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General Defends Treatment Of Detainees

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Written by Basil on 06/2/2005 5:33 AM. Filed under:

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General Defends Treatment Of Detainees

Tacitly acknowledging that the Geneva Conventions are not being followed to the letter, Air Force General Richard Myers disputes allegations of abuse nevertheless.

Terrorism suspects held in the U.S. Navy prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being dealt with “humanely” and with “dignity,” the nation’s top military officer says in disputing reported abuses. In television appearances Sunday, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also said U.S. officials believe al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is wounded, but it’s not known how badly.

Which essentially is what I have said in previous articles, along with others.

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7 Responses to “General Defends Treatment Of Detainees”

  1. Victoria Says:

    Was reading about this myself and one thing I SOOO do not get is…Gitmo is in Cuba. Therefore it’s not in America. So….AMERICAN soldiers do not have to follow AMERICAN laws there. But I bet that we would scream bloody murder if *our* soldiers were treated according to Cuban laws within the boundaries of Gitmo (and possibly off, if they ever go).

    Do you have any idea about this?

  2. Basil Says:

    Disclaimer: I’m no JAG officer, so this is a simple Sailor’s view (who used to live overseas as a Navy brat).

    Well, in general, American servicemembers stationed overseas are subject to two laws: the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and the laws of the host country. The UCMJ is part US common law, part military tradition, part courts martial case law. In fact, this is the case even Stateside: servicemembers follow the UCMJ and the law of the locale in which they are stationed. Do we sometimes go ballistic over US servicemembers being prosecuted under the laws of the host country? Sure, but it’s part of the agreement we have with the host country.

    Within the confines of the military installation, though, the UCMJ, the regulations of the branch of service which operates the base, and that base’s own regulations that provide the force of law. Part of the agreement with the host country is: We police our people within the installation; we submit to your laws outside the installation.

    I think GTMO is in a slightly different position, though. There is no “outside the installation,” because Cuba isn’t friendly with the US. I think Castro would have booted the US Navy long ago if he could have; I think there’s some weird treaty that keeps us there. Some people like GTMO, but most would rather serve just about anywhere else, because there is no “off base” anything.

  3. Victoria Says:

    Oh. Um….I’m still confused.

    It still just seems weaselly to me that the gov’t of the USA is saying that we don’t have to treat people by our laws because our base is not in America.

  4. Erich Says:

    While Gitmo may not be the “gulag of our time,” it is by strict definition of the word a concentration camp. It is such because we fail to define it by any name that bears responsibility. It is not a POW camp because this is “a different kind of war,” and calling it a POW camp would mean the Geneva Convention goes into effect. However, any time you have military officers and politicians demanding that the regular rules of warfare should not apply because this war is different than all others, you have the problem that there is no other set of rules to turn to. As a result, the combatants get to make up the rules as they see fit. From my angle, this is an abuse in and of itself, whether or not the prisoners are being treated humanely.

  5. Basil Says:

    Erich, your objection goes back to the responsibility civilian legislators have in conducting the military. There’s a fine line, but in our republican system, the burden always comes back to a civilian somewhere. Our system was set up so that the ultimate questions would be decided by civilians; the founding fathers were deeply suspicious of military power.

    I sometimes have difficulty explaining this concept to my comrades.

  6. Erich Says:

    True enough. This administration bother me in that regard.

  7. Victoria Says:

    Whew, so it IS weaselly, it’s not just me.