A fun thing happened when looking into Admiralty Courts, which is a fascinating topic I may get to in the near future, and that was looking up more and more of the various Treaties and such covering warfare, the view of the Admiralty Court to civil prosecution (yes it is a Civil Court for most things, that our government gives over to the Civil Courts... not all...) and the such like.
Now, today we have this question of 'what to do with the guys in Guantanamo' and, really, one would think that the US would have addressed this at some point. Really, is it so much to ask that brigands, bandits, robbers and pirates get addressed in a military way? Well, still searching through things but here is a lovely piece the Avalon Project holds and, really, if one must point to the erosion of clarity in the military it is quite succinct. I will warn you it is *not* a treaty... far, far worse than THAT:
Beautiful, isn't it? It describes TERRORISTS perfectly! And what they are, too. Absolutely dead-on accurate. This is just what you would *want* to deal with them! Ok, want to guess when this was put out?Art. 82.
Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers - such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates.
Think of a year! 1977 perhaps? No, far too direct for then.... 1949 maybe? Geneva Conventions related? Nope! Neither?
1907 or 1899 Hague Convention related? Nuh-uh.
And what is it?
Now the year is almost a give-away, isn't it?
The President was Lincoln.
Yes the US Army Field Manual!INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE FIELD
Prepared by Francis Lieber, promulgated as General Orders No. 100 by President Lincoln, 24 April 1863.
The Armies of the Union could have dealt with 'terrorists' EASILY.
But not us!! Oh, my heavens NO!
We have to get all legalistic, don't we?
When I have been saying that our 19th century ancestors could have dealt with terrorists in a conceptual way, this is what I mean.