March 30, 2007
-- by Dave Johnson
Broadcasting pictures of the captured British sailors and marines is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Unlike the United States, England has not withdrawn from that treaty.
We face here another example of the consequences of Bush's violation of the compact between a democracy and its leaders. When the leader of your country says he has information that we face imminent attack, you must believe him. Bush did this to lead us into an attack on Iraq, and was lying. So now Bush tells us that Iran is a threat to peace - and it probably is, as this recent action demonstrates. But we can not believe Bush and we can not trust that there is no hidden agenda involved.
As I have said before, if Bush and the Right's claims about Iran come out of true concern for the country, then Bush must step aside. We must have leadership that the people can trust to tell us this is so.
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One additional thought... hostage-taking is prohibited by Common Article 3. So the question might be whether the detainees are hostages. Certainly, I think at the point that Iran makes the prisoners' release conditional on any type of exchange, that would constitute such a crime.
And by the way, here is an interesting article making a different argument re the applicability of the Geneva Conventions, for those interested. Though I am not convinced that a state of armed conflict now exists between UK and Iran simply as a result of the detention of these individuals. Certainly no social scientist would accept that. I need to go back and look at the legal precedent, however, on how armed conflict is defined.
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