11/18/2005

Pesky little Prisoners
I have heard any of a number of angles on this, most of them piss me off. We signed on the the Geneva Conventions for a reason. Little legal "bypasses" are bullshit. I think most people understand that the Conventions exist and have some understanding of what is in it but let's take a look at what it actually says regarding prisoners:
A prisoner of war awaiting trial must not be confined unless members of the detaining country’s own armed forces would also be confined in the same circumstances. (Convention III, Art. 103)
Any time spent in confinement waiting for trial will count towards time served. (Convention III, Art. 103)
The protecting powers must be immediately notified once a prisoner is sentenced. (Convention III, Art. 105)
All prisoners must have the right of appeal or petition and be informed of these rights and of any time limits on them. (Convention III, Art. 106)
Imprisonment in premises without daylight is forbidden. (Convention III, Art. 87)
I think by looking at this most can see where we have gone wrong. So now let's look at the arguments for the use of torture.
1) Insurgents are not fighting for a country (or at least not one that signed on to the Conventions) and therefore should not be afforded the protections given.
Hmm, technically true, however to assume this would also assume that this war is the last war in which we will be involved. By torturing these people we are telling future enemies "We think it's cool if we don't like you." Insurgents are not agents of any recognized government and they have proven time and again that they disregard any "rules of war." Many falsely believe that the Conventions offer the insurgents protection regardless of a national leadership, this is not true. As a matter of fact that would go against the conventions because in order to be covered by these laws one must be of an enemy army (national), carrying a weapon in the open and wearing the opposing states uniform, obviously insurgents don't fit in any of these in most cases. Clearly there are loopholes the problem is that it is not feasable to play both hands in war public opinion matters most in the long run.
2) This one is less about law and more about ideology. That you can expedite the attainment of "actionable intelligence." So, they mean to tell us that a guy that has been sitting in Cuba for 4 years can tell me anything about al-qaeda that I can go out and actually use right now??? Also, torutre is not exactly a great method of obtaining anything for a few reasons. One is that most guys in the field don't have a fucking clue what the plans of their superiors are. In the case of insurgents I imagine it is dually so because alot of them just go out blindly to kill Americans sans leadership, it's also not a conventional army they have to constantly change locations and tactics. A few hours is more than enough for whatever one of them knows to become unuseable. Second on the chance that a guy is high enough up to know anything worth extracting he is that high for a reason, we as Americans like to think we would be the only ones with any kind of integrity in this type of situation, bullshit, if you believe in something strong enough no amount of pain will break you. (These type of people have been around since the dawn of time, we call them martyrs.) On the flip side of that if you beat the crap out of a lower level guy that doesn't know anything he will come up with the most elaborate load of shit you have ever heard to avoid having his ribs beat in.
In short, I hate torture, thanks...

1 comment:

El Ranchero said...

Ya know we've already gotten burned on this, too. You heard of Al-Libi, the guy who fed the CIA a lot of the info on mobile chem weapons labs and such? All of it turned out to be false, and it looks like the info was obtained through torture.
As far as the ethics of it and what people have been arguing to you, if they're defending torture then ipso facto they've already ceded the argument, in my opinion.