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'By early 2002, the CIA, the Justice Department, and the National Security Council were debating whether the legal and humanitarian protections of the Geneva Conventions would apply to captives suspected to be members of al-Qaida or the Taliban. After weeks of debate, and over objections from the State Department, President George W. Bush ultimately issued the final word on the matter. In a February 2002 memo, he stated that al-Qaida and Taliban detainees were not protected by the Geneva Conventions.'

This is one of the roots of the problem. Once you have a class of people without rights, you can arbitrarily identify people as part of that class and they have no chance at due process. Unless absolutely everyone has basic legal protections, no one has them.

You remind me of a scene from the movie Lawrence of Arabia (based on the life of the man by that name) where he talks about "We do not let any of our people fall into enemy hands because they are considered (something something) thus not protected by the Geneva Convention." In other words, it was their policy to shoot their own people who were too injured to travel rather than let them be taken as prisoners and tortured by the enemy. It was considered a mercy killing.

Edit: In other words, they were not recognized as a proper army and were deemed to be something like internal rebel forces, subject to internal law only, with no International protections, such as the Geneva Convention. They were treated horribly when taken into custody and often tortured.

I almost forgot about this incredible travesty to human rights. You really do selectively forget the bad when remembering the past.

And apparently also not protected by any human rights or any constitution.

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