WATCH TALK FORUMS banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will put my 2 cents in first. The definition of this is based on who is doing the name calling. The word terrorist was used by the nazis and the Japanese to describe "patriots" such as the Maquis, Titos' army and any undeground para-military fighting against them. They met the defintion as used today here in the US as not only terrorists, but unlawful combatants. In my war in Vietnam, the NVA was a regular army and the Viet Cong irregulars. One would be called an army, the other terrorists. In countries were we have a presence, we are called terrorists and the fighters such as the Taliban and the Sunni or Shia armies are the regular legit armies.






"Enemy combatant" is shorthand for people who are fighting unlawfully. But no one is quite sure exactly what that means.
We can understand why one might be confused as to the actual definition of “enemy combatant.” It's a question that has vexed philosophers, lawyers and constitutional scholars. Part of the problem is that "enemy combatant" is often used as shorthand for "unlawful enemy combatant." But even distinguishing between lawful and unlawful enemy combatants doesn't bring much additional clarity.

The Third Geneva Convention specifies a set of criteria that combatants must meet to be legal:

Be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates
Have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance
Carry arms openly
Conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war
There are additional exceptions for certain classes of civilians, including those who "spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war."

On the other hand, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 defines a lawful enemy combatant as a member of the regular forces, a militia, a volunteer corps or an organized resistance movement belonging to a state (whether officially recognized or not) that is engaged in hostilities against the United States and who must

Wear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance
Carry his or her arms openly
Abide by the law of war
The Act does not provide any additional exemptions. Moreover, it also explicitly defines members of the Taliban, al Qaeda and associated forces as unlawful enemy combatants.

By and large, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Third Geneva Convention will pick out the same people as lawful combatants. A U.S. Marine patrolling in Basra or a Russian soldier in Chechnya are both lawful combatants. A person who straps dynamite to his chest and blows up a cafe is not. Other cases, however, are less clear. A member of the Taliban militia, ordered to resist U.S. soldiers when they landed in 2001, would seem to be protected as lawful under the Third Geneva Convention. Under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, he wouldn't be.

It's also not clear which set of rules ultimately applies. The U.S. Constitution, in what scholars call the Supremacy Clause, specifies that treaties like the Third Geneva Convention are part of the supreme law of the land. But the Constitution also recognizes the right of Congress to pass laws. Scholars are divided as to which authority trumps the other. So until the Supreme Court rules on the issue (and it is under no obligation to do so), there is no clear legal definition of an enemy combatant, lawful or otherwise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,410 Posts
Good points and very good read.

In my eyes, that require glasses, I see these two:

1. Lawful Combatant=Regular, uniformed enemy army. With leaders and organized somewhat.

2. Unlawful Combatant=Unorganized group, without uniforms and no specific leadership and varying causes for their armed conflicts.
Also, usually not supported by the majority of the populace.

My $.02
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
9,122 Posts
I am confused here. How does QUOTE: "The U.S. Constitution, in what scholars call the Supremacy Clause, specifies that treaties like the Third Geneva Convention are part of the supreme law of the land. But the Constitution also recognizes the right of Congress to pass laws. " END QUOTE the treaty become supreme law of the land, when it is recognized, endorsed, and agreed upon by other nations? And what of nations that do not recognize the Geneva Convention? Does that then mean some wingnut politician can cause harm to a soldier for legally defending himself in battle (he was shot upon and returned fire for example); but, b/c he was not termed and enemy combatant by the Convention the solider can be brought up on murder charges???????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
I am confused here.
SNIP!
murder charges???????

Surprisingly, Wikipedia gives nice and concise info on the Supremecy Clause:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supremacy_Clause

So, to answer your question - When the President enters into a treaty - it becomes the law of the land.

Note the problems that are happening with NAFTA and such regarding online gambling. The treaties we signed and entered into allow it, but there are many state and federal statutes that make it illegal to gamble online.

Enter the WTO and fines against the USA:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...=1&q=online+gambling+treaty+violation&spell=1

(There are more examples other than gambling, of course, ...just using an example)

Regarding a non-signature nation to the Geneva Convention. :)

The victor determines everything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,704 Posts
Like so many other things, the definition of "terrorist" depends upon what history decides, not us.

Was Benedict Arnold a loyal royalist or a traitor? He was both depending upon what side you were on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,704 Posts
Good points and very good read.

In my eyes, that require glasses, I see these two:

1. Lawful Combatant=Regular, uniformed enemy army. With leaders and organized somewhat.

2. Unlawful Combatant=Unorganized group, without uniforms and no specific leadership and varying causes for their armed conflicts.
Also, usually not supported by the majority of the populace.

My $.02
Hey Gearhead,

Not trying to kick up a hornet's nest, but that definition doesn't fully cut it. What groups like the FARC narco-guerillas in Columbia? They are extremely well funded from their drug production and trafficking operations and have uniforms, leadership and even a weak pro-communist agenda. But most would consider them terrorists since they don't have the mandate of the people in Columbia and are not in control of the government apparatus of the Columbian state.

I think I get what you are saying however. Would you agree with this modification to your definition?

1. Lawful Combatant=Regular, uniformed enemy army. With leadership and organization under the rule of a State

2. Unlawful Combatant=Unorganized group, without the support of the State.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,800 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Hey Gearhead,

I think I get what you are saying however. Would you agree with this modification to your definition?

1. Lawful Combatant=Regular, uniformed enemy army. With leadership and organization under the rule of a State

2. Unlawful Combatant=Unorganized group, without the support of the State.

Under that definition, the Free French under DeGualle were unlawful combatants as were the Maquis. The Vichey controlled the French govt.

The same applies in the Philippines during WWII and in almost every guerilla war situation. It is not that simple. The mercs this country uses in Iraq and elsewhere would meet the definition ( correctly IMHO ) of both unlawful combatants and terrorists.They answer to no state ( due to a law bremer signed with approval from on high ) and they are not a regular uniformed army.

The definition also fails the test when you deal with groups wanting freedom in countries we deem to be enemies or not friendly to our interests. After WWII we supported the Jewish guerillas against the Brits and others. They behaved in our interests and according to many still do. Under the definition, they should have been tried as terrorist and were in fact unlawful combatants. The same for the Algerians who gained freedom, and the african nations who gained freedom from the Colonial states such as Germany, France and GB. And what of the people in what used to be known as Burma? Are they terrorists or Freedom Fighters. As was stated by another member, History will judge even when the victors sometimes try to rewrite it. In fact, even the losers try to rewrite history as the Japanese are attempting to do in their country.

Not so easy. In the current case, it makes it easy to justify breaking international laws.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,557 Posts
"Lawful" or "unlawful", if they're targeting our troops, we need to target them.

I don't get hung up on names, tag-lines, or politically correct identifications.

If they shoot at us, we need to shoot at them.

There's no great mystery here...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,410 Posts
BULLANDVODKA,

I feel we are thinking the same, you expressed it better.

Your change is good.

I also agree with "steve". If they shoot at us, we shoot at them. Hopefully we shoot better. Then let God sort them out.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top