Geneva Convention should be obsolete?

Insofar as it relates to wounded evacuations in Iraq anyway.

I saw the documentary on CNN yesterday about America’s wounded soldiers in Iraq and the infrastructure that operates to restore these heros to their best possible future. It brought tears to my eyes. Television is a powerful medium.

I was touched by the resolve and bravery of these soldiers faced with a future of physical impairment to the point of working towards returning to their unit.

I was touched by the comradery of their fellow unit members who stay by the side of their wounded.

I was touched by the atmosphere exhibited by everyone charged with extracting wounded and delivering the very best medical care. And that care most importantly includes never leaving these patients alone in their time of fear for their lives.

But one thing bothered me. Why does the military allow medivac helicopters to show red crosses ? Doesn’t that require medivac choppers to drop in on hot zones unarmed according to the Geneva convention ? That seems to be the gist of a small comment that I caught on CNN. I do recall many images of the Vietnam era where choppers zoom in with gunners shooting away with cover fire to extract wounded. But I can’t remember seeing red crosses on these choppers.

By observing the Geneva convention with regard to the transport of wounded, isn’t the US putting the brave medivac personnel at increased risk for nothing? The insurgents don’t give a shit about the convention. What is the downside side for dispensing with this aspect of Geneva?
PS. I was once in New Orleans in 1981 walking down Bourbon street when I came upon a legless panhandler perched on a skateboard holding out an open tin. I hope the future for these Iraqi amputees is a hell of a lot better than that.

One of the principles of the United States is that we will follow the rules even if it kills us. Just because other peoples choose to disregard the Geneva Conventions does not not give us the green light to do so on our own. And yes, I know all about the abuses in Iraq, so spare me the rolleyes and the cynical comments. I am speaking of the way it is supposed to be.

The Geneva Conventions are still valuable. If I am ever captured I think it’s safe to say that my life depends upon adherence to those rules, and being very conscious of that I would do everything I could to uphold those rules were I put into a position where I would have to.

They do indeed put people at risk, but a soldier takes a soldier’s chance, and the fact is that they save far more people than they kill.

Rolleyes. Cynical comment.

Agreeing on the way things are supposed to be is not hard in this case. The riff comes when it’s time to determine the fates of those who make it otherwise – do we denounce them for their un-American behavior, or do we make them the next Attorney General?

And in response to the OP: No, no, a thousand times no.

Well I suppose you solve this problem by having a gunship escorting the MedVac chopper… :slight_smile:

Normally changing the rules at your convenience DURING a “War” makes for bad form… its no good having rules that can be disregarded at a whim.

Adhering to the Geneva Conventions (and the Hague Convention) is one of the ways that you can tell the good guys from the bad guys. Even if there is some short term advantage in ignoring them, they are always outweighed by the long term problems.

Remember that the Geneva convention rules are generally binding only for an opponent who adheres to them. If the enemy, for example, routinely attacks medivac units, then you can start doing some very awful things back to him.

The point of the geneva conventions is to give both sides good reasons to play nice. If someone cheats, they get cheated.

I can envisage one simple explanation for this - that the aircraft weren’t dedicated Red Cross ones, and so were brought in as soon as needed. Nobody’s going to delay a relief flight just to paint a red cross. And also, if they were military wounded being evactuated from a military site, then Geneva has nothing to do with it - it’s a simple(!) combat situation.

Wrong, plain and simple. If you’ve signed up to them, then they apply, no matter what. It’s there in the conventions themselves, should you want to read them.

(Of course, an opponent who isn’t signed up to them can’t necessarily be expected to obey them with respect to treatment of prisoners - but nonetheless, we’re bound to treat them appropriately should we capture them.)

I may be wrong about some of them, but as far as I know, most of them (and certainly things like checmial warfare) apply equally or not at all.

Cpmpletely wrong. The GC always applies at all times no matter what.