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Add Oliver North to the List of FOX Anchors Eager for Harsh Treatment of Prisoners

Reported by Ellen - March 12, 2005

Less than a week after John Gibson announced he was "glad" the US is transferring prisoners of war to countries that allow torture, Oliver North visited Alan Colmes' FOX News radio program and complained about the "activist judges" on the US Supreme Court who ruled that prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are subject to US law and therefore entitled to challenge their detentions.

Fresh from a stint as a substitute Hannity, North proved he wore the mantle well. He called the prisoners, none of whom have been adjudged guilty, "murderous people" and "practiced terrorists."

When Colmes pointed out that the move seems a deliberate attempt by the Pentagon to escape US laws, North dodged the question and said "It just shows you how activist these courts are today." Then he launched into an anecdote about World War II. "In 1945 and 1946, the Supreme Court of the United States - in every one of those cases of German saboteurs (they) were brought in and given military tribunals... they were all executed except for the last two... but every one of those others were executed and they all appealed to the same judges, the same way as these guys. It just shows you how much things have changed."

Comment: But I'll bet those saboteurs were tried and convicted, a privilege the Guantanamo Bay prisoners have not received.

North went on to say that the Geneva Conventions "really are outdated." Colmes responded that the conventions protect US POW's. North said, "American prisoners of war have never been treated, ever by any adversary, in accord with the Geneva Conventions."

Maybe not in complete accord but according to the Columbia Encyclopedia, US soldiers were treated better because of them:

With minor and inevitable exceptions on the lower levels, the United States and Great Britain generally honored the Geneva Convention throughout the conflict. Japan at first committed such atrocities as the "death march of Bataan," but began to abide by the rules after a sufficient number of Japanese prisoners had fallen into Allied hands to make reprisals possible. Germany did not treat all its prisoners alike. Americans and British subjects received the best treatment, Polish prisoners the worst. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Edition 6, 2000 p31379 prisoners of war.

According to the US Army, adhering to the laws of war (as signators to the Geneva Conventions, it's our law) not only protects Americans, it gives us greater authority. From an article about using civilian combatants on the battlefield:

A nation's conduct in war speaks volumes of its collective character. This conduct is judged, in large measure, by its adherence to the law of war. Our military leaders should not condone operational tactics that trump the law of war. When we use unlawful combatants on the battlefield, regardless of the perceived tactical advantage to be gained, we abandon the rule of law and place U.S. civilian personnel in jeopardy. Moreover, with this abandonment, we lose legal as well as moral authority. The result is a profound and unmistakable loss of U.S. leadership within the community of nations.

Military Review, Sept-Oct 2004 v84 i5 p17(9)
The law of war and civilians on the battlefield: are we undermining civilian protections? (Civilians on the Battlefield) Mark David Maxwell.


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