Donald Trump: Geneva Conventions Have Made U.S. Soldiers “Afraid To Fight”

Donald Trump: Geneva Conventions Have Made U.S. Soldiers “Afraid To Fight”

Donald Trump: Geneva Conventions Have Made U.S. Soldiers “Afraid To Fight”

Yesterday, during a contentious town hall with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews (who does NOT have a tingle up his leg for The Donald), Trump spouted yet another absurdity. This time it was in regards to a combination of foreign policy, our troops ability to engage the enemy, and other beautiful stuff.  Specifically, Trump informed us that the Geneva Conventions are a YUUUGE problem….for our U.S. soldiers.

“The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight,” Trump said at an afternoon town hall during remarks on torture.
“We can’t waterboard, but they can chop off heads,” Trump said, referring to the United States and the Islamic State, respectively. “I think we’ve got to make some changes, some adjustments.”

Wait what? The Geneva Conventions have made our soldiers AFRAID TO FIGHT?? Did he really just say that? Yes, yes he did.

I’m positive that is news to all our men and women in uniform!

Yes he did, and yet it is.

Let me just point out one teeny tiny little thing to Mr. Trump; the Geneva Conventions are not quite what you think they are…

The Geneva Conventions are a series of treaties on the treatment of civilians, prisoners of war (POWs) and soldiers who are otherwise rendered hors de combat, or incapable of fighting.

These are standards designed to protect POW’s, wounded soldiers, and civilians caught up in war. The tandards in place for our soldiers are called Rules of Engagement or ROE, NOT the Geneva Conventions. Has the current ROE hindered our soldiers from accomplishing their missions and stopping hostile forces or terrorists in their tracks? Yes. Many would argue, that the current rules of engagement are too PC for comfort and need reformed. However, let me point out one more time… ROE standards and the Geneva Conventions are two VERY different things meant for two VERY different scenarios. The ROE is for combat and Geneva deals with how prisoners of war should and shouldn’t be treated.

But that’s ok for The Donald I guess. He’s already said that torture works and we should use it more.

In fact, he told Wolf Blitzer that ability to waterboard and use other means of torture should be expanded and it was purely a political decision not to do so. Oh wait, that was in February and even a few days ago.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump participates in a town hall meeting for MSNBC with Chris Matthews
Presidential candidate Donald Trump participates in a town hall meeting for MSNBC with Chris Matthews

So lets change up the Geneva Conventions to help our soldiers be free from fear and expand waterboarding while we are at it shall we?

Trump’s statement regarding the Geneva Conventions is idiotic at best and asinine at its worst. As Rick Moran points out, the idea that our soldiers’ ability to fight is hindered due to “fear” of violating the Geneva Conventions is ludicrous and dangerous. Furthermore, it demonstrates that Trump understands next to nothing about how our military works, what ROE is, and what the Geneva Conventions actually stand for.

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10 Comments
  • j walter says:

    Why is this site so anti Trump??? Really, please tell me.

    As an angry white man, he resonates with me. He says what he thinks.

    • GWB says:

      No, j, he doesn’t say what he thinks – because he doesn’t think. He says the first thing that pops into his head.

      Yes, that resonates with a lot of people. He’s a populist for that reason.

      Here’s the important questions for you: Why are you an angry white man? What policies would actually work to eliminate/assuage your anger? Does The Donald have those sorts of policies, and where do any differences lie? Do you believe The Donald will actually follow through on the policies you desire?

      Mostly, the ladies here feel pretty strongly that not only is Trump a grade-A jerk (I do, too, FWIW), but his policies mostly will not solve the issues facing us, nor will he follow through on the policies unless he can put in loopholes and set-asides to “make the deal”.

    • OC says:

      j, I’m also an angry man, ( not sure what white has to do with it). But when Trump says something so ignorant, he needs to be called on it. And lately his idiotic meanderings seem to have quadrupled.

    • Nina says:

      J walter, thanks for asking!

      For me, Trump saying what he thinks does not make nor does it equal workable policy.

      Furthermore Trump saying what he thinks changes on a dime – as was pointed out in the above post and has been highlighted on numerous occasions regarding other issues.

      Those are just two of the many factors that have kept me out of the Trump camp. Thanks!

      • J walter says:

        It looks like Trump will get the nomination if the trend continues. So are you saying we should all vote for Hilary?

        Or are you saying the RNC should ignore the wishes of millions of people who voted for Trump in the primaries? Picking a candidate that a lot of people didn’t want isn’t going to turn out well either and will probably work in Hilary favor.

        What if Trump is cheated will he run as a third party and again work for Hilary.

        I think the only question is can Trump beat Hilary? Yes or No. If yes, go with him.

        I agree. I would not use the word stable to describe him but Hilary has to be stopped.

        Let’s say the RNC cheats Trump, who do you pick? Jeb, Walker, those people I can’t even remember ?

        The problem is the Republicans should have come together 12 months ago and made stopping Hilary job #1. They didn’t and now we have the beast of their own making.

  • GWB says:

    First, almost everyone mistakes the Hague Convention as part of the Geneva Conventions. I won’t fault Trump for not handling that distinction in a lawyer-like fashion. The Hague Convention most certainly does impact our ROE in combat. (It’s the HC that handles things like dum-dum bullets and such.)

    Second, the Geneva Conventions also most certainly restricts our ROE in combat. The rules against indiscriminate collateral damage arise directly out of the rules for protection of civilians, as an example.

    Third, even the sections we have specifically NOT adopted (the UN has pushed at least three since 1977) have been brought into our ROE by the last couple of Presidents. Some of those are idiotic, such as making terrorists more akin to regular soldiers than to war criminals (which is what they really are under the original GC) – hence Gitmo, rather than a quick usage for intel, then a long drop at the end of a short rope.

    As to what the GC stands for – with its later accretions, it stands for bullhockey leftist SJW principles. Even the original is an attempt to make something neat and orderly that is by definition messy and chaotic – IOW, a progressive dream. The UN is a boil on the efficiency of our military, and the ability to wage a war fiercely enough to get it over quickly by making your opponent feel real pain and decide to quit.
    And, while I agree with the concept that we should hold ourselves to high standards, the GC specifically only applies when both parties agree to it. When the enemy specifically rejects the GC (or the HC, I believe) in word or deed, the gloves are allowed to come off. We can most certainly hold ourselves to high ethical and moral standards in the conduct of war, without giving away our ability to fight to a quick and enduring resolution.

    We do need a leader who is more willing to establish American values as the standard, and ignore what the “global consensus” is, when it comes to setting our ROE and the overall conduct of our warfare. And, of course, re-educate the American people as to what war is good for – it ain’t “absolutely nuthin'”.

    As to his slur on our servicemen (and I concur that his thumbs twitted before whatever brain he has could interfere), if he had said “things like the GC make our soldiers seem cowardly in the eyes of a no-holds-barred and unethical enemy”, would it have changed your perception of his statement?

    • Nina says:

      GWB – thanks!! Appreciate the info and the insight!

      The terrorists for sure have and likely never ever will play by any rules whatsoever so your point of having the gloves be allowed to come off is apt.

      As to your last paragraph… it might have. Question is – think he’ll EVER say something as reasonable as that? 😉

      • GWB says:

        Noooo, that was purely hypothetical. And a hint for any other candidate who might want to express a similar idea, but in a manner less ignorant and offensive. 🙂
        (And a hint as to how little effort/brain-power would have been required to make the statement into something non-offensive.)

  • Kodos says:

    I doubt VERY much too many of our troops give a rat’s ass about “conventions” when in a hot LZ or a firefight with Jihadis.

    What they DO worry about is the limp-wristed “generals” and aspiring career politicians who will court-martial them and destroy their careers and lives for violating “cultural norms” such as halting the rape of little boys.

    Ask Sgt. First Class Charles Martland and Capt. Dan Quinn.

  • Rick Caird says:

    I don’t think that this statement by Trump is as ignorant as you guys are claiming. ISIS is not covered by the Geneva convention because they are insurgent, no uniformed force. But, so much of what the US soldiers do under the rules of engagement treat these guys as if they were soldiers operating under the Geneva Conventions themselves. Trump is not insulting the US soldiers. He is arguing they are operating under much too restrictive orders and they are afraid of doing something wrong and going before military justice.

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