I posted this elsewhere. Considering mailing it to a newspaper, as well. Posting here for my own records.
Regarding the “unlawful combatants” currently being held in Camp
X-Ray, it’s far too easy to say, “Hey, look what they did to us. They
deserve whatever they get, nothing we could do to them could be bad
enough as payback for September 11th.”
Now the purpose of this apologetic is not to debate the idea that
‘revenge’ may or may not be justified — it’s simply not my point
here. We all had feelings of revenge in the beginning — it’s a natural
reaction. Nor is the purpose to argue whether or not the prisoners are
currently being treated fairly.
Rather, this statement is regarding our hesitancy to consider
them “prisoners of war”, which would thus put the burden on the
United States to adhere to the tenants in the Geneva Convention.
It is an issue of taking the moral high-ground when something
like this occurs, especially in the light of this war’s scope.
In his 20-Sept Joint Session speech, Bush said, regarding the attacks:
Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we
see right here in this chamber — a democratically elected
government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms –
our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and
assemble and disagree with each other.
In making that statement, Bush made the impending war one for freedom, and
the ability to save all aspects thereof, from the terror threat that,
unattended, could destroy it. In doing so, he indeed (wisely) turned
the reason for war away from ‘revenge’, into something that
“…is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance,
Bush said that the reason we were attacked was because the US stands for
freedom, and that these terrorist forces despise those ideals that we set
So then we step all over those ideals, and trample the Geneva
Convention? How does this demonstrate how well freedom stands strong
against its adversaries? How is this resistance against what al-Qaeda
wants to demonstrate?
In bending or breaking the statutes in the Geneva Convention, the US would
be showing that, indeed, it’s impossible to function, playing by the
rules. They’d be showing terrorist groups around the world exactly what
they want to see — a United States that doesn’t embrace freedom, the
Indeed, Bush recognises this is a world threat, as well, in his speech:
The civilized world is rallying to America’s side. They
understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their
own citizens may be next. Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down
buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate
Bush has made this a battle for freedom, and a global one at that — and
for that, I’m appreciative. However, in doing so, he’s also brought that
bright, glaring spotlight upon the US, that we might uphold the global freedoms
that we’re talking about defending.