DOD official: 'Pro' Geneva Conventions

May 24, 2004 at 2:50 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 24 (UPI) -- The architect of the Pentagon's policy on the Geneva Conventions for the war on terrorism says the Defense Department supports protection for prisoners.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith wrote in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal Monday defense officials support the protections despite the alleged abuse of prisoners in Iraq and the fact the White House decided the Geneva Conventions do not apply to members of al-Qaida.

Feith wrote Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers strenuously defended the Geneva Convention protections as U.S. policy after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But Feith, a lawyer, recommended the United States not apply the conventions to terrorism because they purposefully target civilians, one of the groups the conventions were written to protect in warfare.

"The convention does not squarely address circumstances that we are confronting in this new global war against terrorism, but while we work through the legal questions we are upholding the principle of universal applicability of the convention," Feith wrote.

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