Saturday, January 08, 2005

Just Say No to mucking with the Geneva Conventions

It seems that while Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales now rejects his 2002 memo stating that the "Geneva Convention III on the Treatment of Prisoners of War does not apply to the conflict with al Qaeda," he and the Bush administration have discussed amending the Geneva Conventions POW protections.

If "[t]his administration does not engage in torture and will not condone torture," as Gonzales asserts, it begs the question, what parts of the Geneva Conventions POW protections need amending? The definitions of POWs? Why? If someone isn't a POW, it's okay to deny them human rights? That certainly is what the 2002 memo implies, and it certainly is what has been going on in Guantanamo Bay. The treatment of POWs? Why? Because al Qaeda and other terrorists ignore the Geneva Conventions and behead and otherwise torture prisoners? Sure they do. They're terrorists. It concerns me greatly that we are trying to lower ourselves to fight like terrorists. No battle or war is worth selling our souls.

Since 1949, the Geneva Conventions have stood as a hallmark of human rights for prisoners. The fact that our enemies may not choose to follow them should not nullify our responsibility to do so. If we start justifying things like torture or even "lesser" offenses like denying due process and legal representation, then those who died on 9/11 have died in vain. The terrorists won't have stolen our freedom; we'll have thrown it away.


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