Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan

2011-09-19-133518cc1000They Watch our Backs

05 December 2011

The US Army is today in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan.  This was first pointed out to me by a very smart, highly experienced senior military person.  Though he has never steered me wrong, this seemed a bit much.  And so over the past month I looked into it.

He was right.  We are in violation of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan.  The explanation is straightforward.

Our forces take casualties every day.  US Army “Dustoff” helicopters evacuate wounded troopers seven days per week.  The Dustoff crews courageously fly over enemy territory to rescue our wounded.  Our Dustoff helicopters fly straight over enemy heads.  The Dustoff helicopters are clearly marked by the Red Cross and are unarmed.

The various enemies in Afghanistan are not signatory to the Geneva Conventions.  We have no expectation that they know or will follow the Conventions, and in any case the Taliban and others have not obligated themselves by agreeing to uphold the Conventions.

But our Army says that we are following the Geneva Conventions by sending unarmed helicopters marked with Red Crosses into enemy territory, flying straight over the heads of the enemy.  We say the enemy is in violation when they fire upon the clearly marked helicopters.

In fact, the enemy is within the law to shoot down the Dustoffs.  Importantly, the enemy is not signatory to the Conventions.  Most importantly, Dustoff helicopters violate Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan and behave as combatants.

Dustoff helicopters behave as combatants by flying over routes not agreed up between all the parties to the conflict.  Dustoff further violates the Conventions by flying over the enemy and over enemy terrain, and thus behave as combatants.  Dustoff will never obey a summons to land to be inspected by the Taliban, and thus are behaving as combatants.

Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.

Art.22. Aircraft exclusively employed for the removal of wounded and sick civilians, the infirm and maternity cases or for the transport of medical personnel and equipment, shall not be attacked, but shall be respected while flying at heights, times and on routes specifically agreed upon between all the Parties to the conflict concerned.

They may be marked with the distinctive emblem provided for in Article 38 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of 12 August 1949.  Unless agreed otherwise, flights over enemy or enemy occupied territory are prohibited.

Such aircraft shall obey every summons to land. In the event of a landing thus imposed, the aircraft with its occupants may continue its flight after examination, if any.

And so there it is.  We are in violation of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan and are deceptively using the Red Cross.  Is this prosecutable as a war crime?  I do not know.  Is it a violation of the Conventions?  Yes.

The Marines, Air Force, British, and US Army Special Operations Forces do not sport the Red Crosses.

The US Army is forcing Dustoff crews to violate the Geneva Conventions.  American troops are trained not to violate the Geneva Conventions.  Our troops are trained to disobey orders that violate the law.

The Army has publicly communicated in writing that the Dustoffs wear Red Crosses in Afghanistan to abide by Geneva Conventions. This could obligate Dustoff crews to disobey unlawful orders, or put themselves at risk of violating the Conventions.

It could happen tomorrow.  A Soldier might say, “Sir, I want to go to Afghanistan, but I am afraid that by violating the Geneva Conventions, I could be accused of a war crime.  I am caught in a bad place.  I cannot violate the Geneva Conventions and so there is no need to send me to Afghanistan to fly.  I must refuse that unlawful order.  If ordered, I will go to Afghanistan but I cannot fly in violation.”

A Soldier is obligated to obey the law.  A Soldier is obligated not to obey unlawful orders.

What would you do?

Comments   

 
+15 # Wow.Prufrock 2011-12-05 15:52
That's going to generate some heat. It's been nice having your Middle East dispatches, but I think you'd better dust off your Spanish.

Thanks for the attention to this issue. Hopefully you have made enough of a splash that it will eventually be addressed.
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-3 # ret'dJohn Hopkinson 2011-12-05 17:10
Wow for sure: Right on: Michael. it is one thing to be "right", but another thing to be vociferous about it. These things have a bad habit of making the troops think. You know that they ere trained to think in a very special way, i.e. smart. But nagging about deficiencies gets under the skins. Thinking about your topic will no doubt distract the guys from thinking smart. They will start thinking when they should be reacting.
You are getting a bit squirrely. If you do "generate some heat" you will be the one to feel it.
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+1 # RE: ret'din_awe 2011-12-06 01:09
In working on a Memorial for the fallen heroes of Afghanistan & Iraq (www.NorthwoodMemorial.com)we discovered that roughly 5% of the names on the official casualty lists are misspelled. I tried for 2 months with dozens of phone calls to the DoD and each military branch to get anyone to care. Only when I threatened to take the issue public with the conservative blogosphere and flood then Secretary Gates' email inbox with email complaints and news coverage did I get any traction.

When reason and quiet "diplomacy" don't work, then you are left to build a coalition that can make noise and raise the issue publicly to get the job done.

This is too serious a matter to allow it to be swept under the rug, or to vilify the messenger (which is happening in several circles).

If Obama REALLY supports the troops he'd haul the Joint Chiefs of Staff into the Situation Room and demand that they stay put until this is solved with a unified policy.
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+7 # MrRyden 2011-12-06 01:15
I honestly doubt it has anything to do with Obama supporting the troops or not. The last time the Red Crosses were respected was by the Germans during WW2, but the Japanese set the trend, so if Obama would be judged for not getting rid of the markings, well then no president has supported the troops since around WW1.

Still, it really ought to get tended to, sharpish!
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+6 # RE: Mrin_awe 2011-12-06 01:31
I apologize for my snark. We are just inundated daily in every medium with loosely cloaked campaign dreck about how much Michelle Obama and Jill Biden LOVE the troops and their families and it is their first concern every day. I was just sayin' that taking real action regarding the safety of the wounded speaks more loudly than a hundred campaign outings on the topic.

From other reports, it appears that there are multiple layers of internal power struggles happening behind the scenes - some of which may be decades in the forming. Having been personally in contact with Chazray Clark's widow, I'm pretty confident that she couldn't care less who in the US Army "owns" the skies. What matters to her is that her husband might still be alive today if Army policy didn't keep its rescue copters grounded unnecessarily long.

This is life and death stuff here, and the President be made aware of this problem and he should act to have it resolved.
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+3 # MrRyden 2011-12-06 09:15
Hear hear! If only a fraction of the time spent by politicians over the last 60 or so years to make it look like they are genuinly concerned with the welfare of the troops had been spent on actually doing something to improve their welfare, then this would've been resolved before Chazray was even born and wouldn't have left him waiting for more than an hour when advanced medical help was needed from the instant he was wounded.

But then again, getting rid of obsolete markings doesn't look as good for politicians as a couple of pictures of them with veterans and their families in the papers. Couple that with the potential political backlash (claims of endangering the wounded when you remove the Red Crosses) and most politicians will probably feel that saving the lifes of people they don't even know isn't worth even a minor setback in their career.

Politicians. We can't live without them, and we can't live with them.
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+3 # ret'dJohn Hopkinson 2011-12-06 13:25
Further re: RE: Mr — in_awe

"From other reports, it appears that there are multiple layers of internal power struggles happening behind the scenes - some of which may be decades in the forming."
How about this? The 2nd WW was fought in part by the US with an Army, Navy, Marines etc., and the Army Air Force would you believe? The discombobulatio n was solved by the formation of the US Air force.
Is it impossible to combine the efforts of all the present medic fleets with one master-coordina ted Field Recovery Force, fully armed-piss on the conventions when necessary-and move immediately on call-Force?? Am I thinking too clearly here? I see a whole lot of frontliners in this discussion, with obviously hurtful memories of the noise. If you were Panetta today, what would you do?
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+2 # Army and Air Force VetLEO 2011-12-08 01:14
The President needs to have this resolved but he does not have the leadership experience and mental acuity necessary to resolve it.
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+4 # uh60dustoffSteve Sanderson 2011-12-05 15:59
I llok forward to your dispatches. You bring a breath of fresh air to this subject and display the true stupidity of Army and government leadership.

Thank you Mike.
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+4 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanNB1 2011-12-05 16:02
You got to be kidding me... What would I do, kill every SOB who pointed a weapon at me or fired on my location. 1949? Was that the year President Truman increases minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents? Give me a break...
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0 # MrSteve P from Texas 2011-12-05 16:02
Sounds like a "Catch 22"

Have you gotten any response(s) from those in authority who could make it right?
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+8 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanadam b 2011-12-05 16:02
Im glad someone else realized this. There are lots of reasons the Taliban do not qualify to be treated as Soldiers under the Geneva Convention. German troops that surrendered after Germany signed the peace agreement were considered Surrendered Enemy Personel as opposed to POWs and were as such interred under different much worse conditions than their comrads captured during the war, except for those under Pattons Area of Operation (read Soldiers Of Misfortune). The Brass know about the loop holes and know how to use them, some are more intrested in Stars than Troop Welfare I think.
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0 # VeteranEyeMTweek 2011-12-17 22:02
Quoting adam b:
Im glad someone else realized this. There are lots of reasons the Taliban do not qualify to be treated as Soldiers under the Geneva Convention. German troops that surrendered after Germany signed the peace agreement were considered Surrendered Enemy Personel as opposed to POWs and were as such interred under different much worse conditions than their comrads captured during the war, except for those under Pattons Area of Operation (read Soldiers Of Misfortune). The Brass know about the loop holes and know how to use them, some are more intrested in Stars than Troop Welfare I think.


It sounds to me as if they take would take more interest in "Dancing with the Stars" than troop welfare if given the opportunity, I think.
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+11 # DisappointedJerry Hossom 2011-12-05 16:04
I am surprised this is offered as written. Since the Taliban are not signatories to the Geneva Convention and they are after all, the Taliban who respect nothing but their own ambitions, does anybody seriously expect them to behave in a civilized manner regarding Dustoffs? Frankly, I'm surprised they are flying unarmed. Our PJ's don't.
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+5 # DustoffMikeM 2011-12-05 17:10
I think you missed his point. There is irony here based on some of his other work on this issue.
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-4 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistannwsurfer 2011-12-05 16:15
wow. outstanding. Now we just need some hotshot lawyer to file suit.
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-21 # Please......... ..Mike in Houston 2011-12-05 16:23
So are you suggesting that we do this?

This is not the type of way that the conventions addressed. You said they have not agreed to play by the rules, so it's a mute point. Report on something worthwhile, and quit trying to be a dramatist like Jerry Springer.

Drink a lot of fluids, maybe you can wash out that bug up your butt you have for the Army medics who are doing the best they can under the circumstances. I was a big supporter of your efforts in this area until this garbage dispatch.
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+14 # Mike in houstonSteve Sanderson 2011-12-05 16:41
Have you read all of Micheal's dispatches? If so, where in any of them has he diminished the service of Army Medics or Army DUSTOFF aircrew members?

This dispatch illustrated that the the U.S. policy with Army DUSTOFF missions has been inconsistant with the Geneva Convention itself. He has also stated that since our "enemy" is not a signatory of the Geneva Convention, it's rules are null and void.

Please ensure you have all available information before posting comments that are naive at best.
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+5 # RE: Mike in houstonJanice Stroud 2011-12-08 23:39
Yah Mike I think you should bone up on the situation, the facts and all the available information before you spout garbage about these dispatches. And how is "bad policy" not something worthwhile? My son is a medevac pilot and while he is rather fond and proud of that red cross he agrees its just another bullseye for the Taliban.
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+7 # RE: Please......... ..Chris B 2011-12-05 16:48
Mike - It's very tongue in cheek.. You need to go read Michael's previous dispatches, and you'll see his intentions with this dispatch. Enjoy.
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+3 # Umm...John-Capt in ANG 2011-12-06 07:35
If you're going to criticize, it's helpful to avoid obvious mistakes.

It's not a "mute point" unless you're referring the point helicopters don't speak. It's a moot point.

And, yes, I took Michael's point to be tongue in cheek. It's fun to take a laughable, at best, reply and show how even the non-plausible explanation is still technically wrong. It shows the level of incompetence involved.
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+6 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanSandra 2011-12-05 16:26
Yes, I would say that you might be in for the "short haul" if you ruffle too many feather but then why not go out with having made a difference. You concern has always been the well being of the soldiers on the ground or in the air. You can only follow your instincts on what it the right thing to do. Do you have any figures on how many of those helicopters have been attacked? or had their mission compromised by the cross?
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+12 # Dustoff HelicoptersTony R 2011-12-05 16:35
I think we are taking the wrong approach. In this politically correct nation we live in, maybe we could convince the army brass to remove the red crosses because they offend muslim sensibilities.
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+2 # not the geneva lawPeter 2011-12-05 16:43
Michael, very good rebuttal, but the issue is not the Geneva convention, but the Apache vs the Blackhawk armed helicopters. Arming the dustoffs will decrease the Apaches, which will cut into the Business of War. The issue is economics, and political, and the legal is only a smokescreen.
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0 # RE: not the geneva lawTim 2011-12-05 17:08
Quoting Peter:
Arming the dustoffs will decrease the Apaches, which will cut into the Business of War.


...and increase the Blackhawks. Are there enough available? If the generals don't have them, they can't send them.
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+4 # MrRyden 2011-12-06 16:40
I doubt that any of them will be increased. There won't be a need for more Blackhawks just because the MEDEVACs get to fly around Afghanistan with .50s and Miniguns. And there won't be a decreased demand for Apaches. Michael's mentioned in previous dispatches that part of why MEDEVACs are delayed because it's hard to find Apaches to escort them, due to them being short in supply, so there'll still be a big demand for them. The only difference is that the Apaches can go hunt Talibans and assist ISAF ground forces in times when they previously had to escort MEDEVACs so they wouldn't be sitting ducks.

This is probably one of the best things Michael has ever drawn attention to, except for the troops on the ground and their progress. I'd say this problem is within the same category as the soft skin Hummvees that were driven around in Iraq for years, providing easy targets for terrorists there.
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+8 # Summons to LandRamone 2011-12-05 17:06
I'm not a JAG but my first thought is that the Taliban are best classified as unlawful combatants.

Secondly, the linked commentary indicates permission to fly over enemy territory may be requested. Since the Taliban are unlawful combatants and the recognized government is that of Afghanistan, blanket permission to fly exists.

Never-the-less, the commentary doesn't say a request to fly must be granted before a flight can take place. It does say the enemy may request the plane to land for inspection but the request to land may be ignored. If the request to land is ignored, the enemy may attempt to shoot down the aircraft.

See Paragraphs 3 and 4 in the following commentary for details.

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/COM/380-600026?OpenDocument
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+1 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanJake 2011-12-05 17:08
Would under the Geneva Convention the Taliban even be considered a 'party'?

Everything in the Geneva Convention seems specifically geared between state to state conflicts. I assume, although I am not sure, that we have agreements with Afghanistan itself to fly our helicopters.
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+3 # IANAL, and neither are youMatthew Walker 2011-12-05 17:09
In practical terms, is it physically possible for the Dustoffs to perform their mission without flying over enemy-held territory?

In practical terms, if the Taliban invite a Dustoff to land for inspection and it complies, is there any chance they won't merely kill everybody inside?

I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that the laws of war are designed for the real world, and it's legitimate to take reality into account. If a recognized specialist in the law of war agrees with your position, this is very serious.

Can you direct us to the opinion of such a specialist? Your opinion is worth more than mine, but that's not saying much.
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+4 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanTom D 2011-12-05 17:25
Michael:

Since the Taliban are not a party to the Geneva Convention, can they legally summon a Dustoff flight to land for inspection?

I think a lot of the legal issue revolves around the display of the Red Cross on the Dustoff birds. Paint them over and the problem goes away.
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+5 # RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanJay Heathman 2011-12-06 00:54
Yep, paint over the red crosses, arm them with Vulcans and screw the nonsense about 'rules'. I regret to say that I don't even see the point of this dispatch. If the bad guys will have no part of any civilized rules of warfare, and our guys have to ignore the rules to save good guys then what is the point of even mentioning any of it?
I can tell you this - if you were laying in a rice paddy with your guts sshowing through your ODs back in the 60s, you wouldn't have given a rat's ass about anything bet getting evaced. I would think our guys in D-bagistan feel the same. Just my humble opinion.
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+3 # hahadan 2011-12-05 17:30
it is funny to read a non military civilians interpretation of this
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+5 # Oh really?Gus Bailey 2011-12-05 21:15
Dan,

I'm assuming you're referring a portion of Michael's readership/supp orters and not Mr. Yon himself; that would be ignorant.

Based on that assumption, exactly what part of the concept of Civilian leadership over the military did you miss in the Constitution?
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+13 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanAaron Vice 2011-12-05 17:44
I was in a Stryker BN in Iraq during the same time as Michael Yon. Our Stryker MEV, basically an ambulance, had big red crosses on it which our 1SG covered up after repeatedly being targeted. I'm glad our leadership in B Co 5/20 INF had the common sense to do so as it likely saved many lives.
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0 # I disagree...Bet C 2011-12-05 17:46
The Geneva Convention deals with the rights of prisoners, wounded, and civilians. The WARFARE-related rights are outlined in the Geneva Protocol (and other Protocols and Conventions).
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+16 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanin_awe 2011-12-05 17:57
To those who haven't been following Yon's reporting on this issue, here it is in a nutshell:

- the USMC, USAF and British forces evacuate wounded troops with armed helicopters not bearing the Red Cross symbols
- the US Army evacuate the wounded with unarmed helicopters emblazoned with Red Crosses. Because they are unarmed, they must wait for an armed attack copter to fly high cover for them before they can be dispatched. Yon documented this can result in unnecessary delays in retrieving grievously wounded troops.
- The Army's defense is that the Geneva Convention requires medical evacuations be carried out by non-combatants in clearly marked vehicles/aircraft.
- The issue can be fixed by taking the Red Crosses off the Army copters and putting guns on them
- Today Yon reports the Army violates the GC simply by flying evacuations over random flight paths at random times. If you are violating the GC already, then go all-in and save lives. Go armed. Go NOW!
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+3 # RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanJay Heathman 2011-12-06 00:57
Thanks - you cleared this up for me. Appreciated. Urrah!
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+5 # Violation?Tony 2011-12-05 18:31
So by hiding behind the Geneva Convention and saying the Dustoffs have to bear the red cross, the "brass" have exposed themselves as fools who do not understand the Geneva Convention and they have unwittingly exposed themselves as the asses that they are!

If you want to hide behind rules, make sure you know the rules first.

Clearly, in a theatre such as Afghanistan, the "rules go out of the window if your opponent doesn't abide by them.

Get the red crosses off and weapons in!

Thank you for pointing this out Michael.
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+1 # RE: Violation?Lori Goodwin 2012-02-03 03:51
When I did medevac coordination in Iraq in 07-08 with the Army, I asked myself the same question. And its been a repeat question since then. Kinda stupid for us soldiers to follow it to the letter when the ppl we're fighting have absolutely no morals.
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+6 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanMitchell 2011-12-05 19:09
Take the Red Crosses off, add mini-guns and blast anything that fires on the Dustoff choppers. Problem solved.

Unfortunately the peaceniks would rather replace the Red Crosses with bull's eyes and put speed limits on the copters so they are easier to shoot down. Heck they probably want to send all of Ghaddfi's weapons to the rebels and providing training.

Time to let the military fight the fight and win.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanThunder 26 2011-12-05 19:23
Turn it into a huge area of smokin' glass. Drive forward from one end of the country to the next-NOT repeating the failed "Strategic Hamlet" policy combined with Air power that had ALREADY proved ineffectual in Viet-Nam. Crush the Enemy, See Him Flee Before You,And Hear the Lamentations of His Women!
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+7 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanel757 2011-12-05 19:45
I'm not an international lawyer, but I have had some classes on international law and a two-month training on international military law from staffers at the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

If Mr. Yon bothered to read the rest of GCIV then he would see that "Parties" is a defined term and means a signatory country which the Taliban is not. Furthermore, "enemy" means the forces of a signatory country. This is not "enemy territory." It is not "enemy occupied territory." It is the territory of the country of Afghanistan and the ISAF operates under their explicit approval. I would try to explain it further but Mr. Yon's logic is so spurious I don't even know where to begin.

No one who actually knows international law would say that this is a violation of GCIV. It may be stupid, and I think it's bad policy but it is ***NOT*** illegal.
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+2 # RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanin_awe 2011-12-05 21:06
The original issue is MEDEVAC copters being required to be unarmed and emblazoned with Red Crosses. If one party in a war IS a signatory to the GC, and one party is a non-state, non-military organization combatant, then is the nation-state still bound by the GC? If the non-signatory group repeatedly shoots at properly marked, unarmed medical evacuation copters, doesn't the GC provide for defensive armament? Isn't it like having a boxer in a ring bound by the Marquis of Queensbury Rules matched against an opponent uninhibited by rules? Is there no provision for reasonable relief for the rule-bound fighter?

What if, as in VN, Iraq and Afghanistan territory is disputed and changes hands literally with the rising and setting of the sun - what does the GC require?

The Army is tying its own hands by designating the copters as MEDEVAC copters. Just change their designation to casualty evacuation copters or un-designated copters that happen to provide medical evacuations.
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0 # RE: RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanel757 2011-12-05 22:23
Yes, the US is still bound to act according to all the GCs (and Hague Conventions as well) even if fighting a nonsignatory.

Self-defense is not a valid defense under the GCs. So even though they shoot us we have to take the fire. (The alternative is Mr. Yon's suggestion which I endorse to drop the Red Cross and grab the guns.) But if you carry the Red Cross (or equivalent such as Red Crescent) you cannot carry any armament.

That's actually my point: it's not enemy territory here because it's battlefield, not established enemy territory.

The Army is certainly tying its own hands, but contrary to Mr. Yon's assertion, it is not a violation of international law to do so.
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0 # RE: RE: RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanin_awe 2011-12-05 23:03
Are you aware that the crews and medics on the MEDEVAC flights are armed? So, they can't defend themselves as they approach and depart, but CAN when they are on the ground?

Do they get issued flashcards to let them know when they can and when they can't defend themselves?
- Foot in the copter? Don't fire!
- Foot on the ground? OK to fire!
- Taking fire while in the air? Duck & Cover!
- Taking fire on the LZ? Blaze away!

Back to the REAL point. Why should American troops spend one second longer than necessary waiting to be evacuated when the rules could simply be changed by the Army and still conform with the GC?

Take the Red Crosses off, put mini-guns on. Then whenever a call comes in, any available copter could take off immediately without waiting for air cover.
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0 # RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanel757 2011-12-06 04:29
Yeah those rules are complicated but the basic principle is that you cannot be using the emblem of the ICRC while bearing arms. Modern medics carry weapons but don't generally have the Red Cross on their arm (you can carry a sidearm or "personal weapon" and still wear the emblem but it can only be used for defense).

I don't know the ROE for when crewmen/medics can use their personal weapons.

All I know is that Yon's original argument about the GC and international law is incorrect.
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0 # RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanel757 2011-12-06 04:36
Yeah those rules can get really complicated but the general principle is that you can't use the emblem of the ICRC while using weapons offensively. Using a weapon while bearing the ICRC emblem is a perfidy.

I don't know the actual ROE for when crewmen/medics can use their personal weapons. I do know that Mr. Yon is wrong in his original argument.
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+5 # Good point... ButSteve 2 2011-12-05 21:36
Yon is using the US Army's argument against them. They tout the GC, so he does in turn. Factually, nobody should be mentioning the GC in the discussion of the conflict with the Taliban. They are the smallpox of the 21st century and every f*$*%king one of 'em need to be killed. Geneva my six. What a bunch a PC a-holes the Army brass are.
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+1 # RE: Good point... Butel757 2011-12-05 22:25
Except he's wrong about what the GC means. It'd be like me responding to someone's assertion that I couldn't go outside in a blizzard by saying that a blizzard was a heat wave.

I agree with his policy recommendation, but he's just wrong about the law.
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-6 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanBruno 2011-12-05 21:01
Too bad- i used to think that Yon brought some good points to the table, but this is simplistic drivel.
So tell me- what utility does having guns bring WHEN the point of the dustoff is to land? Helicopter guns aren't worth squat on the ground. So the dustoff is going to suppress by raining down fire with its miniguns on the LZ and then dashing in and snatching the casualty while Mohammed is too stunned to return to the fight? Or maybe you think that you are going to hose away while sitting on the ground with Rotors turning? Like there is a chance that the door gunner will hit anything while he is also loading a stretcher? The problem isn't guns on a dustoff- it's having someone to fly cover while the dustoff is going in to a hot LZ.
Give it a rest Michael. Sadly- you have no cred left after this one.
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+4 # Slamming the Army?Gus Bailey 2011-12-05 21:21
So, Bruno,

According to Mike, Dustoff sits on the pad because they won't go into "hot" LZs? But the PJs, Marines and Brits do? You say they'll go in with cover. Are the AF, USMC and Brits getting all the air cover? What does that say about the Army?
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+8 # RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanin_awe 2011-12-05 23:13
If it is so meaningless, then why do the USMC, USAF and the British arm their CASEVAC copters? Just for show? Something tells me that they must come in handy from time to time.

The Army insists on delaying the departure of its MEDEVAC copters until an armed escort is available. If the attack copters are supporting infantry elsewhere, how long might it be before they are re-tasked to MEDEVAC support? Should they leave ground forces that needed them in the first place in order to fly cover elsewhere? Will the escort need to return to base to refuel or replenish ammunition? Delay. Delay. Delay.

In a UK National Health Service article about the armed UK MERT copters, They talk about the golden ten minutes for combat casualties, while we talk about a golden hour.

So, if the USMC, USAF and UK fly in as soon as the call comes in because they have armed copters, then why doesn't the Army want to adopt their policies? It is just a policy the Army can change.
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+1 # uh60dustoffSteve Sanderson 2011-12-06 00:14
Perfectly stated.
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+1 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanPeter 2011-12-05 21:17
This only illustrates that international law needs to evolve to cover the new realities that we face- transnational terrorist are not States and the Geneva Conventions were meant to apply to States.
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+8 # Bruno- you don't know what you are talking about......Brian 2011-12-05 23:11
Bruno - You are an idiot. I just left Afghanistan and I am a pilot. MEDEVAC is unarmed....... They required not only security at "HOT" LZ's, but some AO's are considered "RED" and too dangrous to even fly there without an escort. If you "Arm" them, they will not have to wait (for said security) and can take off immediately, the security (OH-58/AH-64) can meet them at the at the LZ and they can get in and out much quicker. Thus saving more lives and that is the point of all of it.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanDave Max 2011-12-05 23:21
Sorry Michael but I am normally behind you 100% but this time I think you may be on the wrong side of the fence. Yes we do follow our obligations under the convention where we can but if the other party will not agree to the same then we are not "violating" the terms. How can they fly to agreed routes when there are none. What is your alternative?

Its one thing to point the finger, its another to provide an alternative.
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0 # RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanin_awe 2011-12-05 23:35
Are you also disagreeing that the Army could, if it decided to, remove the Red Crosses and arm the evacuation copters?

I am concerned that Yon's attempt to use Army hypocrisy re GC compliance against them as another approach to get their attention got the discussion sidetracked. Let's all agree that Yon is wrong about what he posted today. It does nothing to diminish the importance of addressing delays in rescuing wounded troops.

This site is supposed to prove a place for people wanting the Army to change its policy re evacuating wounded troops. In that regard nothing has changed.

What argument do YOU think will win the day and get the Army to relent?

Armed, unmarked copters with medics or paramedics can depart immediately upon receipt of a 9 line report. They arrive on scene sooner and get wounded troops to higher level medical care faster than unarmed MEDEVAC copters currently delayed by policy.

Fewer Minutes = lives saved
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0 # RE: RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanDave Max 2011-12-06 00:38
I am not saying we should change anything other than ideas that help get in and out faster.

What I am saying is pointing the finger and raising this issue is purely sensationalism which is why I avoid mainstream media and follow sites like Michael's in the 1st place. I found this story a little too "mainstream sensationalist" . That's all.
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+2 # RE: RE: RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanin_awe 2011-12-06 00:54
Yon HAS been offering a solution in each of his earlier reports and on the separate forum: take the Red Crosses off the Army MEDEVAC copters and arm them.

The Army is hiding behind the Geneva Convention as to why its slow to launch copters have the markings and are unarmed.

The Army could match the other forces and call the newly unmarked, armed copters CASEVAC and responds to calls for help sooner than with MEDEVAC copters. Everything else could remain the same; same crews, same level of care, etc.

The GC restriction was drafted to prevent "trojan horse" attacks under the cover of medical assistance/medi cal evacuation activity and to allow medical care for the wounded. Hence the requirement to be marked and unarmed.

As long as you aren't wearing Red Crosses, you can be armed while evacuating the wounded. Which is what the Marines, Air Force, and UK do.

Yon is exploring other reasons why the Army is resisting this change?
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+4 # People are missin the pointMark S 2011-12-06 02:08
Dave, I hear what you are saying, but I think you missed the point, Yon is intentionally being sensationalist because the Army is being obtuse. I dont think Yon truly believes the US is breaking the GC. He just is saying that the US following the GC in this regard is hypocritical and ultimately puts US lives at risk. And as for the other fella who said the US has to abide by the GC in this regard as well as the Hague .. hogwash.
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+2 # RE: People are missin the pointin_awe 2011-12-06 18:08
I agree completely on the flight path issue Yon raised today. Yon initially thought he had found a "gotcha" to lever the Army - he was wrong.

All I am saying is now that others with apparently greater understanding of the GC and its application have said Yon was wrong, let's re-center the conversation about the core issue and seek a way to break through to the Army.
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+2 # Are we getting a litle silly?Pete Kosel 2011-12-06 00:38
Isn't it more a matter of whether you get people to safety than whether you technically comply with the Geneva Convention? And besides, once upon a time I was told by my drill sergeant the army observes the convention but the US is NOT a signatory. I wasn't gonna argue about it.
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+2 # Hypocritical ArmyKerri Hammer 2011-12-06 01:29
Oh my. Doesn't seem interesting that the army told Mr. Yon that they are obeying the Geneva Convention by putting the red crosses on our copters, and yet the Army is violating the convention just by sending out rescue flights. No one would ever ask our copters to follow the convention to the letter with these terrorists. The army needs to get its act together and just take the crosses of the choppers.
I wonder why they insist on being unreasonable.
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0 # RE: Hypocritical ArmyKerri Hammer 2011-12-06 01:30
lol I forgot *it* on my previous comment. sorry about that :oops:
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+4 # Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanK Orlando 2011-12-06 03:12
Mike-
Nice write-up.. to fix everyones problems just call me and my boys....Pedro's in HOT
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+7 # BystanderRichardG 2011-12-06 03:15
There is a dead elephant somewhere in this room, and it isn't being addressed.

The arguments in favor of removing the insignia are compelling: flying unarmed puts evac men and equipment at risk; waiting for armed cover puts wounded at risk; requiring armed cover removes it from combat availability.

All the talk about Geneva is a smokescreen - ignore it. What is the REAL reason for maintaining the insignia? Sell more Apaches? Increase command size (promotability) ? What are we missing in all this?
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+6 # RE: BystanderRichardG 2011-12-06 03:19
Find the real reason - in my experience it is invariably either financial or control. Then find those who benefit from it, sight in and fire for effect.
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+1 # RE: Bystanderin_awe 2011-12-06 18:20
Apparently there are two issues at play:

(1)Who in the Army controls helicopters in a combat zone - the combat arm AND the medical arm on their respective missions? Or does the combat command control all flights, through the use of the armed escort requirement?
(2)There is a shortage of attack copters in Afghanistan meaning there can be an "either-or" decision to be made as to their mission disposition at any given time: fly combat cover for ground forces or fly cover for MEDEVAC. Maybe they can do both in some cases, but in others they can't.

So, there are internal power incentives at play as well as the desire by the Army combat command to buy more attack helicopters and the desire of industry to sell more of them. If troops are dying due to a lack of enough attack helicopters to escort every MEDEVAC mission immediately as the call comes in, then Gold Star families and others will seek a political solution and the copters will be bought.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanMary 2011-12-06 06:44
Let's see, refuse to violate the Geneva Convention and give the enemy our route (so we can be even more easily shot down by the enemy who does NOT agree to the Geneva Convention restraints) thus refusing to pick up injured solders, or wait for permission from the enemy that would suit their desires to let U.S. soldiers die. Sounds like you want Obama's one-sided "respect" for Islam and the Muslim world.
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+1 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanMary 2011-12-06 06:50
Let's see, the choice is to violate the Geneva Convention (which the enemy has no desire to be restrained by) and rescue wounded soldiers, or refuse to violate the Geneva Convention, give them a route to more easily shoot our troops down, and to wait for permission from an enemy who would rather let our troops die? It sounds like you want Obama's one-sided, suicidal, "respect" for Islam and the Muslim world.
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-1 # RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanRichardG 2011-12-06 11:41
@ Mary As one living in the midst of the largest Muslim population in the world, I must say I see no greater proportion of misguided, violent Muslims than I do misguided, violent people who twist Christianity to their own perverted purposes. Offering the hand of friendship to several hundred million people is the Christian thing to do, and is NOT the same as suicidal appeasement of the radicals amongst them. Just as I extend friendship to Republicans in general, despite ignorant people who take every opportunity to distort the truth.

Not that any of that has anything to do with the issue at hand, does it?
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+1 # RE: RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanJay Heathman 2011-12-06 14:27
1. One need only read the koran - I have done so several times - to know exactly and clearly what islam teaches about the need to subdue, convert, enslave or murder all the non muslims in the world.
2. If you do indeed live in the midst of a large muslim populace, try sharign the gospel with someone, or give a gospel or a Bible to someone and let your next of kin tell us how it worked out for you. the priests and ministers I have known, who have lived and worked in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and a portion of Cyprus, have all stated without reservation that they were warned by both government officials and civilians that they had better not discuss their faith openly anywhere in the city where they lived or they would be at least deported, more likely imprisoned.
I rather doubt you have seen that behavior amongst any civilized people in the modern world. Only muslims controlling their nations.
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+1 # RE: RE: RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanRichardG 2011-12-07 14:07
I was addressing being open to relationships: inter-personal, inter-state. Not to what might or might not happen if I try to promote a different religion. I don't proseletize, and no one tries to convert me, either -- just people dealing with each other day to day. If you know the Bible as well as the Koran, I'm sure you'll find a wealth of similar treatments of non-belivers & women. The Koran coming 2nd, as a deviant minority religion, takes a much more defensive position. No one I know (of dozens of Muslims) believes the s**t in the Koran any more than most Christians believe the wrongheaded stuff in the bible.

Speak out against radicals of any stripe, but don't paint all of a similar religion as radical enemies.
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-2 # RE: RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanSteve 2 2011-12-07 14:00
It seems you are a Democrat and a liar, but I repeat myself.

Your assertion is factually and irrevocably contradicted by history past and current.
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0 # Hey el 757 !Tchirpbird 2011-12-06 10:56
So Mr.Yon is wrong and Taliban is right ! NO PERFIDY on there side...

"Fewer Minutes=lives saved"
" 50 Minutes=MONEY saved"
What a PERFIDY and stupid GC LAWS.
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0 # RE: Hey el 757 !el757 2011-12-06 19:03
Mr. Yon is wrong about this one particular aspect of the issue.

We need to change the policies, but Yon doesn't need to muddy the waters by making false arguments. (Especially not when there are tons of perfectly valid arguments to be made.)

When Yon says stupid stuff like that then the people in charge tune him out. In order to get this changed valid, powerful arguments should be used, not flawed, false and insulting ones.
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0 # ret'dJohn Hopkinson 2011-12-06 13:30
Further re: RE: Mr — in_awe
(p.s.: that is a good post. Look for it below)
"From other reports, it appears that there are multiple layers of internal power struggles happening behind the scenes - some of which may be decades in the forming."
How about this? The 2nd WW was fought in part by the US with an Army, Navy, Marines etc., and the Army Air Force would you believe? The discombobulatio n was solved by the formation of the US Air force.
Is it impossible to combine the efforts of all the present medic fleets with one master-coordina ted Field Recovery Force, fully armed-piss on the conventions when necessary-and move immediately on call-Force?? Am I thinking too clearly here? I see a whole lot of frontliners in this discussion, with obviously hurtful memories of the noise. If you were Panetta today, what would you do?
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0 # RE: ret'dJay Heathman 2011-12-06 14:20
Quoting John Hopkinson:
Further re: RE: Mr — in_awe
(p.s.: that is a good post. Look for it below)
If you were Panetta today, what would you do?


If I were Panetta I would put a bullet through my own head and thereby do the USA, the Armed Forces and the Free World a favor. When he was with the Company he demonstrated his utter lack of giving a damn about the men in the field, and he still apparently has no use for the men and women in uniform... plus he has openly revealed his anti-Semitism in recent weeks. We NEED to get the political whores out of the positions of power, and let the men and women who understand warfare, discipline and honor, have their say in the operations of the finest armed forces in the world today.
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0 # ret'dJohn Hopkinson 2011-12-06 16:58
RE: ret'd — Jay Heathman 2011-12-06 09:20
Quoting John Hopkinson:
Etc,etc.,,
OOOOO..K. Now you have a bullet through your brains. But wtf would you do about Michael Yon's Dustoffs?
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0 # RE: ret'dJay Heathman 2011-12-06 18:23
Well, up above, I had mentioned painting over the red crosses and arming up. On reflection, I might look into the possibilities of refitting a few Hind choppers to evac wounded. Good bit of room, awesome armaments and the things are scary as hell...
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+1 # Red Cross - Crusader CrossJohn Michael Tawse 2011-12-06 13:55
Kind of ironic that the Red Cross with it's clear and obvious Christian roots, also resembles the Crusader Cross. Like a 'red rag to a charging bull' - what better target for an avowed enemy of the 'cross. Culture, history and religion have a massive impact on opposing forces, esp in this war. Sensitivity to that fact will bring real perspective!
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+4 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanMitchell 2011-12-06 14:29
I haven't read all the comments, nor I have dug around Yon's site much. But the comments don't seem to be focusing on the goal, which from my reading is:

The Army should change its policy on how it evacuates the wounded.

Then we discuss what the standards for evacuation are, such as, wounded should be evacuated within 10 minutes of the call.

Then you discuss how that is accomplished. For example, to facilitate evacuation within 10 min evacuation choppers should be armed.

Finally and lastly you discuss the political implications such as collateral damage, civilian casualties, and the Geneva and Hague Conventions.

As usual the Army seems to have it @$$ backward and is letting the political implications drive its policy.
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+1 # RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanJay Heathman 2011-12-06 14:38
You state it perfectly, clearly and concisely.
Of course, that is why you would never reach the rank of General, because you see through all the BS and don't want to do the Funky PC Dance.... but still....well said.
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0 # Yep!Kent 2011-12-10 03:57
Spot-on observation, Mitchell! That's how the Army should approach the issue.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanin_awe 2011-12-06 17:48
As I understand it, what you describe is "almost" in place. From Yon's articles, I believe there is a centralized hub across branches for evacuation requests. Based on a variety of facts a specific mission is assigned to a ready-crew. The only gotcha in this is if the mission is assigned to a US Army crew, that crew must wait for an armed escort for its mission.

I do see some problems with an actual formal MEDEVAC force, that might prevent its formation. I don't want to sidetrack this thread into that topic, however.

I do want to say that none of this reflects on the crews themselves, all of whom do heroic duty and are all dedicated to saving the lives of our troops. From what I have read in the articles and the comments from MEDEVAC personnel, they are as frustrated as we are about policies that delay departures on these missions.
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+1 # Dustoff Helo's violating geneva conventionsScott B. 2011-12-06 21:09
The reason the AMEDD put crosses on them was not only to identify them as a medical, but also so that the aircraft itself could not be used for missions that were not medical, and in doing so, taking away from the "dedicated" ambulance role. If they were to cover their crosses, could they not then be used to fly any mission normally flown by a Blackhawk? When I was in Iraq, the slick UH-60 Air Assault, VIP guys were always short of helicopters and couldn't use ours as it cut into our coverage. This was a lesson learned from the Vietnam War when the powers that be wanted to get rid of Dust-Off and use the airframes for any mission out there. A few steadfast folks refused to allow that to happen, flew non-stop and enamored themselves to the ground guys as pretty ballsy men who would always be there when they had wounded. I would be afraid that the Dust-Off aircraft would be reduced in numbers to increase airframes in other mission areas if they were made the same as all others.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helo's violating geneva conventionsin_awe 2011-12-06 22:18
Scott, you are right. There would be a risk that there would be diversion of the newly armed UH-60's. Part of the transition should be an analysis of evac helicopter requirements based on actual experience and modeled experience (X number of calls/Y number of men in Z number of patrols per zone with an incident experience of R and a required maximum wounded waiting time of N minutes). This can be compared with actual experience to establish a minimum available fleet.

This is a well-establishe d area of operations research that is based on the concept of service level. There are thousands of OR/MS scientists and practitioners that could guide or review the analysis to keep it honest.
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+1 # Dustoff Helo's violating geneva conventionsScott B. 2011-12-06 21:11
As a follow-up to my previous inject, I have a few questions as I try to decide where to hang my hat in terms of support towards your effort:

1. The few friends that I still have flying out there today have told me that they quite often still go into “hot” LZs in Afg. Have they been totally grounded unless they have a “cold” LZ or are they limited to hardstand to hardstand, FOB to FOB missions like we were when we first came under the control of the aviation branch?

2. Are their restrictions due to aviation branch rules or is this something bigger?

3. Did the leaders in the Dust-Off company lose more control than when we were under a Medical Evacuation Battalion or have they simply “caved” and just been led astray?
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0 # I think you are wrongCPT W 2011-12-06 23:02
I don't see how Article 22 applies in the case of dustoff helicopters. It refers to aircraft exclusively emp loyed for the removal of sick and wounded civilians, the infirm, maternity cases and transport of medical personnel and equipment. I don't see where it refers to the transport of wounded soldiers. 
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0 # CPT W is correct.SFC P 2011-12-07 09:04
Quoting CPT W:
I don't see how Article 22 applies in the case of dustoff helicopters. It refers to aircraft exclusively employed for the removal of sick and wounded civilians, the infirm, maternity cases and transport of medical personnel and equipment. I don't see where it refers to the transport of wounded soldiers. 


Not to mention that the Taliban doesn't actually control any territory. They are an insurgent group, there isn't any "behind the lines" so to speak.

I think you're reaching and for not good reason either. The enemy is going to shoot at us whether we have a cross/crescent/ Betty Page painted on the aircraft... so what's the point?
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanin_awe 2011-12-07 09:12
The US Army Medical Evacuation Manual is available in PDF format at:

https://rdl.train.army.mil/soldierPortal/atia/adlsc/view/public/23582-1/FM/4-02.2/FM4_02X2.PDF
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0 # MR JONESBONESAnthony M Jones 2011-12-07 09:49
M. Yon ... I like your pictures ... but this blog is WAY, off in left field. WE (ISAF & US MIL) are 'violating' the Geneva Convention, by flying 'over the enemy'? Let's see, was 1949 before OR after, the idea of an un-declared war or a NO FRONTLINES = FLOT, Counter-insurge ncy conflict! And what would you {mr stickler for decorum} have us do as an alternative? Suggest a solution!
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanMitchell 2011-12-07 11:47
I agree, suggest a solution. Of course many have been offered.

I'm going to have a T-shirt printed up that I can wear whenever I expect to see a politician or activist.

SUGGEST A SOLUTION!

I like it.
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+1 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanMichael Yon Author 2011-12-07 14:49
The suggestion is clear: Remove the Red Cross. Add Machine guns.

If the sound of machine guns scares you, at least remove the Red Crosses.
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0 # RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanAnthony M Jones 2011-12-08 04:20
MY, so if the suggestion is clear ... What's up with this accusing the US Army of violating the Geneva Convention? I have similar bona fides as you and I was disappointed that you took the approach that you did. I would have rendered the criticism of the policy without the 'violating' discussion muddying the water. Keep up the good work. I am south of Kabul at Camp Morehead ... come see how Army & ISAF SOF train the Afghan SOF! Peace.
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+1 # Anthony JonesMichael Yon Author 2011-12-08 05:12
Thank you for the note.

I thought long and hard before going that route. The Army is saying it is abiding by Geneva Conventions by sporting the crosses. You and I know that is false. However, if we humor them and say, "Okay, so let's examine it from your [faulty] position," they are breaking the GC. Now we all know that Taliban, Haqqani, etc., do not abide. But again, humoring the Army position, they clearly are breaking the GC.

We know nothing will come of this. What is going to happen? Mullah Omar sue the Pentagon? It's a mental exercise without consequence other than to further expose Army insanity with the Red Crosses.

Insofar as SoF, some from that community reached out last time I was in Kabul but I didn't have time. Had to get to Kandahar. I am told that Afghan SF is sharp. I had dinner with an Afghan SF officer. Did not see him in action, but talking with him he clearly was a very intelligent man.
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0 # what IS "Enemy Territory"outnow 2011-12-07 21:33
Well, Iran would be. Syria.
Generally, I read "Enemy Territory" as the land of a sovereign stage.

In fact, the 1949 Accord mentions "Diplomatic representatives who are in enemy territory on the outbreak of war."

Do we fly overfly OTHER nations outside Afghanistan ?

Love your pictures, man, but this is just crazy talk.
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+1 # Enemy TerritoryMichael Yon Author 2011-12-08 01:16
If you want to fly to Afghanistan, or are already there, I'll tell you where some enemy territory is and you can drive up and check it out. Then you'll know what enemy territory is. :)

The United States Army holds that we must abide by Geneva Conventions. The conventions preclude marked medical aircraft from flying over the enemy, or their territory. One can argue definitions about territory, but there is zero argument that we fly over the enemy. Many Americans like to play lawyer and think that they can define the rules that the rest of the world plays by. Doesn't work. Many Americans will still argue that we never were at war in Vietnam because we did not declare war.

In regard to Afghanistan MEDEVAC, all potential issues are solved by removing the Red Crosses.
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0 # The problem w/ Lawyersjjmucr 2011-12-08 05:32
As a 35 year lawyer, this dispatch illustrates the problem w/ letting lawyers deal w/ war issues.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistanactual soldier 2011-12-09 21:42
if dustoff helicopters landed and let the taliban search it they would be taken hostage or killed cause the taliban doesnt follow the geneva convention at all. instead of complaining about these things you guys should pick up a weapon and actually go try it, be the guy on the ground getting shot at or be the guy in the dustoff with no way to defend yourself if you do get shot at. then see how you feel about this subject, but you wont youll sit on you lazy ass behind a computer and not do anything except bitch about the men who do pick up a weapon and fight on a daily basis. Untill youve walked in those shoes and done what theyve done your opinion that you have the right to because of them should mean nothing.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in Afghanistananonymous 2011-12-10 05:11
We would be violating the Geneva convention only if the Taliban were accepted and acted in accordance with it. They don't have to be signatories (and always obliged to follow the Geneva conventions) but we are only obligated to follow the Geneva convention if they behaved like signatories.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanCantposttoyourFBpage 2011-12-12 01:21
Maybe look back to day one on how the US has very openly violated the Geneva Convention on their treatment of enemy combatants.

If you get the Taliban to be a signatory to the Convention, would that make it safer?

As the last poster indicated, whether they abide by the Geneva Convention or not the Allies need to take the higher moral road or else we are no better than they are.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanBlueCat57 2011-12-12 01:50
Maybe you can clear up few things for me.

How do you define people shooting at you in civilian clothes while hiding inside houses using women and children as shields?

What are the rules of war regarding uniforms?

If someone is fighting against you and is not wearing a uniform how are you supposed to treat them if you capture them?

Finally, why do we have to treat our enemies any better than they treat us when captured?

OK, one more thing. If we put captured enemy up in the Ritz Carlton with an unlimited expense account, do you think they would treat us any better if captured?
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0 # RE: RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanCantposttoyourFBpage 2011-12-12 11:52
The enemy

Look at what the Geneva Convention says

Like a Prisoner of War (that's what you are a Nation at War right??)

Because you are supposed to be better then them, if you are not going to take the high ground how exactly are you different? If you don't take the high ground and treat your prisoners properly (and secret prisons for torture is not proper treatment), then you dont have much of leg to stand on when the enemy kills, dismembers and burn their prisoners.

Who said they have to be put up in the Ritz?? Maybe read up on the Conventions before saying invredibly dumb things.
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0 # OldDogJHossom 2011-12-12 02:10
There's always one that sneaks into these things. Why do Liberals read what is clearly beyond their understanding and far beyond their experience?

We are better than they are because they are animals. When we treat them like such we can put this BS behind us and live peacefully.
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0 # RE: OldDogCantposttoyourFBpage 2011-12-12 12:02
Ahhh, the conservative reply to anything "YOU'RE A LIBERAL". :) Gotta love the depth of those arguments that you conservatives can throw around. :zzz

I think you need to go back to school, or the rock you crawled out from under, because if you treat them poorly you surely can't be surprised that their friends don't like you much.

Even a beaten dog can bite back.
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0 # Old DogJHossom 2011-12-12 14:31
War generally means you treat your enemy poorly. That's why it's called war, and their friends wouldn't likely be our friends, now would they? No, I called you a Liberal because your logic is so terribly flawed. Unfortunately kids can get through school these days with possessing much of it, and common sense is seldom learned behind a keyboard.
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0 # Old DogCantposttoyourFBpag 2011-12-12 14:54
During battle yes, once captured is another story.

I am so glad that you admit your schooling was substandard, it is the first step on the road to recovery and i wish you well. :)

Point out the flaw in the logic: America is claiming this is a war, Prisoners of War are afforded certain treatments (which they would be the first to complain about if a US Soldier was mistreated) BUT in order to gain limited knowledge they decided that indivudlas captured were not PWs but something else (sorry the word escapes me) and said that torture was an acceptable course of action. Somewhat bizarre way to win friends and influence people.

Good luck on the re-education process, I wish you the best and perhaps you will learn of a world of thought outside your two stop light town.
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0 # Old DogJHossom 2011-12-12 15:48
Ok, let's take your two points.

I hold a degree and physics and mathematics, was vice president of two major corporations, founded a successful biotech company, and hold eight patents.

As to your second point. Anytime you want to equate water boarding with beheading, I suggest you try both and see how you feel about it afterwards. Anytime a sniper requires three levels of approval before shooting an enemy combatant, we are being far more "civilized" than any other country on earth. Anytime you send unarmed men into territory occupied by people who have no compunctions about using women and children as human shields, who slaughter women and children with suicide bombs, who happily murder others because of their religious beliefs, and to whom torture is simply a formality on the way to summary execution by the most vile mean available, I'd say we are acting in a civilized manner that approaches stupidity.
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0 # RE: Old DogCantposttoyourFBpag 2011-12-12 16:14
With all that education the best responses you can up with are "you are a Liberal" and "they are dogs"???

I am truly sorry for the state your education.

I am not arguing that waterboarding is equal beheading. I am arguing just because he did it, I can too is a 4 year old's response to something not someone with an apparent education such as you claim to have. As to your second point, isn't putting FOBs/COBs in the middle of populated ares the same as using women and children as shield?? I mean anyone can surmise that a nice juicy target like a US FOB is an awesome target, and the collateral damage can be blamed on the American response. Which does occur.

The problem with you is that it is all ok, when it is happening to someone else; the second your "sacred" rights are threatened you go running like a little girl to government for help.

Remember, even a beaten dog can come back and bite its abuser :)
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0 # Wrong law cited - and the right law imposes even more conditionsFuture AF JAG 2011-12-12 02:10
The Geneva Conventions article cited (Convention IV, Article 22) applies to medical aircraft transporting civilians. The article that applies to medical aircraft transporting wounded members of the Armed Forces is Convention I, Article 36. View it here: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/WebART/365-570044?OpenDocument.
It still requires dustoffs to fly at "heights, times and on routes specifically agreed upon between the belligerents concerned." It also includes the prohibition on flying over enemy territory without permission the requirement of landing for examination when summoned. They are also required to bear their national colors on upper, lower, and lateral surfaces in addition to the red cross emblem. I'm pretty damn sure dustoffs don't follow these regulations, and thus attacks against them are not prohibited by this Article, which negates any legal reason for continuing to bear the red cross.
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0 # RE: Dustoff Helicopters: Violating Geneva Conventions in AfghanistanKurt Olney 2011-12-16 08:32
The enemy does not like us because we are nice, or we are politically correct, or play by some rules agreed upon between victors in WWII. Those out to destroy our civilization will use any means necessary to accomplish their mission. Fools, we fight the last conventional wars. The playing field has been changed. Our enemies use our constitution, our media and our civilized behavior against us. If we play by the old rules, we do so at our own peril.
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+1 # Concerned Citizen First ClassRay 2011-12-25 18:30
I have asked my Congressman and Senators to use their office to address this. Kline(retired Marine)office was quick to respond. Klobuchar's was a milch toast form response not indicating any perception of the gravity. And Franken must either be acting undercover or missing in action
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0 # Against the geneva convention?Al 2013-04-08 03:08
Your friend, was definitely wtong about the dust offs.
The Geneva convention clearly states, "uniformed and organized, enemy."
The Taliban is never uniformed, much the same way, as the Vietcong, were never uniformed. Thus, the Geneva Convention, has no say in this conflict.
They are nothing more than enemy combatants and terrorists.
You and your friend, give these people, too much credit.
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0 # missed the pointMark T 2013-04-08 04:28
I think you missed the point Al... Michael was pointing out how ridiculous the top brass were in refusing to remove the crosses and arm the helos due to Geneva Convention. He is aware that it doesnt apply, but the top brass keep insisting it does. Ergo, violation of the set rules...mostly tongue in cheek to bring out how silly the top brass's position is.
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