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How can we be doing this? Do Bush supporters really believe everything's okay as long as we're better than the terrorists?

It's somewhat old news, now confirmed, that America has been hiding Iraqi prisoners from the Red Cross, Congress, and the prisoners' families. In other words, except in the view of their holders, these prisoners have disappeared from the face of the Earth. Now it appears that some of these prisoners are being moved outside Iraq for "interrogation."

This is a big deal: these are major violations of the Geneva Conventions. After World War II, we lobbied for, and signed, these conventions to prevent a recurrence of the terrible prisoner abuse that went on during the war. I have an ex-boss who hates Japan because of the way his father was treated during that war. Under the international law of which America was a primary proponent, these are war crimes.

Of course, it's not clear what's being done with these prisoners when they're whisked away, and even the Bush memo'd legal defense is hidden from the Congress and the public. Outside of the administration, legal experts have condemned the Bush administration's actions, and even Republicans responded with outrage.

I remember when we used to make darkly comic comments about the disappeared prisoners of the Soviet Union and Latin America. Now, we're the ones doing it.

Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 27, 2004
It would lend credence to your inflamatory headlines if you actually quoted a news source, and not an opinion piece. Late breaking news: NO Iraqi prisoners Unaccounted for!
on Oct 27, 2004
I've heard this same thing reported on NPR and in the foreign press. I realize that if Rush or Sean doesn't say it, it isn't real news to the Republicans, but thanks for posting this.
on Oct 27, 2004
Did they end up in a mass grave? never found as in Iraq or Argentina, Cambodia or the former Soviet union?
BTW: if you are not a uniformed combatant, the geneva convention is not germane. eg: A non military person captured while armed.
on Oct 27, 2004
Yup, the fun semantics games about POW's or not POW's has been interesting to watch.
on Oct 27, 2004
Yup, the fun semantics games about POW's or not POW's has been interesting to watch.


Though it is not soley a US Affair it is a game played by many nations. What to call a prisoner a war criminal or a prisoner of war?

PLINKO!
on Oct 27, 2004
The problem is, most of us don't really know in what circumstances the Convention applies. After all, it was written and signed during a time when only nations could mount armies, before anyone had any clue that such ad hoc entities as al Qaeda could conduct a war. We've tended to mix together Iraqi soldiers with ad hoc terrorists and just assumed that the Convention applies to both when there is no actual basis for that assumption. We're dealing with a new problem here, one not anticipated by the Convention. Uniformed Iraqi military should be treated in accordance with the Convention since this is a war between two sovereign nations. Beyond that, it gets a bit murky.

I happen to believe we should adhere to the Convention in our behavior toward any detainee, whether defined as a POW or not, because it is the right thing to do, but claiming we are violating the Convention when talking about how we handle ad hoc terrorists in captivity is neither fair nor true.

Cheers,
Daiwa
on Oct 27, 2004
Most legal experts not in the Bush administration believe that if Bush is hiding captives, or moving them to other countries, it is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. There's not much debate about this, except from the Bush administration.

This is like when the tobacco industry used to trot forward their scientists saying that smoking had no adverse effects, and then tobacco region politicians would argue that there was no scientific consensus on the matter.
on Oct 27, 2004
I guess my take on it is too "nuanced" for you, blogic.

Cheers,
Daiwa
on Oct 28, 2004

Reply #7 By: blogic - 10/27/2004 6:21:10 PM
Most legal experts not in the Bush administration believe that if Bush is hiding captives, or moving them to other countries, it is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. There's not much debate about this, except from the Bush administration.


The key word here is *believed* which ultimately means *no proof*!
on Oct 28, 2004
Sorry,
an official US army report on the Abu Chraib prison scandal admitted that prisoners were hidden from the red cross in direct violation of the Geneva conventions. This is old news. Proof exists though and it's not just some suspected case here. The sad part was that this US official crime was totally lost amid the prisoner abuse scandal. The question as to how many other prisoners are still being hidden is a valid one as the US has already shown it's willingness to ignore the Geneva conventions.

Paul.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1209681,00.html
on Oct 28, 2004

Reply #10 By: Solitair - 10/28/2004 12:22:16 PM
Sorry,
an official US army report on the Abu Chraib prison scandal admitted that prisoners were hidden from the red cross in direct violation of the Geneva conventions. This is old news. Proof exists though and it's not just some suspected case here. The sad part was that this US official crime was totally lost amid the prisoner abuse scandal. The question as to how many other prisoners are still being hidden is a valid one as the US has already shown it's willingness to ignore the Geneva conventions.

Paul.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1209681,00.html


Sorry but until they can show me *proof*, I ain't buying it! Where's this so called report?
on Oct 28, 2004
Daiwa, thank you for your comment,

It wasn't that I found your take too nuanced... I just didn't find it compelling. Most international law experts say the Bush administration is violating the Geneva Conventions. Daiwa says maybe not.

Please don't be offended that I think it's more probable that the law experts are correct.

Regarding the Geneva Conventions and stateless "armies": these types of armies are hardly a new thing. Think Barbary pirates, or the Indian Wars of the late 19th Century. Or the Mexican border bandits of the early 20th.

I acknowledge that the framers of the conventions were surely more focused on World War II, but it's not true that no one had ever thought of, or anticipated, stateless armies.
on Oct 28, 2004

Reply #12 By: blogic - 10/28/2004 6:53:53 PM
Daiwa, thank you for your comment,

It wasn't that I found your take too nuanced... I just didn't find it compelling. Most international law experts say the Bush administration is violating the Geneva Conventions. Daiwa says maybe not.

Please don't be offended that I think it's more probable that the law experts are correct.


Which international law *experts*? Can you provide a link please?
on Oct 28, 2004
blogic -

What I suppose I'm saying is that maybe the Conventions need to be revisited and perhaps revised to address the kinds of conflicts and the nature of the combatants we are contending with today. I could be wrong, but I don't believe the Convention addressed this type of stateless terrorist activity in any affirmative way. It may be that it can and should not, but it is not unreasonable to "reconvene" as it were.

Cheers,
Daiwa
on Oct 29, 2004
Daiwa, The conventions were indeed revisited with a series of additional protocols added. For example, the initial conventions failed to consider spies,sabeteurs or civilian fighters. All of these were added to additional protocols in 1978 I think (could be a year or two out). I beleive thoguh that the US has still not ratified these additional protocols despite sponsoring them (many were added due to direct experiences in the Vietnam war).

There is undoubtedly a case for new revisions to take place though, especially on the line of international terrorism, and the balance between potential threat and freedoms.

Paul.
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