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Is the treatment of Taleban and al-Qaeda terror suspects counter-productive? - Page 4

post #121 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>
This is kind of the point I was trying to make. These are the opinions of journalists, human rights activists, and politicians, all of whom have reasons for objecting, and objecting publicly. And yet the impression you'd get from some posters here is that they have this idea the whole of the rest of the world is objecting to the treatment of the prisoners in Camp X-Ray...</strong><hr></blockquote>

I agree that worldwide public opinion on the whole still seems to be pretty much with us. As for the reasons those various activists and politicians and ambulance chasers have for their objections, well, some are probably well-intentioned. I think most of the problem stems from those photos. They were awful.
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post #122 of 155
It's certainly unfortunate they released the pictures of the prisoners wearing masks and ear-defenders without an accompanying explanation that they'd just come off the plane. That's what caused half the uproar.

Relating to something else we've been discussing - Colin Powell has now stated he wants the men in Camp X-Ray re-classified as "prisoners of war".

I suspect it's because the government has realised unless they do this, it's going to be impossible to find a solid legal case against these men.
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post #123 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>Relating to something else we've been discussing - Colin Powell has now stated he wants the men in Camp X-Ray re-classified as "prisoners of war".

I suspect it's because the government has realised unless they do this, it's going to be impossible to find a solid legal case against these men.</strong><hr></blockquote>
It also may be that the Geneva conventions say that they have to be considered as such until a court finds otherwise. Regardless of what Rumsfeld has been saying.
post #124 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>It's certainly unfortunate they released the pictures of the prisoners wearing masks and ear-defenders without an accompanying explanation that they'd just come off the plane. That's what caused half the uproar.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

I read that the way our CIA operative was killed at Mazar-i-sharif was by an Al Qaeda operative ripping his throat out with his teeth. Kind of puts those masks in perspective, doesn't it?
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post #125 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>The Russians withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, while the Taleban first entered in 1994. One of their first moves was to take the stockpiles of weapons and ammunition stored in Kandahar and Kabul, much of which was provided by the US.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Um ... no. Most of those were left over by the soviets. They left the puppet goverment and army behind to fend for itself. It lost.
post #126 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>I read that the way our CIA operative was killed at Mazar-i-sharif was by an Al Qaeda operative ripping his throat out with his teeth. Kind of puts those masks in perspective, doesn't it?</strong><hr></blockquote>
I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I completely agree with the decision to chain them, mask them, and strap them into the seats on the plane. I also agree with chaining them hand and foot and being accompanied by two guards whenever they're out of their cages. You have to implement special measures when you have prisoners who'll happily die for their cause.
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post #127 of 155
belle:
&gt;I think this paragraph shows that you have fallen foul of the accusation you threw at me earlier. You clearly believe what the media tells you about Europe. I can't believe what an inflated opinion you have of our country, or rather believe that the rest of the world sees something wondrous when it looks at the US.&gt;

It sees something wondrous when we are saving their collective ass. I have an inflated opinion of my country for a damn good reason, its not my fault you're such a cynic.


&gt;And you know the reason Europeans protest in the streets when there are executions in the US? 1. Because as I said, Europe has its do-gooders, just like the US. And 2. Because they take an interest in what's happening in the rest of the world. &lt;

No, its because 1. They are not do-gooders, they are anti-US activists who wait for something to protest about. They are just as active as latino activists in the US who can't wait to get in the streets and whine about something. And 2. because they are ONLY interested in putting down the US because they see our power as something evil, even though they welcome our might when it serves THEIR interest.......................................... ....
post #128 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by Scott H.
<strong>Um ... no. Most of those were left over by the soviets. They left the puppet goverment and army behind to fend for itself. It lost.</strong><hr></blockquote>
I'm sure many of the weapons were Russian, but a large quantity were American. A Pentagon official stated as much when the first reports came in after the surrender of the Taleban.

I actually found this out in a documentary about a different subject in which former CIA agents were discussing September 11 and the lack of intelligence. It was pretty interesting. Most was about the case of Jennifer Harbury, and I think a lot made the news, certainly the argument that the guidelines put in place after Harbury's protests crippled the effectiveness of the CIA in collecting intelligence about groups like al-Qaeda. Anyway, I'm getting way off track.
[quote]Originally posted by steve666:
<strong>belle:
&gt;I think this paragraph shows that you have fallen foul of the accusation you threw at me earlier. You clearly believe what the media tells you about Europe. I can't believe what an inflated opinion you have of our country, or rather believe that the rest of the world sees something wondrous when it looks at the US.&gt;

It sees something wondrous when we are saving their collective ass. I have an inflated opinion of my country for a damn good reason, its not my fault you're such a cynic.


&gt;And you know the reason Europeans protest in the streets when there are executions in the US? 1. Because as I said, Europe has its do-gooders, just like the US. And 2. Because they take an interest in what's happening in the rest of the world. &lt;

No, its because 1. They are not do-gooders, they are anti-US activists who wait for something to protest about. They are just as active as latino activists in the US who can't wait to get in the streets and whine about something. And 2. because they are ONLY interested in putting down the US because they see our power as something evil, even though they welcome our might when it serves THEIR interest.......................................... ....</strong><hr></blockquote>
Wow. Well it's good to know there are still some All-American flag-waving patriots left.
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post #129 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>It's certainly unfortunate they released the pictures of the prisoners wearing masks and ear-defenders without an accompanying explanation that they'd just come off the plane. That's what caused half the uproar.

Relating to something else we've been discussing - Colin Powell has now stated he wants the men in Camp X-Ray re-classified as "prisoners of war".

I suspect it's because the government has realised unless they do this, it's going to be impossible to find a solid legal case against these men.</strong><hr></blockquote>

If you have not read it already this article may interest you.

www.telegraph.co.uk

Speaks to your post and to why I think our treatment of these criminals/prisoners/warriors, is not undeserved.
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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post #130 of 155
<a href="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020130/ts_nm/pakistan_journalist_usa_dc_1" target="_blank">WSJ Editor pleads for safety of Reporter</a>

Another look at how the perception of the treatment of the prisoners is affecting things around the world. If these people kill that journalist they will find that the fury of the US will be turned on them next. I hope they don't have to find that out as I want him to live. He has a kid on the way.
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"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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post #131 of 155
<a href="http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20020130/wl/pakistan_missing_reporter.html" target="_blank">This article also gives more information on the same subject.</a>

NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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post #132 of 155
[quote] I've searched my heart and my head for sympathy and compassion for these people, but both said "let the f**kers rot". <hr></blockquote>
I totally agree with the above quote, and of course: you would feel the same way if your loved-ones were incinerated on Sept.11th!

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post #133 of 155
<a href="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020209/pl_nm/attack_detainees_image_dc_1" target="_blank">So Bush has finally admitted he was wrong.</a> But he's still selectively applying it. I wouldn't want to be an American soldier caught by some other country after this. They could just decide that the Geneva conventions don't apply to you.
post #134 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong><a href="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020209/pl_nm/attack_detainees_image_dc_1" target="_blank">So Bush has finally admitted he was wrong.</a> But he's still selectively applying it. I wouldn't want to be an American soldier caught by some other country after this. They could just decide that the Geneva conventions don't apply to you.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Where did Bush "admitted he was wrong"?
post #135 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by Scott H.:
<strong>Where did Bush "admitted he was wrong"?</strong><hr></blockquote>It's an admission that you were wrong when, after criticism, you change a policy that you and your Sec. of Defense have repeatedly stated over the past several weeks.

Publicly and explicity admit you're wrong? Never.
post #136 of 155
Did the Japanese apply the Geneva Convention in WWII? Did the Germans? Vietnamese? Would the Taliban if Americans were caught? Did the Somalis?

If you think us treating them better will improve the condition of our POWs if they are caught by terrorists I have a plot of land to sell you............
post #137 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>It's an admission that you were wrong when, after criticism, you change a policy that you and your Sec. of Defense have repeatedly stated over the past several weeks.</strong><hr></blockquote>

What's going to be different now in the way they are treated? Are the US soldiers guarding them now under orders to stop short sheeting their beds or what? Just what was so damn inhumane about the way we were processing these prisoners? BTW, if these prisoners were real POWs they would simply be released. We wouldn't be talking about how to try them. POWs aren't put on trial.

[ 02-10-2002: Message edited by: roger_ramjet ]</p>
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post #138 of 155
Over at NRO Victor Davis Hanson recently wondered about the <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson012502.shtml" target="_blank">Roots of American Self-Doubt</a>:

[quote]... There are plenty of dangers in this constant expression of self-doubt, along with our national obsession about the inconsequential coupled with unconcern for what is critical. We are engaged in multifaceted and completely unpredictable war. Ours is now a high-stakes contest that will change the make-up of the current world; it not only requires all our full attention to what is important, but also a degree of self-confidence in our ability and right to conduct the struggle itself. Our allies are looking to us to assure them we have a vision for the Middle East that is better - not perfect, but better - than the conditions there now that led to 3,000 dead in America. Our enemies wax when we hesitate, wane as we show confidence, power, and justice in our cause. And neutrals simply watch us, gauging the right moment either to join in or bail out, damn or praise us, and release or roundup terrorists.

So let us have some perspective, admit we are human, not divine, and show self-confidence in what we know from the past rather than foreboding about what is unknown in the future. Should there be a thousand traitorous Johnny Walkers in detention, the minutiae of their cases should not warrant more concern than would the life of a single Marine; and if there should be 10,000 terrorists detained in Cuba, I would not care as much about all their beards being shaved off as the safety of a single American pilot.<hr></blockquote>
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post #139 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>What's going to be different now in the way they are treated?</strong><hr></blockquote>
If they're not going to be treated any differently, why in the world did they initially claim the Geneva convention doesn't apply? Was it just gratuitous? And why are they not fully applying it now? IT'S THE GENEVA CONVENTION! Since when did the US have a problem with the Geneva Conventions?

I don't think the prisoners were being tortured or abused. But legal status matters too. If the US openly ignores rules and treaties as basic as Geneva, what kind of clout do we have to ask others to follow human rights treaties, UN resolutions, etc.?
[quote]BTW, if these prisoners were real POWs they would simply be released. We wouldn't be talking about how to try them. POWs aren't put on trial.<hr></blockquote>
All prisoners taken on the battlefield, including the al Qaeda picked up in Afghanistan, must be initially treated as POWs. Then a court can declare their status something different. Bush and Rumsfeld aren't supposed do it themselves.
post #140 of 155
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[ 02-10-2002: Message edited by: yablaka ]</p>
post #141 of 155
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[ 02-10-2002: Message edited by: yablaka ]</p>
post #142 of 155
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[ 02-10-2002: Message edited by: yablaka ]</p>
post #143 of 155
Uh-huh. I'm inclined to think it is not.
post #144 of 155
yeah well by the numerous edits, i've struggled with this and here's why: what a ****ing bad question / non-answer. Guess it's me.
post #145 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>
If they're not going to be treated any differently, why in the world did they initially claim the Geneva convention doesn't apply? Was it just gratuitous? And why are they not fully applying it now? IT'S THE GENEVA CONVENTION! Since when did the US have a problem with the Geneva Conventions?</strong><hr></blockquote>

How in your mind does an argument that says the Geneva Conventions do not apply in this situation suddenly mean that the US has a problem with Geneva? That's not even remotely logical.

[quote]<strong>I don't think the prisoners were being tortured or abused. But legal status matters too. If the US openly ignores rules and treaties as basic as Geneva, what kind of clout do we have to ask others to follow human rights treaties, UN resolutions, etc.?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Sure legal status matters. That's why it's not a trivial issue to ask: Does the Geneva Convention even apply in the first place? Should it? But you are impatient with the question. You've bulled your way past it and simply insisted that the administration is wrong. The Gitmo prisoners did not abide by the laws or customs of war. If you masquerade as a civilian how can you claim to be a POW? The Taliban were not a signatory to the Geneva Convention. This is what Geneva says: "the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties." The Taliban weren't even recognized by the U.N. as a legitimate government. They were basically considered to be a band of thugs who seized power. What's more the Gitmo detainees come from 25 different countries. To pretend that membership in a terrorist organization (Al Qaeda) is the same as being a member of a nation's military is absurd. If a mafia "soldier" is arrested by the FBI is he too a POW? How about if you are a member of the Michigan militia?

I think what the administration has done by choosing to recognize those detainees who are Taliban as POWs is nothing more than P.R. It won't change their treatment but it will placate people like you. I don't think it was a good idea though.
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post #146 of 155
If these people are POW's then they should be released (i don't believe they are IMO) according to the GC. But why would some people in this thread want them to be released? It boogles the mind.
post #147 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by Outsider:
<strong>If these people are POW's then they should be released (i don't believe they are IMO) according to the GC. But why would some people in this thread want them to be released? It boogles the mind.</strong><hr></blockquote>

The war is not over. You don't release POWs until it is. If these people are POW and we consider the war is over they will go back, regroup, and start all over again. If they are POWs they may never get out.
post #148 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>How in your mind does an argument that says the Geneva Conventions do not apply in this situation suddenly mean that the US has a problem with Geneva? That's not even remotely logical.
</strong><hr></blockquote>I think that coming up with an interpretation of it that's so bizarre that only after public pressure do they reverse it suggests that they don't respect it too much. Looking for contorted reasons to not apply it suggests they don't respect it too much.

Are you saying that they have utmost respect for the letter and spirit of the treaty, but just misunderstood it at first? That seems hard to believe. [quote]But you are impatient with the question. You've bulled your way past it and simply insisted that the administration is wrong.<hr></blockquote>You're suggesting that I haven't thought about or defended my position on this, but I think if you look at my previous posts on this topic you'll find that hard to back up. For several weeks now I've cited and linked to the Geneva convention itself as well as legal analyses and materials that would suggest that I have thought about it. Not as much as you, I'm sure.

If you read this thread, I've picked out things I disagree with about what Bush is doing, and other things I've defended him on. Some of you just defend absolutely everything he's done. So who is impatient with thinking about this stuff?
[quote]The Taliban were not a signatory to the Geneva Convention.<hr></blockquote>The Taliban themselves didn't sign it, but Afghanistan did, and apparently that's good enough for Bush. Ari Fleischer: "the president determined that the Taliban members are covered under the treaty because Afghanistan is a party to the convention." [quote]To pretend that membership in a terrorist organization (Al Qaeda) is the same as being a member of a nation's military is absurd.<hr></blockquote>Al Qaeda is a trickier situation - if they're picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan, along with the Taliban, they should be treated as POWs, and then a tribunal should determine them otherwise. But if they're picked up in Morocco or the Sudan, then no, they're not POWs. Almost all of the Cuba detainees were picked up on the battlefield, I believe. [quote]I think what the administration has done by choosing to recognize those detainees who are Taliban as POWs is nothing more than P.R.<hr></blockquote>To be accurate, they've said the Geneva Convention applies to the Taliban, but declared both Taliban and al Qaeda NOT to be POWs.
post #149 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>Al Qaeda is a trickier situation - if they're picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan, along with the Taliban, they should be treated as POWs, and then a tribunal should determine them otherwise. But if they're picked up in Morocco or the Sudan, then no, they're not POWs. Almost all of the Cuba detainees were picked up on the battlefield, I believe.</strong><hr></blockquote>

No. There's no doubt, in most rational peoples' minds, that the Al Qaeda terrorist did not comply with the GC. Therefor they are no POWs and not covered.
post #150 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by Scott H.:
<strong>No. There's no doubt, in most rational peoples' minds, that the Al Qaeda terrorist did not comply with the GC. Therefor they are no POWs and not covered.</strong><hr></blockquote>
But how do you know they're Al Qaeda? That's the point - according to Geneva, a court is supposed to make that determination, not Rumsfeld, Bush, or Ashcroft.

That's like saying criminals should go to jail - of course, but the trick is how you determine that they're criminals. You want to do that in a manner that has legitimacy, so you have moral superiority over the bad guys.

"We can do whatever we want. Who's going to stop us? Screw the treaties, we're the US."

But the problem with that approach is that we lose a little bit of that moral standing and legitimacy every time we use it. I want to be absolutely morally superior to our enemies in every conceivable way. That's what should always distinguish us, in addition to the fact that we have the power to win.
post #151 of 155
No one is being mistreated. They are not POWs because the Taliban did not comply with GC. They were an illegal ocupation army. Get it?
post #152 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>
I think that coming up with an interpretation of it that's so bizarre that only after public pressure do they reverse it suggests that they don't respect it too much... </strong><hr></blockquote>

What's so bizarre? Article 4 defines the conditions necessary for POW status:
a. That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates.
b. That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance.
c. That of carrying arms openly.
d. That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

The Gitmo prisoners clearly didn't meet these conditions. Pretending they did doesn't have anything to do with respecting Geneva.

[quote]<strong>... The Taliban themselves didn't sign it, but Afghanistan did, and apparently that's good enough for Bush. Ari Fleischer: "the president determined that the Taliban members are covered under the treaty because Afghanistan is a party to the convention." </strong><hr></blockquote>

That's why this latest move is a bad idea. It amounts to a retroactive recognition of the Taliban. When they were in power only 2 nations recognized the Taliban. Now we are going to act as though they were the rightful rulers of Afghanistan?

[quote]<strong>... according to Geneva, a court is supposed to make that determination, not Rumsfeld, Bush, or Ashcroft.</strong><hr></blockquote>

No it's not. According to Article 5 a tribunal is necessary only "should any doubt arise." Just the fact that they had no uniforms should have settled the matter.

To paraphrase a question Rich Lowry <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry012402.shtml" target="_blank">asked recently</a>:

[quote]What is it that (you) like so much about civilian casualties?

It's a natural question, given (your) evident contempt for one of the purposes of the Geneva Convention: to deter un-uniformed soldiers from hiding among the civilian population - a practice that obviously makes it impossible for an attacking army to distinguish between legitimate targets and noncombatants.

In other words, the Geneva Convention seeks to protect innocent civilians by keeping soldiers in uniform, and by defining those combatants who don't wear uniforms as being outside the rules of warfare and undeserving of the privileges afforded to legitimate prisoners of war...<hr></blockquote>
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post #153 of 155
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>What's so bizarre? Article 4 defines the conditions necessary for POW status:...</strong><hr></blockquote>POW status has not been changed. What he reversed was that we should even follow the GC at all in this case. That was bizarre. Bizarre enough even for them to reverse. [quote]When they were in power only 2 nations recognized the Taliban. Now we are going to act as though they were the rightful rulers of Afghanistan?<hr></blockquote>Yeah, and prominent Republicans said in Dec. 2000 that they wouldn't recognize Al Gore as the legitimate president if he had won the recount.

The question is whether we apply the GC to others, not whether others would apply them to us. We already know the human rights standards of the Taliban - we should accentuate the differences between us and them at every chance, not muddy the distinctions like this administration does.

People say "the Taliban wouldn't follow it." Wonderful - we're comparing ourselves to the Taliban. They wouldn't do it, so we shouldn't either? Hopefully we'll have standards a little higher than the Taliban's. [quote]No it's not. According to Article 5 a tribunal is necessary only "should any doubt arise." Just the fact that they had no uniforms should have settled the matter.<hr></blockquote>Of course - that's why I made the distinction between being picked up on a wartime battlefield in Afghanistan vs. elsewhere. On the battlefield there is doubt - in what way do the Taliban not fit those POW conditions you listed? All those conditions are debatable. The problem with getting into the debate is that other nations could very easily do the same to us - not all of our troops have uniforms or carry weapons openly. And of course the US is always accused of terrorism and war crimes.

Why give them any opening at all? Why don't we just stand up for these principles and move on? What would we lose if we applied the rules rather than looking for debatable interpretations to get out of applying them?
post #154 of 155
The most important thing here which is being ignored is that these prisoners are not being mistreated. They have a clean space to live, they have good food and many are gaining weight and they have the best medical care in the world. They are not being mistreated.
post #155 of 155
I am glad to don't be in charge of those prisoners especially for their future. what will do US with these people ? a very hard question : personnaly i have no answer.
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