Walter E. Williams

The capture of the 15 Royal Navy sailors raises another issue. Geneva Convention rules say, "No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties," adding that prisoners of war "are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons . . . especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof, and against insults and public curiosity."

Iran's parading of prisoners before the media and coercing of confessions violate the Geneva Convention, which only requires prisoners to give their name, rank and serial number to a captor. How much of a world outrage was there to Iran's mistreatment of prisoners compared with the allegations of prisoner mistreatment by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib? There was little or none.

The West's survival requires that we wake up and recognize the true character of the enemy we face. We are involved in a clash with a culture that has little regard for the Western values that hold the sanctity of human life dear. Terrorists specifically target civilian populations. It makes no difference to them whether their victims are babies, women or children. In fighting the war on terrorism, the West goes to considerable lengths, often risking the lives of our troops, to avoid civilian casualties. The West has the means, but not the will, to utterly destroy terrorists and countries that give them sanction. I hate to think of what the terrorists might do to give us the will.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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