What's Fair In War?

The Geneva accords on the rules of the battlefield are 54 years old. Why they still matter

It seems weirdly priggish to discuss the brutalities of war and the technicalities of law in the same breath. But it was Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who has heretofore made no secret of his impatience with legalisms, who launched this salvo last week: "It's a violation of the Geneva Convention," he angrily told CNN, "[for Iraqi TV] to be showing prisoners of war in a humiliating manner." Rumsfeld was reacting to news that al-Jazeera network had broadcast Iraqi TV images of bruised, terrified American prisoners of war being questioned by Iraqi reporters. Opponents of the war responded that the U.S. had...

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