JH: Let me ask you a related question about the Geneva Convention. Since we do apply it in practice to groups like Al Qaeda and since no one seems to apply it to the United States, isn’t the treaty basically pointless?
JY: The most important thing, I think, for the treaties like the Geneva Conventions, is that they govern when we fight wars against other countries. Though as you say, when we have fought wars against other countries, they have habitually violated the Geneva Conventions and abused our men and women in uniform.
We saw that in the Iraq wars. We’ve seen it in Afghanistan and saw it in Vietnam and Korea. So one very important point you bring up is there are people who say, “Oh we need to follow the Geneva Conventions because otherwise when we fight, the other side won’t follow them either.” A very important point you make is that we have fought a lot of wars governed by the Geneva Conventions and our enemies don’t follow it anyway.
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