March 30, 2007

WE HAVEN’T HEARD MUCH OF THIS, but finally someone is complaining that the Iranians are violating international law by parading prisoners on TV.

International law is rapidly becoming a joke because of double standards. And, as noted, because of its enforcement problem. At a guess, we’re likely heading toward a regime of strict reciprocity, as that’s all that can work in such a degraded environment.

UPDATE: A few emailers are suggesting that there’s some sort of contradiction here in my pointing this out, as if I’d never discussed the Geneva Conventions before. But, of course, the point is the double standard: the Geneva Conventions never seem to do our guys any good. Our enemies don’t obey them, and our critics use them — even when they don’t apply — as a way to call American troops and their friends torturers and war criminals. That’s what I meant by “degraded environment,” which aptly describes the political and intellectual environment in which such critics operate. As I’ve observed in the past, we don’t operate in an environment of reciprocity now. As Professor Kenneth Anderson has noted, the Geneva Conventions tend to serve more as a source of urban legends for anti-American and anti-Bush writers who often don’t even know, or care, what the Conventions say.