Wednesday, February 02, 2005
You Keep Using That Word -- I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means
The Geneva Convention provisions make sense when war involves nation-states — if, say, hostilities broke out between India and Pakistan, or China and Taiwan. But to pretend that the Geneva Convention applies to Al Qaeda, a non-state actor that targets civilians and disregards other laws of war, denies the reality of dramatic changes in the international system.I really can't believe we're having this discussion. This isn't about political points; this isn't about tactics and strategy. This is about our humanity.
To believe that the Geneva Convention should apply jot-and-tittle to such enemies reminds us of the first generals of the Civil War, who thought that the niceties that were ideals of Napoleonic warfare could be applied to battles fought by massive armies, armed with ever more advanced weapons and aided by civilian-run mass-production factories and industry. War changes, and the laws of war must change with them.
Unfortunately, multinational terrorist groups have joined nations on the stage of war. They operate without regard to borders and observe no distinction between combatants and civilians. Our weapons for controlling hostile states don't work well against decentralized networks of suicidal operatives, with no citizens or borders to defend.
We don't torture because it's not to our advantage (although it's not) -- we don't torture because it is wrong to torture.
And, in the midst of this, with most Senate Democrats finally showing some spine and confirming that they will vote against Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales, one Dem will not -- freshman Colorado Senator Ken Salazar. Why? Apparently, because they're both Hispanic. This will not be forgotten. Ken Salazar, the Pro-Torture Democrat.
Contact your Senators. Tell them to vote no on Alberto Gonzales.
War crimes are things so bad that you don't do them even in wartime, not even to the guys you're trying to kill.