The Dish vs The Third Geneva Convention

The Daily Dish, April 2009 — emphasis is mine:

If you rough someone up or make them uncomfortable or remove them from the familiar or engage in grueling interrogation without coercion, you can make it easier for a captive to come clean. That is how intelligent interrogation operates. It takes time, but its results are immeasurably more reliable than torture, and it allows the prisoner some small zone of choice and freedom to tell us what he knows. But forcing people by physical coercion to the point where they have no effective choice and can endure it no longer is torture. Think about it: what could be more severe than reaching the limit of what you can physically and/or psychologically endure?

Doesn’t “grueling interrogation” imply at least some type of mental “coerciveness”?

The Third Geneva Convention, 1949:

No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.

I wish The Dish had accounted for this discrepancy. And I don’t mean simply mentioning that jihadist soldiers are out of uniform, so accordingly we can choose some lines from the Geneva conventions that should not apply to us.

BTW, would Sullivan remove “any other form of” from the phrase “nor any other form of coercion”? (Doubtful.) Would he instead remove “insulted” or “exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind”?


One Response

  1. […] is not voluntarily submitted to. Is any physical discomfort a form of “coercion”? It seems so according to Article 17 of the Third Geneva […]

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