Monday, March 24, 2003

Times of India on the US and the Geneva Convention

I am quite impressed with the way the Indians are handling the whole war. I would have thought that India would have backed this American endeavor supremely, but that presumption seems to be wrong. Adding to that, the TOI, India's largest English daily, has an insightful commentary on the sudden about face with regards to the United States and its regard for the Geneva Convention. Siddarth Varadarajan writes in yesterdays paper:

"Article 13 of the Third Geneva Convention mandates that war prisoners be protected against "insult and public curiosity". "The showing of these pictures is absolutely unacceptable", declared US Lt Gen John Abizaid in Qatar, condemning al-Jazeera for its POW broadcast. As if on cue, US television networks refrained from showing the images, and at least one major US daily, the Los Angeles Times, immediately withdrew the images from its website.This unofficial censorship extended into cyberspace as well., an anti-war 'guerrilla' webpage, posted photographs of the US POWs only to find its hosting provider shutting down its site for displaying "inappropriate graphic material". Ironically, most US channels and newspapers had no compunctions running images of Iraqi soldiers and combatants surrendering or being held in captivity. Prior to Sunday, the last time Rumsfeld used the words 'Geneva Convention' was when he declared that prisoners taken by the US in Afghanistan would not be accorded the protection of the Conventions. The suspected al-Qaeda captives, he declared, were "unlawful combatants"; and the US had the right to do with them what it wished. On the day the al-Qaeda prisoners were brought to Guantanamo Bay, Amnesty International declared the US in violation of the Geneva Conventions."


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