Friday, July 29, 2016

Ron Smith: The Proper Treatment of Combatants

Commenting on the atrocious slaughter of the elderly parish priest of the church of St Etienne in Rouen, north of Paris, French President, Francois  Hollande, said, “It is a war”. There is nothing remarkable about that, we might think.  He, and others, have said that sort of thing before.  The question is, does he (and the others) really mean it?  Because, if he does, some interesting questions arise.   To begin with, what are we to say of Adel Kermiche and Abdelmalek Petitjean who were jointly responsible for cutting the throat of the 85 year-old priest and holding his congregation hostage?

Are they combatants in that war?

According to Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 combatants are persons who are ‘participating in hostilities’. They do not need to be wearing uniforms or carrying weapons openly, as was traditionally required under Geneva for combatant status.  In my view it is plausible to see Adel Kermiche and his associate as combatants in the war to which President Holland refers, in the literal sense of using violent means to secure a political end.  Of course, this conclusion is academic in this case, since both men were killed.  But suppose they had both fallen into the custody of the French authorities before they had perpetrated the attack, would it not have been appropriate, indeed prudent, to have held them as ‘combatants’?

In the conventional war context, soldiers do not have to have done something specific to be liable to assault or capture by their adversary.  They merely have to be part of a military force of a party to the conflict in time of war, or, as Protocol II has it, ‘participating in hostilities’.  Both of the Rouen killers had, apparently, tried to go to Syria to join the fight and both were ‘known to the authorities’ for their affiliation to the ISIS cause.  Wasn’t this enough?  It was apparently enough for both of them to have already been placed on the French “S” Security list, used to flag an individual considered to be a serious threat to national security.  But it was not enough to place them into some sort of protective custody (protective of French society that is).

There is another thing that might be noted, if we were to follow the notion of M. Hollande and others, that we are talking of war, and that concerns the duration of the incarceration.  In the case of the POWs of conventional war, the principle is that they are held indefinitely and released when the war is over!  Depending on how the category of ‘combatant’ is defined for this kind of war, this might provide a mechanism for reducing the threat from Islamic terrorism.  Certainly, it might be more practical than the perpetual hand-wringing and empty ceremonial after every atrocity, together with copious asides about the difficulty of guarding every church, theatre, school, fireworks display, station or airport.

Of course, I understand that what is being suggested here is a challenge to civil law in a democratic society.  I might have said, ‘ a democratic society at peace’ and that is the critical issue.  How bad would it have to get before we recognise that there are adversary fighters amongst us and that we can identify them and neutralise their potential before they strike.  
If it is ‘war’ and these individuals are ‘adversary combatants’ isn’t it entirely appropriate that they be held for the ‘duration’?


Brian said...

When is a Combatant a Terrorist!
Ron Smith raises quite a point (s) in his blog. The main one being if we are at war with Islam as the French President stated “Then why are we the Western Nations who are the subject of ever increasing terror attacks, not adopting a single minded approach to Islam.
Instead we are in fact trying very unsuccessfully to appease Islam, using the well worn pacifist love thy neighbour doctrine that not all Muslims are Terrorists; and therefore cannot be judged in the same light as their fellow “freedom” fighters. The idea that in the future these Muslims or their descendants will (not might) join the fray has not registered with our Political idealists.
Islam has no such policy as appeasement; it has a single objective in mind and will use its religious followers as and when it needs them.
It seems the Protocol II (1949) of the Geneva Conventions on combatants needs a hasty upgrade into the modern concept of “Warfare by Terror”.
Western Nations could take the short very effective route of physically executing all those captured who commit acts of Terrorism, although many people would comment that this indeed would make them martyrs and bring about retaliation thus inflaming the situation further. The fact that Islam already regards all such terrorists as martyrs to the cause, and also is executing civilians seems to have escaped notice.
The problem is that at the moment, that the West has neither the ability nor the will to pursue this war to a victory. Failure to stop the supply of finance from Saudi Arabia, Iran and other Muslim countries is a root cause of this continuing terrorist activity.
The political policy of the West is to avoid direct confrontation with Islam, but has ever any war been won by the tactics of defense? Even as the Russian Ambassador to Britain commented on Napoleon’s invasion of his homeland in 1812 “That we will win by persistent retreat and our weather” it did not stop the Tsar from pursuing “The Grand Army” back to France! Likewise the German Army in 1945!
No one wants war, but just how long as Dr Smith’s states can we continue “the perpetual hand-wringing and empty ceremonial after every atrocity”? Eventually this will come to ahead, better sooner than later, before the “Tourist- Refugee- Asylum Seeker- Terrorist arrives with the ultimate suitcase bomb.

paul scott said...

Good post I also agree with Brian above, Further. Shoot to kill Islam terrorists, unless capture for information is viable. Retrieve information then shoot.

Geoffrey said...

Ar last, some sense. Brian and Paul have nailed it:there will be no solution until the tourist-bomber elects to stay at home.

Ange, Ray & Sean said...

If we attempt to identify and incarcerate potential combatants don't we risk creating more? Wouldn't it be a bit like the internment camps for 'enemy aliens' of the past? I'd prefer to move against ISIS on its home ground with advanced weapons and special forces and to avoid sinking to their level on ours. We are not fighting Islam here any more than the UK was fighting Catholicism in Northern Ireland. The war is against a murderous bunch of bigoted savages not a religion.

Anonymous said...

Arrant nonsense above. The war is indeed against Islam. Westerners are engaged in the latest installment of a 1400 year old religious war with Islam, one not of their own making.

“Mainstream” Muslims believe that Allah’s Sharia law must one day supplant all man-made systems of law and governance, and that all Muslims have a theological obligation to work towards this goal in any way they can.

Even if they don't personally want to get their hands dirty at this point in time, "moderate" Muslims who closely follow their religion clearly share the jihadist war goals of Sharia and a global caliphate.

Islamic terrorists are only the visible face of Islamic jihad.

Mainstream "moderate" Muslims are also active, constantly working toward the end-goal of worldwide Islamic dominance.

They do it by paying zakat (temple tax) to the mosque, which goes to supporting Muslim causes (which are almost entirely political causes).

They do it by having lots of children to give Muslims a demographic advantage in democratic countries.

They do it by persuading non-Muslims that Muslims are harmless and well-meaning.

They do it by crying "racism" and “Islamophobia” every time Islam is criticised, though they know full well that something you can convert to is not a race.

It’s all jihad. As Muhammad said, "War is deceit" (at least until Islam is strong enough to establish itself by power and force).

Right now, Islam is winning that war.

Time to wise up.

Islam is Allah and Muhammad.

Allah is found in the Koran, which amounts to around 17% of Islamic scripture.

Muhammad is found in the Sunna, the balance 83% of Islamic scripture. This is made up of the Sira (Muhammad's biography by Ibn Ishaq) and the various Hadith collections (narrative accounts of the words and deeds of Muhammad). The most reliable and authenticated Hadith collections are those by Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari. English translations of all these texts can be found online.

According to the Koran, Allah hates kafirs (non-Muslims). He plots against them and orders Muslims to offer kafirs a choice of convert or die. Jews and Christians, as fellow People of the Book, have a third choice, to live under Islamic domination as third class citizens subject to highly onerous rules and punitive taxation. Over time, most will to convert to Islam to escape ongoing persecution.

Koran 33:21 states: "Assuredly you have in God’s Messenger [Muhammad] an excellent example to follow for whoever looks forward to God and the Last Day, and remembers and mentions God much."

The actions of Muhammad as recorded in the Sunna demonstrate that kafirs may be lied to, deceived, robbed, raped, murdered, their children enslaved, and their womenfolk parceled out to Muslims as sex slaves.

So terrorists and their enablers will always be generated by this belief system.

We must always remember that every Muslim is only one imam away from becoming a terrorist.

Anonymous said...

@ Ange, Ray & Sean.
So - you'll just allow the daish in your country to carry on with their butchery?
I'd suggest incarcerating them (in a pig-sty as befits their nature) to keep them out of mischief.
Aunty Podes.

Anonymous said...

Some local Christians were told by their Muslim neighbours that Muslims are not allowed to befriend their local Christians because when the Immam gives the instruction to kill the Christians, it would make it too hard. Of course it's called a religion, but really it's a political juggernaut (a force that is relentlessly destructive, crushing, and insensitive).The goal? To enslave all people to the ancient Sharia law, thereby crushing them and making them the slaves of their rich Islamic rulers. This law seriously affects family life, social interaction, culture and personal and national freedoms. Head out of the sand Kiwis!

Dave said...

I have just finished a book written by a female journalist who has spent time in ISIS held northern Syria. One sentence stands out to me that points out just how utterly different we in the West are compared to those in the Middle East, and Muslim. A Syrian woman said it was her duty to bear a child every 9 months so that the revolution will never run out of martyrs.
In the West we have become so obscured by the left and do gooders who believe all the worlds peoples want to sit around a camp fire holding hands and singing folk songs. When the fact is some hate us so much they will not hesitate to cut an old mans throat or run a truck over dozens including little children.
Having just returned from 6 weeks in Europe, the penetration of Middle Eastern and North Africans is so obvious I think the war has already been lost. Unfortunately the time could come where another Hitler type figure emerges and wages total war and deportations.
If or when the terrorists get hold of nuclear or biological weapons and escalate the killing to 10s of thousands or even millions that scenario could be a very real possibility.