Geneva convention

Free hint to the Bush administration: if you're going to invoke the Geneva convention to complain about Iraqi television showing captured American soldiers, you might want to do something about the fact that US television has been showing tons of footage of Iraqi soldiers surrendering, being captured, and being marched away. Otherwise, to anyone who's paying attention, you just look utterly hypocritical and manipulative. Yes, Iraqi television went a step farther by actually interviewing people, but the Geneva convention is quite clear and what the US has been doing is quite definitely in violation of the exact same section.

There are many areas of tragedy in this war, but one that I've been thinking about quite a bit are the common Iraqi soldiers. A bunch of conscripts who had no choice in fighting for Saddam Hussein, they've been put on the field against a vastly superior force with little food, no pay, and no training. Some of them are probably just scared. Some of them are probably trying to do their best in a doomed cause to defend their country against a foreign invasion, just like many Americans would regardless of their opinions of the current political leadership.

And then, when they do face the choice of fighting to the death or surrendering to overwhelming forces, they're publically humiliated, treated like common criminals, and shown on international satellite television as a propaganda technique by the US government to demoralize their friends and neighbors. Some of the treatment is necessary, since soldiers can and have used surrendering as a ploy to lure the enemy into an ambush, but the international broadcast is completely unnecessary and cruel. Just ask Rumsfeld, who had quite strong opinions about this when the Iraqis responded in kind.

While we're in the middle of a war, it is obviously necessary to treat any Iraqi military as the enemy in an immediate tactical sense. But I wonder what will happen after the war is over. Will we start treating the Iraqi population, including those who were conscripted into the military, with respect and dignity and give them power and control over their own fate and help them feel empowered to rebuild their country along whatever lines that they want, or will we impose a foreign military dictatorship because we know what's better for them and haul unknown numbers of captured troops off to prison camps for arbitrary amounts of time? Will we create yet another generation of people with a deep and justified hatred and resentment of the United States and a need to avenge their humiliation in any way that they can?

Perhaps the Bush administration should be giving some thought to that, rather than attempting to cynically manipulate the Geneva convention for propaganda purposes.

Posted: 2003-03-23 10:37 — Why no comments?

you were telling me about CBS earlier, remember? here's a piece of legal waffling from their legal analyst. *snrk*. talk about letter of the law analysis, rather than spirit.

Posted by piranha at 2003-03-23 20:17

Last modified and spun 2013-12-06