03 October 2006

Attention US military personnel

You are not required to obey an unlawful order.

You are required to disobey an unlawful order.

2 comments:

Nathan said...

Article 3 applies only to prisoners of war. The detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere are not prisoners of war, because the conflict against al-Qaeda is not a declared war. This is how military commanders and presidents legally pursue the tactics which have caused so much umbrage. I'm not saying it's right, but it is also incorrect to claim that anyone is breaking the law here. Additionally, the Geneva Conventions only apply to uniformed military personel, and uniformed military personel do almost none of the questioning of detainees.

TNH said...

Sorry, Nathan, but you're wrong. If they're prisoners, they have rights. If they're POWs, they have a particular set of rights; but that doesn't mean that non-POWs don't have any rights at all.

Ever since Jim Macdonald put up his post and it started spreading across the net, I've been hearing this nonsense about prisoners not in uniform having no rights. I don't know who started that meme, but it's hogwash. Military or nonmilitary, the moment people surrender to you, and/or you take them prisoner, they're covered by the Geneva Convention. You may not torture them. You may not kill them. You may not exercise summary judgement upon them.

If they're not POWs, what can you do? Simple: you can feed them, clothe them, interrogate them (by which I mean real interrogation, not the Spanish Inquisition), give them medical assistance if they need it, and turn them over to the appropriate legally constituted court or other authority. That's about it.

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