RANGER AGAINST WAR: Geneva Convention Limbo <

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Geneva Convention Limbo



Limbo lower now

How low can you go

--Limbo Rock, Chubby Checker


"Hard cheese, old man!''

--Terry-Thomas,
School for Scoundrels


Reflecting on Jose Padilla and the Gitmo prisoners, er, detainees, recently, my mind wandered into the area of the Geneva Conventions.

Several respondents to this site--and certainly many Americans outside of my sphere--reckon that America should not afford G.C. rights to terrorists. And of course, Ranger agrees that the G.C. does not apply to terrorists, as terrorists are criminals and should therefore be dealt with under the auspices of the Federal Court system. If you conspire to commit or commit a terrorist action, you are a criminal. Plain and Ranger simple.

But the G.C. does apply to prisoners captured on the battlefield within the U.S. theatre of operations. This means that we are in their country, engaged in a hostile action. If enemies are captured on the field of battle, they are designated POW's, and they are to be afforded the rights of the G.C. The twisted machinations by which GWB and followers manage to rationalize denying G.C. protections to such prisoners is beyond reason.

But my point here is this: For all the debate about suspending vs. allowing G.C. rights, we should remember that the G.C. is not the high bar, but rather, the low bar by which to gauge civilized behavior in a "detaining power" scenario.

The protections envisioned by the G.C., which is the law of the land since it is an approved treaty, is a rather low yardstick by which to measure civilized conduct. The G.C. establishes a strictly minimal code of conduct for the treatment of prisoners. If anything, the U.S. has historically exceeded the minimal yardstick set out by the G.C.

With this is mind, why can't the U.S. adhere to such basal standards today?

7 Comments:

Anonymous Labrys said...

Thanks for the reminder, although I think I still had that perception firmly locked in my head. Apparently, some Americans (who shall be un-named to maintain my profanity free environment for another hour or so) think we don't need that low bar because it interferes with getting the pillage safely to our oil refineries.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 9:38:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't ever very good in English class. The literature part was alright, I guess. At least the part where you get to read stuff but they even spoilt that by making you write essays on "compare and contrast" stuff.

Now if I was to make the mistake of dustin' off those pitiful and rusty junior high skills, I'd have to say that the last 3 entries pretty much share the storyline of outrage at our moral failures in Eye-Rack.

It got me to thinkin'...when did we lose the moral high ground here? So I sat on the porch and rocked on that one awhile. The only answer I could come up with was this: we never had it from the get go. Since we know ever war eventually comes to some kind of end, what I sat and thought about then was this: bad as we acted in this one, when it ends how's that gonna effect us all? All these tore up, beat up, crazed, sleepless and (worse) dead American kids comin home and however this thing ends, and it'll probably be billed as worse than VN, when the parades end and the banners and yellow ribbons all come down...what then? I'm talking about you and me and the dairy farmer down the road and the mailman and the counter man in the feed store...just regular people...how will losing this "war" and having to face what we did and how we did it(and you know there'll be endless "postgame shows")...what will that do to us all? Will most folks still be in a state of denial or will they wake up or...or what?

I'm still sittin' and thinkin' about that.

..anon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 10:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

labrys,

It seems many of our fellow Americans think treatment worse than dogs receive is too good for certain groups of people. Of course, even dogs deserve to be treated ''better than dogs,'' and anything less is degrading to the perpetrator of dehumanization.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 12:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

anon,

Your expression belies some deep thought.

You are asking if the human condition ever changes. Do we become more aware, kinder, wiser... Everything you read in literature class seems to say no; humans perpetuate the same behaviors century to century, behaving no differently, it seems than the instinctive birds.

So while may have never been any better than we are, you would thing we'd learn a thing or two about the ways to get on in the world, as a nation. We have ratified treaties and come up with assorted rules to help guide us.

So it seems to me the only thing different now is a certain venality amongst those charged with protecting our rights and following those rules.

I will put this question to Jim tomorrow to hear his sage thoughts on the matter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 10:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

anon,

After reading you letter, I am left depressed. Everyone thinks I am depressant because of my antiwar stance, but we are not speaking depressant things; we are talking reality. Reality--and I'm not talking t.v. shows--depresses Americans.

I experienced VN as ''reality,'' whereas many veterans considered the experience unreal.

Television blurs the reality line for us. VA Tech is but another example. Yesterday 183 people were killed in Iraq, and if my math is correct, that is 6 times as many as in VA, yet there is no outcry to end the war.

In my war, it was called the ''mere VN'' rule, because their lives were considered less valuable than ours.

Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 3:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whups. Sorry it seemed like a letter..sometimes I get carried away. I'll try to keep things a bit shorter. What you said about being depressed, though, and what Lisa said about people not changing their evil ways reminded me of a paragraph in an old Kurt Vonnegut book I pulled out and dusted off and browsed thru the other day when that fine gentleman passed. It kinda was refreshin in that it sort of takes the heat off us in terms of feelin so bad about the current benighted state of this country we love. It goes like this (sorry again for the length here, but I think it's pretty good stuff):

"...I have to say this in defense of humankind: in no matter what era in history, including the Garden of Eden, everybody just got here. And, except for the Garden of Eden, there were already all these games going on that could make you act crazy, even if you weren't crazy to begin with. Some of the crazymaking games going on today are love and hate, liberalism and conservatism, automobiles and credit cards, golf and girls' basketball." Now, to my poor ole tired country brain, that has a little foregiveness in it for everyone...even those last few words for Mr. Imus, I guess.

..anon

Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 4:18:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

anon,

Thank you--Vonnegut was a fine writer, who pointed up the absurdity of the human condition quite well.

Just spoke with Jim via phone on this very topic. I surmised that people are basically sneaky, greedy monkeys--after all, we haven't had much time here.

So the best we can hope for on the macro level is some sage rules to follow, and some kind and brave men who will adhere to them.

Jim pointed out that Carter was a good man, who failed on the leadership side of things, so people have become jaded as to what good can produce; instead, we choose what we think is tough. Well, we see what that has wrought.

Sun Tze said only the strong can be kind. I agree.

Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 4:32:00 PM GMT-5  

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