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Hands Up! Don't Shoot! ISIS Lives Matter!

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Forgive me the flippant title. But I had a thought after watching yesterday's Senate testimony and news coverage regarding the success of the Islamic State in the Middle East.

 

Given the probability of United States military involvement in Iraq and Syria and the future deployment of "boots on the ground" (God, I hate that term) the question has come to my mind of what to do with any ISIS prisoners that the United States and its partners will inevitably capture? 

 

The Islamic State styles itself as an independent country with a military that has all the trappings of a traditional army including a chain of command and uniforms, I'm not certain that we can continue to use the dubious title of "enemy combatants" to ISIS fighters. Wouldn't they actually be prisoners of war and entitled to all the rights of a uniformed opponent?

 

We've all watched the footage of ISIS fighters in action and they drive in vehicles that are generally uniformly painted. They sport clothing and paraphernalia that mark them as soldiers of the Islamic State. And presumably they have a command and control apparatus with officers (or chieftains) who give and take orders.

 

Conversely, if these individuals are regarded as soldiers, wouldn't they also be liable to prosecution for war crimes?

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Forgive me the flippant title. But I had a thought after watching yesterday's Senate testimony and news coverage regarding the success of the Islamic State in the Middle East.

 

Given the probability of United States military involvement in Iraq and Syria and the future deployment of "boots on the ground" (God, I hate that term) the question has come to my mind of what to do with any ISIS prisoners that the United States and its partners will inevitably capture? 

 

The Islamic State styles itself as an independent country with a military that has all the trappings of a traditional army including a chain of command and uniforms, I'm not certain that we can continue to use the dubious title of "enemy combatants" to ISIS fighters. Wouldn't they actually be prisoners of war and entitled to all the rights of a uniformed opponent?

 

We've all watched the footage of ISIS fighters in action and they drive in vehicles that are generally uniformly painted. They sport clothing and paraphernalia that mark them as soldiers of the Islamic State. And presumably they have a command and control apparatus with officers (or chieftains) who give and take orders.

 

Conversely, if these individuals are regarded as soldiers, wouldn't they also be liable to prosecution for war crimes?

 

It's an easy problem to solve - the bolded bit follows the rest very easily, so it shouldn't be too hard to find something to sentence them to death for.

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ISIS POWs will (and should) have all of the rights of a prisoner under the various conventions.  Faced with barbarism the protectors of civilization cannot give up the high ground - the US never should have played loose with the WoT.

 

That said it is relatively easy to hold tribunals to assure that most of ISIS actors get some sort of punishment.  

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ISIS POWs will (and should) have all of the rights of a prisoner under the various conventions.  Faced with barbarism the protectors of civilization cannot give up the high ground - the US never should have played loose with the WoT.

 

That said it is relatively easy to hold tribunals to assure that most of ISIS actors get some sort of punishment.  

 

There's plenty of ways to make sure they get appropriate punishment without deciding that because we're the good guys we can do the sort of thing that would make anybody else immediately stop being the good guys, and I'm glad someone else agrees.

 

 

Forgive me the flippant title.

 

And to think I was about to tell zin that getting whacked on the nose with a newspaper had taken.

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ISIS POWs will (and should) have all of the rights of a prisoner under the various conventions.  Faced with barbarism the protectors of civilization cannot give up the high ground - the US never should have played loose with the WoT.

 

That said it is relatively easy to hold tribunals to assure that most of ISIS actors get some sort of punishment.  

Viridea is pretty much spot on, IMHO.  I was gravely disappointed with some of the shit that I found out about went on from both the US and Canada during the 'war on terror'.

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There's plenty of ways to make sure they get appropriate punishment without deciding that because we're the good guys we can do the sort of thing that would make anybody else immediately stop being the good guys, and I'm glad someone else agrees.

 

 

Once you get permissive and euphemistic about torture and the like, you guarantee things will happen.

 

The fact is soldiers in combat (or police on the road or what have you) will once in a while loose sight of where the line is drawn.  The answer though is not to draw a new line and hope that one holds.  I am in favor of prisoner advocates with one power - to audit all interrogations and yell "stop."  Properly arranged they look to the rights of the POW without gumming up the system the way a lawyer would.  

 

And I always hear: "would you torture someone if there was a nuclear bomb ticking down in your own town"?  And I think come one, that happens like never.  Making up a 1-1million what if to prove the 999999 is weak.

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And I always hear: "would you torture someone if there was a nuclear bomb ticking down in your own town"?  And I think come one, that happens like never.  Making up a 1-1million what if to prove the 999999 is weak.

 

Unless you believe 24 is an accurate depiction of real life, there's no way such a scenario makes sense, and using it to justify scenarios where a nuclear bomb most emphatically isn't ticking down just highlights how indefensible our use of torture is.

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And if the 24 scenario were to occur, some guy like Jack Bauer will bust in after avoiding LA traffic during rush hour and break all the rules anyway.

 

I'm happy to have the thread drift go to America's past mistakes. I'm certainly more than willing to hear from the guys who've been there, done that or know who have.

 

As for the Islamic State, is it time we should be regarding it and its fighters as a legitimate (illegitimate) state power? They're an outlaw regime, scum and whose fathers smelt of elderberries of course. But I'm not sure how beneficial it is from a tactical and long-term strategic goal in the region to keep pretending these guys are some outliers and are merely terrorists. 

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Actually Americans in WW2 were exemplary in their conduct even against the Japanese.  I do not here mean faultless, but the average American group was still trying to take prisoners even after they found out it was worthless in the Islands campaign.  

 

I do think however we will get the typical cycle:

 

1. US gets brutalized by barbarians ISIS increasing stress on US soldiers.  ISIS brutality gets limited coverage in the world press

2. US soldiers will, acting without orders, torture someone and it will be caught on camera.

3. World Press will act with condemnation against horrible Americans who are nothing more than torture monkeys.

4. ISIS, with a free pass, will brutalize with only limited coverage of its acts.

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I'm pretty sure being universally loathed, frequently bombed and having your enemies get support even when it isn't necessarily in the supporters' best interest isn't actually a free pass.

 

We know they're barbarians. We're the good guys if and because we try very hard to not be.

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I'm pretty sure being universally loathed, frequently bombed and having your enemies get support even when it isn't necessarily in the supporters' best interest isn't actually a free pass.

 

We know they're barbarians. We're the good guys if and because we try very hard to not be.

 

Actually I was talking about the press.  I read and poorly speak Portuguese and Spanish, and this is where my wife's family is from, plus my doctoral training was in historical analysis of the media (which I sort of hate, the media analysis part at least).  So I monitor South American media. Venezuelan media speaks in terms of "look what the horrible capitalists made ISIS do."  Brazil is really odd in their constant calls for dialogue with the poor people in ISIS even though the average person in Brazil is pretty disgusted by ISIS.

 

Turkey is really weird with how much coverage of ISIS is redirecting - namely ISIS beheads someone but then they will spend eight pages explaining why killing kids is really a plot to demean Islam.  Turkey has never been that weird before.  

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Actually I was talking about the press.  I read and poorly speak Portuguese and Spanish, and this is where my wife's family is from, plus my doctoral training was in historical analysis of the media (which I sort of hate, the media analysis part at least).  So I monitor South American media. Venezuelan media speaks in terms of "look what the horrible capitalists made ISIS do."  Brazil is really odd in their constant calls for dialogue with the poor people in ISIS even though the average person in Brazil is pretty disgusted by ISIS.

 

Turkey is really weird with how much coverage of ISIS is redirecting - namely ISIS beheads someone but then they will spend eight pages explaining why killing kids is really a plot to demean Islam.  Turkey has never been that weird before.  

 

Oh, yeah, that part of the world. I think a lot of that is that the US has so much power that eyes get put on it way more and it gets considered in isolation. That sort of coverage is likely as much a reflection of internal issues as external.

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Several compatriots of mine study international subversion of media and online communication as well.  Many papers have money trails that lead to interesting places, and a lot of Middle East money, Chinese money, Russian money, and so forth moves around in interesting patterns.  In addition IP traps show some massive online posting schemes where forums are overrun by postings that could be written in various national capitals.

 

This sort of information warfare is a weak point in US / NATO skills sets.  So far the US / NATO monitors but rarely influences the press and the online chatter sphere.  Millions of released and leaked documents show many intel operations by the US, but nothing in the agitprop.  When they do get to it they rarely do it well, posting red white and blue websites and inviting Jihadi Jane to come in from the dark side.  

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Actually, a recent article someone passed along to me explains why the US is highly unlikely to ever pick that practice up. http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/29/spy-kids/

 

Basically there is no loyalty to the US due to the dissonance in values the country espouses but then does not follow, and a complete lack of viewing jobs as permanent things. Authority, whether it be private or public, is looked upon as automatically corrupt and self-serving. Increasingly, newer generations will actually have stronger ties to the internet, the globe, and to the espoused ideals of the US rather than to the nation itself, hell I'd count myself among them yet I weep and hope for the US yet.

 

This has a lot of roots in different sectors of the US, from economic to social and can only be addressed by serious reforms. Basically, to retard this the state actually needs to begin large scale support and public works projects to improve public and generational perception and support. Government needs to support business with a proven track record of effective employee support. Austerity and continued support of the financial sector is likely only to reinforce the perception that neither public or private institutions have any interest in the general population, and in fact it's likely your most educated which will continue to drift away.

 

IMHO, this also might explain where ISIS gets a lot of foreign fighters, they're early products of this process radicalizing to something they perceive to have a stronger, more robust connection to that they can pledge service or loyalty to.

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The real answer to the OP is that, if, God forbid, US troops are ever deployed to Mesopotamia again, ISIS prisoners will be treated, in general, with world-class regard for their dignity and well-being.  Doubtless there will be some slip-ups and unfortunate exceptions that journalists will pounce on like flies on shit.

 

I don't actually endorse sacrificing crying children to Tlaloc, flaying the skins off of still-living prisoners for Xipe Totec, or pulling out the still-beating hearts of men before tossing their limp bodies down the stairs of the pyramid in commemoration of Huitzilopochtli.  Most days.

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The real answer to the OP is that, if, God forbid, US troops are ever deployed to Mesopotamia again, ISIS prisoners will be treated, in general, with world-class regard for their dignity and well-being.  Doubtless there will be some slip-ups and unfortunate exceptions that journalists will pounce on like flies on shit.

 

I don't actually endorse sacrificing crying children to Tlaloc, flaying the skins off of still-living prisoners for Xipe Totec, or pulling out the still-beating hearts of men before tossing their limp bodies down the stairs of the pyramid in commemoration of Huitzilopochtli.  Most days.

Personally, I am all for treating ISIS with the same regard US soldiers showed toward the SS or the Imperial forces of Japan.  

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It's very important to accept surrender and treat prisoners at least reasonably well.

 

I have a US Army guide to German tactics, organization and equipment.  It notes, in passing, that the German commanders deliberately try to make their soldiers feel culpable in war crimes so that they are less willing to surrender, and more likely to fight to the bitter end.  Exactly how they did this is not explained.

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It's very important to accept surrender and treat prisoners at least reasonably well.

 

I have a US Army guide to German tactics, organization and equipment.  It notes, in passing, that the German commanders deliberately try to make their soldiers feel culpable in war crimes so that they are less willing to surrender, and more likely to fight to the bitter end.  Exactly how they did this is not explained.

 

Probably by just telling them. Typical thug/gang tactics.

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Personally, I am all for treating ISIS with the same regard US soldiers showed toward the SS or the Imperial forces of Japan.  

Think of the general attitudes of Germans and Soviets toward surrendering to each other versus Germans surrendering to the Americans. There were enough who fought to the death to delay Soviets while others were surrendering in droves to the Western allies. If you surrendered to an American, you got meals, medical care, more rights than the average black GI, and some work detail making golf courses in Texas. I'm betting more than a few ISIS soldiers are just a bunch of people who'd throw down their rifles to get the hell away from a desert warzone against a greater military power.

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