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2006-07-22 Regulating Warfare

I think what the world needs, is an agreement on asymmetric warfare. The past has shown that the world cannot agree on a definition of “terrorism”, and I think that makes sense. Usually the others are terrorists, if they are:

  1. worse than criminals (simple murder is not enough, current favorites are bombing civilians)
  2. not on our side (if we bomb civilians, we’re not terrorists)
  3. and not a regular army

That’s why so-called civilized countries like the USA and Israel don’t feel the need to adhere to either of two well-known and regulated options of conflict resolution:

  1. court (including the law)
  2. war (including the Geneva Conventions)

Personally, I’d like to see terrorists treated like either common criminals, to be put on trial, with evidence being sought against them, a defense being arranged for them, and so on. That’s what all prisoners in the American concentration camps deserve, if you ask me (Guantánamo, and others, should there be more, as some people suspect).

Why not treat terrorists like soldiers in a war? The first problem with calling the fight against various organisations a single “war” is that it will never end. Like the “war on drugs” or a “war on crime” – the concept is silly. A war between two nations involves a command structure and a government. Once it surrenders, the troops surrender, a peace treaty is negotiated, and the prisoners of war are released.

If the various organisations don’t recognize a single “government”, then you can never knock out the “government” – you can never win unless you imprison every single one of them.

Actually, that’s just how crime fighting works: You imprison every single one of them. And you also give them a fair trial. Sounds good to me.

And even if you did win a war against terrorrism, you wouldn’t want to release the prisoners. You’d want to put them to try them for war crimes and crimes against humanity (if they didn’t commit any, how can they be terrorists?) So you want to put them to (a fair!) trial anyway.

The current situation, were the existence of an organisation can serve as the pretext to bombing ports, airports, bridges, and buildings is just not acceptable. Similarly, detention for indefinite lengths of time, cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners, neither providing them the protection of the Geneva Conventions nor civil rights – that too, is not acceptable.

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Uri Avnery schreibt in TelePolis auch über das Problem:

Krieg” ist eine bestimmte Situation, die vom internationalen Recht reguliert wird. Er findet zwischen Feinden statt, die gezwungen sind, einige Grundregeln zu beachten. Aber die israelische Regierung erklärt, dass sie nicht einem Feind gegenübersteht, der Rechte hat, sondern “Terroristen”, “Kriminellen” und “Banden”. Und die haben natürlich keine Rechte. [1]

Natürlich habe eigentlich Terroristen, Kriminelle und Banden in einem Rechtstaat auch Rechte. Erst in der Kombination eines “Krieges” gegen “Terroristen” wird plötzlich auf alles Verzichtet, was zu einer zivilisierten Kultur gehört: Die Genfer Konventionen gelten nicht, aber das zivile Recht gilt genausowenig.

Himmeltraurig.

AlexSchroeder 2006-07-26 19:09 UTC


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