Torturing Prisoners and Practical Effects
Marc Danziger takes down the NYT editorial board for making the specious argument, “The Geneva Conventions protect Americans. If this country changes the rules, it’s changing the rules for Americans taken prisoner abroad. That is far too high a price to pay so this administration can hang on to its misbegotten policies.”
After providing a litany of examples of American soldiers being tortured by our enemies, he Danziger considers a hypothetical future:
Iraq, Vietnam, Korea. In which of these wars were captured American or allied troops treated in accord with the Geneva Conventions? What is the liklihood that a future American soldier, captured by Hizbollah will meet the standards in Guantanamo?
This is meant as a rhetorical question but the answer is that the likelihood approximates zero.
Danziger goes on to note that there are plenty of good reasons not to torture prisoners and I agree. But the “we have to play nice so that the other side will, too” argument last applied when we were fighting our fellow Westerners in 1945. It’s hard to conceive of a potential American adversary likely to follow suit.