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JohnKachenmeister
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« on: December 13, 2007, 02:08:01 PM »

But there was a serious piece of misinformation I want to correct.

I think it was "Razor" who made the claim that without the sepecial CAP insignia, that we could be mistaken for combatant personnel.

I got a quick news flash for you.  You ARE combatant personnel under the Geneva rules.  You are legitimate targets in war, and (if we ever go to war with a nation that obeys the Law of Armed Conflict) entitled to POW status if captured.

I spent several years as a staff officer with the 300th MIlitary Police Command, which was then the Army's planning staff for POW operations.  I actually had to read the obtuse language of the Protocols for Treatment of Prisoners of War and Other Captives.

There are only 2 categories of military guys that are NOT considered combatants, medical personnel and chaplains.  Medical personnel, in order to claim the privilege of being non-combatants, must display the Red Cross (or Red Crescent, Red Star of David, or when the Shah was still alive the Red Lion and Sun).

Even if you accept the premise that CAP is a civilian force, we would qualify as combatants under either the "Civilians Accompanying an Armed Force" rule, or the "Militia, Partisans, and Irregular Forces" rule.

The Congressional action declaring CAP as authorized to carry out "Non-combat missions and programs of the Air Force" is meaningless under International Law.  The fact that we are performing any missions (cadet training, search and rescue, public education) for the Air Force means that we are a force multiplier and an integral part of the Air Force.  In other words, if we were not doing it, an Air Force guy would have to.  The fact that we free up AF people for combat missions makes us a combat support force under the Law of Armed Conflict. 
« Last Edit: December 13, 2007, 02:19:32 PM by JohnKachenmeister » Report to moderator   Logged
Another former CAP officer
Stonewall
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2007, 02:12:26 PM »

Does this mean I get a "combat wing patch" for my right shoulder after I went on my first real mission?

Interesting read, Kach, seriously.
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Cobra1597
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2007, 02:37:46 PM »

I'm not certain about this. MIKE has shown me that fancy Geneva Convention card those CG Auxies get, and we don't have one in CAP. We are a uniformed force of sorts, but not a military one, and I'd say it is a stretch to even call us a militia. Most militias I know are armed.

Not that I've seen CG Auxies with guns, but I've never been to a CG Auxie meeting either.
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Harrison Ingraham, Capt, CAP
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SARMedTech
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2007, 02:50:19 PM »

Does this mean I get a "combat wing patch" for my right shoulder after I went on my first real mission?

Interesting read, Kach, seriously.

Interesting yes, but a sticky wicket. I think perhaps you are painting the GC with a rather broad brush. First, I believe that the International Red Cross no longer allows the use of the red cross armband on medics and corpsman. Secondly, the International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague has time and time again upheld that a combatant is one who is authorized to carry out missions for their country as a military asset, and the fine print is that a "combatant" is one who wears the uniform and flag of his country. This has become clear lately, since Blackwater operators have been declared not protected under the Geneva Conventions. I certainly will defer to your expertise in the should I be incorrect and the way in which you construe it then any insurgent who picks up an RPG and lobs it at a Blackhawk is considered under international law a combatant and therefor guaranteed protection as such under the Conventions should he be captured. I believe the detainees at Gitmo demonstrate that though many of them are considered, under your definition, to be detainee/combatants, they simply are not under the GC and therefor can rot for a very long time. They are not entitled to visits and inspections of their situations be Red Cross or Red Crescent delegations because as defined in the GC, they are not combatants, and neither are CAP members. I see where your headed and its certainly a fine legal hair to be sure, im just not sure it would fly, as it were.
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"Corpsman Up!"

"...The distinct possibility of dying slow, cold and alone...but you also get the chance to save lives, and there is no greater calling in the world than that."
BillB
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2007, 02:54:05 PM »

Keep in mind the US on the CAP emblem (triangle and prop) identifies CAP as a quasi military organization of the United States. It was added when CAP was doing combat missions (anto sub patrol) so that if captured would not be considered civilians. CAP has retained the US on the emblem (until last NEC meeting from what i read) to indicate CAP is an official Untited States authorized organization, thus covered by the Geneva Convention.
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Gil Robb Wilson # 19
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davedove
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2007, 02:58:39 PM »

and the fine print is that a "combatant" is one who wears the uniform and flag of his country. This has become clear lately, since Blackwater operators have been declared not protected under the Geneva Conventions.

There are statements about uniforms, but being a combatant is not dependent on that.  For instance, village person A is a civilian and receives all the special restrictions based on that, until such time as A picks up a weapon to use against you.  At that point, A is a legal combatant, regardless of how he's dressed.
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David W. Dove, Maj, CAP
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SARMedTech
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Posts: 798

« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2007, 02:59:01 PM »

I'm not certain about this. MIKE has shown me that fancy Geneva Convention card those CG Auxies get, and we don't have one in CAP. We are a uniformed force of sorts, but not a military one, and I'd say it is a stretch to even call us a militia. Most militias I know are armed.

Not that I've seen CG Auxies with guns, but I've never been to a CG Auxie meeting either.

CLearly the CGAUX is totally different. They are ALWAYS a part of the CG and are not subject to aux on/aux off. We most certainly are not a militia or an irregular force. So what we have here with the different fat and fuzzies is that they may not be wearing the uniform of the USAF, but rather of Civil Air Patrol, Inc. Clearly, a civilian non-profit organization is not protected under the conventions. No rules of engagement apply to CAP members. I think it would be interesting to hear it argued out in a court of compatant jurisdiction. But as of now, I think we need not all learn to continually repeat "name,rank, service number."
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"Corpsman Up!"

"...The distinct possibility of dying slow, cold and alone...but you also get the chance to save lives, and there is no greater calling in the world than that."
SARMedTech
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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2007, 03:02:30 PM »

and the fine print is that a "combatant" is one who wears the uniform and flag of his country. This has become clear lately, since Blackwater operators have been declared not protected under the Geneva Conventions.

There are statements about uniforms, but being a combatant is not dependent on that.  For instance, village person A is a civilian and receives all the special restrictions based on that, until such time as A picks up a weapon to use against you.  At that point, A is a legal combatant, regardless of how he's dressed.
He is still not a combatant until he has been sworn to  defend and protect and has been given a direct order through a chain of command to shoot you.

Under your scenario, a person who invades my home in the middle of the night and I give him a .40 souvenir of his trip, he is an enemy combatant and there wont be any need for a trial to determine self defense.

If the pilot of a CAP plane is flying the Governor of his wings state to a destination and wearing his CAP uniform, and when they land, a screaming mad man waving an AK at you pulls the trigger....well then its all good, because as you are defining it, he is flying a CAP mission, wearing a CAP uniform with (whether or not you like it is irrelevant ) has an American Flag on his shoulder. If I deploy with IMERT to a provide medical rehab services to NG troops keeping the peace during a hurricane, am I then an enemy combatant?  As I say,I think the GC is intended to be construed very narrowly.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2007, 03:11:59 PM by SARMedTech » Report to moderator   Logged
"Corpsman Up!"

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davedove
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2007, 03:11:27 PM »

and the fine print is that a "combatant" is one who wears the uniform and flag of his country. This has become clear lately, since Blackwater operators have been declared not protected under the Geneva Conventions.

There are statements about uniforms, but being a combatant is not dependent on that.  For instance, village person A is a civilian and receives all the special restrictions based on that, until such time as A picks up a weapon to use against you.  At that point, A is a legal combatant, regardless of how he's dressed.
He is still not a combatant until he has been sworn to  defend and protect and has been given a direct order through a chain of command to shoot you.

I was mainly looking at it from how I learned it, as a member of the Army.  At that point, it was whether or not we could direct fire at the individual without being brought up on charges.  From that point of view, if the individual is attacking you, you can fight back, and thus he is a legal combatant.
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David W. Dove, Maj, CAP
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mikeylikey
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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2007, 03:40:02 PM »

Trust me.....if anyone in CAP found themselves in the hands of an enemy force, you want the protection of the Geneva conventions.  If not, the enemy has every right to shoot you on sight, and claim later "spies, saboteurs, gorilla fighters, or anything but CIVILIAN". 

Not that it is a possibility......or is it?
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What's up monkeys?
MIKE
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2007, 03:44:16 PM »

It's all good... I have my other ID card.  ;D  For the rest of you... Sorry about your luck.
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Mike Johnston
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2007, 04:43:27 PM »

And in the current War on Terror, I can see the Laws of War are at the front of the enemies conduct!
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mikeylikey
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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2007, 04:47:11 PM »

And in the current War on Terror, I can see the Laws of War are at the front of the enemies conduct!

No....but we are still obligated to uphold them.  Because when the time comes and we go to war with China or Russia, we want them to uphold the rules and not say "well you violated them 10 years ago, so they are null and void".
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What's up monkeys?
JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2007, 04:58:09 PM »

I KNOW this is confusing.  Let me see if I can get it to the clarity level of Mississippi mud.

CAP does military missions.  Period.  As long as we have the capability of perform in a military mission, which then eliminates the need for a member of the regular armed forces to perform that task, we are a combat asset of the United States.

Some of you seem to be confusing "Prisoner of War" with "Combatant."  

A lawful combatant, entitled to status as a prisoner of war is a member of the military, wearing a uniform.  He must be subject to centralized command authority, and carry out his duties in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict.  If he has a weapon, he must bear arms openly.  The definition of "Lawful Combatant" includes civilians accompanying an armed force.

There are two exceptions to the requirement to wear uniforms:

1.  Members of a partisan, guerilla, or other irregular force do not need to wear a uniform, but must wear a distinctive badge or device that identifies them as a member of such force.  They must still be subject to central control, bear arms openly, and act in accordance with the Law of War.

2.  Citizens of a village or town that, upon approach of an enemy force, spontaneously take up arms in defense.  They do NOT have to be subject to central command and control, and need no uniform or badge.

Any other combatant is considered a "Detained Person" if captured, and has none of the rights of a POW.  They are still, however, combatants.

Just for a moment, consider:

PV2 Snuffy joins the Army, and qualifies as a 71-L (clerk-typist).  His assignment is to process transfer orders from Camp Swampy, Arkansas.  As a garrison asset, he is not even issued a weapon.  Is PV-2 Snuffy a combatant within the meaning of International Law?

Capt. Strongjaw volunteers as a civilian-qualified pilot to fly on Air Force orders.  Most recently, he was assigned to take several Air Force cadets on an "Orientation Flight" to introduce them to the principles of flight and techniques for controlling aircraft.  Is Capt. Strongjaw a combatant within the meaning of International Law?

SrA Susie Sweathog joined the Air Force, and is currently assigned as a reception clerk at a base lodging office.  She qualified with a rifle in basic training, but has not even seen one since.  Her duty is to check transient aircrew members and other persons on temporary duty in and out of quarters at an Air Force base.  Is SrA Sweathog a combatant within the meaning of International Law?

All three... YES.
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Another former CAP officer
Cobra1597
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2007, 06:33:35 PM »

And in the current War on Terror, I can see the Laws of War are at the front of the enemies conduct!

No....but we are still obligated to uphold them.  Because when the time comes and we go to war with China or Russia, we want them to uphold the rules and not say "well you violated them 10 years ago, so they are null and void".

Too bad we aren't doing a good job with that now.
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Harrison Ingraham, Capt, CAP
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mikeylikey
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« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2007, 10:01:28 PM »

And in the current War on Terror, I can see the Laws of War are at the front of the enemies conduct!

No....but we are still obligated to uphold them.  Because when the time comes and we go to war with China or Russia, we want them to uphold the rules and not say "well you violated them 10 years ago, so they are null and void".

Too bad we aren't doing a good job with that now.

I would say compared to other wars in our history, our forces have controlled themselves well.  Granted there are a few blemishes in our current war(s), but those involved are dealt with correctly under the Law. 

Last time I checked, we don't chop the enemies head off while they are still alive, we don't blow up women and children waiting to go to the market, we don't gas Innocent children while they sleep.  Oh, we don't blow up hospitals (on purpose), schools, churches, raid museums, drag the enemy through the streets.  And my favorite, we don't employ Suicide Bombers. 

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What's up monkeys?
RiverAux
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« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2007, 10:31:42 PM »

I'd say that no matter the legal status CAP would be a legitimate, though very low value target. 
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mikeylikey
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« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2007, 11:07:03 PM »

I'd say that no matter the legal status CAP would be a legitimate, though very low value target. 

Unless the enemy knew we were ferrying around important people.  Or acting as a courier service.  I think they would say "lets practice by shooting down those little planes.
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What's up monkeys?
RiverAux
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« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2007, 11:54:48 PM »

They'd have to shoot down an awful lot of CAPflights before they actually hit one performing a mission that might have posed some threat to them....
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lordmonar
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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2007, 12:22:26 AM »

I'm not certain about this. MIKE has shown me that fancy Geneva Convention card those CG Auxies get, and we don't have one in CAP. We are a uniformed force of sorts, but not a military one, and I'd say it is a stretch to even call us a militia. Most militias I know are armed.

Not that I've seen CG Auxies with guns, but I've never been to a CG Auxie meeting either.

Your plane and your radio are "arms" as far as the Geneva Convention is concerned.  We are sometimes the USAF Auxiliary and this makes us a legitimate target as far as the GC is concerned.  The GC does not make any distinction between regular, reserve or militia organizations just combatants and non-combatants.
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
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