Sunday, August 16, 2009

Geneva Conventions and Hype

The Geneva Conventions were written in an attempt to make war more humane. Merv Benson at Prairie Pundit takes exception to one area where hype seems to rule.

There are several problems that still exist that the media and the ICRC ignore. One of the more obvious problems is treating the Conventions like a unilateral contract binding on signatories regardless of whether adversaries are signatories or abide by the conventions. This gives an unfair advantage to groups like al Qaeda and the Taliban. Thus a televised beheading of non combatants or even POWs are rarely if ever condemned by the ICRC. Yet these same people insist on POW status for unlawful enemy combatants who violate the Conventions. This undermines the conventions and shows a lack of integrity on the part of the ICRC. Has the group ever criticized the Taliban or al Qaeda for unlawfully camouflaging themselves as civilians, putting all civilians at risk? How often do they criticize the Taliban for using human shields? How ofter do they criticize al Qaeda and the Taliban for deliberately targeting non combatants?

If they want to claim relevance they should at least be critical of these aspects of our enemy's operation on a regular basis. Their failure to do so demonstrates a failure of their mission.

Indeed, I've read screeds that hammer the U.S. (and Israel) for any violation of the Conventions, no matter how slight, and no matter how flimsy the evidence. The authors of such screeds are silent on major violations in the other direction. Either they don't grant the other side the status of beings capable of abiding by civilized standards, or they only have vitriol for one party.

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