Monday, July 20, 2009

Geneva for me, but not for thee

In February 2002, following extensive discussions about what to do with prisoners captured in the US's (then) new war in Afghanistan, President Bush issued an order [PDF] declaring that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to captured Taliban soldiers on the grounds [PDF] that Afghanistan was a "failed state" and the Taliban was "not a government but a militant, terrorist-like group". It then proceeded to detain Afghan prisoners without trial, render them to Guantanamo and its network of "black sites", photograph them for the purposes of public humiliation, and torture them.

Which makes the US's current complaint that the Taliban parading a captured US soldier on camera violates international law just a bit rich. Having denied the protection of international law to their opponents, they can hardly claim it for themselves.