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July 03, 2006

Comments

Sen McConnell: And this means that American servicemen potentially could be accused of war crimes.

This is perhaps my favorite of all the arguments that genuinely disgust me at every level of my being: the problem isn't that American servicemen might be committing war crimes, it's that they could potentially be accused of them. This is well beyond American Exceptionalism and into outright American Solipsism; and every time I hear it, I feel a part of our national ideals die.

"SEN. McCONNELL:...I don’t think we’re going to pass something that’s going to have our military servicemen subject to some kind of international rules.

SEN. SCHUMER: Of course not."

WTF?

WTF do these people think the Geneva Conventions are?


And Schumer's supposed to be a Democrat! Has he gone insane?

Since when do we demand the right to be war criminals?

Gary: They don't demand the right to be war criminals, they just demand that they never be accused of such a thing.

Jokes aside, that's one of the most appaling signs of your government's international attitude. No one deserves to be above scrutiny in matters of war crimes, and it's something seriously wrong when they demand it. I honestly can't understand how your government is still in power, but I don't doubt that other governments, like France's, for instance, couldn't mobilise enough "patriotism" to defend similarly atrocious doctrines.

Sometimes I wish more people on sites like this, or people in the Democratic party in the US, for instance, would dare to call nationalism for the evil it is. I don't see it happening, though, people are too afraid to be marginalised.

"GRAHAM: Well, Congress has the ability to restrict the application of Common Article III to terrorists....They're not part of the convention."

Um, that's just a lie. At least under the majority's interpretation, which is what any legislation is going to deal with, the common article applies to everyone, no matter whether they are signatories or not. That's why it's a common article.

Sometimes I wish more people on sites like this, or people in the Democratic party in the US, for instance, would dare to call nationalism for the evil it is

i'd bet that most Americans don't know the difference between the words "nationalism" and "patriotism". and many who defend America, 'Right or Wrong', wouldn't see that as nationalism - they call it 'patriotism' and accuse their critics of "hating America".

yes, it's an evil - but it's one that's very very difficult to fight.

Ginger Yellow, the opinion disagrees with your explanation of the meaning of "common":

Article 3, often referred to as Common Article 3 because, like Article 2, it appears in all four Geneva Conventions, ...

"So. What are we going to do about it? (That's not a rhetorical question.)"

Help and support military lawyers & JAG,? Send letters and emails to midlevel State and Defense bureaucrats? Help NGO's etc with an interest in the outcome? Send clippings to Congress about European reaction to SWIFT, indicating that the situation may be changing from disapproval to direct consequences?

Set up a Geneva, Hague, & Torture WIKI, with precedents like Eisentrager explained?

"Sometimes I wish more people on sites like this, or people in the Democratic party in the US, for instance, would dare to call nationalism for the evil it is."

I don't think nationalism, per se, is evil. I think constrained, limited, sensible, nationalism, consisting of loving one's countries, and the genuinely admirable ideals of one's country, perhaps mixed with rooting for one's sports teams, and loving the mountains and plains and landscapes of one's country, and its national flower and famous music and culture and what-have-you, is just fine.

It's only out-of-control, insane, nationalism, of the sort that consists of considering others as sub-human untermenschen, or that one's culture is so wonderful that everyone else must be forced to adopt it, or that there's little other admirable culture in the world beyond one's own, or that sort of insanity, that's evil.

But that's hardly all we mean by "nationalism." In my view.

"No one deserves to be above scrutiny in matters of war crimes, and it's something seriously wrong when they demand it."

But, yes, that was my point, and the notion that we shouldn't be constrained by the Geneva Conventions, for whatever reason, is horrifying, and I'm utterly appalled that someone with Schumer's history would so blithely toss off such a remark. I'm sure that many of his NYC constituents, for one, won't remotely agree, or if made familiar with it, take such an attitude lightly.

But that he, of all people, who represents the state with the most cosmopolitian city in the nation, could say such a thing truly shocks and deeply distresses me. (Not that he hasn't been a shmuck plenty of times before, but he's also done a fair amount of good things, as well.)

I think constrained, limited, sensible, nationalism, consisting of loving one's countries, and the genuinely admirable ideals of one's country, perhaps mixed with rooting for one's sports teams, and loving the mountains and plains and landscapes of one's country, and its national flower and famous music and culture and what-have-you, is just fine.

We have a word for that. It's 'patriotism.'

No, I think you're wrong. Oh, there's nothing wrong with appreciating a beautiful scenery, or a sensible consitution, but it's meaningless to be proud of them, which it usually turns into.

As for sports teams, you only need to look at english football supporters. Now you may say that like there is a sensible, decent nationalism, so there are sensible, decent sports fans, but it seems to me that they are the exception, not the rule. Can anyone explain to me why I should prefer "my" football team to everyone else's? Unlike the state I'm living in, I'm not even part of the football team. I can take even less credit for what they do - and at best that is a nice display of skill - than I can for the consititution.

In Ibsen's Peer Gynt there is a funeral scene, where the priest holds a speech for an unpopular farmer, who cut off his thumb to avoid millitary service. That fictional character had the right attitude to nationalism, in my opinion:
"To him seemed meaningless as cymbals' tinkling
those words that to the heart should ring like steel.
His race, his fatherland, all things high and shining,
stood ever, to his vision, veiled in mist."

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