Genevamania! Bush extends Article 3 to detainees worldwide

The tide of anti-Americanism begins to turn. Islamists throughout the Middle East wonder if the Great Satan is as satanic as they’ve been taught. America reclaims its soul and in so doing answers the question of our age: are we as a people really any better than mass-murdering crypto-Nazi religious fanatics?

Yes. The answer at last, my friends, is yes.

In fairness to Bush, this was a fait accompli after Hamdan. If he didn’t do it, the Supreme Court eventually would have done it for him. In fact, they already sort of did. Here’s how Article 3 begins:

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions

And here’s what I wrote about it in my, um, “analysis” of Hamdan a few weeks ago:

Afghanistan is a High Contracting Party, so the question for the Court was whether Al Qaeda operatives captured there are subject to the Article. Answer: yes. “But,” you say, “it says it applies only to conflicts ‘not of an international character’ and the war on terror is as international as they come.” Indeed — but the Court is reading “international” in its literal sense, i.e., “between nations.” Al Qaeda isn’t a nation. Which means no matter how global the jihad might be, so long as a jihadi is captured within the territory of a signatory to the Conventions, he’s entitled to the protections of Article 3.

Pretty much everyone is a signatory to the Conventions — except Al-Qaeda, of course — so Article 3 essentially already applies worldwide by operation of the Hamdan decision itself. Changing the policy on his own initiative lets Bush bank some goodwill on the eve of the G8 with North Korea and Iran on the table.

Smart politics. And so good for the soul.

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