Thursday, January 06, 2005

POW'S, Torture, and Terrorists

OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "The dispute here stems from the Bush Administration's decision, in early 2002, that Taliban and al Qaeda detainees didn't automatically qualify for prisoner of war status. This caused a fuss in some quarters. But it was in accord with the plain language of the original Geneva Conventions, which require POWs to have met certain criteria such as fighting in uniform and not attacking civilians. The Administration understood what critics don't want to admit--namely, that POWs may not be interrogated, period. The Geneva Conventions forbid even positive reinforcement such as better rations to coax them to talk.

This interpretation of the Geneva rules was hardly novel to the Bush Administration. It was a bipartisan consensus in 1987 when Ronald Reagan repudiated a radical document called Protocol 1--the so-called 'international law' that the International Committee of the Red Cross now says requires POW status for al Qaeda. The New York Times praised the Gipper at the time for denying 'a shield for terrorists,' and the Washington Post also editorialized in support."


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