If and when we go to war with Iraq will the American protestors acting as human shields in Iraq be eligable for charges of treason? Should they be?
Maybe you could charge them with stupidity, or even reckless idealism, but I don’t think this action is treasonous.
Did either the “Patriot Act” or “Patriot Act II, This Time it’s Personal” make stupidity a crime?
They should definately be charged with treason. Better yet, just don’t let them come back to the US. This is treachery, not protest.
I should also add that I think it’s akin to taking hostages but using yourself as the hostage.
While the dictionary definition might be interesting, wouldn’t the applicable definition be from here:
It depends. Can you convict a body bag of treason? These people are dead, they just haven’t stopped walking around yet.
AZCowboy, how is being a human shield not “giving Aid and Comfort” to the enemy?
Uh, didn’t say it did. However, if it doesn’t affect US targeting, the difference would be moot, as vibrotronica points out. Just thought that was the more appropriate definition.
Oops, I misread the sentence before the quote. Mea culpa.
Why, they are just idiots in the way. Since when is it illegal to get in the way? They know the score, and there will soon be a lot less of them. (of course, some of the survivors will sue, and then they should be arrested, for being idiots, and beaten with a hammer in town square, but i digress)
Once war is declared on Saddam, Iraq will be the designated enemy. Any aid or comfort you provide to the enemy is treasonous. The Penalty is death.
…funny how things work out.
At least they saved us the cost of the trial.
emarkp: how is being a human shield not “giving Aid and Comfort” to the enemy?
IANAL, but I don’t think that noncombatant civilians of an enemy nation are counted as “the enemy”. As far as I know, the human shields are occupying only non-military and humanitarian sites in an attempt to protect Iraqi civilians (who are generally not legitimate bombing targets anyway), and by extension to make the whole prospect of an invasion of Iraq less attractive from a PR standpoint. Since Iraq is not technically our “enemy” until and unless we declare war against it, and since the human shields wouldn’t be “aiding or comforting” Iraq’s military forces in any way even if war does start, I don’t think their actions would fall under the heading of treason.
Pretty gutsy, though; talk about putting your life on the line for your beliefs!
Another vote for dumb and reckless here. If these protesters seriously believe for a minute that their presence will make any difference in how the U.S. will conduct military operations in Iraq, then they are incredibly naive. I wouldn’t care to be in their shoes when the first U.S. bombing raid reduces the local neighborhood to rubble and angry Iraqis are looking for some foreigners to lynch.
Having said that, I’d also like to point out that these protesters are going to Iraq in the first place because they hold different reasons and opinions than the U.S. government has for waging war there. The last time I checked, having a different opinion than your government isn’t a crime. As long as they don’t interfere with U.S. military operations in Iraq, then I don’t see why they can’t hold hands and sing Kumbaiyah while the bombs drop around them.
For the same reason my Dentist hired a bill collector to take care of a $50 debt that the person refused to pay; you do it for the principle.
By not doing anything, by treating them as if they have done nothing wrong is as good as giving approval for their actions.
Well, suicide is a crime, so I guess some form of punishment can be aimed at them under that line of thought.
Do I think it is treason. No, no more so that protesting in the streets. You can think of it as protesting in their streets.
Someone told me that right now you can’t legally travel to Iraq without permission from the State Department. Is that true? And does it mean that these people won’t be able to get back into the States anyway?
Muad’Dib: By not doing anything, by treating them as if they have done nothing wrong is as good as giving approval for their actions.
However, you haven’t established that they have done anything wrong, legally speaking. If humanitarian “human shielding” is not in fact a crime (any lawyers out there who can tell us for certain?), there’s nothing you can do to them in terms of legal retaliation.
Bear in mind also that even if it is a crime, attempting to prosecute people for engaging in a humanitarian altruistic effort (however misguided) to protect innocent civilians and civilian sites like hospitals and schools would inevitably be a public-relations disaster. “The Americans not only bombed civilian sites and killed their own people who were there to try to save lives, but they took the survivors and threw them in jail!” Swell.
Cessandra: Someone told me that right now you can’t legally travel to Iraq without permission from the State Department. Is that true?
I think not: according to the Feb. 10 Consular Information Sheet on Iraq, “Should you intend to travel to Iraq, despite the Travel Warning, passports and visas are required”, as well as special validation (required since 1991). Going to Iraq is extremely Not Recommended by the gummint, but I don’t think it’s illegal.
Well, what is “special validation” – that’s not permission from the State Department?
Cessandra: Well, what is “special validation” – that’s not permission from the State Department?
Maybe; I don’t know the details. In any case, it’s a requirement that’s been in place since 1991, so it isn’t a special restriction due to the situation “right now”.
—Aha, found an article which suggests that it is a crime to travel to Iraq: “With few exceptions – as in the case of journalists, for example – American citizens who use a U.S. passport to travel to, in or through Iraq are in violation of 18 U.S. Code 1544, according to the State Department. The offense is punishable by a fine and imprisonment.” But it’s not the human-shielding activity that is specifically identified as criminal, it’s the mere fact of going to Iraq.