Torture: Point - Counterpoint
Some professor writes in defense of the administration’s claims that the Geneva convention does not apply to Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters.
Counterpoint is provided by some hyperventilating leftist called Michael Froomkin. Although his critique is a little breathless, it provides good counter-arguments.
On point in particular:
Point: The Geneva Conventions do not apply to “illegal combatants” because “It applies only to conflicts between its signatory nations. Al Qaeda is not a nation; it has not signed the convention” [...] “Although the convention applies to the Afghanistan conflict, the Taliban militia lost its right to prisoner-of-war status because it did not wear uniforms, did not operate under responsible commanders and systematically violated the laws of war.
Counterpoint: “Al Qaeda is not a country. It cannot sign the Geneva conventions. But its fighters often are citizens of signatory countries, or are fighting on behalf of signatory countries.” [...] “To the extent that particular fighters violated their rights to POW status by, for example, not wearing uniforms, our obligation under those same conventions is to treat them as POWs until we give them a hearing.”
One point worth emphasizing here is that the Geneva Conventions require that persons whose status as a POW is unclear be given a hearing to determine their status. Persons found not to be POWs nonetheless have a variety of rights as run-of-the-mill civilian detainees