Thinking is a rare privilege, is it not? It’s difficult for me to come to any other conclusion as I observe what goes on in public here and abroad. I mean, it’s just so damned rare to catch a glimpse of what would pass for sincere, independent and rational thought that this faculty must be at least equivalent to the most priceless of treasures we can imagine.
How else can it be that so many have the apparent incapacity to make the distinction between a common foot soldier, platoon commander, pilot or aircrew and a murderous and despotic former head-of-state? According Saddam Hussein the respect and dignity we accord to a true prisoner of war is absurd. The Geneva Conventions were never intended to apply to this situation. In actuality, the Geneva Conventions exist mostly as a very important component of troop morale, just as does the battlefield principle of leaving no man behind. Troops abhor the thought of physical torture only slightly less than the thought of their remains not finding a proper resting place.
Principles don’t exist in a vacuum. They apply to a context of facts and circumstances, and it is the exercise of the mind, i.e., the engagement of rational thought that leads us to the proper application of principles to circumstances. There are good reasons why we don’t (or at least claim not to) mistreat our citizens and those combatants we have taken prisoner.
There are no particularly compelling reasons to treat Saddam Hussein with kit gloves other than as it applies to what he can do for us. And if you can’t buy that, then at least see that “mistreating” this particular blight on humanity is a far lesser injustice than is the injustice of elevating him to the status of respect and honor due soldiers.