The perpetrators of the gutting of Common Article 3 would have us believe it deals only with torture and that by defining that atrocity, they preserved the Geneva Conventions and America's adherence to them. Bunk on all counts. Here is Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions [emphasis mine]:
Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions: (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons: (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (b) taking of hostages; (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
Just to be clear; 'cruel treatment and torture' are but part of what is prohibited. Also included, as I have noted before are 'outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment,' which should cover all 'rough' interrogation techniques that fall short of the Congress's definition of torture. It also seems patently clear that these special military commissions and the denial of habeas corpus fall well short of the injunction in (d), mandating that prisoners be tried 'by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensible by civilized peoples."
"Civilized peoples,' indeed. Our fearless incompetent leaders have removed us from that company.
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