Saturday, September 16, 2006

Protecting Terrorists From Justice

James Taranto has some interesting thoughts on Republican resistance to Bush's detainee trials and the Geneva Convention:

The argument is that unless we interpret the Geneva Convention as providing maximal protections to terrorists, our enemies will mistreat U.S. soldiers in their captivity. Assume for the sake of argument that this is true. If the restrictions on interrogations that Powell and McCain advocate result in another 9/11, then they will have sacrificed the lives of women and children in order to protect soldiers. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?
Further, McCain's personal experiences--which lead people to be skittish about criticizing him on this subject--actually argue against his position. As a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, McCain suffered actual, brutal torture--not just aggressive questioning of the sort that the Bush administration seeks to legalize. America's adherence to the Geneva Conventions did not protect McCain--even though he, unlike the al Qaeda detainees, was a legitimate prisoner of war; and Hanoi, unlike al Qaeda, had ratified the Geneva Conventions and thus was legally bound by them.

Looking at history, the Geneva Convention has done little to protect American POWs from maltreatment by our enemies, including the Japanese, Germans, and the communists. I believe its all about the West taking the moral high ground, which has done little good in defending our citizens.