Friday, June 24, 2005

Torturous arguments 

The funniest thing I've read today:
Q: What is Gitmo?

A: Contrary to what some suggest, it does not stand for "Git mo' Peking chicken for Muhammad, he wants a second portion." It stands for "Guantanamo," a facility the United States built to see if the left would ever care about human rights abuses in Cuba. The experiment has apparently been successful.
(hat tip: Instapundit) .

One person who doesn't think that Lileks is funny is Greg Djereijan. Great thing about the blogosphere - two good and thoughtful writers coming to very different conclusions, both at your fingertips. Read and make up your mind.

By the way: I sometimes wonder whether all the people agitating for the Guantanamo (and other) detainees to be recognized as Prisoners of War and thus granted protection under the Geneva Convention really know what they're wishing for.

Captured Al Qaeda (or even Taliban) members clearly don't come under the definition of prisoner of war in Article 4 (you can read the Convention here, if you're really bored). But even if, for the sake of argument, they did - sure they would gain many rights they currently not enjoy (for starters, "no physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever" - Article 17), but you have to remember that the "Detaining Power" can keep POWs interned until the close of hostilities.

The close of hostilities, of course, is easily enough determined where the war is conducted between the sovereign states, but when are we going to have the close of hostilities against Al Qaeda? Certainly the jihadis will never capitulate, so they must be defeated, which in turn might take years, if not decades.

Is the left, then, prepared to see the Guantanamo detainees being kept in much better condition than Camp X-ray, to be sure, but pretty much in an indefinite internment? I think we know the answer to that, which is why the whole Geneva Convention question is a distraction from the main line of attack, namely that the war on terror should not actually be a war but a law enforcement operation. That only entails the deprivation of liberty if found guilty of charges - and therefore, arguably, would mean most detainees walking free, which seems to be the ultimate objective of the Gitmo haters.


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