Geneva Conventions and POWs - Bushies say "fugged 'bout it"

Geneva Conventions and POWs - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED - November 16, 2004

Whatever justification such a rule may have in warfare between states which have, at least, accepted the same legal burdens and agreed that violations of humanitarian principles will be the exception and not the rule, it has none when applied to a non-state entity that makes no pretense of accepting international humanitarian law in general, or the Geneva Conventions in particular. Under these circumstances, granting Geneva benefits (whether formally or under the guise of "customary" international law) merely works to legitimize the savage and illegal war al Qaeda has declared, and the ferocious tactics — particularly targeting civilians — it has adopted. Such a rule also would undermine the essentially contractual framework of the international system, whereby states can be bound only through their own consent — a framework which is, itself, the ultimate guarantor of the most fundamental right of self-government.

David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey are partners in the Washington office of Baker & Hostetler LLP. They served in the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Not quite one week after the American people overwhelmingly endorsed George W. Bush's conduct of the war on terror at the ballot box, a federal district judge in Washington D.C., challenged the president's policies by ruling that Salim Ahmed Hamdan is entitled to rights under the Geneva Conventions. Mr. Hamdan was captured in Afghanistan, is being held at Guantanamo Bay as an al Qaeda member, and has been designated for trial before a military commission. President Bush has, of course, refused to grant any Geneva Convention status to al Qaeda members because that group is not, and could not be, a party to those treaties. "


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