Michael Radu at FrontPage explains why many of the old rules and standards simply don’t apply in the defense against the global Islamic jihad. This does not mean that we should ape the barbaric behavior of the jihadists and discard standards of ethic conduct; but it does mean that there must be an adjustment to new realities.
Read it all: be sure to catch Radu’s enlightening capsule summary of the history of the Geneva Conventions, not reprinted below.
Senate liberals believe that the Islamist terrorists captured in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere are genuine POWs, deserving POW treatment under the Geneva Conventions.
Those who demand that the Taliban and its al Qaeda supporters be treated as POWs assume that the Taliban was a legitimate government–an implication that places human rights advocates in the unsavory company of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, the only governments to grant legitimacy to the Taliban.
The Geneva Conventions narrowly restrict the information a capturing power can ask of POW. Only “surname, first names and rank, date of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number, or failing this, equivalent information” may be requested–which is meaningless in the case of most international terrorists, Islamist or not, who possess multiple passports under different names, no rank, and of course, no army “serial number.” Even more important, terrorists wear no uniform and, as mentioned, operate for no legitimate state.
We hear from the anti-Gonzales crowd, including some senior retired military officers (who should know better), that the U.S. military must treat terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay as POWs or else Americans, if captured, will be subject to brutality. Regular armies will certainly treat American prisoners of war as well as possible; they fear the consequences. But–it hardly needs mentioning–suicidal Islamists do not care. For them, the beheading of enemies, civilian or not, is a matter of public relations, having more to do with CNN, Al Jazeera and Al Manar than the Geneva Conventions.
But wait, you say. If we treat terrorists as, well, terrorists, we sink to their level of moral depravity. Really? Effective interrogation, including the use of things Islamists dislike (dogs, pigs, and the Israeli flag) does not degrade us as much as it saves innocent lives. Yanking a prisoner’s fingernail is torture indeed–but we cannot afford to write off psychological pressure.
The Bush Administration, as any other would in its place, must search for a legal solution to the previously unknown problem of how to treat terrorist captives. Domestic and “international” laws do not apply. The replacement law is unknown–and human rights activists should help find a solution, rather than help the terrorists.