Thursday, August 7, 2008

HURRAY!!. . . . . . . . . .Oh No!!!!

Many cheered upon hearing the news of a covert operation in Colombia to free hostages who had been held for years. I was among those cheering until I read that the undercover operation made use of the Red Cross emblem. This is a dangerous thing to do. The Geneva Conventions protect and proscribe the use of the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Magen David Adom and the Red Lion and Sun (don't ask, it's a long story). None of these emblems is ever to be used to disguise activities such as this operation. There must have been other ways to conduct the rescue without sullying a respected organization's reputation. These emblems have been recognized and respected for more than 100 years as identifying safe haven and humanitarian aid. Once the integrity of the emblem is weakened, distrust and ambivalence set in and its protective identity is damaged. I'm thrilled for those who were freed - AND - I'm horrified by the subterfuge and misrepresentation. It's a dangerous precedent. FYI: The Geneva Conventions, of which there are four, are agreements passed during international conferences. The first was in 1864 and the latest was in 1949 which adopted protections for P.O.W.s and civilians. The United States is a signatory to the Conventions, a fact blithely ignored by the current administration.

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