Monday, March 17, 2008

Problems at Gitmo??? Really???

So I came across this article in Stars and Stripes, reprinted from the LA Times, about one Omar Khadr, a detainee at Gitmo. Unfortunately, I can't track down the original article, but I found another one with basically the same information. Are we really detaining and torturing people for fighting against us? Does that qualify as a war crime? This man's entire crime was throwing a grenade at US soldiers, which happened to have killed on of them. I remember there was a big discussion about the relevance of the Geneva Conventions when we first went into Afghanistan six years ago, and not with the problems of water-boarding, either. These discussions were how to label combatants in that war, since the idea of "uniforms" very central to the Geneva Conventions didn't really apply. So I guess I know now that the debate was "resolved" - if you don't have a uniform on, you must be a terrorist, and therefore you have committed murder when waging a fight against people who invaded your country. I would take this opporunity to direct you to Convention I, Chapter 2, Article 13, number 6 - the conventions apply to "Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy, spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war." No need for distinctive insignia, uniforms, or any of that BS. I don't think anyone would argue that our assault on Afghanistan was fast and decisive enough that the residents of the country did not have time to form themselves into regular units...

Now - I am not supporting the Taliban, or those who fight for the Taliban. That's a political argument well over my head.

I also have no opinion on the issues of water-boarding and other forms of "torture" being used by the US government (well, I do actually have an opinion but its not relevant to this particular rant).

Nor, even, do I care about the travesty of justice in which it is likely that Mr. Khadr wasn't even the man who threw the original grenade.

I am just flabbergasted that we are prosecuting a man for "war crimes" that consist of things that soldiers have done since the first ape picked up a rock and hit another one over the head (presumably over access to a big stone monolith, but that's a different rant, too).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi John - It is Mike (Melissa's Mike - I hope you dont mind me readin your blong as it is linked to hers...I like the one regarding the Geneva COnvention...while I dont necessarily agreee with the whole idea of rules to war (I mean c'mon - we are trying to kill each other) the fact that we have them but have decided to 're-write' them in our particular present crusade is ridiculous!
I hope you are doing well over there