Prisoners Of War Essay

1458 words - 6 pages

Prisoners of War

The United States angers terrorists and other foreigners on a daily basis, but we find it hard to understand why. Examples abound and most often relate to ignorant decisions on behalf of the government concerning the welfare of these foreigners. The situation on the island of Cuba at the Naval Station of Guantánamo Bay has grown out of hand. Here, the U.S. holds the prisoners that it has captured as part of its war on terrorism in a camp. They hold ver 600 men there without contact with their home countries or families and without the legal consultation of a lawyer. President Bush classifies these prisoners as “enemy combatants” and the U.S. says that for this reason they can withhold their rights unlike a normal prisoner in the case of wars (Jost).

During an election year such as the current one, cases such as these must be taken into consideration before electing or maintaining a leader that might choose to find ways to bend the rules on human rights. The detainees of Guantánamo Bay have their rights as prisoners of war denied and the U.S. does not define them as such. Much evidence to suggest otherwise includes the type of enemies included in the detainees and the international laws suggested in the Geneva Conventions. The U.S. has done nothing illegal based upon the international laws that it has adopted. However, one rends to question whether the laws adopted or not adopted by the U.S. rightfully define the prisoners based upon what has been laid out by the founding fathers of America. We can hardly assume that they do.

Before anyone can make judgments upon the rights of the detainees, it must first be decided upon what these men can and cannot be considered. The men held at Guantánamo Bay can easily be defined as guerrilla war fighters by looking no further than an ordinary encyclopedia, “member of an irregular military force fighting small-scale, limited actions, in concert with an overall political-military strategy, against conventional military forces. Guerrilla tactics involve constantly shifting attack operations and include the use of sabotage and terrorism” (Guerilla). Terrorism and unconventional fighting tactics brought these men into detainment, thus they fit the definition of a guerilla. However, it remains a question why this becomes important to their rights. On June 8, 1977 an international conference sponsored by the Red Cross extended the rights of the Geneva Convention and the definition of prisoner of war to “guerilla combatants fighting wars of self-determination” and thus the detainees should be covered under those Conventions (Geneva Convention).

The Geneva Convention allows the detainees classification as prisoners of war and according to the actual articles of the convention, the prisoners should be able to send letters and cards home to their families (Article 71) as well as receive lawyers (Article 77) to provide them with legal advice during their interrogation and...

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