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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Donald Trump’s Road to Hell

General William Tecumseh Sherman famously said, “War is hell,” and we all agree – at least to one degree or another. Some of us believe that “war is hell” and should be avoided at all costs, that any recourse to war is a failure. Others of us believe that war may be hell, but it is sometimes the lesser of two evils, that it may be sometimes necessary in order to achieve a greater good. Either way we all – to one degree or another – will agree that war is hell. That it is cruel, and ugly, and destructive; it ruins and destroys. War is nasty, and brutal; brutish and never short enough.

The Geneva Conventions were negotiated in the aftermath of World War II to define the rights and protections of prisoners of war, wounded combatants and civilians in war zones. They are an implicit recognition by the signatory nations that “war is hell,” indeed, and should be limited; that the evil of war cannot be unleashed without constraint. Once the dogs of war are slipped from their leashes, cry havoc! because there is no way to control them, to bring them back.

But Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, believes that the Geneva conventions are“out of date,” and in need of renegotiating. More specifically, Trump has said that we must do “the unthinkable.” Bring back torture. Bring back waterboarding.  He has said that “we should do a lot more…”

Trump ignores the fact that, no how refined the euphemism, “enhanced interrogation” does not work. It is ineffective in gathering intelligence (what is gained is either inaccurate or already known), it is brutal (it is hell…), and it is illegal. Torture is an outrage against human dignity.

If the Geneva conventions are going to be renegotiated, they should be made stronger, more stringent – less torture, not more – less barbarism, less outrage and abuse, not more.

The road to hell is paved with renegotiations of the sort Trump favors.

photo by: Gage Skidmore

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