Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

The Geneva convention

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

The Geneva Convention

Summary : Basic rules of international humanitarian law in armed conflicts(1)

1. Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their

lives and their moral and physical integrity. They shall in all circumstances be protected and treated humanely

without any adverse distinction.

2. It is forbidden to kill or injure an enemy who surrenders or who is hors de combat.

3. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its power.

Protection also covers medical personnel, establishments, transports and equipment. The emblem of the red

cross or the red crescent is the sign of such protection and must be respected.

4. Captured combatants and civilians under the authority of an adverse party are entitled to respect for their lives,dignity, personal rights and convictions. They shall be protected against all acts of violence and reprisals. They shall have the right to correspond with their families and to receive relief.

5. Everyone shall be entitled to benefit from fundamental judicial guarantees. No one shall be held responsible for an act he has not committed. No one shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, corporal punishment or cruel or degrading treatment.

6. Parties to a conflict and members of their armed forces do not have an unlimited choice of methods and means of warfare. It is prohibited to employ weapons or methods of warfare of a nature to cause unnecessary losses or excessive suffering.

7. Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to

spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the

object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives

Now...my question has to do with a couple of things.

1) What do you think of the Geneva convention?

2) What is the Objectivist view on international politics? Should there be a global monopoly on the use of force (world government/global executive) or should the international system be anarchaic in nature?

Galt's Gulch had a judge....but he was never used as a judge because the rational society governed themselves. Can we leave the irrational bodies to themselves in a society without any codified rules?

If we need rules....don't we need something more than the "trust" and honesty of states that might be irrational?

Should we have some sort of international redress if a country violates a contract (treaty)?

Should we have a standardized enforcement mechanism in the world system?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Should there be a global monopoly on the use of force (world government/global executive) or should the international system be anarchaic in nature?

The initiation of force should be banned worldwide--but it won't be. Since there will always be evil people, there will always be evil countries.

Now, what the evil countries do to themselves is their own business. They may kill each other to their heart's pleasure. But we should let them know that the moment they dare to threaten us, we will bomb them to smithereens.

By "we," I mean the freedom-loving nations of the world. It is a good thing to have a sort of "global" alliance for the protection of individual rights, but it should be completely voluntary, based on trading value for value, and only include countries that are indeed committed to the protection of individual rights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always thought the Geneva convention was a little strange. It only seems to limit the good guys. I think the last major conflict the US had where our enemies respected the rules of war is world war 1. The Nazi's certainly didn't, though they were mostly decent to US POWS. The Koreans certainly didn't follow it, neither did the Vietnamese. Saddam Hussein's troops didn't either time. That being said, I am not saying we should mistreat enemy POWS, I just think it is bizarre to formalize it into a treaty that we know most of our enemies will ignore.

Perhaps enemy violations of the rules of war should be some sort of objective criteria for us to escalate the war? I.e. if you torture our soldiers we pull out and nuke your country, when before we only planned a conventional war?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it is nessecary to torture or even execute POW's then it is completly justified. Even if it is not nessecary it is justified because these people have NO RIGHTS. When they decided to take up arms against us they are renouncing any "human rights" they could once "claim" to have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now, what the evil countries do to themselves is their own business. They may kill each other to their heart's pleasure. But we should let them know that the moment they dare to threaten us, we will bomb them to smithereens.

How do we ascertain if, when, or to what extent these "evil countries" are, or have become, a serious threat to us? By what objective criteria? For example, it should be obvious to most people that our intelligence gathering capabilities are limited and not always accurate. The CIA totally missed the 9/11 plot because they simply could not connect all the dots in time to stop it. It is equally obvious that the Taliban in Afghanistan -- who had no WMDs and, as far as we know, were not actively developing WMDs -- was far more dangerous to us than anyone believed prior to 9/11.

Moreover, the problem here isn't limited to inadequate intelligence. In 1935, 1936, 1937, even 1938, the Allies could have stopped Hitler and Nazi Germany. By 1939, however, it was too late, and the result was WWII.

So, I'm not so sure that we can totally ignore what evil countries are doing as long as it doesn't directly involve us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it is nessecary to torture or even execute POW's then it is completly justified. Even if it is not nessecary it is justified because these people have NO RIGHTS.

This argument might apply after due process has been applied. But at the initial stages of imprisonment, mistakes are often made. (Thats one of the reasons why prisoners are so often released so quickly) Administering measures such as torture when someone has not been determined guilty is a morally risky measure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do you think of the Geneva convention?

It works!

It was designed to provide basic rules, in an attempt to provide humanitarian treatment of prisoners. Without it, there would be no recourse, after the war to punish in-humanities.

Nothing is 100% effective, even we mistreat prisoners, as current events will attest. Except for Vietnam, most prisoners in every conflict, we have been treated humanely, and freed at the end of the war. If you are equating living as you do now, as humanely, not going to happen. Sure some instances of brutality are going to happen. We have laws in a free society, during peace time, and still people are killing each other everyday, why would you think that POW camps would be different.

You have to remember in war all Moines are going to the military. POW's are low on the list for food and supplies, feeding their own, and supplying the war machine is priority. Long before the war, and you can check this for yourself, sanctions were applied, trade with other countries were blocked months, sometimes years before the actual war, in attempts at diplomatic solutions. War is the final diplomatic solution. This is true, of every war in history. ECONOMICS start wars, there is no other reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Scott Connery is correct, the Geneva convention is to restrict good countries. Civilized countries already follow rules of conflict. Since that treaty has been inforced our troops have been mistreated in every major conflict. It's altruism plain and simple, dictators say "we signed the treaty" and then you hear "who are we to judge" or "how do you know."

ECONOMICS has almost nothing to do with why wars start.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It DOES serve a good purpose, posting the rules of war as they stand informs everyone, those who will and will not violate them, what those rules are. If they have signed them they cannot say that they have not when brought to trial for war crimes, and therefore cannot plead ignorance. This is the basic gist of cosmopolitanism in the short run, that at very least everyone be informed of the rules.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So...with all that said....what do you think of the naked Iraqi prisoner photos and the revelation that there is probably a WHOLE lot worse on the way?

What do I think? Not that it matters, or will change anything. However I do not believe Rumfield should fired or the military leaders. Unless it can be proved that a specific order came down to do those acts, they are not responsible.

Do I think an investigation is required? Yes I do, and personnel found guilty should be punished.

Here is what I do know. I am a military man. In the military you are told, not only what to do, but how to do it. In the absence of specific orders, do nothing. Why? because coming up with your own actions, screw things up, as we are now seeing. The military can not operate as a democracy, we are there to preserve democracy, not practice it. If these soldiers acted on their own, they need to be punished, they are not good soldiers. If they were ordered to do so, leave them only, they did their job. If the order was given without specific training on the how to do it. That is poor leadership, that also, should be punished.

Supposely the order was to keep the prisoners awake at all cost, to brake them down. If were given that the order, the first words out of my mouth, would have been, how do you I do that? If I disobey an order, I am responsible for the outcome. If I follow an order, they are responsible for the outcome. The only time I can disobey an order and not violate the preceeding rule, is if that order clearly violates the rules on engagement, all soilders are taught the rules of engagement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The initiation of force should be banned worldwide--but it won't be. Since there will always be evil people, there will always be evil countries.

"Always" is a very long time, my friend. There's no reason, in principle, why every nation on Earth couldn't eventually be based on the principle of individual rights, and to say that it is impossible implies the doctrine that men are inherently evil or some other version of determinism.

But I agree with the rest of your post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If wwere given that the order, the first words out of my mouth, would have been, how do you I do that? If I disobey an order, I am responsible for the outcome. If I follow an order, they are responsible for the outcome. The only time I can disobey an order and not violate the preceeding rule, is if that order clearly violates the rules on engagement, all soilders are taught the rules of engagement.

Howdy All,

I thought that the "I was following orders" defense was pretty much killed at Nurnberg. There is no excuse for following an unlawful order. If memory serves, (and it sometimes does not), the Army code of conduct is pretty clear on the issue of unlawful orders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So...with all that said....what do you think of the naked Iraqi prisoner photos and the revelation that there is probably a WHOLE lot worse on the way?

For my views, see my May 8th post on this issue on the ObjectivismOnline.net meta-blog.

For more of what I think since the beheading of Nick Berg, see the uncut version of my LTE on the subject posted on my club website blog (second entry down, or here).

(Sorry about the multiple posts in a row. I am still catching from my recent absence, but this forum--"Political Philosophy"--is the last one I still have to review.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...