Monday, September 18, 2006


The Geneva Conventions - One Soldiers Perspective

by Sgt. Major Myers

"Art. 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."

This article does not and has never held any ambiguity for me and I do not believe it has ever held any for the millions of American soldiers (to include the OSS and CIA operatives) who have served in our armed forces since the United States signed these conventions.

I make this statement without reservation and with the backdrop of having served in the United States Army for nearly three decades including several combat tours of duty.

I also say to you that I proudly carried the "Geneva Conventions Card" in my pocket every single day of my military career from the day it was issued to me in basic training.

I carried that card proudly because it represented the moral stature of my nation.

It said to me that no matter what, no matter how I was treated, if I was captured or if I captured an enemy soldier I knew what my country expected of me and what my country stood for and I would never violate that trust.

I would never violate the trusts placed in me by the citizens of our great nation, my comrades in arms and yes, even my enemy.

I thought not to write this post. I thought not to write it because I have become convinced that Americans, at least that vast multitude that continue to allow themselves to be deluded by the Bush administration, don't care about anything but themselves much less the Geneva Conventions and I would therefore be posting to the wind.

I still believe that and unfortunately I believe it with all my heart but in spite of that stolid belief I had an overpowering need to express my utter disdain and contempt for George W. Bush and the actions of his administration.

So I say to you that in my opinion, this administration possesses not one iota of common decency, honor, or moral character and these attempts on their part to change the United States interpretation of the Geneva Conventions are just one more example of an administration with no moral compass.

This is to me just one more example of a Commander in Chief who has removed his cloak of moral authority and I say God help us all if our elected officials in the House of Representatives and Senate allow this grotesque interpretation of the conventions to become the law of the land because that will be just one more nail in the coffin of our democracy.

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