Michelle Malkin has the (illustrated) transcript of President Bush’s speech about the status of CIA-held terrorists. Turns out they’re going to get Geneva Convention treatment. The reason I find this wrong on its face can be found in the President’s speech.

The terrorists who declared war on America belong to no nation, wear no uniform. They operate in the shadows of society.

But that’s precisely who the Geneva Convention is not written to protect! It’s designed to foster the rules of warfare, in that the armies are of a particular, signatory nation, wear an identifiable uniform, and don’t hide among civilians. This is precisely why they shouldn’t get the Geneva treatment. Doing so thusly confers no benefit on those who bother to fight by the agreement. If there’s no personal benefit to fighting in a way that, for example, minimized civilian casualties (e.g. the wearing of identifiable uniforms, not hiding among the populace), there are plenty of terrorists and rogue nations out there that simply won’t do it. For them, there’s no downside. By supposedly being magnanimous now, we’re sacrificing civilians down the road.

Some are suggesting that, because of the Haman case, Bush now need to force Congress’ hand and get them to clarify the rules. I imagine that’s a good idea, though unfortunately it requires Bush to make this awful concession. Congress should have gone to work on this immediately. AllahPundit notes:

He says he’s announcing this now because they’ve finished questioning them and because the Hamdan decision impaired their ability to interrogate terrorists because of the “vague and undefined” dignitary provisions of Article 3. Indeed.

He’s asking Congress to:

1. List specifically which interrogation procedures will violate the War Crimes Act.
2. Make clear that interrogators are authorized under Article 3.
3. Prevent terrorists from using Article 3 to sue interrogators.

All well and good, but the President shouldn’t have been required to force the issue.

UPDATE: A round-up of right-side reaction at “Stop the ACLU”. Lots of folks are looking at this like it’s a put-up-or-shut-up moment for the Democrats. Tell us what’s legal, or what’s illegal, or anything. I’ll agree that the Left enjoys vague standards so they can always say you don’t measure up (or down) to them. This will require them to lay out what they expect, and the President will then live up to that. However, I still don’t like the Geneva precedent.

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Filed under: GovernmentTerrorismWar

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