Gingko Trees?

Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online shows what a total imbecile he is in this article.

The nut says, in a nutshell, that the Geneva Convention is like a contract. And since al Qaeda didn’t sign the contract, the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to them. Which means, he says, we should be able to torture AQ. Goldberg’s words:

If you sign a contract with your neighbor agreeing that neither of you will plant stinky ginkgo trees on your property, that contract is binding on you and your neighbor. It’s not binding for the guy who lives across the street.

Therefore, Goldberg concludes, we can plant our stinky ginkgo trees and the guy who lives across the street can’t complain (although the neighbor who signed the contract can).

The argument is simply wrong. The Geneva Conventions compel the signers to treat ALL prisoners of war humanely. It does not limit it to the prisoners of co-signers.

The argument is also stupid. Under that logic, the U.S. could sign a nuclear test ban treaty with Russia, and then conduct nuclear tests in violation of the treaty, arguing that Madacasgar was not a signer of the treaty.

Put another way, if I contract with my neighbor to NOT plant ginkgo trees on my property, I cannot plant gingko trees on my property. If I DID violate ginkgo trees on my property, I have violated the contract.

But of course, the Geneva Conventions are more than just a "contract". They, like all international treaties, have the force and effect of United States law. Goldberg, I suspect, knows better than to suggest otherwise.

Well, maybe not.

What do you think?