Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who Would Jesus Torture? OR What Part of "Violence to Life and Person" Don't You Understand?

Article 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

The Geneva Convention. Article 3.

The Bush Adminstration thinks that Article 3 of the Geneva Convention is vague. Does anything in the above paragraph even looks vague? It seems pretty clear: treat prisoners humanely. What Bush wants to do is make Geneva vague to give the military cover as the use "agressive interrogation."

What's interesting is how the president's far right base is reacting to this. This group that loves to talk about how pro-life they are seems to support the use of torture. The Traditional Values Coalition, led by the Rev. Lou Sheldon, is urging Congress to back the Bush plan. Here is what Mr. Sheldon says:

TVC Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon said American military and intelligence experts are hampered by a vague "outrages upon personal dignity" statement in Article Three of the Geneva Convention of 1950.

"We need to clarify this policy for treating detainees," said Rev. Sheldon. "As it stands right now, the military and intelligence experts interrogating these terrorists are in much greater danger than the terrorists. Civil suits against our military personnel are tying their hands as they try to get vital information which will save the lives of our young military people and the innocent."

"Our rules for interrogation need to catch-up with this awful new form of war that is being fought against all of us and the free world. The post -World War II standards do not apply to this new war.

"We must redefine how our lawful society treats those who have nothing but contempt for the law and rely on terrorizing the innocent to accomplish their objectives. The lines must be redrawn and then we must pursue these criminals as quickly and as aggressively as the law permits.

We have to redefine how we treat our enemies? This from the group that worries about my partner and I getting hitched would "redefine marriage?"

The enemy is evil, so we need to be as ruthless as we can be. Please. Our nation has faced Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, two of the biggest threats of the past century and we never compromised our values.

The threat from terrorism is real. And I agree that we have to be agressive in trying to stop these people from harming us or other lawful societies. And yes, people like Kahlid Sheik Muhammad, are heartless monsters. But we as a nation have a history of treating even monsters with respect, not because they've earned it, but because we are America, and we adhere to certain values that other nations ignore. Treating our enemies with respect proves we are more moral than we are.

I am not a pacifist, but it seems to me that Christians need to follow the example of Jesus who loved everyone. Jesus calls us to treat even our enemies with respect. Seems like Rev. Sheldon forgot to read Matthew 5:43-48.

1 comment:

The Truffle said...

Some of these so-called "conservatives" are really Bush personality cultists. They'd make excuses for him if he massacred some little kids on a playground. In their view, the Preznit can do! no! wrong! Disgusting.