<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Saturday, January 27, 2007

John Kerry questions his own patriotism 


The fun hasn't gone out blogging after all! Even though he is not running for president, the erstwhile leader of the Democratic party is still making an unbelievable ass of himself. He has gone to the World Economic Forum at Davos (where, Captain Ed observes, "American leftists [go] to slam their own country"), attacked the United States for policies that he voted for (and, no, I'm not talking about Iraq), and sucked up to the least bad president in the history of the Islamic Republic (that being a best-hockey-player-in-Ecuador standard if there ever was one).

Kerry was asked about whether the U.S. government had failed to adequately engage Iran's government before the election of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005.

Kerry said the Bush administration has failed in addressing a number of foreign policy issues.

"When we walk away from global warming, Kyoto, when we are irresponsibly slow in moving toward AIDS in Africa, when we don't advance and live up to our own rhetoric and standards, we set a terrible message of duplicity and hypocrisy," Kerry said.

"So we have a crisis of confidence in the Middle East — in the world, really. I've never seen our country as isolated, as much as a sort of international pariah for a number of reasons as it is today."...

Kerry criticized what he called the "unfortunate habit" of Americans to see the world "exclusively through an American lens."

Kerry's particular complaints are so asinine one is forced to wonder whether he knows that we know about Google. In 1997, John Kerry voted in opposition to the Kyoto treaty negotiated by the Clinton administration. George W. Bush has tripled the amount of money spent by the United States on humanitarian aid Africa over Clinton administration levels, and has proposed a further doubling.

Glenn Reynolds wrote of this: "Like Jimmy Carter, he'll never forgive America for rejecting him, and he'll console himself with the approval of America's enemies." It isn't just that, though. Kerry's need for the approval of foreigners predated his rejection by the American people. Kerry (like, I speculate, most of the people at Davos this week) is a "transnational progressive". He and his ilk -- they fill the coffee shops in Princeton -- recoil against national narratives and identity. Deep down, they think nations are primitive constructs. Not so deeply down, they actually believe that some amorphous international "acceptance" of American policy is more important than the national interest the policy is formulated to protect. Or, more precisely, they believe that American national interest depends on international acceptance, or at least that it ought to. Even this might make sense if it were symmetrical, but transnational progressives do not require the same "acceptance" for incompetent countries. Countries that have been unsuccessful economically, politically, or socially are rarely held to the same standard as the United States. Nobody stands up in Davos and declares that Iran is a pariah for spreading terrorism around the globe, or that China also is a pariah for refusing to participate in Kyoto, or that Saudi Arabia is a pariah because it oppresses half its population and it still functions under that most idiotic of all systems, monarchy. When people like John Kerry hold our enemies and other geopolitical adversaries to the same standards for that they require of the United States, then they will be worth listening to. Until then, they should be mocked or ignored.

39 Comments:

By Blogger allen, at Sat Jan 27, 11:29:00 PM:

Let's be fair. The Senate resolution prevented Kyoto from being offered to the Senate in the form of a treaty. Sooooo, Mr. Kerry did not actually vote against the Kyoto Treaty. Which isn't the same as saying he would not have voted against the Kyoto Treaty, before voting for it...rock, scissors, paper.

Mr. Bush must give daily thanks for Mr. Kerry - the gift that just keeps giving. You cannot buy the powerful negative advertising delivered for free by Messrs. Carter and Kerry.  

By Blogger 2164th, at Sun Jan 28, 12:48:00 AM:

Allen, as he is apt to, beat me out the gate too, and reduced me to a metoo.  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Sun Jan 28, 01:52:00 AM:

"Even this might make sense if it were symmetrical, but transnational progressives do not require the same "acceptance" for incompetent countries. Countries that have been unsuccessful economically, politically, or socially are rarely held to the same standard as the United States."

Really, TH, there is something called damning with faint praise. Most countries should not be held to the same standard of the United States. This is our country. We hold it purposely to a higher standard because we believe it is a capable of reaching a higher standard. Are we a model of freedom or are we not? I believe we are, and I believe we can be the very Platonic form of freedom to which the rest of the world aspires. This is contingent, of course, on us judging ourselves on a bit higher scale than we do, say, the Saudis.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Sun Jan 28, 02:24:00 AM:

Sochu, there is a bit of a difference. These people complain about America being so far up the ladder but not reaching the top while tolerating and praising countries who can not even find the ladder. Or refuse to see the ladder.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sun Jan 28, 02:25:00 AM:

Most countries should not be held to the same standard of the United States.

Why not?

You know the funniest thing about having low expectations? They're often fulfilled.  

By Blogger allen, at Sun Jan 28, 02:43:00 AM:

From Ace of Spades:

"We could replace all those ambassadors and special envoys and undersecretaries-in-charge-of-who-the-fuck-cares with delicious apple fritters and they wouldn't take us any less seriously.

And at least that way we could eat them when they failed."

John Kerry's New Buddies Keep Acting Like A Bunch Of Dicks  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Sun Jan 28, 02:43:00 AM:

"Sochu, there is a bit of a difference. These people complain about America being so far up the ladder but not reaching the top while tolerating and praising countries who can not even find the ladder. Or refuse to see the ladder."

Well, firstly, I don't know who "these people" are. This smells like a straw man to me. Secondly, being far up the ladder is no doubt a good thing. However, being far up the ladder and slowly sliding down it is less laudable. For example, suspending one's own rule of law to create a legal black hole in an overseas military base is distinctly sub-optimal behavior. Contrast this to some medieval dictatorship which has begun to allow basic local elections. While clearly still a backwards place, it is, at minimum, taking steps in the right direction. It is clearly not the best place to live relative to the first world democracy. However, the first world democracy should not be sliding down the ladder at all. They should be upholding a far higher standard than the medieval dictatorship has even contemplated.

Third graders reading at a fourth grade level come off no worse than eighth graders reading at a seventh grade level simply because the latter are better readers.  

By Blogger Alexis, at Sun Jan 28, 03:16:00 AM:

Is it "transnational progressivism", or is it a new nation of "internationalists" who act and think as a separate nation, yet live in different countries? Is it perhaps that men like Mr. Kerry prefer the admiration of the Davos crowd over most of his fellow Americans precisely because his essential nationality is being part of the Davos crowd?

With the rise of the jet travel and the internet, it has become increasingly practical for people to organize themselves as far-flung nations without the need for close proximity. (And after all, how often does Mr. Kerry actually need to interact with the common people anyway?)

And perhaps it is this phenomenon that has fostered the existence of al-Qaeda in the first place.  

By Blogger allen, at Sun Jan 28, 03:42:00 AM:

As is his wont, while referencing John Kerry, Wretchard may have captured the spirit of Davos as well. Alexis might agree with Wretchard’s summary.

“There may be no constituency for alternatives to the ghastly choices provided by both parties. Both represent different flavors of the "establishment" and they are struggling to find ways to fit the present challenges into the framework of business as usual, rather like the poor bank teller who is trying to treat the bank robber like a customer. He keeps trying and nothing works; yet because of his vast experience at counting out money, he is sincerely convinced he is the best qualified person to be a bank teller, which in fact, he is. But that is beside the point.”

Into my mind rushed the picture of Peter Sellers.

"Now boys, let's not overreact"  

By Blogger joe, at Sun Jan 28, 06:29:00 AM:

Is it "transnational progressivism", or is it a new nation of "internationalists" who act and think as a separate nation, yet live in different countries? Is it perhaps that men like Mr. Kerry prefer the admiration of the Davos crowd over most of his fellow Americans precisely because his essential nationality is being part of the Davos crowd?

For "nation" substitute "elite." Arrogance and stupidity are the hallmarks of those who enjoy the benefits of the nation they appear to loathe while hokding tea parties like spoiled children in the posh treehouses of Aspen, Park City and Davos.  

By Blogger SR, at Sun Jan 28, 09:42:00 AM:

When you have enemies captured on the field of battle trying to kill our soldiers (yes some captured before trying to kill our soldiers) and you remove their ability to cause harm by confining them to a clean facility with food, clothing, and medical care. It seems almost suicidal to complain about it. Enemy combattants SHOULD NOT have US Constitutional rights.  

By Blogger directorblue, at Sun Jan 28, 09:46:00 AM:

There's an international pariah here, alright, and it ain't George W. Bush.

Help us, Jon Carry, our internashunal diplomasee is all skrewed up witoutcha!  

By Blogger DEC, at Sun Jan 28, 10:21:00 AM:

Everything you need to know about race relations and international relations you can learn by watching Captain Jean-Luc Picard on his starship.  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Sun Jan 28, 01:05:00 PM:

SR:
1. You can start a war. It may be a perfectly just war and you may be 100% correct in fighting it. That does not make every enemy on the battlefield a criminal for defending themselves from your invasion. It is quite simply not a crime to shoot an American soldier on the battlefield. It never has been. Captured enemies during wartime are called POWs, and there is a legal regime governing their treatment.

2. We don't know who we have incarcerated are actually guilty of anything at all. The military tribunals set up in Gitmo are predisposed to find guilt that they will allow coerced confessions into evidence. Coerced confessions are evidence of nothing other than the person would like to stop being tortured. They were offensive by 18th century standards of justice. Further, the vast majority of Gitmo detainees haven’t even been given this, the thinnest veil of due process. It appears that the executive intends to detain them forever with no idea if they are even guilty of a crime and no inclination to find out. This is all highly offensive behavior on the part of a nation that can and should be upholding the standards of justice and rule of law that it allegedly holds so dear.

What al Qaeda and other of our enemies do is no excuse for this. We don’t behave like them, and we ought not pat ourselves on the back for merely not being as bad as them. We do have a higher standard to uphold, a higher standard that speaks well of us as a nation. I remain puzzled as to why TH finds that so terrible.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jan 28, 01:58:00 PM:

(From Geneva Convention, 1949-1950)
Article 4

A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (command structure or order of battle??)

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (uniforms, flags, rank insignia??)

(c) That of carrying arms openly; (oops no 'terrorists' with suicide/homicide bombs)

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. (al Qaeda or the Taliban?)


I may be dumb as a box of rocks, but from my understanding, the people captured on the field in Afganistan, etc., being held at Guantanamo do not fall into any of these categories (above) of "prisoner of war". We took plenty of real POW's after OIF in 2003, actual uniformed members of the Iraqi army, and most of those have been paroled or released. They are not and have never been at Gitmo.

This Geneva Conference stuff is on the internet. There is no excuse for someone not reading it and understanding it. Really.

-David  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Sun Jan 28, 02:04:00 PM:

The people sitting at Gitmo aren't entitled to the usual GC protections. In order to qualify, they would have to be wearing an easily identifible uniform, and not hide among the civilian population. As soon as you attempt to hide among civilians by dressing as civilians, the uniformed army you are fighting against is entitled to shoot you on the spot, under the GC. We don't do that, either, now, do we? There is a BIG difference from summary battlefield execution, which we ARE entitled to do, BTW, to holding you for an undetermined amount of time without the protections of the US Constitution. Is anyone at Gitmo a US citizen, or someone captured within the US? I don't think so. Given that, they shouldn't be entitled to constitutional protections. This nation is committing suicide by allow these people who want to destroy us to use our system against us...  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Sun Jan 28, 03:04:00 PM:

"This Geneva Conference stuff is on the internet. There is no excuse for someone not reading it and understanding it. Really."

I agree, David.

"A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:"

OK, got that? "one of".

"1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces."

Afghanistan was a party to the conflict as the party being invaded. Ergo, all Afghani armed forces, including militias or volunteer corps would fall under this provision. The Taleban were the Afghani government at the time. Therefore, all Taleban forces captured during the Afghan war fall under provision 1, with provision 2's sub-provisions utterly beside the point.

Miss Ladybug,
"Given that, they shouldn't be entitled to constitutional protections. This nation is committing suicide by allow these people who want to destroy us to use our system against us..."

Such melodrama. I seem to recall defeating far scarier forces without suspending the rule of law. In any case, I regard our justice system not as a liability on the war on terror, but as an asset. This is a war of ideas and ideals, ours vs. Osama's. If Osama gets us to abandon our ideals, that is his victory, not ours.  

By Blogger DEC, at Sun Jan 28, 03:32:00 PM:

"This is a war of ideas and ideals..."

PR problems are easier than military problems to solve.

Your enemies already know about America. They don't like the country, its ideas and ideals.

In addition, almost everyone else already has picked sides in the conflict.  

By Blogger pst314, at Sun Jan 28, 03:40:00 PM:

Shochu John, the Geneva Convention has rules defining what a lawful combatant is. May I remind you, for example, that when, during WWII, American soldiers summarily executed German saboteurs wearing civilian clothes or Allied uniforms, that was not a violation of the Geneva Conventions?  

By Blogger DEC, at Sun Jan 28, 04:09:00 PM:

You can't win this war with propaganda. You have to scatter some hearts and minds all over the concrete. You can try to do it George Bush's way. Or you can try to do it my way, using the recent events in Somalia as a model. Either way, you must play tough if you expect to win.

Afterward, you can fix any lingering PR problems.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jan 28, 04:55:00 PM:

Shochu John,

I think that the statement has to be considered by those following qualifiers:

a) person responsible (command structure). Did/Does Mullah Omar (or anyone else?)had/have control over these people??
b) insignia visible from a distance? Uniforms? Anything? Bueller?
c) Carrying arms openly (no hiding among un-armed civilians, now)
and
d) Accepted customs and rules of war(?) A little vagueness here, room for ambiguity. Dressing up in native garb, assasinations, etc.

Interestingly enough, before Operation Enduring Freedom started, the soldiers/militia in the Norther Alliance we supported got new uniforms via the Russians (I think we paid for them, but nobody is talking about that these days).

These specific qualifiers after that statement pretty much disqualify so-called "members of the Taliban", as militia.
I'm sure there are people at Gitmo that are really in a grey area. The US Gov. has as much as admitted this; some people they hold have been refused by their native country; some will be tortured or killed upon return. What DO we DO??

-David  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Sun Jan 28, 05:47:00 PM:

David, I don't think you understand. Those four qualifiers are under provision 2. Even if they failed all four points with flying colors, they would still be covered by provision 1 as they were Afghan forces defending Afghanistan from an invasion.

Current Taleban fighters would pose different issues as they are likely no longer considered Afghani government forces, and then your tests would provide some insight. However, Taleban forces in 2001 were Afghani government forces and thus are covered by provision 1.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Mon Jan 29, 10:12:00 AM:

The Taliban was not diplomatically recognized as a legitimate power and people calling themselves 'Taliban' do not therefore represent legitimate armed forces. If I took up arms for the independence of the Kingdom of Dawnfire and waged war against the United States, I would not be entitled to POW rights; rather, I would be a criminal. Canadian soldiers invading Maine, however, would have POW status.

Category 1 is designed to encompass the recognized, uniformed armed forces of a nation state, some of whom augment themselves with Reservists and various other backups. (note: this does not cover civilians or military personnel in unofficial capacities) Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic Courts, the Mahdi Army, and the Taliban don't count.

Category 2 is a catch-all, what-if bloc that covers the possibility of spontaneous or hastily organized resistance to invasion, and as such it has further caveats. (i.e. the requirements for central command and hierarchical responsibility, recognizable uniform, obeying the laws and customs of war, [which by itself automatically disqualifies most of the terrorist assholes we fight] and avoiding civilians [see prior comment]) Basically, they must make good faith efforts to organize into a semblance of a real, lawful military and then behave like one.

No one knows these rules as well as military lawyers, and they have declared that US practices are within them. Bow to their wisdom.  

By Blogger allen, at Mon Jan 29, 12:53:00 PM:

Dawnfire82,

While irrelevant to non-existent Taliban POW status, the Taliban regime was recognized by our friends Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It is possible that Cuba and/or North Korea also joined the exclusive club.  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Mon Jan 29, 04:54:00 PM:

Rubbish, Dawnfire. Are you honestly telling me that the Taleban were not the government of Afghanistan in 2001? Who the hell was, then?

Secondly, lawyers advocate the positions of their clients. I will not "bow to the wisdom" of people whose job it is to advocate for the government's policies. That is asinine. Having listened to the government's legal positions, I believe they are not only wrong, but fundamentally offensive. By the logic you adovcate here, any government could simply declare their opponent illegitimate and thereby except the entire opposing army from these protections. It is a transparent word game to avoid the Geneva Conventions.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Mon Jan 29, 07:57:00 PM:

If a gang of bandits takes over a town in Mexico as their own and runs it as a fief (taxes the citizens, enforces 'laws', and the whole bit), and Mexico then reclaims it later after a conflict, are should those bandits be granted POW status? Are they really the same thing as, say, the government of Germany? Because the Taliban were a lot closer to my bandit example than to Germany.

"Secondly, lawyers advocate the positions of their clients."

The military has lawyers on staff whose entire duties are to ensure that military policies fall within the confines of American law. That's it. That's all they do. They don't advocate any side, because there aren't any sides. They are watchdogs. And they err on the side of caution CONSTANTLY (which irritates the shit out of us) because if something illegal happens on their watch, it's their ass. We actually have to put ourselves in physical danger to comply with some of these rules. Perhaps you've heard of the latest 'don't shoot unless you personally are being shot at; not your buddies, not civilians, you" rule that we're trying to buck?

And since it sounds like we're going to get heated here, *I* think it's assinine for some random civilian, who doesn't even have a *civil* law degree, to dictate to me and mine how we should and should not act in relation to military law and then decide to ignore the people who SPECIALIZE in military law for their entire careers because they're *obviously* tainted. You really do know it all.

"By the logic you adovcate here, any government could simply declare their opponent illegitimate and thereby except the entire opposing army from these protections."

This demonstrates either naivete or ignorance. Any government can do that anyway. They are sovereign. Have you ever read history? Does the Eastern Front sound familiar? How about Bataan? 7 Years War? Bosnia?

International convention is a gentlemen's game. Countries don't have to abide by the rules, and many don't. Because they don't have to. This whole concept of 'international law' and 'rogue states' and 'the international community' is all a smoke and mirrors illusion. When it comes right down to it, the international world is still a jungle.

"It is a transparent word game to avoid the Geneva Conventions."

Good to know that your mind was made up long ago. I guess I just wasted my time with this post.  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Mon Jan 29, 09:51:00 PM:

"Because the Taliban were a lot closer to my bandit example than to Germany."

OK. How about WWII Germany? Would you consider that a legitimate government? I notice we did not pretend the Germans we captured were not POWs.

"*I* think it's assinine for some random civilian, who doesn't even have a *civil* law degree, to dictate to me and mine how we should and should not act in relation to military law and then decide to ignore the people who SPECIALIZE in military law for their entire careers because they're *obviously* tainted. You really do know it all."

Really, Dawnfire, personal attacks? You not only make an appeal to authority (unnamed authority I might add) but you go one step further and demand I worship your unnamed authority. You didn’t make an argument. You suggested that somebody smarter than me COULD make that argument. And now you have moved on to ad hominem, reflecting your outrage that I have dared question your enthroned, but still unidentified, military lawyers.

“This demonstrates either naivete or ignorance. Any government can do that anyway. They are sovereign. Have you ever read history? Does the Eastern Front sound familiar? How about Bataan? 7 Years War? Bosnia?”

Do you actually think I doubted nations commit war crimes? I haven’t a clue how you ever got that impression. Sovereign nations can ignore the Geneva conventions all they please. What they cannot do is both ignore the Geneva conventions and pretend convincingly like they are abiding by them. Despite the fact that we are of course able to argue, perhaps even with a straight face, that we are getting around the Geneva conventions by claiming the opposing government is not, in fact, a government, such an argument is so thin as to be transparent.

“’ "It is a transparent word game to avoid the Geneva Conventions.’

Good to know that your mind was made up long ago. I guess I just wasted my time with this post.”

You would have wasted less time with this post if you addressed more of the arguments I actually made. Perhaps you can convince some military lawyers to swoop down and do it.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Jan 31, 09:42:00 PM:

"OK. How about WWII Germany? Would you consider that a legitimate government?"

Yes. You know, seeing as how it was legally formed and maintained functional diplomatic relations with the entire world.

"You suggested that somebody smarter than me COULD make that argument."

And your insistence that they cannot is arrogance. When economic issues are discussed on this blog, I tune out. I don't know economics very well. When corporate issues are brought up, which happens fairly regularly, I don't contribute. I don't know very much about corporations and how they work. I have no business talking about them except to ask questions. I do comment when the issues turn to politics, the Middle East, (because I have formal educations in those two subjects) and the military, esp. on intelligence matters, because I am in military intelligence.

Am I getting through?

I was irritated enough that I went and looked up the Articles of War on my computer (where I have kept a copy for about the last 6 years) and found the relevant passages, in their entirety.

"The status of prisoner of War is governed jointly by article 4 of the Third Convention and by articles 43 and 44 of
the Protocol. The general principle is the following: any member of the armed forces of a Party to a conflict is a
combatant and any combatant captured by the adverse Party is a prisoner of war.[III, 4; P. I, 43, 44]

This general rule is supplemented by three types of provisions which specify the conditions in which armed forces are recognized as such, to extend the qualification (or the treatment) of prisoner of war to categories of persons not covered by the general rule, and finally to deprive, in a specific case, a captured combatant of his qualification as a combatant and hence of his status of prisoner of war.

a) To be recognized as such, the armed forces of a Party to a conflict must be organized and placed under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or other authority not recognized by the adverse Party. In addition, these armed forces must be subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, enforces compliance with the rules of internationallaw applicable in armed conflicts. In particular, this compliance requires combatants to distinguish themselves from civilians, except in particular circumstances (see point c below) by a uniform or other distinctive sign, visible and recognizable at a distance, while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack. Violation by a combatant of the rules applicable in armed conflict is punishable but if this combatant at least carries his arms openly during the engagement, he is not deprived of his right to the status of prisoner of war in case of capture. If the Party to which these armed forces belong omits or deliberately refuses to enforce compliance with these rules, it can result in all members of these forces losing their status of combatant and prisoner of war. (1)

b) The status or treatment of prisoner of war is extended to various categories of persons who do not come under
the definition of combatants as given below, or who are not combatants. The following are thus also entitled to the
status of prisoner of war:

- those taking part in a levy en masse, that is, when the inhabitants of a non-occupied territory spontaneously take
up arms on the approach of the enemy to combat invasion without having had time to organize themselves as laid down under point a) above, if they carry their arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war;
-persons authorized to follow the armed forces without being directly part of them;
-crews of the merchant marine and civil aviation;
-members of military personnel serving in civil defence organizations.[P. I, 67]

The following are entitled only to the treatment of prisoner of war:
- persons arrested in occupied territory because they belong to the armed forces of the occupied country;
- military internees in a neutral country;
- members of non-combatant medical and religious personnel who are part of the armed forces.
c) In exceptional cases, when required by the nature of the hostilities, a combatant can be released from the
obligation to distinguish himself from the civilian population by wearing a uniform or distinctive sign recognizable at
a distance during military operations. However, in such situations, these combatants must distinguish themselves
by carrying arms openly during the engagement and during such time as they are visible to the adversary while
engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which they are to participate. Even failing
to comply with the obligation of carrying arms openly can deprive a combatant of his status, but not of the
guarantees relating to it, in the case of his being prosecuted for carrying arms illegally either with or without other
offences. (2)

These provisions are not intended to modify the generally accepted practice of uniforms being worn by members of regular armed units of the Parties to conflicts.

To avoid uncertainty and prevent any arbitrary measures at the time of capture, the Protocol specifies that any person taking part in hostilities and captured is presumed to be a prisoner of war and is treated as a prisoner of war, even in case of doubt as to his status. In the latter case, the question will be decided by a tribunal at a later date. A person who, having taken part in hostilities, is eventually deprived of his right to the status of prisoner of war, benefits not only from the provisions of the Fourth Convention applicable in his case but also from the fundamental guarantees laid down in article 75 of the Protocol (see Section Ill, point 6 at end, below page 31).[III, 5; P. I, 45]

Spies and mercenaries are not entitled to the status of prisoner of war. Children under the age of fifteen shall not be recruited into the armed forces.(3) [P. I, 46, 47]"

Summary: When in doubt, assume a prisoner is entitled to POW status. Here are the necessary qualifications to be considered a POW. (qualifications that the Taliban don't meet, by the way) Stripping a prisoner of their POW protections requires a formal military tribunal. Spies and mercenaries are not protected, ever.

Allow me to restate a particularly important line. If the Party to which these armed forces belong omits or deliberately refuses to enforce compliance with these rules, it can result in all members of these forces losing their status of combatant and prisoner of war.

"Perhaps you can convince some military lawyers to swoop down and do it."

Why? You already said you wouldn't listen to them.  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Thu Feb 01, 02:48:00 PM:

We’re looking at the same thing, Dawnfire, but reaching different conclusions. Let me go point by point:

“‘OK. How about WWII Germany? Would you consider that a legitimate government?’
Yes. You know, seeing as how it was legally formed and maintained functional diplomatic relations with the entire world.”

Burning down the Reichstag is your notion of the way to legally form a government? There are plenty of governments that were not widely diplomatically recognized for some time after coming to power, the Soviet Union, Communist China. Ergo their soldiers would not be subject to the Geneva conventions until they gained that wide recognition. Is that the intent of the conventions? If that were allowable, it would create a giant loophole, as I have outlined, insofar as one could duck the conventions by simply declaring their opponent not a valid government. Thankfully, this is explicitly verboten. Right there in the passage you helpfully provided, it says, “a) To be recognized as such, the armed forces of a Party to a conflict must be organized and placed under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or other authority not recognized by the adverse Party”

Read the part beginning “even if” after the comma one more time. Previously in this thread, you said this, “The Taliban was not diplomatically recognized as a legitimate power and people calling themselves 'Taliban' do not therefore represent legitimate armed forces.” Now read the part above beginning “even if” after the comma one final time. See my point?

”’You suggested that somebody smarter than me COULD make that argument.’
And your insistence that they cannot is arrogance. When economic issues are discussed on this blog, I tune out. I don't know economics very well. When corporate issues are brought up, which happens fairly regularly, I don't contribute. I don't know very much about corporations and how they work. I have no business talking about them except to ask questions. I do comment when the issues turn to politics, the Middle East, (because I have formal educations in those two subjects) and the military, esp. on intelligence matters, because I am in military intelligence.”

You’re missing the point. You are saying that an argument coming from an expert in any field is evidentiary of its correctness. This is the logical fallacy known as “appeal to authority”. You are certainly welcome to comment on economics. Any argument you made would be no more or less valid based upon your expertise or lack thereof. Each argument must be judged on its own merits only, not on the claimed or actual expertise of the person who makes it.

I never said you could not make the argument you are making. I never insisted that somebody smarter than me cannot make the argument. What I said is that you failed to make an argument in your previous post. You did. All you did was suggest that somebody smarter than me could make that argument, which is possible but beside the point in the absence of the actual argument.

”I was irritated enough that I went and looked up the Articles of War on my computer (where I have kept a copy for about the last 6 years) and found the relevant passages, in their entirety.”

I appreciate it. Let’s analyze whether they would apply to the Taleban.

”a) To be recognized as such, the armed forces of a Party to a conflict must be organized and placed under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or other authority not recognized by the adverse Party. “

Check, as discussed above. The Taleban forces were under the command of the Taleban government of Afghanistan led by Mullah Mohammed Omar.

“In addition, these armed forces must be subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, enforces compliance with the rules of internationallaw applicable in armed conflicts. In particular, this compliance requires combatants to distinguish themselves from civilians, except in particular circumstances (see point c below) by a uniform or other distinctive sign, visible and recognizable at a distance, while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack.”

Look at pictures of the Taleban fighters from 2001. They do not generally have uniforms, centrally because they are too poorly equipped to obtain them, but they all have the same basic and distinctive look and they all carry their Kalishnikovs openly. This is not a group of people trying to blend in with civilians to stage terrorist attacks. This is an obvious militia operating as the armed forces of the Taleban government of Afghanistan.

“The following are entitled only to the treatment of prisoner of war:
- persons arrested in occupied territory because they belong to the armed forces of the occupied country;”

Taleban fighters during the Afghan war are covered here,

”c) In exceptional cases, when required by the nature of the hostilities, a combatant can be released from the obligation to distinguish himself from the civilian population by wearing a uniform or distinctive sign recognizable at a distance during military operations. However, in such situations, these combatants must distinguish themselves
by carrying arms openly during the engagement and during such time as they are visible to the adversary while engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which they are to participate.”

Even if you argue that the Taleban fighters were not distinctive looking enough to be recognized at a distance, the reason they were not wearing uniforms is that they did not have any nor any way to obtain them. The only reason the Northern Alliance had uniforms is that they were given them. This is not an area of the world flush with resources for such things. As the war started and the defending army found itself without uniforms, it is required by the nature of the hostilities that they go upon the battlefield without them. They still had their obligatory Kalishnikovs though, brandished openly.

”To avoid uncertainty and prevent any arbitrary measures at the time of capture, the Protocol specifies that any person taking part in hostilities and captured is presumed to be a prisoner of war and is treated as a prisoner of war, even in case of doubt as to his status.”

Right there is a presumption of POW status. Ties go to the prisoners. They are to be accorded this status unless they can be proven not subject to it, a case that simply cannot be made for your run of the mill Taleban fighter.

”Summary: When in doubt, assume a prisoner is entitled to POW status. Here are the necessary qualifications to be considered a POW. (qualifications that the Taliban don't meet, by the way) Stripping a prisoner of their POW protections requires a formal military tribunal. Spies and mercenaries are not protected, ever.”

I agree with everything except the part in the parentheses. I invite you to argue for it.

”Allow me to restate a particularly important line. If the Party to which these armed forces belong omits or deliberately refuses to enforce compliance with these rules, it can result in all members of these forces losing their status of combatant and prisoner of war. “

Show me where the omission or deliberate refusal to enforce compliance is.

"Perhaps you can convince some military lawyers to swoop down and do it."
Why? You already said you wouldn't listen to them.

I don’t know where you get these ideas. I said I would not be convinced by the mere fact that the military lawyers are making a given argument. Lawyers can argue a lot of things. If a military lawyer came down and made the argument, I would judge the argument on its merits, the same way I would treat the argument if you made it, or if the guy mopping the floor at McDonald’s made it.  

By Blogger DEC, at Thu Feb 01, 05:34:00 PM:

SJ: "Any argument you made would be no more or less valid based upon your expertise or lack thereof. Each argument must be judged on its own merits only, not on the claimed or actual expertise of the person who makes it."

Hopefully you don't view all advisors as equal when you get financial or medical advice. It is an almost certain way to end up broke, then dead.  

By Blogger DEC, at Thu Feb 01, 05:56:00 PM:

P.S.

SJ, your approach only works well if you have expertise in the topic yourself. If not, you better go with the person/people with the best track record.

By the way, this U.S. Defense Department news release from last July may be of interest:

"The (Supreme) court did not say that full protections of the Geneva Conventions apply to al Qaeda or the Taliban," he said, but limited its ruling to Common Article 3."

More at:
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=114  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Thu Feb 01, 08:45:00 PM:

“SJ: "Any argument you made would be no more or less valid based upon your expertise or lack thereof. Each argument must be judged on its own merits only, not on the claimed or actual expertise of the person who makes it."

Hopefully you don't view all advisors as equal when you get financial or medical advice. It is an almost certain way to end up broke, then dead.”

Firstly, another good way to end up broke, then dead, is to take the financial or medical advice that someone in a blog comments section has claimed some unnamed financial advisors or doctors he knows swear is very sound. So, not only is appeal to authority a logical fallacy, but here, the authority appealed to here is especially sketchy. Secondly, I would expect any financial advisor who would presume to handle my funds would be able to defend his/her decisions with logical arguments rather than simply a, “I’m an expert, trust me.” If they could not, I would replace them. Thirdly, this is not my own odd style in having a discussion. “Appeal to authority” is a logical fallacy for the same reason that “ad hominem” is. The participants in an argument have no bearing on the validity of the arguments they make.

“By the way, this U.S. Defense Department news release from last July may be of interest: ‘The (Supreme) court did not say that full protections of the Geneva Conventions apply to al Qaeda or the Taliban," he said, but limited its ruling to Common Article 3.’”

Well, that is a technically accurate characterization of what the Supremes said in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, but it is misleading for our purposes because Hamdan was not a Taleban. He was a Yemeni driver for OBL and was being held for his association with al Qaeda. The Supremes did not say anything about the Geneva Conventions with regard to the Taleban because the case in question did not involve any Taleban

Let’s bask in the Supremes’ actual words,
“As an alternative to its holding that Hamdan could not invoke the Geneva Conventions at all, the Court of Appeals concluded that the Conventions did not in any event apply to the armed conflict during which Hamdan was captured. The court accepted the Executive's assertions that Hamdan was captured in connection with the United States' war with al Qaeda and that that war is distinct from the war with the Taliban in Afghanistan. It further reasoned that the war with al Qaeda evades the reach of the Geneva Conventions. See 415 F.3d, at 41-42. We, like Judge Williams, disagree with the latter conclusion.
The conflict with al Qaeda is not, according to the Government, a conflict to which the full protections afforded detainees under the 1949 Geneva Conventions apply because Article 2 of those Conventions (which appears in all four Conventions) renders the full protections applicable only to "all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties." 6 U.S.T., at 3318. [footnote omitted] Since Hamdan was captured and detained incident to the conflict with al Qaeda and not the conflict with the Taliban, and since al Qaeda, unlike Afghanistan, is not a "High Contracting Party"--i.e., a signatory of the Conventions, the protections of those Conventions are not, it is argued, applicable to Hamdan.
We need not decide the merits of this argument because there is at least one provision of the Geneva Conventions that applies here even if the relevant conflict is not one between signatories.” Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 126 S.Ct. 2749, 2794-95 (U.S. 2006).

The Court declined to rule on whether or not the Geneva Conventions applied to the Taleban, but it did specifically refer to the conflict with the Taleban and the conflict with al Qaeda as differentiable with respect to the Geneva Conventions. Why? Because the Taleban were the Afghani government, and Afghanistan is a signatory to the Conventions.  

By Blogger DEC, at Thu Feb 01, 09:39:00 PM:

SJ: "'Appeal to authority' is a logical fallacy for the same reason that 'ad hominem' is."

Since you know that much, you also know
about the conditions for a legitimate argument from authority. I'm glad you went to college. Hopefully you picked up some job skills there, too.

Re: Taliban. I mentioned the news release to make sure you had the info. I have no horse in this race.  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Fri Feb 02, 01:41:00 AM:

The "legitimate" argument from authority is predicated on the notion that the subject simply cannot be sufficiently explored in the conversation at hand and therefore, we would need a shortcut in the form of trusting in an expert. In the current situation, however, this is a legal argument that can be explored in this forum. The expertise of any individual in this matter is expressed in logical arguments based on legal and moral principles. As we are all capable of reflecting on any applicable arguments, we need not dwell their authors. It's not like we're discussing astrophysics here. Finally, yes, I am satisfied with my career path, thank you.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Feb 02, 05:20:00 PM:

SJ: "The 'legitimate' argument from authority is predicated on the notion that the subject simply cannot be sufficiently explored in the conversation at hand and therefore, we would need a shortcut in the form of trusting in an expert."

Yes, authors, professors, and others tell you this. But you cannot say, "An approach is valid only when I am in a rush." Either the approach is valid or it is not valid. The number of appointments in your daily appointment book is not germane to the matter.

Outside of the academic world, people almost always have to take every possible shortcut.  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Sat Feb 03, 03:15:00 AM:

I agree, DEC, which is why I have consistently held that, ah hem, "this is a legal argument that can be explored in this forum."

We are clearly not in a hurry, so let us wallow in the arguments.  

By Blogger DEC, at Sat Feb 03, 10:52:00 AM:

Well, I hope you find a debating opponent here, SJ. I have little interest in the topic. I would drop off each prisoner (with adequate supplies) in a sea kayak somewhere in the Bay of Bengal. Any person who survives a solitary journey through those stormy, pirate-infested waters won't want to make the trip twice.  

By Blogger DEC, at Sat Feb 03, 11:02:00 AM:

P.S. The sea-kayak idea is adventure tourism, not torture. Adventure tourism is growing in popularity around the world.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Dec 26, 04:16:00 AM:

深圳市房地产北京翻译公司了dfd深圳翻译公司搜索巨头谷歌、,接受本报广州翻译公司,韩语翻译的今天,同声传译偶尔会和翻译公司东莞翻译公司。在线翻译工具。法语翻译同声传译设备租赁,是会议设备租赁,一项调查显示法语翻译几乎将深圳更多的是通过线翻译同声传译俄语翻译
韩语翻译广州同声传译上个月成交量放大广州翻译公司上海翻译公司。,德语翻译,,还令深圳各界忧虑。商务口译,料就在昨日下午稍晚时间,同传设备已经说明一切。翻译是一门严谨不容践踏的语言文化。同声传译,凡购买中国移动手机充值卡深圳同声传译翻译部署促进房地产市场健康发展措施出台,深圳翻译.深圳英语翻译 ,无需制作炫丽的界面和复杂的操作功能深圳日语翻译,中国移动后台词库地产的阴霾情绪同声传译设备租赁,是会议设备租赁深圳手机号码网,深圳手机靓号,有的用户同传设备出租会议同传系统租赁1—11月份报告昨日公布选择在线翻译会议设备租赁乘坐和所有客户一起分享奥运来临的喜悦。新疆租车,活动和网络搜索资源来获得。、地产中介、银行 广州翻译公司,用户的体验不能停留同声传译一扫而光”  

Post a Comment


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?