Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Should the Geneva Conventions Apply to This War?

  1. Nov 19, 2004 #1

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I'm not saying they shouldn't, but the purpose of upholding the conventions, for any nation, is to ensure that their own people receive the same humane treatment they are affording their enemy. Now, not only is the US not fighting a nation that can be held accountable for violating the conventions, but it is clear that this particular enemy is not too concerned about upholding them. Kidnapping and beheading civilians, booby-trapping dead bodies, faking death, and hiding out in religious buildings are all forbidden. Is it fair to scrutinize the US for perceived violations of a treaty that its enemy is not upholding?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2004 #2
    The first geneva convention was laregly disgarded because it was unconventional for most of the nations in the world... So is this one, but historians tend to wait a few decades before pointing out the obvious.

    Since the Geneva Convention is mostly about civilians, there is no reason why anyone who agrees to it should not uphold it in any war any where any time,
    furthermore every soldier in the enemy's forces are not responsible for suffering of your own troops at the hands of the enemy if they, the enemy, does not uphold the convention, therefor it is illogical and unethical to follow an 'eye for an eye' policy. Especially if these violations are covered up from the regular soldiers and civilians of the enemy nation. Such was the case in Germany in WW2 and possibly to several of these so-called 'Terrorists'.
     
  4. Nov 20, 2004 #3

    PerennialII

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Smurf said it very much to my liking about the ethical aspects of this "conflict", you just don't turn them on/off. What I find most important is that all people involved in the war belong to something, whether that be the Geneva conventions or the justice system, but just as long as noboby is declated to be an outsider in this respect because of some convenient reason the other side sees.
     
  5. Nov 20, 2004 #4

    Hurkyl

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    OTOH, consider that the design of the Geneva convention protects civilians by putting restrictions on both the attacking and defending forces. When the defenders are fully compliant, the attackers shouldn't have any reason to carry out actions that would endanger civilians. In turn, the attackers are prohibited from endangering civilians.

    They were designed to protect civilians by rendering them irrelevant to armed conflict, not by requiring the attacking force to cripple itself.
     
  6. Nov 20, 2004 #5

    jcsd

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There are four Geneva conventions*, only the fourth Geneva conventions is about the protection of civilians (the others are about the sick and the wounded on land, the sick and the wounded at sea and the treatment of prisoners of war).

    The Geneva Conventions provide and were inteneded to provide a bare minimum standard in war and none of their provisons are unreasonabele therefore tre is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for not adhering to them.

    *Actually I believe there are quite a number of international treaties bearing the moniker 'Geneva Convention', but when we talk about the Geneva Copnventions it is usually these for treaties as violatingf them constitues a war crime.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2004
  7. Nov 20, 2004 #6

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know if "fair" really applies, but it is certainly right to hold the US to such high standards. If nothing else, it puts the barbarism of our enemy in high contrast. And politically, we need the moral high ground.
     
  8. Nov 20, 2004 #7

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Sure, we should have the moral high ground, but it's becoming increasingly clear that, in the eyes of a large portion of the world, we don't have it. Even 40% of our own countrymen don't seem to think we have it, and that's becoming incredibly difficult for me to understand, given the blatant disregard for all life and liberty, whether it be male, female, child, civilian or military, arab or otherwise, shown by our enemies.
     
  9. Nov 20, 2004 #8

    jcsd

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The Geneva conventions should be adhered to primarily because it is the right thing to do any other reason is secondary.
     
  10. Nov 20, 2004 #9

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    That's true to a point, but it doesn't alleviate our moral responsibility. Opinions of the general public are often easily swayed/manipulated. But history will judge fairly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2004
  11. Nov 20, 2004 #10
    LOL rules for war? That is an oxymoron. The Geneva conventions are a joke, nobody follows rules in war, not even American soldiers.
     
  12. Nov 20, 2004 #11
    I wouldn't say its an oxymoron, an oxymoron has to cancel its self out, the geneva convention is just ignored, not self destructive.
     
  13. Nov 20, 2004 #12
    Maybe because your as bad as your enemies, despite having the only superpower behind you? And its more than 40% of your own country.
     
  14. Nov 20, 2004 #13

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I'm pretty sure polling indicated that 54% fully support the war, and only 40% are fully against it. Then again, we all know how reliable those polls can be. But if you think you've got some insider information regarding US opinion, go ahead.

    I'd really like to know how we are as bad as our enemies. Let's again recount violation of international laws committed by each side:

    US:

    1. Forced prisoners in Abu Ghraib to strip naked.
    2. Might have intentionally killed wounded insurgents without just cause.

    Insurgents:

    1. Fake death.
    2. Booby trap corpses.
    3. Disguise themselves as civilians and hide out in civilian buildings.
    4. Fight in religious institutions.
    5. Intentionally kidnap and murder civilians.
    6. Torture and murder POW's.
    7. Murder aid workers.

    Please tell me how an unbiased person could possibly say that the US is just as bad as its enemies?
     
  15. Nov 20, 2004 #14
    By not leaving out all the crimes of the other party. Opposite of what you just did.

    On another note your very system of government has aquired a reputation for this kind of thing in all of its wars so in general people arn't going to believe you're going to be any better than you were last time. But i think it's accually worse that it was in even the first Iraq war
     
  16. Nov 20, 2004 #15

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Then tell me, Smurf, what other provisions of the conventions do you think the US has violated?
     
  17. Nov 20, 2004 #16

    PerennialII

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You might want to add a huge civilian body count for starters (and a couple of other "minor" issues affecting what is going over there) ... but what the civilian population is going through in the "modern liberation effort" of the US is staggering enough.
     
  18. Nov 20, 2004 #17

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I would have included that, but it can be equally attributed to an enemy that disguises itself as civilian and fights in civilian areas. In fact, that is the very reason these practices are forbidden by the conventions - because they endanger civilians.
     
  19. Nov 20, 2004 #18
    Just in Iraq? Or just since ww2? Cause if its since ww2 - then every single bloody one.

    But just in iraq the list is a little shorter:
    1. Intentionally killed wounded/unarmed insurgents
    2. Intentionally killed unarmed suspected insurgents.
    3. Intentional killing, or really just disregard thereof, civilians.
    4. Hiding POWs from the red cross
    5. Bombing red cross base (possible accident?)
    6. Torturing Prisoners (there are worse things than sharp hooks and curved blades - and CIA knows all of them)
    7. Attempting to terrify civilians into refusing to shelter insurgents.
    8. Dumping large amounts of depleted uranium into Bhagdad causing cancer and severly polluting the area.

    Thats just off the top of my head.
    BAN WMD, NO MORE CNN!
     
  20. Nov 20, 2004 #19

    PerennialII

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I can appreciate your reasoning, but the large civilian body count ( ~10k to 100k depending on whom you want to believe) implies that this is not the "smart" warfare it is supposed to, civilians still way too often get caught in the way of the massive US warmachine. How you wish to classify with respect to the thread topic is surely somewhat dubious, but in the list of what are causing the problems in the area & what are the greatest violations it gets the first place just because of its impact.
     
  21. Nov 20, 2004 #20

    Hurkyl

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Do you find this large because you've compared it against an objective standard, or simply because you've been told it's large?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Should the Geneva Conventions Apply to This War?
  1. POWs Geneva Convention (Replies: 35)

  2. Geneva convention (Replies: 1)

Loading...