Re: If we do get Afghanistan, what shall we do with it?

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Nov 27 2001 - 10:02:10 MST

Dwayne wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > c) Holding them to their own standard, and given that the US-Japanese
> > conflict fell outside of the Geneva Conventions, since Japan never
> > signed them, the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as
> > firebomb attacks on other Japanese cities, were entirely legal.
> Not being a lawyer, shouldn't the US have acted according to what it
> felt was right? Your argument above makes sense, but I was told about
> two wrongs not making a right a long time ago. It seems to me that this
> is a lot of the problem, using these weapons lowered those who used them
> in the eyes of the world, whereas restraint, or acting according to
> principles the US espoused, would have been the better option. Unless of
> course there were other reasons for using it other than the publicly
> announced reasons.

Actually, it is in the interest of each side to follow the rules and
complain about the other side not doing so. If A violates a convention
and B complains, it must be documented by a neutral third party, i.e.
the international red cross, before B can regard itself as free of the
constraints of that convention. This is why Germany always gussied up
it's POWs and gave them all the blankets, etc before a scheduled Red
Cross visit: it wanted to continue to abuse allied prisoners but wanted
the allies to treat its german prisoners good. We knew our prisoners
were abused, but the Red Cross could never document the abuse, so we
were bound to treat the Germans in our POW camps well: we were too open
a society to get away with the same sort of duplicity.

> I have not read the Geneva convention but I'd have thought that one
> country signing it binds them to act accordingly, not that both parties
> have to be signatories for it to apply. Although, we are talking war
> here, so it may well be full of loopholes.

Actually, the Geneva Conventions (there were several) say that if one
country operates outside the rules, or tosses them out entirely (or
never signs them), then the rules don't apply to the other side either
(as evident in the case of combatants using non-combatants as shields).

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