Hypocrisy of the Geneva Convention

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 2, 2016

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Full transcript available Inside the Diner

geneva_conventionsRecent events such as a variety of War Atrocities being committed by just about everybody on all sides of the ongoing wars, as well as the calamitous mishandling of the European Refugee  crisis led me to do some investigation and RANT on a hallowed idea/ set of protocols, the Geneva Conventions.  There are 4 of them, covering Land Soldiers, Sailors, Prisoners of War and Civilians caught in a War Zone.

Although the Geneva Conventions have been around in one form or another since 1864, they never have done a whole heck of a lot of good in any real war zone.  In a war zone, nobody studies rule books on "civilized behavior", and whether it was the Concentration Camps of WWII or the Tiger Cages or Vietnam Prison Camps or GITMO, just about nobody ever follows this rule book during wartime.

Nevertheless, the Geneva Conventions are trotted out for Propaganda purposes every time you get a decent size war going, with the attendant "Humanitarian Crisis".  The HCs are then trotted out as justification for another type of military intervention, "R2P", or "Responsibility to Protect".  In most of these cases, what is being Protected here are not the lives of the innocent, but rather the property and infrastructure of Multi-national Corporations.  Protecting the civilians is just a sideshow and cover story.

In the rant, I LOL at what some might think are "innapropriate" moments, like the mass tragedy of refugees stranded at borders or children stuck in War Zones.  For myself, I can only laugh or cry when confronted with these events, Tragedy & Comedy are flip sides of the same coin as Shakespeare well knew.

It is a horrific situation already, and the likelihood here is it is only going to get more horrific moving forward.  It is all so absurd to me at this point now that I can only laugh at it anymore.  If I let the tears overwhelm me, I would lapse into an uncontrolled spiral of depression.  It is so sad, so very sad what is going on right now and what lies in the future for Homo Sap.  To keep my spirits up, I laugh in the face of death.  Still though, I cry on the inside always.

Anyhow, most of us have heard "Geneva Convention" yanked out by the MSM and Politicians either to prosecute someone they don't like on the "bad guy" side of a war or to justify a military intervention, but most of us haven't actually read the rule book.  We just know that it's supposed to protect people in war zones, both soldiers and civilians.  Unfortunately for all the dead people in the war zone, the Geneva Conventions didn't do them any good and it's doubtful that these documents stopped many atrocities from occuring either.  However, you may want to read them for yourself, so here is the pdf outline issued out by the International Red Cross:

Basic Rules of the Geneva Conventions

There are many problems with these rules I covered in the rant, particularly selective enforcement of the rules and who the rules actually apply to.  The "Right to Asylum" is perhaps most in the news these days with the Refugee Crisis ongoing in Europe.  However, if some "Authority" decides your country isn't really at war, you are designated an "economic migrant" and you get no right to asylum.  What if there are riots in the streets and daily violence in your neighborhood though?  What if there are gangs of armed men terrorizing the population?  At what point is this violence sufficient to be considered a "war zone"?

The right to asylum also doesn't specify who is supposed to give the asylum, it doesn't address the problem of millions of people fleeing war zones and countries they flee to not having the economic means to support them.  At some point these countries start shutting their borders, and then how does someone who has the right to asylum exercise this right?

I'm not the only one to question the effectiveness of the Geneva Conventions, it has been called into question as well by academics researching the problem. From the Washington Post:

You might think the Geneva Conventions protect civilians, or that the Red Cross does. Think again.

…As part of a project on civilian victimization in civil wars, we looked to see whether the signatory states held up their commitment to spare the innocents who were not fighting. We conducted an empirical analysis for the years from 1989 to 2004 for 72 countries based on data on the number of civilian victims in civil wars. Information about the state parties’ year of ratification to the treaties related to international humanitarian law and the ICRC’s on-site presence and activities were extracted from the ICRC’s website and the ICRC annual reports.

Unfortunately, what we found suggests that international humanitarian law is of doubtful effectiveness—and that the ICRC is failing as a watchdog for international humanitarian law….

It is truly a Wicked Problem.

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