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4974
BruceRPerson was signed in when posted
06-17-2004
09:39 PM ET (US)
As seems only fitting as the longest-time reader, Chas gets the last word. We'll be taking this discussion to other places, as explained on Flit this evening. Cheers, all.
4973
Charles Tupper
06-17-2004
05:05 PM ET (US)
TM Lutas - Great, let's drop the pit bull analogy because the assumptions far outweigh the illustrative value.

Pharmacology may not grow new teeth, but it may stop them from decaying and falling out in the first place.

So because of a moral ideological agenda, which is not shared by all or even most, we dismiss the potential of repair for the pancreas and the heart where adult stem cells have failed miserably. There is enough money to fund both areas of research. Why must either budget be limited?
4972
TM Lutas
06-17-2004
02:44 PM ET (US)
Charles Tupper /m4950 - You get hassled by street toughs every day. You get a big, mean dog, the harassment suddenly ceases. Is it really so far fetched that when you vary one variable, the change in results is probably due to the varying variable?

Regarding Canada, I was making the pit bull point to try to point out that some forms of protection don't have to actually get used to be effective. If you don't find it illustrative of that point then drop it. It serves no useful purpose other than that.

On stem cells, you can't get new teeth from pharmacology. Stem cell therapies to give you new teeth are currently under human trial. What I find objectionable is that the embryonic stem cell people seem to want to suck money away from the adult stem cell people. They not only praise the (nonproven) wonders of easily pluripotent cells, they also disparage the adult stem cell approach. They're on an ideological mission and if they succeed, I feel that we're likely to have excess deaths.

/m4956 - Some people let their adult children come home and stay for free. Some people make their kids pay rent so that they don't get too comfortable back at their childhood nest becoming sad, infantilized specimens of humanity. The US idea of its allies paying more for their own defense is a hint. You can't be a self-respecting nation and spend that little on defense if for no other reason than to stop land grabs by those marauding danes. <<snicker>>

cesare /m4951 - The US may violate a treaty but it is not true that inconvenient treaties are nonbinding. The convention on torture is *assumed* violated by PenGun and others but they haven't really bothered to go around and do the inconvenient work of actually gathering evidence. It's content-less libel and slander at the present time. From what I can tell, signficant mental and physical discomfort can be applied without it tripping the torture convention and that's covered much more fully in the enabling legislation, legislation that's been around for a few years and never really provoked a lot of outcry up to the present moment.

Not that Dave /m4952 - I guess that the Black Panther party, the Weathermen, the Red Army Faction, and a dozen more organizations that have never been accorded protection were all wrongly denied protection under the convention. Sorry, I don't buy it.

If you have a general determination that the Taliban do not qualify under the Geneva Convention (and we did) you don't have to have a further proceeding that a particular Taliban member qualifies. His membership in the Taliban knocks him right out. Ditto for Al Queda.

Article 2 of the same convention states

Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.

Neither the Taliban nor Al Queda accept or apply the Convention. Once that situation occurs, which organization they are a member of is irrelevant.

PenGun /m4953 - There are two price criticisms of Apple. One is legitimate, the other illegitimate. The legitimate one is that Apple is much more expensive than white box or build it yourself. The illegitimate one is that Apple is more expensive than HP, IBM, or Compaq. All I'm saying is that you should distinguish between the two because if you don't, you'll get lots of useless debate establishing that #2 type objections are illegitimate and not really what you meant.

Mark Childerson /m4955 - The US generally stands by its treaty obligations at least as much as any other country. The idea that wartime releases it unconditionally is simply not correct either as US policy or international law.
4971
Mark Childerson
06-17-2004
02:13 PM ET (US)
Kevin & Hank

With regard to Kyoto, I am not advocating that a country which signed it should violate it. However, I believe that if, say, Canada, does not live up to its commitments (which could easily happen, given the variety of CO2 sources in any country), nobody would have any legal recourse in Canadian courts to enforce it. This is consistent with the rather offhand way in which the previous Canadian government signed up to it.
4970
Kevin Smith
06-17-2004
08:28 AM ET (US)
NTD,

You are incorrect in many ways.

1. "Considering the large number of people incarcerated in Iraq, I imagine there was quite a bit of doubt over their status." The US has said that the Iraqi prisoners *are* subject to the Geneva Conventions. So your premise is wrong. It is the al Qaeda and Taliban who are not. (I happen to believe that even many of the Iraqi combatants are illegal combatants under the law.) Watch your conflation of the Guantanamo prisoners and Iraqi prisoners. Further, your “imagining” that there was doubt as to the prisoners status carries no weight as evidence of such doubt.

2. "People who committ acts of violence and who aren't combatants are criminals and have the right to a fair trial by a regularly constituted court." Not so fast, friend. In war illegal combatants do *not* have this right that you outline. They are not criminals in the conventional sense of the word. They are not entitled by right to trial. Indeed, they may be shot on the spot. You are wrong as a matter of law. But are you setting up a straw man here? Do you really mean to say the prisoners are "not" combatants or that the US is holding common criminals without trial? If so, I am aware of no evidnece of this. Further, why would the GC apply to run-of-the-mill criminals?

3. "It doesn't give you the right to torture and abuse them." Another factual error. This is not US policy. The US condemns abuse and does not torture prisoners. And even the Abu Ghraib "abuses" by rogue prison guards were limited to humiliation and intimidation -- hardly "torture" except to the most frail of mind. See some of Saddam's torture tapes to witness the real thing. Why do you feel it's necessary to expand what happened in a few unsanctioned circumstances in order to indict the US?

4. "It is pretty obvious that the US has violated the Geneva conventions, but whether these violations were random and aberrant or systematic remains to be seen." No it's not so obvious. The US military investigated the allegations when they first arose and is dealing with it under their law. This is not a matter for you and the Geneva Conventions.

5. "[T]he point is they have to be subject to some kind of rule of law not left in a legal black hole ...." The Gitmo prisoners are not in a legal black hole, they are simply not subject to the GC. And they are being treated humanely. I again refer you to Saddam's tapes of torture, the Daniel Pearl tape, and the Nick Berg tape for a little perspective.

6. [US authorities] could have saved themselves from a lot of criticism by establishing some kind of legal framework to govern the holding of these people. " The authorities have done all this. Just because the US says the GC does not apply does not mean there is an absence of a "legal framework." Their conclusion was made *within* a legal framework.

7. "In the absence of any other laws, people look to the Geneva conventions, which are the closest thing." Are you serious? This is tantamount to saying, “In the absence of the applicability of this law, this law shall apply nevertheless.” Why on earth do you think the GC addresses illegal combatants? To fill up space on blank paper? Besides didn't you just say in a privious sentence that you agreed with me that these "quasi-terrorists," etc. should not be treated as ordinary soldiers? Try some consistency.

8. “You are hurting your own cause, which is our cause, which ultimately is western civilization.” So say you. I say we have an opportunity to gather useful intelligence. As far as “our cause being your cause” goes, ask Charles if he agrees.

Besides, I am willing to bet you are against the whole GWOT in the first place, so I doubt that this is “your cause.”
Edited 06-17-2004 08:41 AM
4969
Not that Dave
06-16-2004
11:55 PM ET (US)
kevin smith
 I was pointing out the proper procedure for implementing the Geneva conventions, of which many people to seem to be unaware . Considering the large number of people incarcerated in Iraq, I imagine there was quite a bit of doubt over their status. I don't know of any tribunals operating to classify prisoners, but there may well be.
The convention protects combatants and civilians, so everybody is covered one way or another. People who committ acts of violence and who aren't combatants are criminals and have the right to a fair trial by a regularly constituted court.

It doesn't give you the right to torture and abuse them.

It is pretty obvious that the US has violated the Geneva conventions, but whether these violations were random and aberrant or systematic remains to be seen.

kevin I don't think "quasi-soldiers, quasi-terrorists, quasi-civilian, hiders-behind-women-and-children, civilian killers " should be treated as regular soldiers, either, but the point is they have to be subject to some kind of rule of law not left in a legal black hole. I can see why the administration didn't want to treat them as POWS -they wanted to be able to interrogate them. They could have saved themselves from a lot of criticism by establishing some kind of legal framework to govern the holding of these people. But they didn't even give these people a chance to go before some kind of judge or tribunal and say " Hey it wasn't me, I was just tending my goats"
In the absence of any other laws, people look to the Geneva conventions, which are the closest thing.
More importantly to me, you can't hold the moral high ground and try to weasel your way in and around international laws and treaties at the same time. You are hurting your own cause, which is our cause, which ultimately is western civilization.
4968
Hank
06-16-2004
11:31 PM ET (US)
Mark

Mark

Ref Kyoto

The treaty was signed by the Clinton administration knowing it would never be ratifed.

The Senate voted 95-0 instructions with 4 items. The Senate seldom exercises this privilege, when the do they expect to be listened to. Not one of them is in the treaty. It takes two-thirds vote to ratify a treaty. The expectation that the vote would go from 95-0 to xx-67 is pure imagination. On the other hand this was before the 2000 election and Clinton wanted to gain support from the Green lobby for Gore’s election. They voted for Nader anyway.

The biggest kicker was it would cause, depending on the source, 1 to 5% permanent increase in unemployment. (2-3% from the better sources.) This is Bush’s stated reason for rejecting the treaty. Some quarters are getting a lot of fun by dumping on Bush because he got to make the announcement that the treaty was being killed( he probably would have any way, but if he wanted to have it ratifed he couldn't have done it.) The pro-labor part of the Democratic Party would have been able to muster enough votes to be sure it never passed. But it would have been fun to watch them maneuver to kill it without embarrassing their allies in the Democratic party who support it.
Edited 06-16-2004 11:33 PM
4967
Hank
06-16-2004
11:12 PM ET (US)
Kevin

One of the problems with Kyoto is that the treaty itself does not carry effective enforcement provisions. One could eventually go to The Hague, but that court can’t enforce a decision except by referring it to the Security Council. Which I doubt would act since the most likely violators have a veto or close relations with a country that does.

Otherwise the treaty can only be enforced in each member by the countries own laws. This varies from country to country. In the US this would likely be effective. In some other countries, it would be a waste of time and effort to try.
4966
Hank
06-16-2004
11:01 PM ET (US)
Kevin

I agree.

I was trying to explain various options under US law that some one would have if there rights (from what ever source) were violated.
Edited 06-16-2004 11:01 PM
4965
Kevin Smith
06-16-2004
10:38 PM ET (US)
Hank,

"Some US citizens with alleged Al Queda connections did file a suit, on the basis of US law, which is currently before the Supreme Court."

I am not sure you are right about US citizens suing for violations of the Geneva Conventions. I think they are suing to assert their rights as US citizens, arguing that they cannot be held by the military as unlawful combatants. I think there is a difference. Perhaps someone less lazy than I could see who is right ....

But -- even if I am wrong -- the issue with non-US citizens caught outside the US and held as illegal combatants who are treated as not subject to the Conventions is entirely different. Just wanting (and I am not saying you are) everyone to be subject to the Conventions because it is the nice thing to do is not good enough. Laws exist for a reason, and there is nothing to indicate that it is unreasonable under the current law to treat quasi-soldiers, quasi-terrorists, quasi-civilian, hiders-behind-women-and-children, civilian killers as regular soldiers. (And I am not saying you are arguing to treat them so.)
Edited 06-16-2004 10:55 PM
4964
Hank
06-16-2004
10:15 PM ET (US)
Mark

On topic, it seems like somebody could be suing the US government over whether the Geneva Conventions are being upheld

US law generally takes a more restrictive view of extra-territorial jurisdiction than most of the world.

US Federal courts do not (with a few exceptions) have jurisdiction out side their district or function.

The reason prisoners are being held in Guantanamo is that it is technically Cuban territory on a long-term lease to the United States. There is no Federal District Court that has jurisdiction so there is no place to file a suit. The same for persons held in Iraq. The practice of using Guantanamo for this purpose started with the Clinton administration, Rumsfeld is just extending the practice. I thought this was a dubious idea, even if technically lawful, when Clinton did it, the only thing that can be said for Rumsfeld is that this is not as egregious as Clinton’s practice. If they were being held in the US proper you can be sure that every bored lawyer would be filing an ex parte suit over something or other, on US domestic law..

Possibly, a person subject to the Geneva convention could file a case in the Distict court for Washington DC but I think there would be a mountain of hurdles to be over come. If after June 30 there is an agreement between the US and Iraq over compensation that will trump all other claims for Iraq. I have no doubt we will propose such an agreement, hopefully the Iraqi's reaize how generous we will be to close the issue.

Some US citizens with alleged Al Queda connections did file a suit, on the basis of US law, which is currently before the Supreme Court. The question seems to be how bad the administration will lose. See the links Carters INTEL DUMP off the main FLIT page. He has very good write ups.
Edited 06-16-2004 10:19 PM
4963
Kevin Smith
06-16-2004
10:04 PM ET (US)
"I don't think Canada or the Europeans can be legally forced to live up to its provisions for cutting carbon dioxide, should they fail to do so."

Why not, if they agreed to its provisions? Are you not saying that they are free to break the law? Or is there something in your constitution that I am not aware of? This is one reason for refusing to sign onto Kyoto: to avoid the choice of (1) the shooting oneself in the foot economically or (2) breaking the law.
Edited 06-16-2004 10:10 PM
4962
Kevin Smith
06-16-2004
09:53 PM ET (US)
Mark,

You said, "[I]t seems like somebody could be suing the US government over whether the Geneva Conventions are being upheld, rather than just arguing in the court of public opinion. Are any such suits going on?"

I am no expert, but by "sue the US" perhaps you mean bring charges against the US for war violations under the Conventions. I don't know that anyone is actually trying; however, it would be very difficult, because the US is on pretty solid ground with regard to al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo. I think the whole idea of bringing charges against the US is pure fantasy, really.

Not to mention beside the point.
Edited 06-16-2004 09:59 PM
4961
Xavier Basora
06-16-2004
09:10 PM ET (US)
TM Lutas:
With respect to your question about homosexual coupling in Signapore, the answer is that the society isn't yet ready to accept it. The lack of acceptence has nothing to do with the state, Indeed this highlights that even a dictablanda like Signapore is still constrained by popular mores and the state actors can't innovate societal changes if there's no support for them. I was there last year when the government decided that openly gay functionaries would no longer be booted out of the public administration as their sexual preferences were no longer regarded as a security threat.

The popular reaction was one of unease and a sense of resignation about the decision. It's still a radical departure and the state has to proceed very slowly to allow the population time to adjust.
xavier
4960
Mark Childerson
06-16-2004
04:33 PM ET (US)
Thanks, Kevin. That tells me that any ratified treaty in the US which does not violate the constitution can be enforced through the American courts. It also may give some insight into why the US has refused to ratify Kyoto: I don't think Canada or the Europeans can be legally forced to live up to its provisions for cutting carbon dioxide, should they fail to do so. Certainly EU's experience with the 3% budget deficit limit would indicate that.

On topic, it seems like somebody could be suing the US government over whether the Geneva Conventions are being upheld, rather than just arguing in the court of public opinion. Are any such suits going on?
Edited 06-16-2004 04:35 PM
4959
Kevin Smith
06-16-2004
04:25 PM ET (US)
Not that Dave,

You'll have to do better at constructing a convincing arguement that the United States has violated the Geneva Conventions.

For starters, you said, "Should any doubt arise as to whether persons ... belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."

What makes you think the United States has any doubt?
Edited 06-16-2004 04:32 PM
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