Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why should we follow the Geneva Conventions?

Perhaps someone else has made this point already, although I haven't seen it. It is in reaction to the GOP talking point which says it's okay for the U.S. to violate (or, as Bush prefers, "interpret") the Geneva Conventions, since Al Qaeda does, too. This is one of the dumbest defenses of Bush's indefensible behavior that I have heard. In fact, it's so dumb that I can't believe reporters don't burst into laughter when Bush says it at press conferences.

My point is this: Al Qaeda is under no obligation to adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Al Qaeda is not a signatory to the Geneva Conventions.

The United States is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions. The imperative to adhere to them has nothing to do with people we hold who are not citizens of other nations who are signatories. We are a signatory to the Conventions, therefore we are bound by them.

The danger in violating (or, as Bush prefers, "interpreting") the Conventions is in giving nations who are signatories the justification to violate (or, as Bush prefers, "interpret") them, as well. We can assume that if our soldiers fall into the hands of Al Qaeda, that they will suffer brutal treatment. As a terrorist organization that operates outside of the law, that is what Al Qaeda does.

What we don't want is for Germany or England or Russia to decide that they are free to violate (or, as Bush prefers, "interpret") the Geneva Conventions as we do. What we don't want is for our troops to face torture (or, as Bush prefers, "agressive interrogation techniques") at the hands of nation-states who might have no compunctions against using torture but for the fact that they are bound by the Geneva Conventions. If they, as we, decide that they are no longer bound by the Conventions, then all bets are off.

That is why we should follow the Geneva Conventions.


betmo said...

well, he is now able to 'interpret' however he wants. the congress has handed him the throne.