Crossposted from STOP The ACLU
McCain and company continue to pitch for terrorists to be afforded Geneva Convention rights. Now it looks like the pressure is being felt by the White House and they have proposed a compromise. I hope McCain realizes that he is destroying his chances if he ever runs for president. But even more, his argument against Bush's proposal in the long run does the opposite of what he claims to want. It doesn't protect those fighting this war, it ties their hands. Of course if we were following the Geneva Conventions properly they wouldn't even apply to terrorist. We have our Supreme Court to thank for "interpreting" those rights to our current enemy. Nevertheless, with our hand forced on that, leaving this broad article of the Geneva Convention open for interpretation and not clarifying exactly what they can and can not do when interrogating terrorists leaves those fighting the war out their vulnerable. I can see the ACLU now suing CIA officials for grabbing some terrorist's shirt roughly. McCain and company's "higher moral ground" argument is ridiculous.
John Hawkins hits the nail on the head:
Exactly what protections are our troops being provided by the Geneva Convention? No enemy we've ever fought or are fighting has abided by it. So, in real world terms, the Geneva Convention provides no protection for our troops whatsoever. If we completely withdrew from the Geneva Convention tomorrow, it would have no impact at all on how our troops are treated.
Granted, the Geneva Convention could be of use in the unlikely event that we were to get into a war with Belgium, Italy, Spain or some other Western European nation. However, isn't the argument we're hearing from Europeans and American liberals that we should treat the terrorists we've captured by the rules of the Geneva Convention (as a matter of fact, better than the rules require) despite the fact that they haven't signed onto the treaty? Since that's the case, why wouldn't the same rules apply to any signatories of the treaty that we fought with? Even if, theoretically, we were doing something as evil as kicking their captured soldiers into industrial paper shredders for fun, shouldn't they give our soldiers every benefit the Geneva Convention requires?
What's that, you say? If we don't do it for their soldiers, why should we expect them to treat our troops with respect? Great! Now why doesn't that apply to our troops and Al-Qaeda? If Al-Qaeda is torturing and murdering our troops, why should we treat their captured prisoners as well as, say, American soldiers that are thrown into the brig? Why should we treat some terrorist from Saudi Arabia who wants to kill American citizens like he's a uniformed soldier who follows the rules of war or worse yet, like he has the same constitutional rights as an American citizen?