Terrorists Should Be Treated As Prisoners Of War

2961 words - 12 pages

Terrorism has been affecting the world for many years, but most especially since September 11th. Countless amounts of time and money have been spent; many soldiers and American resources have gone out try to stop the problem, but what happens to the terrorists after they have been captured? A basic level of humane treatment needs to be given to all people even those suspected of or convicted of terroristic offences. Using torture to attempt to find more information is not the most helpful or effective method that could be applied. Although the War on Terrorism is different than any war seen before in history, it is still a war against the United States government and the Geneva Convention needs to protect these war criminals. Those suspected of, or convicted of, terroristic offences should receive the same protections under the Geneva Convention that apply to prisoners of war because they are prisoners of war and their basic human rights need to be respected, torture has been proven to be rarely effective, and their roles, as terrorists, fit into the Geneva Convention criterion.
A terrorist is someone who uses deliberate violent tactics to attack those who they see to be their enemy, mainly official government like organizations. Terrorists all share many characteristics which include, committing violent attacks, creating an atmosphere of fear, wanting publicity and not wanted to conquer, just harm their enemy (Taylor [Page 11]). Two of the most renowned terroristic organizations are the Taliban and al Qaeda. When a terrorist is captured there are two different routes they can take. The first being, taken into civilian courts and being tried in the United States court systems. But leaves them in a “legal limbo” for some time between the trials, in this time they can, not only plan, but commit other offences. The other option would be placing them in the prisoner of war status. The question at hand is whether or not terrorists fit in this criterion.
Before laws for Prisoners of war were created the rules concerning warring nations stated that a nation could do whatever it wanted to do with the people it captured. In the late nineteenth century the first Geneva Convention was held. The Convention, taking place in Switzerland, hosted leaders from countries all over the world to discuss basic outlines, principles and laws for war (Lowry). What is a prisoner of war? The Geneva Convention defines it as, “Any person captured or interned by a belligerent power during war. In the strictest sense it is applied only to members of regularly organized armed forces, but by broader definition it has also included guerrillas, civilians who take up arms against an enemy openly, or noncombatants associated with a military force.” ("Prisoners of War and Detainees"). In short, it is an enemy solider captured in a time of war that is released after conflict is resolved. If a member of the armed forces is charged with this offence they are provided with humane...

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