The Instigator
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
Wise-Man
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Foreign terrorists should not be given Geneva Treaty protection until they conform to it

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,229 times Debate No: 6680
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

RoyLatham

Pro

The Third Geneva Conventions are written to bind signatories to common obligations in the treatment of prisoners. http://en.wikipedia.org... The full text is given at http://www.icrc.org...

Prisoners of war are defined as captured members of armies of the signers of the Treaty, and also http://www.icrc.org...:

"(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) that of carrying arms openly;

(d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war."

Terrorist organizations have not signed the Treaty, and if they had signed, do not in any case conform to any of the cited requirements of the Treaty. Terrorists routinely ignore all requirement for the treatment of prisoners.

There is, however, a separate provision, Article III, for non-international conflicts, "In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions: ...Art 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions: ... (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;..." http://www.icrc.org...

The US Supreme Court ruled that Article III applies to terrorists. "The ruling's most substantial point is that all non-citizen prisoners are protected by the Geneva Conventions." http://civilliberty.about.com... and "Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva applies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda." http://www.scotusblog.com...

There is thus no advantage to any foreign power with respect to the United States in signing the Geneva Conventions. Quite the opposite. If they sign the Conventions, they can lose the Treaty protections if they mistreat American prisoners. However, if they refuse to sign, they are free to cut off the heads of Americans on television while their own POWs are afforded full protection of the Treaty, including humane treatment and inspection of prisoner treatment by international organizations.

There are various ways the Geneva Convention application to non-signatory terrorists can be rescinded. The best way would be for the Treaty to be amended by international agreement to make it clear that it does not apply to members of terrorist organizations. Another way is for the Supreme Court to reverse its decision, another way is for the Constitution to be amended to place interpretation of treaties in the hands of Congress instead of the Court. Another way is for the US to renounce the article the court cited. The resolution leaves open how the "should" is accomplished.

The resolution leaves as a separate question how captured terrorists should be treated. Perhaps they ought to be give more rights than common domestic criminals, perhaps not. The resolution would take that policy decision away from the Supreme Court and place it in the hands of the elected representatives of the people.

Other issues were addressed by the Supreme court decision that ruled that Article 3 applied. Those other issues, such as how military tribunals must conform with laws set by Congress, are not subjects of this resolution. This debate is about whether armed combatants not party to the Geneva Conventions and not conforming to its requirements should be afforded by the United States the protections of the Geneva Conventions.

The resolution should be supported because:

1. The Court erred in applying it to non-signatory terrorists, and that error ought to be corrected.
2. It restores the incentive for foreign powers to sign the Treaty and thereby provide mutual humane treatment of POWs.
3. It will restore democracy by placing foreign policy and international military affairs in the hands of elected officials.
Wise-Man

Con

Well Then,

How very interesting your opinion becomes. However, Due to what you have written, I do not believe that you are some Cold Heartened SOB who beats immigrants saying "It's for Ammurca" and accuses everyone who does not conform to the idea that the US should always be listened to, feared and that it has never done an injustice or was never wrong for lack of patriotism. I Just believe that your some what misinformed about the Geneva convention, what it's aims are and what it hopes to accomplish.

First lets start of with your first point, witch was that there is no benefit for America to sign the Geneva convention. However, there is my friend. To get into many international organizations, you need to sign the coveted few basic bills which the the Geneva convention is apart if, even if it's just in theory, assure that you state isent a one of abusing peoples human rights.

SO if the united states had not signed the Geneva convention, It would be removed from alot of international organizations such as the WTO ,UN etc. Also, a lot of international organizations would cease to assist you.

Not to mention there is the matter of Image. The US, being a super power is competing for sway with other Super powers over many other countries near and far. Resigning from a basic Human Rights Bill such as the Geneva convention would vastly damage Americas Image and at a time like now, we need to vastly improve our image.

As for your fact about individual groups signing the Geneva convention, im sorry to inform you but a specific organization does not sign the Geneva convention, This is an International Article that countries sign. It's not like MADD (mothers against drunk driving) or McDonalds do not sign this convention. This is a Document in which only countries sign not individuals, individual corporations or international Organizations Sign.

Then there is a other whole slew of negative political implications which would lead to a worse finical situation and a have sever impact on forging relations that i don't wish ti get into right now.

So finally,

I believe that, YES the Geneva convention should be applied to EVERYONE because EVERYONE is a Human and the Geneva convention Calls for a basic HUMANE treatment of people, and if you want to look at yourself as moral and right and seen as that, then you apply to others rights they have failed to apply to you.

Also

Lets forget the politics and the "What do I gain out of it" mentality and just look at it as a basic Human right. Yes, some people may attempt to block that right, however, doing the same to them makes you no better then they are, especially when it comes down to such a bsaic human rights issue as the Geneva convention. We are all Human, some Kinder then Others, but never the less, all Human, and should all be treated as such. That will distinguish the righteous actors from the Wrong doers.
Debate Round No. 1
RoyLatham

Pro

I gave three arguments as to why the Geneva conventions should not be applied to foreign terrorists:

1. The Court erred in applying it to non-signatory terrorists, and that error ought to be corrected.
> Con made no argument that the Supreme Court applied the Treaty correctly.

2. It restores the incentive for foreign powers to sign the Treaty and thereby provide mutual humane treatment of POWs.
> Con made no argument that it would do otherwise.

3. It will restore democracy by placing foreign policy and international military affairs in the hands of elected officials.
> Con made no argument that foreign policy ought to be made the Supreme Court rather than the elected representatives of the people.

Con offered counter-arguments:

A. "SO if the united states had not signed the Geneva convention, It would be removed from alot of international organizations such as the WTO ,UN etc. Also, a lot of international organizations would cease to assist you." I did not assert that the US should not have signed the treaty, and I specifically offered three remedies by which the unilateral extension of the treaty to terrorists could be revoked without renouncing the treaty: the Treaty being amended to make it clear it does not apply to non-signatory terrorists, the Supreme Court reversing itself, and the Supreme Court being stripped of foreign policy powers.

Moreover, the alternative I offered that involved renunciation was to only renounce the separate article that applied, not the whole treaty. Even doing that is extremely unlikely to provoke any international reaction. Iran, a signatory of the Treaty, is actively supporting terrorists, and yet there is little effective international cooperation in apply trade sanctions to Iran in retaliation for its support. If the world does assert minimal authority in the face of explicit endorsement and support of violating the Geneva conventions, it is not conceivable they would act on so minor a matter. There is long list of signatory countries that routinely torture captured dissidents, none of whom receive sanctions, or even bad press as a consequence. In fact, the theory that the US would be excluded from world organizations has been tested. Prior to the Supreme Court decision, neither the Republican Bush Administration nor the Democratic Congress believed the Treaty applied, and the US was not excluded from anything.

B. "would vastly damage Americas Image and at a time like now, we need to vastly improve our image." In setting up the debate I said that the issue of this debate was not foreign or military policy. Perhaps terrorists ought to be waterboarded, or perhaps they ought to afforded greater rights than US citizens. That's a separate question. The current Administration now says they should be afforded greater rights than US citizens; I am not questioning their authority to adopt that policy. The topic of the debate is whether Treaty *obligations* ought to be afforded to terrorists, not whether they might be voluntarily given.

C. Con says that terrorists cannot sign the Treaty. I ask Con specifically if he thinks that if Al Qaeda asked to subscribe to the Treaty they would be refused? Not a chance. Moreover, they could alternatively approach the United States with an offer for a separate treaty in which they pledged to be bound Geneva Convention provisions in return for mutual consideration. That would satisfy the resolution's demand for conformance.

D. Con makes another irrelevant argument: "Yes, some people may attempt to block that right, however, doing the same to them makes you no better then they are, especially when it comes down to such a bsaic human rights issue as the Geneva convention. We are all Human, some Kinder then Others, but never the less, all Human, and should all be treated as such. That will distinguish the righteous actors from the Wrong doers." Will bringing terrorists milk and cookies and offering comfy chairs actually produce a net benefit to the security of the United States? We will find out, as new Administration policy prohibits anything causing discomfort. I am asserting that it is entirely the prerogative of the Administration and the Congress to try that experiment, not the prerogative of the Supreme Court and not a treaty obligation. I can't resist noting, however, that Con's doctrine of moral equivalence is wrong. Can we imprison kidnappers as punishment for kidnapping? Both kidnapping and legal imprisonment are the physical acts of holding someone against their will, so are they morally equivalent? No, that's nonsense. The asymmetry derives from intent.

The Geneva Convention was conceived without terrorism in mind. It should be updated to make abundantly clear that terrorists are not afforded the treatment due to signatories. The Supreme Court should not extend the Treaty unilaterally to protect terrorists.
Wise-Man

Con

Wise-Man forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
RoyLatham

Pro

Con forfeited the second round of debate. I cite Con for bad conduct.

Con previously made no argument countering the three reasons for supporting the resolution. Con argued separately that human rights should be upheld. Sure, but how should conflicts among human rights be resolved? Ordinary citizens have a right to be protected against terrorist attacks, and uniformed soldiers are entitled to protection from terrorists who chop off heads on television. The Supreme Court decided to interpret the Geneva Treaty in such a way that terrorists who completely ignore the rules of warfare are entitled to all the protections accorded to those who obey the Treaty. This debate is about whether the Supreme Court gets to make the trade off, or whether the elected representative of the people should make the decision. If Osama is captured, all we really obliged by treaty not to subject him to any discomfort whatsoever? The resolution merely asserts the Treaty obligation should not be determined by an unelected Court that has no responsibility to balance the rights of the people being protected from terrorists. The Treaty never contemplated terrorism, so it ought not be applied at all, and certainly not by the Supreme Court.
Wise-Man

Con

Wise-Man forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
RoyLathamWise-ManTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70