"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
 
Portuga Primer
It seems that Portuga and I have some fundamental disagreements regarding the status of detainees currently being held at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay - and no doubt other disclosed and undisclosed locations world wide. As the comments differ from the original subject of the post, I've decided to open a new thread for better discussion.

"Illegal Combatant" is probably the best legal term to describe these detainees. If you'd care to explore the Geneva Convention as it relates to the treatment of Prisoners of War, you'd find specific requirements for protection under this treaty/convention.

In order to be considered a "legal" combatant, the following criteria must be met:

4A(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, provided that they fulfill the following conditions:
(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign (eg Uniform) 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.
Now, if you'll consider the above listed requirements carefully, you'll find that the Al Qeda and Taliban terrorists meet none of them. They represent no recognized country or power, wear no uniforms, use civilian facilities for military purposes, and do not conduct operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

Words mean things. The Geneva Convention means something. It means if you don't fulfill the requirements set forth in the convention, you don't get the protections guaranteed by the same document. Period.

So, if the detainees in Gitmo aren't legal according to the Geneva Convention, it means that they are little more than a band of thugs - and will be treated as such.

I will also here reiterate the fact the treatment they receive at Gitmo is far better than any given to American servicemen in similar circumstance.

Now you may not like the way they are interrogated at Gitmo. Hell, you probably don't like the fact they are interrogated at all. Tough. You see, these thugs came at us first. They knocked down the Twin Towers and tore a hole in the side of the Pentagon killing some 3,000 of my countrymen in the process. If the only way to get valuable intel out of them is to make them uncomfortable by blaring the latest Snoop Dog CD in their ears, wrapping them in an Israeli flag and eating Jimmy Dean sausage in front of them - so be it. This is war. War is not won by being nice.

You remind me somewhat of a scene from The Untouchables just after Eliot Ness and Jimmy Malone have captured Al Capone's book keeper. The Book Keeper won't talk and so Malone walks outside the house, finds the corpse of one of Capone's thugs, props it against the window. Sticking a gun in the mouth of the corpse he says:
What's the matter? Can't you talk with a gun in your mouth? I'm gonna give you to the count of three to tell me what I want to know. One...two...three!
With that he blows the head of the corpse off and the mortified Book Keeper spills the beans on Capone. Also mortified was a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman who looked at Eliot Ness and said:

Mr. Ness! I do not approve of your methods!
To which Ness responded:

Oh yeah? Well, you're not from Chicago!
You may not approve of our methods, but don't go around trying to give unearned status and acceptance to terrorists and their band of murdering thugs.

Here endeth the lesson.

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