Justin McCarthy, blogger at Newsbusters.org did a fabulous job today of documenting yet another idiotic display by Rosie O'Donnell, the alternative in US Diplomacy to Joseph Wilson.
As I walked to the office this morning from the train station, I passed several newspaper machines and stands, each displaying headlines that Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), the al-Qaeda operative long believed to be the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks, confessed in a hearing at Guantanamo Bay's detention center to that and to the beheading in 2002 of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
My first thought? The clock was ticking, maybe long overdue for irrational Bush haters to start babbling about torture bringing this confession about. In my mind, before I had my second cup of coffee, I was sure somewhere on the blogosphere, some boogereater was making the comment that the confession was illegitimate because it was, no doubt, made under duress.
I didn't have a chance to see any response to the news at work today, but on the train ride home I logged onto Newsbusters and read McCarthy's post. Ah yes, Rosie, I should have known.
McCarthy and the NB community do a fine job of making Rosie look stupid for her comments on ABC's The View about the treatment of KSM, so I'm not going to address that itself. But what DID catch my eye was the continued idiocy of Rosie and other Bush haters in citing the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their alledged "violation" vis-a-vis the Guantanamo Detainees (bold emphasis mine).
O’DONNELL: "I think the man has been in custody of the American government, in secret CIA torture prisons in Guantanamo Bay, where torture is accepted and allowed, and he finally is the guy who admits to doing everything. They finally found the guy. It's not that guy bin Laden. It's this guy they've had since ‘93 (huh, was he on a Michael Dukakis furlough when he beheaded Pearl in 2002?). And look, this is the picture they released of him. Doesn’t, he look healthy?"
Later, Rosie says: "We should uphold the standards of the Geneva Convention and lead the free world in democracy."
McCarthy in his NB post addresses the bin Laden comment, so I'll let that go.
I want to talk about this popular misnomer among the Left and even among well meaning but misinformed Americans that those captured on the battlefield on the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan, who, after administrative hearings as prisoners of war, are determined to be enemy combatants are to be afforded the protections of the Geneva Conventions. This is dangerous ignorance.
In the July 4, 2005 issue of National Review, attorneys Lee Casey and David Rivkin do a fabulous job of making the lines of lawful and unlawful enemy combatant clear.
Say Casey and Rivkin: "The only other option..." aside from criminal trials for suspected terrorists ... "offered by Amnesty and its ilk is to treat captured terrorists as prisoners of war under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Adoption of this policy, however, would effectively eliminate our ability to obtain intelligence information about al-Qaeda’s future plans from the detainees. Although POWs can be interrogated under the Geneva Conventions, they cannot be 'exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment' if they do not talk. A strict interpretation of this provision would eliminate even the offer of rewards for information, since this would have the effect of 'disadvantaging' anyone who refused to cooperate. This, likely, was the intent; the Geneva Conventions were meant to protect the lawful soldiers of states, who are fully entitled to keep their military secrets. But the treaties were not designed to protect irregular or 'unlawful' combatants: Guerrillas or terrorists — who do not obey even the most basic laws of war, including requirements to have a regular command structure, wear uniforms, carry weapons openly, and eschew deliberate attacks against the civilian population — are not entitled to a Geneva POW status. Customary international law simply requires that unlawful combatants be treated humanely. They may well ultimately be subject to criminal prosecution (in military courts) for their unlawful belligerency, but they are also enemy combatants who can lawfully be held, without criminal trial, until hostilities are concluded."
I have to ask the question - forget about the fanatical Bush hater of Rosie O'Donnell - how many regular Americans know this? Not many you say? Why? Because the Useful Idiots of the Mainstream Media (MSM) don't make this readily known? Are you shocked?
None-the-less, many on the Left around the world have been keen to this distinction and have sought to eradicate it. Casey and Rivkin continue:
"Suggestions that the Geneva Conventions actually abolished the category of unlawful combatant are a relatively recent development. In the late 1950s, about ten years after the fact, the International Committee of the Red Cross claimed that the treaties were 'comprehensive,' providing some Geneva status for everyone. In the 1960s, however, the Red Cross still freely conceded that granting Geneva status to unlawful combatants — in that instance, the U.S. policy decision to treat captured Viet Cong as POWs — went beyond any applicable legal requirement. By the mid-1970s, a concerted effort was launched to amend the Geneva Conventions in order to guarantee POW treatment for unlawful combatants, including guerrilla forces associated with national liberation movements, who would otherwise have been consigned to various colonial or Third World military justice systems. Of course, had the 1949 treaties eliminated the status of unlawful combatant, as is now claimed, no such amendments would have been necessary."
Then comes the money paragraph:
"Although many of our European allies approved these amendments, the U.S. did not. It flatly refused to accept a 'privileged' status for individuals who did not obey the laws of war, and flatly refused to ratify the Geneva amendments — known as Protocol I Additional. As a result, the U.S. is not bound by any legal norms that would even arguably require it to grant the Guantanamo detainees POW status, or a speedy trial in the civilian courts. It has not violated the law, as Amnesty International so brazenly claims. In fact, much of the outrage, in Europe and elsewhere, over American policy with respect to Guantanamo can be traced to just such unfounded and irresponsible claims."
As an aside, I'm going to avoid discussing the definition of the word "torture" as it relates to Rosie's use of it. The fact that the thermostat is low in the interrogation room, or that heavy metal music is played at top volume, of that Jihadi's have to listen to Barney sing "I love you, you love me" incessantly; the fact that this is not torture by even the most wussified definition is not my point in this post.
My point is that the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay are prisoners of war fighting as unlawful combatants, and that they are not afforded the protections of the Geneva Conventions. They are not purse snatchers apprehended by gumshoes on the streets of New York City. They are not Uniformed Soldiers taken on the battlefield either. They are unlawful enemy combatants taken on the battlefield of foreign nations in what is known as the War on Terror.
Keep flapping your piehole, Rosie. We'll be there to make you look like a fool in the meantime.