Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Army Manual to Skip Geneva Detainee Rule

The Pentagon's move to omit a ban on prisoner humiliation from the basic guide to soldier conduct faces strong State Dept. opposition.

By Julian E. Barnes, Times Staff Writer
June 5, 2006

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

The decision could culminate a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed. However, the State Department fiercely opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Convention protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the Defense Department officials acknowledged.

For more than a year, the Pentagon has been redrawing its policies on detainees, and intends to issue a new Army Field Manual on interrogation, which, along with accompanying directives, represents core instructions to U.S. soldiers worldwide.

Full Article

This is a bad idea for many reasons. First if we aren't abiding by the Geneva Conventions who else of any consequence will? I understand that terrorists don't abide by them but is that any reason for us to throw decency out the window? Aren't we supposed to be the good guys?

How do we expect to win hearts and minds or maintain popular support for the war if we are the ones cruelly violating international law? Every violation that surfaces will be turned into recruitment propaganda by our enemy.

Not to mention the fact that the Geneva Conventions protect our troops from cruel and abusive treatment (in theory) as well. If we abandon the moral high ground then that protection ceases to exist.

If we choose to take the low road morally on this issue then we are taking a step towards becoming what we started fighting against in the first place.