President's Proposal Offers Real Clarity
During the Vietnam War, I was director of Operations on Taiwan. The Chinese Nationalist Air Force invited me to visit Kinman Island. The Pentagon said "no."
Each week the Chinese Communists on the mainland traded artillery shots with Nationalists and also invaded the island with unknown frequency. Because of my work on the atomic weapons program, they did not want me to be taken to the mainland. The Pentagon would not aid the enemy.
No one talked about Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions; it was simply the killing treatment of the Chinese along with counterparts in Vietnam.
How can Senator McCain forget? Torture-and-kill was standard practice; treaties and international agreements meant nothing.
With their proposal before Congress, McCain and company are aiding and abetting the enemy specifically by providing classified information upon request.
The president's proposal is the best and clearest for the good of the country. It is precisely his proposed legal clarity that will limit potential abuses rather than leaving Article 3 open to interpretation by individuals or by the likes of Syria.
As it stands, every country in the world interprets the article in its own way. The cutthroats and terrorists are not covered by the Geneva Conventions and do not abide by them.
McCain makes the argument that unless we respect the Geneva Conventions our military personnel will be at risk of mistreatment when they become prisoners of war. He should remember that the enemy did not then and does not now abide by these Conventions.
Where's the argument? The terrorists will see his proposal as a sign of weakness and confusion that will encourage them to get on with their terrorism. That is a no-win game we should not play.
Barton F. Walker Jr.
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