Posted by: bklunk | April 8, 2007

A Very Good Question. What Would Jack Bauer Say?

Here is the problem with the US approach to the war on terror.  The US insistence that “enemy combatants” are not covered by the Geneva Convention and the US rendition policy have made it much more difficult for the US to criticize Iran in this instance.


Will the fact that Iran used harsh interrogation methods effect it at all.

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  1. WWJBD? What Would Jack Bauer Do? It really isn’t that difficult to imagine. The true difficulty is that Jack Bauer and the entire CTU team of 24 are fictional (dang!). However, the US-Iran “relations” would make for a gripping plot in season 7 next year. Maybe Scott Ott could write the script, using his recent article for inspiration. It goes a little something like this:

    (2007-01-15) — President George Bush, under pressure from the Iraq Study Group to open negotiations with Iran, today named a lead negotiator whom he said is already on the way to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Jack Bauer, a freelance intelligence contractor and former agent with the Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU), has been dispatched to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s office for a “diplomatic listening session” aimed at determining the best way to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and shipment of arms to terrorists in Iraq.

    “For some reason, people like to talk to Jack Bauer,” said Mr. Bush. “He’s a straight-shooter, good at establishing mutual understanding and I think he and President Ahmadinejad will come to a rapid agreement on terms favorable to global peace and security.”

    Although Iranian government officials said no negotiations with the U.S. had been scheduled, Mr. Bush described the talks as a “unilateral diplomatic initiative that will be under way before they know it.”

  2. In my opinion, your comparison of the recent harsh treatment of Britain’s 15 sailors to how the United States has treated its detainees in the War on Terrorism is incorrect.

    The Geneva Conventions — specifically the Third, which deals with prisoners of war — are very specific in terms of who is protected by them. In brief, clearly uniformed and easily identifiable soldiers are to be treated in a specific manner when captured. Clearly, the 15 British Sailors taken prisoner at sea fit this category. They were in uniform, and the boat on which they were sailing was, identifiably, a military vessel. The captured sailors should have been treated in accordance with the terms of the Third Geneva Convention.

    In the War on Terrorism, however, circumstances are quite different. Many of the prisoners held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay were not uniformed when captured. They were not clearly identified soldiers, which are, as I wrote, the people whom the Geneva Conventions protect. According to the Bush Administration, the detainees are “unlawful enemy combatants,” a status that is, admittedly, nebulous.

    That is not to say that the United States should torture captured enemy combatants. Rather, I only mean to argue that the recent situation in Iran and the one in Guantanamo are completely different.

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