Not in Ramadi!
I have one thing to rectify. Jen (teasingly) grumped at me for writing a 7 page screed on some war she'd never heard of, and no mention of her. So I threatened to write something about the tatas. They are wonderful. They rock. It's half the reason I married her. The other half being that she's crazy enough to say yes.
(For those of you that don't know me well enough by now, the last paragraph was entirely in jest. I really married her because she was the first hetero female gamer I've ever met who was under 300 lbs.)
Mudville Gazette has an interesting story about the Iraqis suggesting to the US Army that our approach in one city is too nice, with too much emphasis on civic development rather than teaming civic development with an effective military strategy which will also put pressure on the populace. I seem to recall recently writing a long discussion of that point cleverly disguised as a short history of the Phillipine Insurrection.
Castle Aaargh arguing against referring to the enemy with terms based on "jihad" or their troops as "Mujahadeen". I prefer rendering them both into saheeds (martyrs) with great expediency thus rendering academic the debate on what to call them. But the argument hinges on one simple idea, that the terrorists AND THOSE WHO SUPPORT THEM are bad Muslims. You cannot simply argue that the terrorists are bad Muslims because they do not have the authority to wage war on behalf of the Muslim community (as some "progressive" or "moderate" Muslims will argue) while teaching your children that Christians and Jews are the enemies of God and that if there were a "truly Muslim" state it would have a duty to fight the Christians, Jews, apostates, and pagans. You also have to attack the worldview that underpins this violence. That worldview is the idea that Islam is the only legitemate religion and that those who have been offered a chance to convert to Islam are the enemies of God and Muslims if they reject that chance. Further, the idea that Law and Religion have anything to do with each other must go out the window at some point. Only then can we start talking about what is or is not "real Islam" in the sense of meaning that "real Muslims" are people I wouldn't mind owning firearms, flying airplanes, or living near my family.
I'm amused. Because some of these things ARE provided for in international law.
Let me explain. No, let me sum up.
Have any of you ever READ the Geneva Conventions?
The Fourth Convention is a good one to start with.
Art. 5 Where in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present Convention as would, if exercised in the favour of such individual person, be prejudicial to the security of such State.
That to me sounds like, "If you are a civillian who gets involved in the fighting, you just gave up your protected status."
Art. 28. The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.
Art. 68. Protected persons who commit an offence which is solely intended to harm the Occupying Power, but which does not constitute an attempt on the life or limb of members of the occupying forces or administration, nor a grave collective danger, nor seriously damage the property of the occupying forces or administration or the installations used by them, shall be liable to internment or simple imprisonment, provided the duration of such internment or imprisonment is proportionate to the offence committed. Furthermore, internment or imprisonment shall, for such offences, be the only measure adopted for depriving protected persons of liberty. The courts provided for under Article 66 of the present Convention may at their discretion convert a sentence of imprisonment to one of internment for the same period.
The penal provisions promulgated by the Occupying Power in accordance with Articles 64 and 65 may impose the death penalty against a protected person only in cases where the person is guilty of espionage, of serious acts of sabotage against the military installations of the Occupying Power or of intentional offences which have caused the death of one or more persons, provided that such offences were punishable by death under the law of the occupied territory in force before the occupation began.
The death penalty may not be pronounced against a protected person unless the attention of the court has been particularly called to the fact that since the accused is not a national of the Occupying Power, he is not bound to it by any duty of allegiance.
In any case, the death penalty may not be pronounced on a protected person who was under eighteen years of age at the time of the offence.
Art. 69. In all cases the duration of the period during which a protected person accused of an offence is under arrest awaiting trial or punishment shall be deducted from any period of imprisonment of awarded.
Hey, let's talk the Third Convention. Guess what it says about legal and illegal combatants and the protections due a prisoner of war?
Art 4. A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.
(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:
(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) that of carrying arms openly;
(d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
(3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
(4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.
(5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.
(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
Now, I'm no frickin' JAG weenie, but it sounds to me like folks who don't carry arms openly aren't covered by the Geneva Conventions. Which kind of excludes terrorists and insurgents. Hmmmm. . .
Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.
Oh, we have to have a tribunal. That's easy enough. Note that it doesn't say "Supreme Court Decison" or "Jury Trial" or anything like those bastards down in Gitmo are going to end up getting. Yup, according to the Geneva Conventions the military tribunal idea is perfectly legit.
Well, what happens to folks that don't fall under the Geneva Conventions. I'm confused. What is the controlling legal document here?
Well, we're signatories to the 1907 Hauge Conventions. I wonder what they say?
The qualifications of belligerents
Article 1. The laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia and volunteercorps fulfilling the following conditions:
1. To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
2. To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
3. To carry arms openly; and
4. To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
In countries where militia or volunteer corps constitute the army, or form part of it, they are included under the denomination "army."
Art. 2. The inhabitants of a territory which has not been occupied, who, on the approach of the enemy, spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading troops without having had time to organize themselves in accordance with Article 1, shall be regarded as belligerents if they carry arms openly and if they respect the laws and customs of war.
Art. 3. The armed forces of the belligerent parties may consist of combatants and non-combatants. In the case of capture by the enemy, both have a right to be treated as prisoners of war.
Sounds familliar enough.
Art. 29. A person can only be considered a spy when, acting clandestinely or on false pretences, he obtains or endeavours to obtain information in the zone of operations of a belligerent, with the intention of communicating it to the hostile party.Thus, soldiers not wearing a disguise who have penetrated into the zone of operations of the hostile army, for the purpose of obtaining information, are not considered spies. Similarly, the following are notconsidered spies: Soldiers and civilians, carrying out their mission openly, entrusted with the delivery of despatches intended either for their own army or for the enemy's army. To this class belong likewise persons sent in balloons for the purpose of carrying despatches and, generally, of maintaining communications between the different parts of an army or a territory.
Ooh, this sounds promising. If a person is in civillian clothes and is doing recon for a terrorist attack, he can be shot under this article. We have to give him a trial but it doesn't say it has to be a civillian court or a jury trial. Sounds fair to me. Problem solved.