19 September 2006

Steve McQueen and George W Bush...

You know when Steve McQueen died (no connection to previous post: smile), he had an unfinished film concept that he took to his grave. The notebooks (two trunkfuls) contained as their final words, this 'meditation.'

He was parting the curtains on tomorrow, A commander on the liquid frontier. The inheritors of that emerald planet, That jewel on the finger of the firmament; Ringed by its creator with saphire seas, For the exaltation and the ultimate Dominion of Man.” Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen wrote this before he died 25 years ago.

George Bush said this at his press conference last week:

This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court's ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article III of the Geneva Convention. And that Common Article III says that there will be no outrages upon human dignity. It's very vague. What does that mean, "outrages upon human dignity"?”

George Bush probably never read Article III, which is called 'Common' Article III due to its identical wording in the four Geneva Conventions.

Think about that for a second: When American and European leadership concluded a successful negotiation of these treaties in 1949, the precision and importance of these Articles created the hope that their application in future conflicts would give controlling guidance to the generations that followed, until George Bush stated (something WalMart Americans surely believe):

It's very vague. What does that mean...?”

ZENmud thus does what any good legally-trained author-wannabe should do – provide the source. First, to save the reader expense and time, I'll share one brief lesson in LawyerSpeak:

shall = obligation or duty; obligatory action
should = conditional
obligation or duty; conditional obligatory action

(Bold, Italics and underlines a gift from ZENmud)

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Article 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

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Somehow I don't believe that Steve McQueen has convinced our Queen (er: President) to rise with human nature to a level that merits 'the Dominion of Men'.

Where Bush the Lesser sees 'vague', there really is very little leeway to a responsible, leading democracy.

Mr President, the only aspect that appears vague to most Americans is the limits to your capacity to pervert the government you twice agreed to uphold and defend.


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