Monday, September 25, 2006

The Geneva Conventions

Another inane Detroit Free Press editorial appears in the Sunday editorial section titled "Don't Bend rules of War, Even if Enemy Does." A subtitle reads "The United States must hold to high standards, not give terrorists more recruiting tools."

First of all, war is not a game with rules that must be followed or you are a bad person or nation.

Second, what is meant by "high standards"? Standard of what?

Third, our enemies don't rely on what we do to recruit more terrorists. Even if we had never humiliated or discomforted a single detainee, our enemies would claim we did and would have doctored photos to prove it just like they have done with the Jews. Plus, our enemies wouldn't have any idea what we were doing with detainees if we didn't have a news media eager to give our enemies those recruiting tools.

The editorial is about the Geneva Conventions which the U.S. signed onto in 1949 and basically how they are noble standards to which we must adhear according to 3 Republican senators who opposed Bush's desire to bend the conventions by giving interrogators more lattitude in extracting information. The fourth paragraph says:

"When dealing with an enemy that crashes planes into skyscrapers full of people and appears to delight in beheading civilians on camera, it is indeed tempting to toss the rules and bring in professional sadists."

I don't agree. To a rational nation and most Americans, the temptation would be to completely destroy the enemy's ability and will to fight. The Free Press must have a low opinion of Americans to assume they would give in to the temptation of becoming savages. The next sentence is "But the United States must be better than that." If the Freep means better than mindless savages, I agree, but the Geneva Conventions will not make that happen. Americans' own sense of morality will keep them from becomming sadists. But why is the Freep worried about how America retaliates against its enemies?

"Congress must ensure the compromise reached last week maintains a high standard. While the proposed law bans some specific actions as "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions, it otherwise lets the president interpret the rules without further oversight. That leaves a lot of gray areas that could continue to tarnish America in the world's eyes."

So we must be concerned not with the facts of reality but with world opinion! Not with substance but with appearance!

"To stoop to the savagery of the enemy is to sink to its level, to cede the moral high ground in the righteous war against these international outlaws and to further imperil Americans who might fall into enemy hands anywhere in an increasingly hostile world."

Exactly how is stooping to the enemy's level ceding the moral high ground? When an enemy attacks you it has already ceded any claim to morality. No matter how an attacked nation retaliates it cannot cede any morality. It is always moral to defend oneself. Always.

The U.S. never should have signed the Geneva Conventions. For one thing they are unenforceable. If a nation refuses to abide by them, who is going to do what against them? We need to recind our signing of those conventions and stop trying to make war the civilized game it cannot be.

The Free Press's contention that without the Conventions Americans will automatically become sadistic savages is false and a confession of how it views Americans.

Noah Stahl has a good op-ed at the Iowa State Daily on this very subject. Judging by the hostile comments he must have hit a nerve with those who advocate the conventional academic dogma.

Detroiter Matt May also posts on this editorial.

2 comments:

Myrhaf said...

At the root of the argument for following the rules of war, and the reason this is so important to the left, is altruism. The Geneva Convention is now used to make stronger nations sacrifice to weaker nations. The last thing the left wants is for America to act confidently in its self-interest and do whatever it takes to destroy the enemies of freedom.

Mike N said...

Myrhaf: good point. I didn't touch on it but I agree completely.