June 01, 2004
THE GENEVA Conventions are so outdated and are written so broadly that they have become a sword used by terrorists to kill civilians, rather than a shield to protect civilians from terrorists. These international laws have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.
I think that a rethinking of the laws of war is probably in order. The Geneva Conventions have acquired a quasi-mystical status in the minds of some (most of whom haven't actually read them), but they're merely another set of international agreements, and the world has changed rather a lot since they were adopted. In addition, I don't believe that the United States has fought a single war since World War II in which our enemy was honoring the Conventions.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
I wonder how many Americans are like me in learning everything we know about the 'Geneva conventions' from the TV show, Hogan's Heroes. Do you remember how Col. Hogan could reduce the camp commander Col. Klink to a quivering mess by threatening to report him for 'violations to the Geneva conventions?' In retrospect, I doubt they had that much power. Anyhow, I'm wondering if Hogan's Heroes has a great part in the seemingly mystical understanding lots of people have about them?