When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

May 18, 2004

Rules of War

Charlie Victor Echo

I've got another post in production, but upon a re-read, I'm not sure I like it much. So while I continue to think on that one, here's another issue I've had in mind...

The Bush Administration likes to remind us that we're fighting a war. Its the "war on terror" this, the "war on terror" that. Just yesterday Veep Cheney brought it up again, this time during a luncheon for a Georgia Congressman.

Here's the thing. If this is a war, and they constantly tell us it is, then why aren't we playing by the rules of war? Setting aside the lack of a formal Declaration of War before we invaded, conquered, and are now occupying a (formerly) sovereign nation, it also now seems that we're not following the Geneva Conventions when dealing with prisoners from that nation.

Now that were thinking about it, shouldn't the Taliban soldiers we picked up in Afghanistan also be considered prisoners of war? We invaded that country, albeit with cause, but again, not Declaration of War, and no Geneva Conventions.

I'm not bringing this up because I'm particularly fond of the Taliban or Baathists. Far from it. They represent the worst elements of human society, and its sickening to see that after millions died to stamp out that kind of thinking 60 years ago that its still running rampant across the world. Its good that they're out of power and the world will probably in the long run be better for it.

I bring it up because its setting up a terrible precedent. If North Korea goes over the 38th Parallel (which is more likely now that we're talking about removing our troops from South Korea) or China jumps Taiwan in the next ten years, its going to be without a formal Declaration of War. We've already shown that you don't need one of those anymore. They're not going to respect the Geneva Conventions, either. Both will claim that its an internal police action against rebels and that anyone helping their opponents are terrorists or insurgents, even if it happens to be the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division.

They'll say that its not a "real" war.

You know, just like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And when that leads to Americans recieving the same or worse treatment than we're inflicting on the Iraqis, I hope we recall how that came to be.

Launched by Charlie Victor Echo at May 18, 2004 09:27 PM

Retaliatiory Launches

Just as a note, do you recall the last time we got a Declaration of War on anything. Sad to say, but it seems that the Declaration O' War is going the same way as the Letter of Marquis. I mean, by the argument you claim, we opened that can of worms the first time we got strewn across the 38th parallel.

As far as the Geneva Convention goes, the big dispute on hand is whether or not it applies at all. Among other things, these kids aren't exactly uniformed combatants, openly bearing arms, and all the other trappings of regular combatants.

Above and beyond this though, is what is the enforcement mechanism behind every treaty? Retaliation. Case in point was the tacit agreement over the use of chemical weapons in WWII. Once one side pulls out, the other party can either pull out or pull their pud. In this case, I think the practice of stationing AA guns next to hospitals and the like is one foot out the door on the GC.

At some point or another, I get tired of playing by Marquis of Queensbury Rules when the other guy is flat-out fighting dirty.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at May 18, 2004 10:01 PM

"Taliban soldiers we picked up in Afghanistan also be considered prisoners of war"

Yes, and they were given Geneva Convention protections. Al Quaeda in Afghanistan were not (because they were not uniformed soldiers).

BRD is right. The dudes we catch fighting us in Iraq now are not uniformed soldiers too. As such, they may be executed. What is really telling about our country is that they do not.

Posted by: Rusty Shackleford at May 19, 2004 12:55 AM

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