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       Tuesday, September 19, 2006

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Interrogation Techniques

Old vs New

Here we go again... let's all be nice... let's be fair and all play by the rules.
Visit any extreme left wing website [I tried to list a couple here, but my fingers just wouldn't move on the keys], or listen to the current debate in Washington DC, and you'll be convinced that we...WE... the United States of America... are the ones that don't play by the rules.

What rules? Whose rules? The Geneva Conventions, of course. More precisely, the code of conduct in dealing with prisoners of war. Even more precisely, interrogation techniques.
The Geneva Conventions are very clear when it comes to interrogating POW's. When questioned, prisoners of war must only give their names, ranks, birth dates and serial numbers. That's it, no legalese, nothing in the fine print, four basic requirements, and that's all.

So what, pray tell, is all the fuss about? Come on, let's hear it... Guantanamo... Abu Gahraib... etc etc etc. Interrogators in those places didn't stop with name, rank, and serial number. They wanted [ready for this?] more information. But... but... but... they can't do that... the Geneva Conventions say that's against the rules...

Or do they?

Ever read the Geneva Conventions? I hadn't, and I admit, I still haven't, completely, but I did manage to steal an hour here and an hour there to give them a pretty lengthy browse [reference link below]. There are actually four Geneva Conventions, signed August 12th, 1949, and two subsuquent Protocols, signed June 8th, 1977, so understand why I haven't had the time to read every word. While reading though, I began to understand the debate that's going on, or rather the misconceptions that led to the debate.

News Flash - Every prisoner captured in a war is 'not' a Prisoner of War, not according to the Geneva Conventions anyhow. It says that in order for the distinction between combatants and civilians to be clear, combatants must wear uniforms and carry their weapons openly during military operations and during preparation for them. It also says that combatants who deliberately violate the rules about maintaining a clear separation between combatant and noncombatant groups, and thus endanger the civilian population, are no longer protected by the Geneva Convention.

Let's go back to Guantanamo, Abu Gahraib, etc etc etc.
Weren't most of those detainees dressed like civilians when captured?
Were they asked their names? Probably.
Rank? Oops, don't have one.
Serial number? Nope, can't help ya.
Live here? Nah, but my cousin visited once.

Are you getting the picture here? So again I ask, what is all the fuss about? The United States abides by the Geneva Convention rules that bar cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of POW's. These other guys aren't covered by the rules. Want them to be? Fine, no problem, make up a new set of rules, but don't keep hinging your arguments on the Geneva Conventions, people might get the idea that you don't know what you're talking about.

If you get your new set of rules, more power to you. We will fight that kinder, gentler, kind of war, but we may not fight it for long. Due to lack of information, we won't know what the enemy will be up to next. So when the Sears Tower in Chicago, or the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, go the way of the World Trade Center, would you do me a favor? Don't point fingers and whine "Why didn't we know?", just turn around and look at yourself in the mirror.


Reprinted from Exit 4

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posted by John Pangia at 7:00 PM  


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