Thursday, September 14, 2006

If Construing International Conventions Are Good For The US, Then Doing So Is Allowable For Her Enemies, No?

It looks to me like the W, Rove and Co is looking to do an end run around the Geneva Conventions, not unlike their use of signing statements afixed to various bits of legislation that has come down from Congress.

Ah, finally, we get down to the point at the tail end of thursday's Whitehouse press briefing. If the W, Rove and Co is going to construe Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to their advantage, then what is stopping our enemies from doing so but in a more sinster way?

Have a look at some more bits from today's Whitehouse press briefing:
Q What are other countries to make of the U.S., as you put it, adding definition to the Geneva Convention? Is the U.S., in effect, saying, all the rest of you do this, too -- adversaries and friends, alike?

MR. SNOW: Look, I think this is something that we'd be -- we would not be frightened if adversaries did this. We would not be at all frightened if they did this. I think there's a perception going around that this is going to condone and counsel all sorts of horrible treatment. It's not. And therefore, if we allow -- if we set a standard to treaty obligations that in the past have been vague -- and again, we did it with genocide; we did it with other things. This is not unusual. And I think what we're doing is setting a standard for clarity and transparency, because we do want people to know what the rules are, and the people we especially want to know what the rules are are our people going out in the field who are going to be charged with trying to bring back information and save American lives. We want it to be legal. We want it to be constitutional. We want it to be consistent with Common Article III.
And when Iran suggests they want their interpretation of the same article to be legal under their law, what's stopping them from "goin' medevil" on the GCs?

There's more...
Q I think it would be fair, then, for some people in the world to look at this process as a questioning of defining how close you can go to Common Article III before you reach cruel and inhuman, until you put that stuff into play in an interrogation?

MR. SNOW: Explain to me how that would work. Explain to me how they would draw that conclusion, because I don't get it.

Q You don't understand how someone could draw that conclusion?

MR. SNOW: No, I don't.

Q By trying to create a definition of an article --

MR. SNOW: So what you would rather have is a law with no definitions so that people would go into the field not knowing whether they're obeying or not obeying the law? I mean, that's the whole point here. You've got to know what the law says; nobody knows.

Q That's what you guys say is the point here. I'm saying people around the world could view this process very differently, and, frankly, through a much more sinister lens, that you're actually --

MR. SNOW: Well, no, I think what you're trying to do is to import a sinister -- I don't think -- there's nothing sinister about trying to say what the law is. Do you disagree?

Q It's not for me to agree or disagree --

MR. SNOW: Well, wait a minute, of course you are, and what you're doing is that you're putting a highly cynical interpretation on what should be an open and transparent attempt to try to figure out what the rules are.

Q There are people -- I think it's fair to say there are people around the world who have questioned this administration's commitment to the Geneva Conventions, starting with GITMO, some of the questions on POWs versus --

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