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Geneva Rules?... Hmm, nah

 
 
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 10:25 am
Quote:
LATimes Linkage

From the Los Angeles Times:

Army Manual to Skip Geneva Detainee RuleThe Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

The decision could culminate a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed. However, the State Department fiercely opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Convention protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the Defense Department officials acknowledged.

For more than a year, the Pentagon has been redrawing its policies on detainees, and intends to issue a new Army Field Manual on interrogation, which, along with accompanying directives, represents core instructions to U.S. soldiers worldwide.

The process has been beset by debate and controversy, and the decision to omit Geneva protections from a principal directive comes at a time of growing worldwide criticism of U.S. detention practices and the conduct of American forces in Iraq.

The directive on interrogation, a senior defense official said, is being rewritten to create safeguards so that all detainees are treated humanely but can still be questioned effectively.

President Bush's critics and supporters have debated whether it is possible to prove a direct link between administration declarations that it will not be bound by Geneva and events such as the abuses at Abu Ghraib or the killings of Iraqi civilians last year in Haditha, allegedly by Marines.

But the exclusion of the Geneva provisions may make it more difficult for the administration to portray such incidents as aberrations. And it undercuts contentions that U.S. forces follow the strictest, most broadly accepted standards when fighting wars.

"The rest of the world is completely convinced that we are busy torturing people," said Oona A. Hathaway, an expert in international law at Yale Law School. "Whether that is true or not, the fact we keep refusing to provide these protections in our formal directives puts a lot of fuel on the fire."The move to restore U.S. adherence to Article 3 was opposed by officials from Vice President Dick Cheney's office and by the Pentagon's intelligence arm, government sources said. David S. Addington, Cheney's chief of staff, and Stephen A. Cambone, Defense undersecretary for intelligence, said it would restrict the United States' ability to question detainees.

The Pentagon tried to satisfy some of the military lawyers' concerns by including some protections of Article 3 in the new policy, most notably a ban on inhumane treatment, but refused to embrace the actual Geneva standard in the directive it planned to issue.

The military lawyers, known as judge advocates general, or JAGs, have concluded that they will have to wait for a new administration before mounting another push to link Pentagon policy to the standards of Geneva.

"The JAGs came to the conclusion that this was the best they can get," said one participant familiar with the Defense Department debate who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the protracted controversy. "But it was a massive mistake to have withdrawn from Geneva. By backing away, you weaken the proposition that this is the baseline provision that is binding to all nations."Common Article 3 was originally written to cover civil wars, when one side of the conflict was not a state and therefore could not have signed the Geneva Convention.

In his February 2002 order, Bush wrote that he determined that "Common Article 3 of Geneva does not apply to either Al Qaeda or Taliban detainees, because, among other reasons, the relevant conflicts are international in scope and Common Article 3 applies only to 'armed conflict not of an international character.' "

Some legal scholars say Bush's interpretation is far too narrow. Article 3 was intended to apply to all wars as a sort of minimum set of standards, and that is how Geneva is customarily interpreted, they say.

But top administration officials contend that after the Sept. 11 attacks, old customs do not apply, especially to a fight against terrorists or insurgents who never play by the rules.

"The overall thinking," said the participant familiar with the defense debate, "is that they need the flexibility to apply cruel techniques if military necessity requires it.


This is going to do wonders for our image abroad. Seriously.

<holding>

Cycloptichorn
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,761 • Replies: 64
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 10:31 am
Yes, "unnamed sources" can have that effect if people choose to believe them.
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Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 10:55 am
More than a few have turned out to be correct in the last few years, wouldn't you say?

I guess you are alledging that the article is incorrect in some fashion, though what you would base this off of is...?

Cycloptichorn
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:06 am
http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=1974188

Quote:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged on Wednesday a debate within the U.S. government on whether an Army manual now under revision should permit different interrogation methods for "enemy combatants" than for traditional prisoners of war.

The Pentagon set out to revise the Army Field Manual, which sets standards for interrogations of prisoners, in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, but its completion has been delayed repeatedly.
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Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:09 am
I hate being right all the time Laughing

Cycloptichorn
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:14 am
Re: Geneva Rules?... Hmm, nah
Cycloptichorn wrote:
This is going to do wonders for our image abroad. Seriously.

<holding>

Cycloptichorn


I suppose, in a couple of countries, only a few believed that the US Forces are welldoing in humane treatment.

Now, that number will even grow. (But I doubt that this bothers the conservatives.)

So, the only hope can be what the Judge Advocate Generals do as well: hoping for a new administration ...
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
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Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:23 am
You will be correct when the manual is produced. It's speculation until that time and unnamed sources are hardly ever trustworthy. This is more ado about nothing.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:27 am
So you believe that... they're not revising the army field manual or that they're not revising it to reduce protections for enemy combatants? What controversy do you think that Rumsfeld is talking about?
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:28 am
Also, how do you figure that unnamed sources are hardly ever trustworthy?
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:28 am
Your defense of this administration has required you to broaden more and more your definition of "nothing", hasn't it?
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Asherman
 
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Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:45 am
The Geneva Convention is a protocol governing military behavior, and is not necessarily applicable when dealing with an enemy combatant who is not uniformed and a part of a recognized military formation. Detainees at Guantanano Bay are more akin to pirates than soldiers. It would be more applicable to apply international law related to handling captured pirates to them rather than the usages of war.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:52 am
And there you have it. I believe that is at the center of the controversy.
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Cycloptichorn
 
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Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 11:53 am
Strangely enough, we seem to want to apply the rules of war when dealing with the enemy when it suits our purposes to do so, and ignore them when it doesn't serve our purposes to do so.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 12:02 pm
Just out of curiosity, what would be the harm in extending those protections to all prisoners? Wouldn't it be better to have one set of rules for the treatment of all detainees? Is there some reason why we want to treat prisoners inhumanely?
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 12:03 pm
What really gets me is this:

We shouldn't treat people badly. Not because we are bound by some convention, but because it's the right thing to do.

Some want to make the argument that we don't have to do the right thing when dealing with Terrorists; I think that's an idiotic argument.

Cycloptichorn
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 12:08 pm
In answer to the duck -
In my opinion, the Geneva Convention Articles would make sense at Guantanamo. One big reason I think so is that a large number of those being held there are neither enemy soldiers or "pirates" - but bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time - that's been established. So rather than having a contrived, harsher set of rules for "enemy combatants", why not use the rules originally established to have some standard of human decency during wartime? It just makes more sense to me that, with a not-well-defined population of prisoners, this would be the best policy.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 12:11 pm
The classification of "enemy combatant" seems to be designed to put them in some legal limbo with no rights or guarantees. We are at war with terrorism, supposedly, yet the people we call terrorists are not considered prisoners of war. We call them an enemy so they are not criminals either.

And I totally agree -- several of the people detained at Gitmo turned out to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And not all of them were taken from the "battlefield", an ever evolving term.
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 12:14 pm
This administration is nothing if not creative. "Enemy combatants", for those whom we wish to treat more harshly than existing rules allow. "Rendition", for shipping them to countries who have no such restrictions on torture.
0 Replies
 
candidone1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 01:04 pm
I was under the impression that this was an international "war" on terror.
The initial declaration of war came from the US, and as I understand the current "conflict", it is but an extension of the very same war.

Perhaps this is simply a semantic distinction that I am missing, but when one country occupies another, wipes out it's infrastructure, it's government, it's military, and the occupied country fights back with whatever means necessary, is that not still a war?

Are they still not prisoners of war?
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jun, 2006 01:16 pm
They are until the government decides they are enemy combatants. The main distinction seems to come with respect to Gitmo, as that is where we are supposedly housing al-Qaida suspects. The problem, of course, is that soldiers are trained to deal with them in a way that is not consistent with the Geneva conventions, and then they are transferred to Iraq and/or Afghanistan where, surprise, they treat prisoners of war in a way that is not consistent with the Geneva conventions.
0 Replies
 
 

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