Violent Islamist extremists must be killed on the battlefield. Only in the rarest cases should they be taken prisoner. Few have serious intelligence value. And, once captured, there's no way to dispose of them.
Killing terrorists during a conflict isn't barbaric or immoral - or even illegal. We've imposed rules upon ourselves that have no historical or judicial precedent. We haven't been stymied by others, but by ourselves.
The oft-cited, seldom-read Geneva and Hague Conventions define legal combatants as those who visibly identify themselves by wearing uniforms or distinguishing insignia (the latter provision covers honorable partisans - but no badges or armbands, no protection). Those who wear civilian clothes to ambush soldiers or collect intelligence are assassins and spies - beyond the pale of law.
Traditionally, those who masquerade as civilians in order to kill legal combatants have been executed promptly, without trial. Severity, not sloppy leftist pandering, kept warfare within some decent bounds at least part of the time. But we have reached a point at which the rules apply only to us, while our enemies are permitted unrestricted freedom.
The present situation encourages our enemies to behave wantonly, while crippling our attempts to deal with terror.
Consider today's norm: A terrorist in civilian clothes can explode an IED, killing and maiming American troops or innocent civilians, then demand humane treatment if captured - and the media will step in as his champion. A disguised insurgent can shoot his rockets, throw his grenades, empty his magazines, kill and wound our troops, then, out of ammo, raise his hands and demand three hots and a cot while he invents tales of abuse.
Conferring unprecedented legal status upon these murderous transnational outlaws is unnecessary, unwise and ultimately suicidal. It exalts monsters. And it provides the anti-American pack with living vermin to anoint as victims, if not heroes.
Isn't it time we gave our critics what they're asking for? Let's solve the "unjust" imprisonment problem, once and for all. No more Guantanamos! Every terrorist mission should be a suicide mission. With our help.
The Geneva Convention had two intentions in mind. The first and foremost intention is the protection of innocent civilians in areas of conflict. This intention is achieved by differentiating combatants from civilians based on dress code and uniform. An enemy combatant masquerading as a civilian would put the lives of all nearby civilians at risks, thus is not protected by the Geneva Convention. The terrorists clearly fall outside of the Geneva Convention based on this criteria alone.
Secondly, the Geneva Convention seeks to protect legal combatants taken as prisoners of war. This is achieved primarily based on good faith, that "I will take care of your captured legal combatants and you will do similar with mine." The terrorists' regular execution of captured, both civilians and legal combatants, have demonstrated that there can be no good faith in this regard. If our captured are to be executed, we should consider the same.
Of note is that there is no room to put on trial enemy combatants captured. If they are illegal combatants, they could be executed without trials. If they are captured as prisoner of war and good faith is maintained, then there is no room for a "show trial" of any sort. If there is no good faith, then the Geneva Convention does not apply and a trial is not necessary.
Also at WILLisms