Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Nov 25, 2009.
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And the piling on begins....
I have stated in the past that I consider torture to be both morally wrong and inefficient.
Big Boys Games, Big boy's Rules: spooks, by the nature of their profession, must be extremely pragmatic and results driven. And short of having a couple of spooks actually in the cell with the bad guy and physically preventing the Pakistanis from getting Medieval on him, there is very little our lot could have done to stop the torture even had they been so inclined.
At the end of the day, the priority of the Security and Intelligence services must be to protect the British people, not the rights of terrorists. And if that means acting on intelligence that was gained by another agency with, shall we say, a more "muscular" attitude towards interrogation, I'm not going to lose too much sleep over it.
there must also be a clear line between the way intelligence services and regular military forces operate and the applicable rules (I grant you there is a gray intersection where SF are borrowed by the spooks). By the nature of their primary function to close with and destroy the enemy (lawful combatants) through fire and maneuver, military forces must have clear, easily understood rules to live, fight and die by since they must work in very adverse circumstances and in the inevitable "fog of war."
Intelligence service personnel work in different contexts and under different legal constraints. The US learned this the hard way in Vietnam with numerous ill-advised and now infamous programs and organizations (Phoenix, PRU etc.) where these lines were crossed and confused. I hope we do not repeat the same mistakes in the future.
I would rather a terrorist had his rights violated every time, than we suffer at his mates hands,these people knew the risks when they took up arms against us.They are not combatants in the true sense of the word so the Geneva convention does not apply.
As werewolf says Big Boys Games, Big boy's Rules.
Not true-the POW Convention does not apply but the Geneva Convention on Civilians, Common Article 3 and Protocols I and II do apply. I understand the feelings involved but Big Boys Rules are clear that there can be no summary executions. To advocate otherwise only means some squaddie who falls for such "reasoning" will pay for it in the harsh light of a court room.
I stand corrected.
Yeah yeah we're guilty. Now go and accuse Russia for killing that lawyer a couple of weeks ago. China for killing.......................the list is endless. Got a country for each letter of the alphabet.
How come they always get stuck on us!
WE ARE SUCH AN EASY TARGET.
I know how you feel! A lot of these "rights" groups are rather selective in their outrage at times.
Because the response from Russia or China would be, at best, "Jog on!". At worst, if they made too much of a nuisance of themselves, they might end up drinking some glow-in-the-dark tea...
Why are we getting torqued because someone put the screws to these naughty little jihadi's? He's clearly a reprehensible piece of human detritus or he wouldn't be doing life for terrorism offences......
As was uttered in a recent radio programme - " I hope that they (bad guys) are as kind to us as our lawyers are to them" Sums it up really for me.
I take your point AL but as so many nowadays in the US say so irritatingly, "it is what it is." I realize there is nothing in what the terrorists do that warrants tender care on our part but we have to maintain the high ground for many reasons.
First, it is the law. If we get in the business of choosing which ones we will obey at any given moment then we will have anarchy. This is doubly true in any credible military unit that you or I would want to be associated with. Indeed that is the core of discipline.
It is not our role as military professionals to pick and choose the convenient bits and ignore the rest of the law (both our own national laws and the law of war). If we disagree with that then our choice is to resign. If we do not like the way the law is, then there are legitimate ways to try to get it changed but until then, the law is the law.
For those who will argue that the "war on terror" does not fit the law and as such we create it as we go, that may be true in some particular details (for example do we really have to pay a daily wage to detainees if they are POWs like the Geneva POW Convention requires?), but the kinds of things that are the subject of this thread are not really open to debate. Killing or abusing detainees wantonly and without benefit of at least basic human rights is clearly forbidden.
Another way to look at this might be to consider the results if our forces did as some ARRSErs seem to be suggesting. Just how long do you think our respective citizens will tolerate, much less support, we in the military if they are treated to a daily ration of media coverage depicting summary executions or other harsh treatment of those we capture etc.? I also believe that even we in the forces, and yes even in whatever elite unit known for its combat toughness you want to pick, will see the quite negative effects of such behavior in the ranks and it will not be long before we would be quite ashamed of our associations with the military.
Another horrible effect would be the erosion of discipline and long term trauma inflicted on our troops (and yes even the most hardened or "elite" among us). If we think the current crisis of PTSD is bad now, imagine what it will be like if we condone murder and brutality.
Furthermore, if we are at all serious about "winning" in Afghanistan or any other "irregular" conflict (COIN.CT etc.), then we have to understand that one of the fundamental pillars of this type warfare is that our enemy will seek to level the "playing field" to compensate for their lack of actual combat power when compared to ours by effective use of propaganda. In fact, I believe this aspect of the doctrine of insurgents/terrorists is one that provides tremendous leverage against us even if we are scrupulous in our efforts to minimize incidents that they can use against us.
Just look at the effects of the recent attack on the tanker trucks in Afghanistan by the Germans. There, it appears NATO may have been "suckered into" that attack by the enemy who will readily use noncombatants as "bait" to prompt an attack that can then be used against us. As in that case and others, the effects on our warfighting can be significant. ROEs are tightened even further, commanders become more tentative, scarce resources are used to investigate etc., and perhaps most important strategically, the political and popular support for the campaign is weakened at home and among our allies.
The US experienced much of this in Vietnam where we were eventually defeated not so much on the battlefield as we were on the streets of America and at the round negotiating table in Paris. This formula has not been lost on our current enemies and they are using it only too well now in Afghanistan.
If we really want to have this end "well" in the sense that our tremendous sacrifices thus far are not in vain, then we simply cannot give in to frustration or emotion as to how we conduct ourselves in operations. If we do, we will have only ourselves to blame in the fallout.
I don't think anyone here is seriously suggesting that we indiscriminately torture or kill suspected terrorists. In any case, torture was long ago proven to be an inefficient method of obtaining information.
That said, I have no problem with targetted assassasination of known terrorists. Nor will I shed tears if suspects are bagged, put in stress positions etc.
I remember reading about the KGB's response to the kidnapping of Soviet diplomatic personel in the Middle East; after identifying the leader of the group responsible for the kidnap, Spetznaz snatched his brother. Then sent him back. In pieces.
Attached to the various body parts was a note, informing the ragheads that, should the two hostages not be released, this was only the beginning. The Ivans were released 24 hours later.
Unfortunately, there are some times when the only way to deal with certain types of people is to be even nastier than they are. Any type of civilised restraint will be seen as weakness.
Under prevailing international and at least in the US, domestic law, the targeted killing by lawful combatants (US and UK snipers for example) of combatants (lawful or unlawful) is NOT assassination. US Legal Memo on Targeted Killing
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