29 June 2006

Geneva Conventions and Guantanamo

I have been studying the Geneva conventions (four treaties and three subsequent "protocols"), and have come to several conclusions:
1. No group of people has ever behaved so exactly antithetical to the aims of the Geneva Conventions as the Islamists. It seems that for each prohibited action, they do that thing, and for every required action, they refuse.
2. The Islamists are unquestionably NOT covered under the Geneva Conventions. Many of the SHALLs and SHALL NOTs alluded to above are what actually determine whether or not a force is entitled to protection under the accords.
3. The Islamists, far from being mistreated, are only the most recent in a long line of foes to have the INCREDIBLE GOOD FORTUNE of fighting against the United States. The Geneva Conventions (GC) clearly do not apply to the Islamists, because tha Islamists clearly do not apply the GC to any of their own actions. Nonetheless, they are housed, fed, cared for, and even litigated for by Americans. The only thing keeping these people alive is an astouding preference for mercy on the part of America and Americans.
4. There is no legal obstacle to simply executing the lot of the Guantanamo "detainees" and dumping their bodies over the fence--kill them all, and let Castro sort them out--other than America's own laws as expressed by or passed through the Uniform Code of Military Justice which governs the actions of our servicemen. The captured Islamists have no rights, however, under the U.S. Constitution. They are not U.S. Citizens. They are not in America. Perhaps Cuba has an anti-littering provision which is germane.
5. The left is not so upset about Camp XRAY as they are that we still have not given Guantanamo back to the benevolent Agrarian Reformer and Friend of Che.
6. SCOTUS better come back with nothing other than "They have no rights, and the proper thing is for the U.S. Military to keep them right where they are until they no longer pose a threat".

The point is that criminal law has no bearing on the detainees, captured on the battlefield.
Also, US Civil law has no bearing on the detainees, captured on the battlefield.
Also, the provisions of the Geneva Conventions have no bearing on the detainees, captured on the battlefield.

The whole purpose of the Geneva Conventions is to reduce (or perhaps, even to eliminate) wartime atrocities by setting down both protections and requirements for combatants. It is expressly a "Golden-Rule" type of accord, in which those who will not abide by will also not be protected by it.

That is not a side effect--that is the central mechanism for reducing wartime atrocities.

The detainees are indeed in a legal black hole--they have worked very hard to slip past the event horizon of human behavior, and now they cannot return to the universe where normal rules apply.

So eat shit-covered koran pages and die slow horrible deaths, al-Qaeda. Serve as an example, and help us all strengthen the Geneva Conventions. Peace Be Unto You Sooner Rather Than Later.

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