Sucks to Be Him

09.22.06 | 4 Comments

CANADIAN police wrongly identified an Ottawa software engineer as an Islamic extremist, prompting US agents to deport him to Syria, where he was tortured, an official inquiry found yesterday.

The rest of the article is here.

Meanwhile, here’s the text [pdf] of something floating around in Congress that appears to leave interpretation of the Geneva convention up to the president instead of the courts.

No person may invoke the Geneva Conventions or any protocols thereto in any habeas or civil action or proceeding to which the United States, or a current or former officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States, is a party as a source of rights, in any court of the United States or its States or territories.

So this pretty much says we’re ignoring the Geneva conventions. I don’t give a damn about terrorists’ rights. Fuck ’em. BUT the problem is that if we start ignoring the Geneva Convention then that’s all the excuse about a dozen other countries need to start flagrently violating it too– with OUR citizens. It may seem fine and dandy when we’re talking about terrorists, but what happens when one of our pilots crashes in China or North Korea? I think in their zeal the current administration has forgotten that the Geneva Convention protects us as much as it does the rest of the world. Do the terrorists give a damn about the Geneva Convention? Of course not. But there are still other very dangerous nations out there that haven’t completely ignored them yet. At the very least they’re making a show of abiding by them, which is something (if you’re a serviceman being held by them, anyway).

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Comment by Kyle
2006-09-22 16:43:53

Neither China or North Korea is a signatory on the Geneva Convention, I think. I could be wrong. Terrorists cut off our solider’s heads, not to mention civilians and journalists, and any other infidel. They won’t exactly play by the rules.

So it’s really not a problem, to my way of thinking. Russia might eventually be again, but I’m not sure they signed that thing either.

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Comment by Jason
2006-09-23 05:25:03

The only people we are *legally* required to uphold the Geneva Convention is with other signatories. Only countries can be signatories. Al Queda isn’t a country. So legally, we can use chipper/shredders on them. :)

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Comment by Neal5x5
2006-09-25 18:01:48

As I understand it, the Geneva Conventions aren’t terribly specific about what is and isn’t defined as torture, inhumane, etc. The legislation pending does define practices, but only as it applies to the US military. The CIA and other non-military intelligence bodies are relatively free of such considerations.

As for the levels of “torture” that have been employed, what has been done is pretty tame: Sheik Kalid Muhamed (SP) broke after being put in a cold room and forced to listen to The Red Hot Chili Peppers. By that definition, my college dorm was torture. Now, do other countries we’re allied with torture folks we ship to them? Oh my yes, but that’s quite a different story.

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Comment by Neal5x5
2006-09-28 11:37:31

I found a very good article by Jonah Goldberg dealing with this issue and the issue of torture or “aggressive interrogation techniques”. The first two paragraphs are below.

“When confronted with the assertion that the Soviet Union and the United States were moral equivalents, William F. Buckley responded that if one man pushes an old lady into an oncoming bus and another man pushes an old lady out of the way of a bus, we should not denounce them both as men who push old ladies around.

“In other words, context matters.”

I think reading the full article is worthwhile for this debate.


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