental torture, the GC also prohibits "any other form of coercion [that] may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever."

    The GC also requires that "prisoners of war must at all times be protected . . . against insults and public curiosity."

    And if that's not enough to pull the rug out from under any interrogation, try this:

    "Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

    No unpleasant treatment of any kind?

    In fact, the Geneva Convention clause stipulating that POWs can't be grilled about anything beyond name, rank and serial number actually warns of penalties for cooperating with interrogators, stating, "If [a prisoner] willfully infringes [on the name, rank] rule, he may render himself liable to a restriction of the privileges accorded to his rank or status."

    Beyond rendering any attempt to interrogate suspected terrorists pointless, the Geneva Convention also mandates that prisoners be guaranteed an array of amenities, including monthly medical checkups and an on-premises price-controlled commissary.

    "Art. 31. Medical inspections of prisoners of war shall be held at least once a month. They shall include the checking and the recording of the weight of each prisoner of war."

    "Art. 28. Canteens shall be installed in all camps, where prisoners of war may procure foodstuffs, soap and tobacco and ordinary articles in daily use. The tariff shall never be in excess of local market prices."

    Article 38 sounds like it was lifted from your average college handbook:

    "While respecting the individual preferences of every prisoner, the Detaining Power shall encourage the practice of intellectual, educational, and recreational pursuits, sports and games amongst prisoners, and shall take the measures necessary to ensure the exercise thereof by providing them with adequate premises and necessary equipment."

    In fact, under the Geneva Convention prisoners must be allowed one right currently denied to residents of a number of localities around the U.S.

    "The use of tobacco shall be permitted," the GC mandates.

    Too bad for tobacco consumers who live in New York City, where smoking has been banned in public places, that Mayor Michael Bloomberg never signed the Geneva Convention.

    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/5/14/23535.shtml
     
  2. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Kerry: I'll Fight Terror Using the Geneva Convention

    Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that he'd do a better job than President Bush fighting the war on terror because he'd uphold the Geneva Convention, which prohibits pressuring detainees to talk to interrogators.

    "I will fight a more effective war on terror, because I would never have thrown out of the door or window the obligations of the Geneva Conventions," Kerry told Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes."

    The Geneva Convention mandates that POWs be protected from "coercion," "insults," and "unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

    It also requires that detainees be provided with monthly medical checkups and a store to shop in, as well as requiring that facilities be made available for "the practice of intellectual, educational, and recreational pursuits, [including] sports and games amongst prisoners."

    Kerry didn't explain how guaranteeing terrorist suspects a better lifestyle than our own soldiers would keep America safe. But he insisted, "I know, as a former combatant, that, had I been captured, I would have wanted our moral high ground with respect to those Geneva Conventions to be in place."

    When Kerry served in Vietnam, however, the North Vietnamese abrogated the Geneva Convention as a matter of course, routinely torturing U.S. POWs.

    In fact, as one NewsMax reader - a former Marine - explained, the U.S. military has not had an adversary in the past 60 years that respected or followed the Geneva Convention, including Japan in WWII, North Korea, North Vietnam and Afghanistan.

    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/5/14/100959.shtml
     
  3. OCA
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    OCA Senior Member

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    Here Abdul, even though you won't tell me the location of the landmines have a couple of Marlboro red cowboy killers from us courtesy of the Geneva Convention.

    Lol what a joke!
     
  4. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    why was the GC signed by the US then? should we remove ourselves from another international treaty?
     
  5. Aquarian
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    I'm conflicted on this issue. On the one hand, the geneva conventions are too restrictive for the necessary information gathering that needs to take place. On the other hand, my vet friends (wwII fighters) are extremely upset that they are not being respected with the general argument that if we don't respect the conventions we cannot expect the enemy to even come close to doing so. Of course, we can't really expect them to anyway imo... on the third hand (always have too many hands, doh) we are held to a higher standard of behavior than our enemies since the behavior of our enemies is pretty much the reason we are at war in the first place (setting aside the reasons given to the public at various points).

    many concerns would be alleviated if there was an alternate, well thought out, well written set of guidelines regarding prisoner treatment/interrogation rules to go by. It's a tough spot to be in, that's for sure.
     
  6. Zhukov
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    Zhukov VIP Member

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    Due to Nazi atrocities.

    It's not like the communists ever had any intentions of upholding it though, so it's never served a useful purpose.
     
  7. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    The GC only applies to those that follow it. The USA.

    The GC was set up due to both the Nazi and the Japanese atrocities of WWII. We were idiotic enough to believe that our enemies would view soldiers as we do.... innocent bystanders fulfilling their duty to their country. The problem is, we are not fighting a state or even a collective society. We are fighting a religion whether one wants to believe it or not.
     
  8. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    We're not fighting a religion, we're fighting groups who pervert that religion.
     
  9. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    True. But if that religion has been taken over by those that are perverting it, does it not, at some point, become the religion itself that you are fighting?
     
  10. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    was christianity replaced by the crusades?
     

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