Monday, May 03, 2004

Josh Marshall hits the nail on the head: An article out from the Associated Press says that the half-dozen soldiers facing courts-martial for torturing prisoners in Iraq "did not receive in-depth training on the Geneva Conventions." That was the message from an Army spokeswoman in Iraq and it's apparently echoed by at least one of the accused's lawyer.

A question: Can this possibly matter? Perhaps as a fine point of law this would be relevant in court-martial proceeding. And the tolerance or intolerance of these soldiers' commanding officers for this behavior is relevant. But surely no formal training in the Geneva Convention guidelines should be needed to warn people off these sorts of outrages.

Indeed. It is always interesting to see how conservative and libertarian ideals of "freedom from government" collide with the reality of man's inhumanity to man. You know, in philosophy, I agree with a lot of conservative bullshit about how the government sucks. But you know, lack of government at all sucks too. Sure both work in favor of the powerful, but at least with "government" as defined in the US you're not AS subject to the whims of feudal lords. Sure paying taxes sucks, but what the fuck, you gotta find some way to fill the potholes.