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The Geneva Condescension

In the news today, the Catholic church condemned the treatment of Saddam Hussein by his U.S. captors, stating that showing the video of his medical examination was humiliating and degrading and in violation of the Geneva convention.

I'm of a mixed mind here.

First of all, the source of this statement sends me into fits of laughter. I mean, here is this evil tyrant, being shown on video so that the world (and in particular the Iraqi people) know that he's really been caught, and the Catholics are trying to protect his rights? Well, then again, they're in the habit of glossing over reprehensible behavior, aren't they? Maybe they can petition the Vatican to have Saddam Hussein re-assigned to another parish.

But--and those of you who know me know how painful this is to say--they're right.

Ouch. That hurt.

Broadcasting video of a prisoner of war is a direct violation of the Geneva convention.

Now that I've said that, let's get down to the truth, shall we?

The Geneva Convention is bullshit.

Yup, that's right. You heard me. It's bullshit.

Now listen a little while longer, kiddies, and I'll explain: The United States, while paying lip service to this fifty-plus year old agreement, has violated and ignored its terms at will for the last . . .oh, say fifty-plus years.

Here are a few articles that come to mind:

--Ammunition larger than 7.62 mm is prohibited as anti-personnel armament. Cobra gunships have twenty (that's 20.00)mm cannons as armament. They are routinely used against enemy soldiers under the disguise of anti-tank weapons. That's a bullet almost four times the size of that fired by an M-16 assault rifle.

Four. Times. The Size.

--No chemical weapons. We carry them everywhere. We have chemical grenades. (White phosphorous, which will burn through an engine block in three second flat.) We have artillery shells. The U.S. is the holder of more chemical munitions than any county on earth.

--The treatment of non-combatants in a combat zone: Let's not even talk about Vietnam today, okay?

The fact of the matter is, the Geneva Convention is to the United States what California is to the rest of us: A nice place to visit, but . . .

So, while the Geneva convention is a wonderful document giving humanity to a preoccupation that is anything but humane, it doesn't make a whit of difference. The biggest player in the game says the rules only matter when prosecuting other countries' war criminals, not our own. So, we show Saddam while we prosecute Iraqi's for showing tapes of downed pilots.

Saddam Hussein is a monster. This is true.

But so are we.

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of The Abyss.

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