Monday, October 02, 2006

Regarding the Torture Bill

I found this via PZ Meyers at Pharyngula and agree completely. Advice to soldiers ordered to violate the Geneva Conventions.

Here is an excerpt, I strongly suggest reading the whole post.
Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is straightforward and clear. Under Article VI of the Constitution, it forms part of the supreme law of the land.

You personally will be held responsible for all of your actions, in all countries, at all times and places, for the rest of your life. “I was only following orders” is not a defense.

What all this is leading to:

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, it is your duty to disobey that order. No “clarification,” whether passed by Congress or signed by the president, relieves you of that duty.

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, this is what to do:

1. Request that your superior put the order in writing.

2. If your superior puts the order in writing, inform your superior that you intend to disobey that order.

3. Request trial by courtmartial.

You will almost certainly face disciplinary action, harassment of various kinds, loss of pay, loss of liberty, discomfort and indignity. America relies on you and your courage to face those challenges.

A case of one soldier or special forces operator refusing an order to torture, take hostages, or otherwise violate the Geneva Conventions or the Constitution would be the single best test case issue there is. I am certain that there are constitutional law attorneys that would stage a round robin boxing tournament for the priviledge of representing you.

Crossposted at 3B's


Blogger pissed off patricia said...

I'm not sure how the Supremes will come down on this. That's frightening.

5:04 AM  
Blogger Pogo said...

It is indeed frightening that we don't know how a 60's soul group (just kidding Pop) will rule on whether an act of congress that may supercede the obligations undertaken by the US under the GC pursuant to Art. VI. The question is whther a signatory can "clarify" an international convention by an act of its congress. Of course nothing outside his own mind is clear to Dumya.

8:48 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

One thing that this takes into account is that the first tests of these cases would be under UCMJ. Were they Marines or SEALS then both sides of the case would be argued, the judges panel staffed by Navy JAG Corps members who have already gone on record as a Corps against this very situation. The jury in a case like this would be comprised of combat line officers (who else, really would be able to judge?) By the time it reached the civilian courts (and maybe Gonzales is arrogant and stupid enough to appeal it that far) the precedent would be near to overwhelming, even for this current bunch of Supremes. They'd be in a position of having to declare "every legal mind in the system but mine is fucked." That's why I think that the challenge to this would be best if it came from the actions of an honorable soldier or sailor in the field. I chose Navy men to cite my example on account of my bein' a squid.

9:01 AM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

I just read your comment over at MM and I wanted to share something with you. My father was a world class abusive alcoholic. I saw him so freakin' drunk that he didn't even recognize his own family. Even in the worst of times, he never did anything unusual for him.
Sure when he was drunk he was meaner and louder, but his personality didn't change the way they are trying to say Foley's did.

I find it interesting that everyone they have talked to never once saw him drink too much. I think that the alcoholism is a crock, in his case.

I agree with you also that thoes who kept this a secret should be considered just as guilty as he is. With their silence they left the door open for some kid to get into serious trouble. I read the AIM messages and adults don't share that kind of info with kids unless they have more on their mind. Normal, sane adults don't.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Pogo said...

mb, I'm not that concerned with precedent below,,As far as I know (and I haven't researched it) this would be a matter of first impression and I predict a "party line" vote.

1:55 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

a case where a soldier, sailor, or marine refused and order and requested court martial would be taken very seriously by the military. they would jealously guard their turf. there are even some existing precedents from the civil war (there were officers that refused to execute civilians in new orleans under the occupation force of butler and another group of officers that refused to take hostages in missouri to deal with the confederate guerillas) the spanish american war (a navy ship's captain refused to allow violent "interrogations" on his ship) the phillipine insurrection (arthur macarthur was about to execute an entire marine company for wiping out and burning a village as a reprisal for a sniper attack). i almost trust the military justice system more than i would trust the civilian courts on this matter. i also still maintain that if this were the test case it probably would not get very far out of the military system.

PoP: it is truly disgusting the way this is playing out. now they are into saying that they remained silent because they did not want to appear like "gay bashers." such vile shit. i almost hope this drags out a little longer. that they clutch and hold on to power and keep trying new and different stories and spins. it will only expose them further for the bastards that they are. my first cousin is a gay man in a committed long term relationship and he has been the designated care person for my children for years. not because he's gay, but because he's good.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Liz Blondsense said...

That is such interesting information and thank you. I am wondering if I should send it to my friend who is currently in Iraq. But I don't want him to get into trouble. He has enough dodging bullets and bombs every single day.

8:12 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

I have sent this along to some young men that I know who are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of them is a military policeman in Mosul. I have told them that yes, there would be immediate consequences that are dire. I believe that in the end, regardless of the consequences from the legal system, there would not be the death penalty, there would not be the risk to life and limb. I sincerely believe that there are many lawyers in the military who are appalled at this policy and would relish an opportunity to discredit it on a constitutional level. The immediate consequence of taking action like this is that the bombs and bullets would cease. I don't know. I finish all my advice sessions with "follow your heart." I also tell them that I refuse to second guess or judge any decision that they make. If they follow my advice I support them and pray for their success. I do the exact same if they don't. p.s. thanks for stopping by and dropping the comment. i love Blondesense.

9:06 AM  

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