Every week there is something unbelievable that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth. In an incredible moment of blatant disregard for history and centuries of warfare, Trump undermined the long-standing treaties of the Geneva Conventions.
With its first iteration signed over a century ago in 1864, The Conventions outline guidelines for the treatment of prisoners of war, both civilian and military, and affords protections to the sick and wounded. The most recent updated Geneva Convention, signed in 1949 following the Second World War, has now been ratified by 196 countries.
What Donald Trump said yesterday afternoon, at a rally in Wisconsin, shows utter disrespect for human rights and human dignity: “The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight.”
A century and a half ago, European powers came together to minimize the human disaster caused by warfare. Following the Holocaust and civilian massacres of the Second World War, the world joined together to help prevent further atrocities.
While the Geneva Conventions haven’t stemmed bloodshed around the world, the provisions against torture are crucial to upholding human rights and dignity as a nation. The issue was argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006, when the Bush administration attempted to show that the Conventions did not apply to the conflict with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
The arguments were rejected by the Court.
Now in 2016, we seem to have regressed decades, if not centuries, in terms of morality, justice and basic decency. The current GOP front-runner has told the world that if he becomes president, he wouldn't think twice about killing the families of enemy combatants and that he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
Even ignoring the vast array of dangerous rhetoric from Trump and just focusing on his approach to conflicts and international norms, one can’t help but be appalled by his gall.
Pull it all together, and we can use a Trump quote from yesterday’s rally in Appleton, Wisconsin: “Nobody has seen anything like this ever.” You got that right, Donald.