Learn about the Geneva Conventions
March 24, 2003
Web posted at: 12:31 AM EST (0531 GMT)
Overview: Arab television networks broadcast footage on Sunday of five U.S. soldiers captured in an ambush. The incident infuriated U.S. officials, who said televising prisoners of war violates international agreements. Meanwhile, coalition forces made headway throughout the weekend in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but their progress came at a price
After students read "U.S. reports progress in war, despite losses" and watch the first segment of CNN Student News (the video can be accessed from CNNStudentNews.com) pose the following questions:
1. What is the status of Operation Iraqi Freedom? Why was yesterday a difficult day for the coalition? Where are a number of troops feared dead and others taken prisoner in Iraq? What did President Bush say regarding the treatment of the U.S. prisoners? What do U.S. military leaders say about Saddam Hussein showing U.S. prisoners of war on Iraqi TV?
2. Refer students to theHolt, Rinehart and Winston map of Asia (http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/asia.htm) to point out the allied troop movement and the areas of military engagement within Iraq.
3. Point out to students that according to allied military leaders, televising the POWs is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. Direct student groups to library and online resources to learn about the Geneva Conventions. Pose the following questions to guide students' research:
1. What is the purpose of the conventions?
2. What year were the treaties adopted?
3. What events prompted the establishment of these treaties?
4. How many countries have ratified these treaties?
5. What rights are prisoners of war granted?
6. Why is the doctrine named the "Geneva Conventions"?
After students complete their research, ask: How should captured troops be treated under the conventions? Why does Iraq's alleged treatment of the U.S. soldiers violate the treaties? Do you think that there can be such a thing as "humane war"? State your rationale.
4. Teachers: For a CNNStudentNews.com backgrounder on the Geneva Conventions, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2002/fyi/news/01/25/geneva.conventions/