Thursday, June 16, 2005

Geneva Convention and Terrorists

James Taranto, who writes the always excellent Best of the Web Today has outdone himself today. Earlier this week Sen. Dick Durbin compared American soldiers to Nazis, Pol Pot's minions, and Stalin's killers. Durbin, showing that he was not suffering from temporary insanity, is refusing to appologize.

Taranto lets him have it with both barrels (rhetorically speaking):
"In truth, it isn't the Bush administration that is abandoning the Geneva Conventions. It is the critics, such as Amnesty International, who insist that terrorists should be protected under the conventions as if they were legitimate soldiers or civilians. The purpose of the Geneva Conventions is not to protect combatants' 'human rights' but to spell out the rules of war, rules that impose reciprocal obligations on both sides of a conflict.

A central reason for those rules is to protect civilians by declaring that they are not legitimate targets of military action. Combatants who pose as civilians (i.e., do not wear uniforms) or who target civilians are spies and terrorists respectively and are not entitled to protection as prisoners of war. Indeed, Durbin acknowledged in his Senate speech that 'the Geneva Conventions do not give POW status to terrorists.'

[...] As the Amnesty International report linked above notes, the source of the commentary Durbin quoted is the International Committee on the Red Cross, and it refers to Article 4 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which protects civilians captured during wartime. Yet the actual text of Article 4 says something quite different:
Nationals of a neutral State who find themselves in the territory of a belligerent State, and nationals of a co-belligerent State, shall not be regarded as protected persons while the State of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic representation in the State in whose hands they are.
This would exclude someone like Mohammed al-Qahtani, the Saudi national whose 'torture' at the lungs of Christina Aguilera made the cover of Time this week. As a matter of international law, his fate has nothing to do with the Geneva Conventions but is a matter between Washington and Riyadh.

In any case, if Dick Durbin thinks terrorists are the moral or legal equivalent of civilians, let him say so directly. And even if this is a legitimate point of view, it doesn't excuse his smearing American soldiers as Nazi-like."
That's just part of one topic today. There's lots more good stuff about leftwing loonies (redundant, we know) frothing at the mouth, and most of them are not Howard Dean.

Read the rest; you won't regret it.

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