The Keystone Of The Whole Convention

Video footage showed Gaddafi, dazed and wounded, but still clearly alive and gesturing with his hands as he was dragged from a pick-up truck by a crowd of angry jostling group of government soldiers who hit him and pulled his hair.

He then appeared to fall to the ground and was enveloped by the crowd. NTC officials later announced Gaddafi had died of his wounds after capture.

The modern laws of war begin with the sympathetic consideration of wounded bodies. In 1859, at Solferino in northern Italy, the Austrians fought the French, and after the battle a young Swiss man named Jean Henri Dunant toured the battlefield. Some 30,000 men lay in the dust and mud—shrapnel wounds, gangrene, the violently dead—and in response to what he saw that day he went on to form the International Committee of the Red Cross. The first Geneva Convention was adopted in August 1864, for the “Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field”: it holds that casualties shall be cared for, whoever’s side they are from, and protects all those who treat them. In 1906, this provision was moved to the start of the Convention; in the 1949 Commentary, the ICRC called the inviolability of the wounded “the keystone of the whole Convention.”

—Daniel Swift, “Conjectural Damage,” November 2011 Harper’s

Wounded in both legs?

Sound like he took one in the nuts.

Rec’d for making me laugh.

“Lefties” who celebrate the death of Gaddafi are not different from Bushies who celebrated the death of Saddam. “Lefties” who celebrate the death of Gaddafi are not different from those who celebrated the plane flying into the Pentagon.

They are the same.

Bertold Brecht: “Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.”

Yep. In heat in every heart that beats with joy, at the suffering and death of a human being.

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5 Responses to “The Keystone Of The Whole Convention”


  1. 1 William Lee October 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

    The Harper’s article is fantastic! People who will take the trouble to learn a bit about the conventions will immediately understand some fundamentals about the policy that’s being pursued, namely that it’s a radical departure from the most basic of moral customs. That seems to imply that the policy will not produce either predictable or intended results.

  2. 2 William Lee October 22, 2011 at 8:46 am

    reisman and antoniou The Laws of War is a good place to begin to understand how unspeakably far from our moral custom the lordships have gone.

  3. 4 Julia Rain (the deviant daughter) December 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    The Ghadaffi video made me cry. I was horrified. Of course, after Osama Bin Laden was killed I told everyone I wasn’t happy, I was sad, for the end of such a wasted life. They looked at me like I was a martian or something. I think I have a literal inability to hate anyone. The most I can do is pity. I get physical pain if I ever think negatively toward anyone. I’m not normal. But I don’t care. And I completely agree with that quote.

    I also think it is unfortuante that we are missing the chance to set precedent and have closure by actually holding trials for these people.


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