Once upon a time I thought that I might be interested in International Law. In fact I was stupid enough to take it as my first upper division class as an undergrad. To this day the prof who taught that class is one of my favorites at Texas State. He later introduced me to political philosophy and I can give him partial blame for me being more of a conservative. But that class, it was a pain in my ass.
I was reminded of this class because of an article I saw earlier thanks to Pizza Poems' post. It reminded me of a major case study I was required to do for a major grade. It had to do with the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Now I was actually excited about this one. It was something major in the news at the time and I was also not a big fan of Bush. I was wanting to show that what the administration was doing was a violation of the Geneva Convention or have some other kind of horrid conclusion. That kind of makes me laugh now as I think of it. So I did my research. The biggest problem I had, if I remember correctly, was categorizing a terrorist. He was not a member of any military force. He did not wear a uniform and did not have the protection provided for a prisoner at war. In fact I could find absolutely no protection for these people. The closest categorization I could find for a terrorist was a pirate. I have to tell you, a country can do whatever the hell it feels like with a pirate.
I don't remember right now what I answered for the paper. I just remember being confused. Shouldn't there be some sort of protection for these people? Shouldn't there be a way for the countries that these people are citizens of to have some sort of say in what is happening to them? Well, no. There was nothing about civilians that take action against the military. At least I don't think there was. All I do remember for certain right now is that I made a really bad grade on that case study, somewhere between a C and an F. It could be because even when I couldn't really find evidence of there being any violation of international law, I bullshitted my way into a crappy grade for my own beliefs.
After that class I was certain I did not want to go into international law. The main reason being, the uncertainty of the law. I went into the class, and the case study, being quite ignorant of the way the international community interacts. I wanted to believe that there was some authority. I wanted something to say that what this country is doing is wrong. I know there are others that want this same thing. That is the reason for the development for such things as the International Criminal Court. But then again is it good to have something there that has authority over the nations of this world? That would mean that other countries could have control over what type of laws we make in our own country. Now that scares me right there.
Another thing I wonder now: What reason do we have to be so concerned with the rights of these terrorists? I remember what my concern was back at that time. It was the possible innocence of the people imprisoned. I was also concerned with their being American citizens held prisoner without the rights that are there for all citizens. But what about those who are guilty? Should there be standards on how we treat those prisoners? The more I think about it, I think they should be treated as pirates. I don't think I'm wrong in saying that you could make a treaty with terrorists as easily as you can with pirates. In other words, no treaty. They are outlaws from different countries. There is no reason to treat them in the civilized manner that we expect. They would not and do not give us the same treatment in return.
Again, after I was done with that class I never again touched International Law. I did gain interest in Islam and the Middle East for a time. Of course, I also was interested in Japan. I think I wanted to know of every culture. I knew little of anything that wasn't Western. Well, it is interesting to learn. Now, I honestly don't know what else to write and I have no idea why the hell I am still awake. I hope this post made sense. I guess I'll check and see in the morning.