by wjw on August 26, 2009

We had a power outage last night, and I couldn’t do the stuff I usually do, and it was getting too dark to read. So I headed out to see Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Inglourious Basterds.

The short review: this is Tarantino’s least successful film. But because it’s Tarantino, it’s most likely better than most of the movies you’ve probably seen this summer.

There are several quite wonderful scenes, and some standout performances, mainly Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa, the weirdly fey SS-Officer-From-Another-Planet, and Melanie Laurent as Shoshanna, the young Jewish survivor who hatches a plan to kill all the German top brass during a film premiere in Paris.

If Tarantino had just stuck with the Shoshanna story, he would have made a successful if not spectacular film. There would have been plenty of tension, Shoshanna and Landa could have exchanged geek trivia about prewar German cinema while subtly maneuvering toward their respective goals, and then there would have been a blazing and satisfactory finale.

Unfortunately Tarantino also decided to remake The Dirty Dozen, and therefore we meet the Basterds, a group of Jewish-American guerillas parachuted into Nazi-occupied France with the avowed intention of scalping 100 German soldiers apiece. The Basterds are led by Brad Pitt, who is given a bizarre accent that undercuts his character, and who is apparently told to spend much of his time making strange frowny faces.

The odd thing is that Tarantino really couldn’t think of anything to do with the Basterds. He already had his wiping-out-the-German-brass story, so by the time the Basterds come along with their completely independent plot to kill all the Germans, they’re redundant. Shoshanna’s plan is sufficiently comprehensive that the Basterds aren’t necessary to its execution.

Many of the scenes in the film are excruciatingly overlong, especially the one in the cellar, which went on so long it threatened to become a movie of its own. The structural function of this scene in terms of plot is to take three Basterds out of the picture, which means Tarantino has three fewer people for whom to find things to do— which by that point must have relieved him considerably. (The actual Dirty Dozen film found something important for each of the dozen to do during the course of the movie. Tarantino couldn’t manage that.)

The Basterd plot is, basically, ludicrous. A real group so constituted wouldn’t have survived 48 hours in occupied France. This isn’t a fatal flaw, because the Basterds live in a very cartoony world, which isn’t about the real Second World War but about a lot of cheesy movies about the Second World War. Tarantino’s films are geek-fests about other films. If you didn’t know 1970s chop-sockey films, you missed half the point of Kill Bill.

The main problem with the Basterds is that they spend most of the movie stumbling around accomplishing nothing. Shoshanna’s story doesn’t need them— Shoshanna and Pitt never even meet. The Basterds contribute nothing to the outcome except to add a little comedy and a little extra mayhem.

And there were some moments that disturbed me.

It’s been obvious for a while that Tarantino likes to bruise, batter, bloody, torture, and kill attractive young women in his movies. (Kill Bill. Death Proof. QED.) Basterds is no different. The sadism quotient in this film is pretty high.

Which brings us to my big problem, which is that in this movie, the terrorists are the good guys.

The Basterds are explicitly terrorists. They exist for the sole purpose of terrorizing Germans. They torture, beat, and brutally kill their prisoners, and they enjoy it when they do. They say they are killing “Nazis,” but their prisoners could have been Ukrainian conscripts for all they notice or care.

(Yes, real-life American soldiers killed prisoners. Yes, the Basterds are a guerilla outfit and can’t walk around the maquis with a bunch of captives. But executing prisoners is a little different when you torture them first, isn’t it? A bullet in the back of the head is different from being beaten to death with a baseball bat, isn’t it?)

Torturing and murdering prisoners is an essential part of Basterd cool. We’re meant to admire them for it. This is a film that states explicitly that American soldiers are terrorists and then congratulates them.

And no, I didn’t see any irony in there. I didn’t see any pseudo-profound pseudo-political statement that “we’re just like the Nazis” or any other similar message that some brainless Hollywood liberal might think to attach to a movie.

The sadism is what it is. It’s Sadism Chic.

Paul August 26, 2009 at 4:34 am

I was contemplating seeing this movie in spite of the bad press…but this review was the final nail in the coffin. I DO appreciate it Jon, thanks! p.worley

Johan Larson August 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Ever watched porn that's several steps harder and nastier than you like it?

Inglourious Basterds felt like that, except with violence, not sex.

Carrie August 26, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Full disclosure: I'm a Tarantino fan.

I don't think we're meant to see the Basterds as heroes. I think we're meant to see them as batshit insane. We're not meant to congratulate and admire them — they completely screw up the final mission, and only succeed because the SS guy turned traitor.

The film isn't meant to be seen as realistic. It's a revenge fantasy. Emphasis on fantasy.

And as in all of his films, Tarantino is totally messing with our heads. That's what he does. He looks at how real Hollywood would do a story like this, and then does the opposite. Real Hollywood would have the Basterds and Shoshana meet up at some point and realize they have the same goal. There'd be a love triangle between Aldo, Shoshana and Freidrich, and so on and so forth.

The two parallel plots to blow up the theater aren't redundant storytelling so much as they're there to make you expect that they'll somehow connect, but they never do. That's the whole point.

I know his filmmaking-as-mind-games doesn't appeal to everyone. But Tarantino does it oh-so-well… (I think.)

Carrie V.

dubjay August 27, 2009 at 1:11 am

Carrie, I'm totally down with the "figure out how everyone else would do it and then do it different" thing. I do it myself.

But "do it different" really doesn't mean "I'm not going to have my two separate movies intersect in any meaningful way." It means, "I'm going to have them intersect, but do it in unexpected and delightful ways."

Really, I think there was a big failure of imagination here.

Ian McDowell August 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm

I actually think this is tied with JACKIE BROWN as Tarantino's best movie, and would lick the sweat off the inside of a DragonCon Klingon's rubber forehead if it meant I got this much cinematic rapture every week. The long conversation scenes, for me at least, flew by, and were the most purposeful I've ever found them in a Tarantino film, and the two longest and most tension-filled of them, the opening farmhouse interrogation and the tour-de-force in the tavern, are imho brilliant.

I don't know if I'd go as far as Adam Troy-Castro did, and declare them as good as anything in Hitchcock, but I think they mark a fascinating new direction for Tarantino. He clearly began this in the spirit of Robert Aldrich, J. Lee Thompson and, of course, Enzo Castellari (director of the original, correctly spelled INGLORIOUS BASTARD), but ended up with something that's far more like the work of Claude Chabrol, Jean-Pierre Mieville and Jules Dassin but doesn't actually homage any of them. At some point, he probably intended a straight remake of the Castellari BASTARDS, but through a lovely and unexpected bit of creative alchemy ended up with something more akin to THE LAST METRO and CINEMA PARADISIO, only with scalpings, Nazisploitation riffs and Alternate History added to the mix.

For me, the long dialogue scenes ARE the point. Mores o than ever with Tarantino, they actually build to something, and the best o them — the farmhouse opening, the tavern rendezvous, and the strudel scene, strike me as more interesting and aesthetically successful than any prose fiction I've read this year other than "The Tiger's Wife" in THE NEW YORKER.

And while Tarantino is likely trying to have his cake and eat it, too, he certainly expects us to be horrified by some of the things the Basterds do, and to sympathize with at least some of their victims, such as the steely German officer beaten to death by the Bear Jew or the young father in the tavern. For a Nazisploitation movie, it goes to great lengths not to demonize its Nazis.

And there's the whole PRIDE OF THE NATION German propaganda film-within-a-film, especially when it's intercut with the Basterds mowing down Nazis in the movie theater, which comments on the slaughter even as we exult in it. And there's a reason, I think, that Tarantino doesn't show us a single battle or ambush, just the executions and scalpings afterwards.

I also loved the dashing British film critic turned spy, and the Charles Bronson-ish Til Schweiger (last seen as Cynric in KING ARTHUR) as Hugo Stiglitz, both of whom deserved movies of their own. And most of all, the Giant Laughing Face of Burning Death, the most visually striking (and cinematic as well as meta-cinematic) moment in any of Tarantino's films. That may be my favorite single shot of any movie from the past decade.

As for the film's alleged "bad press," my impression is that the American reviews, unlike the ones at Cannes, have been pretty damn laudatory. Its Rotten Tomatoes ranking is up there with DISTRICT 9's, making it one of the two best reviewed films currently in major domestic release.

I think I need to see it again, probably tomorrow.

dubjay August 28, 2009 at 9:12 pm

The opening scene in the farmhouse is excellent. The scene in the tavern went on far too long, especially as the whole function of the scene structurally was to deprive the film of two of its more interesting characters, Hugo Stiglitz and the British lieutenant. You are right that both of them deserve more time, if not their own movies, but Tarantino decided to make their existence pointless.

And as far as the Basterds go, none of them are memorable except for two: Aldo and the Bear Jew. The latter is wasted along with the Brit lieutenant and Stiglitz.

Understand that I'm Structure Boy. Badly structured bits of art make me crazy, and this screenplay was a mess, full of odds and ends of earlier drafts that never went away and never got worked out.

While I don't agree entirely with Johnann Hart's take, I think he's raised the most interestintg question in his current article:

Not long after 9/11, [Tarantino] said: "It didn't affect me because there's, like, a Hong Kong action movie… called Purple Storm and they work in a whole big thing in the plot that they blow up a skyscraper." It's a case-study in atrophy of moral senses: to brag you weren't moved by the murder of two and half thousand actual people, because you'd already seen it simulated in a movie. Only somebody who has never seen violence — who sees the world as made of celluloid — can respond like this.

Tarantino's films aren't even sadistic. Sadists take human suffering seriously; that's why they enjoy it. No: Tarantino is morally empty, seeing a shoot-out as akin to dancing cheek-to-cheek. He sees violence as nothing. Compare his oeuvre to the work of a genuine cinematic sadist — Alfred Hitchcock — and you see the difference. Precisely because Hitchcock enjoyed inflicting pain, the pain is always authentic, and it is never emptied of its own inner horror.

Lance Larka August 30, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Dubjay; As we left the theater my wife pointed out something that I totally missed. (disclosure: I read your post 15 minutes before leaving to see the movie and had somewhat low expectations). After the movie I was thinking that it really was two movies shoe-horned together in usual Tarantino style but not with the usual ability. Then Ruth said a single sentence that had me slapping my forehead.

"It's a movie about how a single mistake can kill you."

I thought back and every single event that lead to a death of a character was caused by a single somewhat non-essential event. And each event was detailed on the screen quite well in advance of the actual death.

Once I got that I fell in love with the movie.

The movie plots are intertwined from the first scenes, but you don't know that until the very last scene. That is totally cool.

dubjay August 31, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Lance, that's an interesting observation, but I think the same point could have been made in a movie that's less structurally a mess.

Lance Larka September 1, 2009 at 1:14 am

dubja…a fair point.

I have a question about your statement re: the 'Bastards' being terrorists.

While I agree what their mission was to install terror in the German military, does that automatically define them as terrorists?

The root of my question has 2 parts:
1) If a military group kills soldiers during a declaration of war are those killings terrorism?
2) In a war defined as Total (I would say this means that an entire economy devoted to producing/supporting the war effort) are there any true non-combatants?

For example, the Allies firebombed entire cities to reduce the possibility to produce war material and/or serve as a transport hub. Are the crew of those bombers or their commanders terrorists because civilians were killed?

My thought is that a well formed unit (the Bastards under control of an officer and in contact with HQ) performing an official mission against a declared enemy are simply soldiers doing their duty.

However, that leaves the question of what is a terrorist?


Steve Stirling September 1, 2009 at 2:39 am

"1) If a military group kills soldiers during a declaration of war are those killings terrorism?"

— We and the Germans -mostly- abided the traditional rules of war in the campaigns in North Africa, Italy and NW Europe.

The essence of these is that you can kill enemy soldiers wherever you find them with the exception of those who are:

a) actively trying to surrender;
b) have already surrendered;
c) are obviously too badly wounded to fight.

In fact, as opposed to theory, these are qualified; you can't go on shooting and then throw up your hands at the last minute and expect to be spared, for example — "Saving Private Ryan" got that precisely right.

And prisoners often were shot after surrender if they gave up as individuals or small groups and the ones who took them prisoner didn't have time or personnel to spare to take them back. Again, "Ryan" got it about right.

Steve Stirling September 1, 2009 at 2:45 am

"2) In a war defined as Total (I would say this means that an entire economy devoted to producing/supporting the war effort) are there any true non-combatants?"

— it's not a matter of non-combatants, but of things like beating prisoners to death with clubs and scalping them.

Short form: yeah, Walter's right, they're terrorists.

These are really agin' the rules, and if the 'basterds' had been captured the Germans would, under the traditional system, have been fully entitled to try them by fifteen-minute drumhead court-martial and then shoot them.

Fighting while not wearing uniform, or while wearing the other side's uniform to deceive, also puts you completely outside the rules.

You can hide physically, but you have to wear a uniform (or other identifying mark, like an armband) and carry your weapons openly — you can't pretend to be a civilian or a soldier on the other side. You have to be clearly identifiable as what you are, and in a way that makes it obvious at a glance if you're seen.

Steve Stirling September 1, 2009 at 2:53 am

"For example, the Allies firebombed entire cities to reduce the possibility to produce war material and/or serve as a transport hub. Are the crew of those bombers or their commanders terrorists because civilians were killed?"

— probably not, tho' that's iffy, sort of a borderline case.

See, the rules don't forbid killing civilians.

They just forbid TARGETING civilians, as such.

If there are civilians around a military target — if there's a machine-gun on top of a home for paraplegic orphans — you're perfectly entitled to blow the building up and kill them all to get the machine gun.

Traditionally, a "defended city" can be bombarded and blockaded at will until it surrenders or is declared an "open city", which means the defending power removes all its troops and makes no military use of the place. That means they can't fight from it, move soldiers through it, or derive any military advantage from it — for example, they can't draw weapons from factories in it.

(It's essentially a roll-on-your-back-wave-your-paws thing.)

German cities were certainly defended.

To take another case, we killed about 30,000 French civilians in the month before D-Day, in the bombing campaign against the French road and rail networks.

This was -perfectly- legitimate. Those were military targets the Germans were using to move their troops, so if civilians happened to catch errant bombs, c'est la guerre.

Steve Stirling September 1, 2009 at 3:06 am

"However, that leaves the question of what is a terrorist?"

— terrorists are people who cheat.

All war is collective punishment to force obedience by inflicting more death, suffering, destruction ad fear than the other side can bear.

That's all wars without exception – the Nazi war against us, and ours against them.

There are a set of traditional rules (partly codified in treaties like the Geneva Conventions) which set out certain rules as to how you can conduct war.

They don't confer any individual or human rights; they're mutual concessions among the contracting parties. You don't get the benefit of the rules unless you obey them yourself.

The rules are also content-neutral. They don't discriminate between good guys and bad guys. They're just designed to enable us to fight wars without unnecessary collateral damage, while still making it possible to fight seriously enough to determine who's stronger.

When that's obvious, the weaker party gives up and makes peace on whatever terms they can get, and obeys those terms of peace unless willing to renew the conflict under the same conditions. You have to accept the unacceptable and endure the unendurable.

The 'giving up' part is analogous to the way the defeated party in an election is supposed to acknowledge defeat, not kick over the table and reach for a gun.

Terrorism (and most guerilla warfare) are attempts to "cheat", to subsitute ruthlessness and/or willingness to suffer for physical strength and so deny the victor the political and territorial spoils of his victory.

Traditionally, doing so meant you'd declared a 'war to the knife', without rules, mercy or quarter, and the victor was entitled to exterminate you, or to start doing that and keep it up until you cried uncle.

Avoiding that stage was the whole point of the rules, after all.

If you fought by the rules, he wasn't supposed to the extermination thing.

Oppress and rob you, yes; exterminate, no.

Lance Larka September 1, 2009 at 3:09 am

I'm somewhat confused. In one sentence you say that it was accepted to kill a surrendered soldier if the unit "individuals or small groups and the ones who took them prisoner didn't have time or personnel to spare to take them back." but then you say they are terrorists because "– it's not a matter of non-combatants, but of things like beating prisoners to death with clubs and scalping them."

What matters how they are killed? Shot to the head? Then there's the issue with silence and re-supply. I would suspect a knife to the throat would be used more often in this situation. Or strangulation. As for scalping? The enemy were dead. That's just mutilating a corpse. Not nice, but as long as they weren't alive it is no different in my mind from burning the body or leaving it to rot in the open.

These tactics are disgusting but I can't bring myself to declare the soldiers as terrorists.

These guys were a guerrilla outfit (maybe today we would call them special forces) guilty of war crimes at worst.

Steve Stirling September 1, 2009 at 3:13 am

Note also that the traditional rules of war effectively discriminated against weak countries and non-state actors (like rebels) in favor of big states and established governments.

This was quite deliberate. The basic attitude was that war was for soldiers and governments. Other people should passively obey whoever happened to control the territory they were living in.

It was very hard for that type of combatant, particularly rebels, to fight effectively within the rules. In fact, the rules have never really covered internal conflicts well; rebels were usually defined as traitors subject to summary execution.

Steve Stirling September 1, 2009 at 3:22 am

"What matters how they are killed?"

— In essence, you're supposed to kill the other guy as expeditiously as possible. Everyone knew (off the record) that it was occasionally impossible to take prisoners, but you didn't admit it and you just killed them in a way as much like death in battle as possible.

Threatening someone with the "Bear Jew", or beating some prisoners to death to make others talk, is a definite no-no.

Granted, that sort of thing happened now and then, but it's an important point that it -wasn't official policy-, and if done too blatantly the people in question would be punished by their own side under military law.

Steve Stirling September 1, 2009 at 3:24 am

"As for scalping? The enemy were dead. That's just mutilating a corpse."

— mutilating corpses is a serious war crime, specifically forbidden.

Ask any soldier if he takes that sort of thing seriously. You're going to get a near-unanimous response.

It's a symbol of fundamental disrespect, of not recognizing the opponent as a human being.

That's why the Nazis using human fat for soap and making ashtrays out of skulls is regarded as compounding their crimes, although the people concerned were already dead.

Steve Stirling September 1, 2009 at 3:37 am

My father-in-law occasionally shot prisoners in NW Europe in 1944-45; there were two sets of orders in his outfit: "take them back to the trucks", which meant what it said, and: "take them down to the end of the road" — "and shoot them" was the unspoken codicil.

He didn't do this because he hated Germans or liked killing them. He once rescued some prisoners who'd been taken "back to the trucks" from being roughed up by the truck drivers.

The drivers asked him why he was protecting someone who'd "just been shooting at us".

He replied: "They weren't shooting at you, you son-of-a-bitch. You live in a ration dump. They were shooting at -me-, and I said leave them the hell alone."

As far as he was concerned the German soldiers were just another bunch of poor unfortunate dogfaces like himself and his buddies, doing what they were told and trying to stay alive.

Killing them was a disagreeable necessity of the job.

Lance Larka September 1, 2009 at 3:39 am

Granted, that sort of thing happened now and then, but it's an important point that it -wasn't official policy-, and if done too blatantly the people in question would be punished by their own side under military law.

Like I said, they would be war criminals. Not terrorists.

— mutilating corpses is a serious war crime, specifically forbidden.

Again war criminal not terrorist.

Back to my original question, what is a terrorist? Your definition of 'cheating' doesn't make sense to me. That is how you win wars. I want my side to be better than the other side. If it's called cheating to have night optics when the other guy doesn't…tough shit. If it's called cheating to have SEALs able to infiltrate a country to 'neutralize' (kill) someone trying to kill our citizens in some way, fine. Kill the guy. Again, tough shit.

My definition of a terrorist is someone with or without government sanction that specifically targets people (military or non) in a non-wartime setting for the specific goal of spreading panic, fear, or disruption and/or killing as many as possible.

But this is not a war-crime. This is a criminal act. Prosecute the fuckers and let them rot in jail.

dubjay September 1, 2009 at 4:54 am

Lance, the Basterds are terrorists because they explicitly set out to terrorize.

Or, as Lt. Aldo Raine put it at the beginning of the movie:

"The National Socialist Party conquered Europe through murder, torture, intimidation, and terror. That's exactly what we're going to do to them. We will be cruel to the German, and through our cruelty they will know who we are. They will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered, and disfigured bodies of their brothers we leave behind us . . . each and every man under my command owes me 100 German scalps."

Lance Larka September 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm

They are terrorists if their mission is not a legitimate military one.

Destroying the enemies morale and the will to fight is a perfectly valid military mission. Even decapitating the command structure is a perfectly valid mission even if civilians die in the process.

In that regard I would say the Bastards were not terrorists. The scalping might change that, but as Steve rightly pointed out such mutilation is a war crime. They might have wanted to be terrorists and that was probably Terantino's intent but if they are an official military unit (they were), led by an officer acting under orders (they were), and in communication with the brass (they were as evidenced by linking up with the brit) then I would say they were a legitimate military unit subject to military justice and not just a rogue criminal terrorist outfit.

Consider this though. Let's say the Bastards were terrorists for mutilating bodies and killing civilians (although with the exception of the climax in the theatre I can only remember one such death..the bartender in the cellar and he might have been killed by the Germans…don't know). One could make the argument that what our government is doing in Pakistan right now is the same thing. We're launching hellfire missiles into buildings to target individuals. There are civilians dying in these strikes all the time. I imagine that living in an area subjected to sudden and unexpected attack is pretty terrifying. Are the technicians operating those drones terrorists?

Regarding the scalping I listened to Terantino's interview with Terry Gross (sp?) on NPR and he claims that scalping was actually started in the US by the army when fighting the indians (presumably in the 1840's…??) as a way to let the tribes know who was responsible for the deaths. I don't know if this is true, but I suspect he intended the scalping to be a nod to the horrors that our own military practiced in the past.

dubjay September 1, 2009 at 7:14 pm

I think terrorists are terrorists when they practice terrorism, whether they're under orders are not.

Or, as Lenin said, “We need the real, nation-wide terror which reinvigorates the country and through which the Great French Revolution achieved glory”

Most terrorists aren't rogues, they're in uniform, either as soldiers or police or some kind of militia. The Soviet Cheka and the SS/SD both practiced terror, with the full knowledge, consent, and cooperation of theirs superiors.

But if you want to view the Basterds as mere war criminals, that's fine, too.

halojones-fan September 1, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I've heard this attributed to Alan Moore…"While I'd like to claim that it was a bitter and satirical attack upon the mindless brutalities of war, it was really just plain bloody violent."

Steve Stirling September 2, 2009 at 2:15 am

"Your definition of 'cheating' doesn't make sense to me. That is how you win wars. I want my side to be better than the other side. If it's called cheating to have night optics when the other guy doesn't…tough shit."

— that's not what I said at all. By "cheating", I meant violating the rules. Eg., car bombs in marketplaces.

Steve Stirling September 2, 2009 at 2:22 am

"But this is not a war-crime. This is a criminal act."

— nope, it's a war crime, not an ordinary criminal act.

War is organized violence used as a means of political coercion.

It's a question of -intent-.

Robbing a bank or selling heroin to finance a war is a -political- act, not a common crime. It's an act of war.

Stalin got his start robbing banks for the Bolsheviks, for example; that was their main means of collecting funds prior to the revolution.

A Mexican drug cartel can do exactly the same things as al Qaeda, but it's a criminal act for the drug lords and an act of war for al Qaeda, albeit probably also a war crime.

This is a vitally important distinction.

When someone is making war on you — and if they want to make war on you, you're at war, like it or not — then you don't try to arrest them and convict them of a crime.

You just kill them for being on the other side, regardless of any individual blame. Kill them when and wherever you find them.

If you catch them, you can confine them indefinitely, until the war is over.

You may try some for war crimes, but that's a subsidiary matter.

Steve Stirling September 2, 2009 at 2:24 am

"They are terrorists if their mission is not a legitimate military one."

— no. It's a matter of means and intent.

Incidentally, terrorists don't stop being terrorists when they do a legitimate military action along with the illegitimate ones.

Lance Larka September 2, 2009 at 2:46 am

We could go round and round on this but I think the basic distinction between war criminal and terrorist is who is the backer. Who are they responsible to?

If a soldier in time of war does an atrocity then they are subject to justice by their own country. If they're on the losing side then by the other side. Presumably the military or government. They might be acquitted but at least the events will be examined in court.

But terrorists (at least the guys that do things like blow up airplanes, arrange suicide bombs, or otherwise kill civilians) will never be brought to justice by their own 'side' whatever that might be. Usually their own side actively supports the activities anyway.

This distinction is why I'm trying to be very careful of who I call a terrorist.

We can't go to the Taliban in Afghanistan with evidence that one of their…oh affiliates is a good word…blew up a car bomb in a market and demand an investigation, trial, and punishment if guilty. But we can sic Interpol and the FBI (or military investigators working with Interpol/FBI) on them, try them in civilian court, and let them rot in prison or be executed. Or go free if found not guilty.

But we can't just label the guy a terrorist and lock them away until the war is over. There is no declaration of war to end.
In my mind this mandates that any arrests must be pursued in civilian criminal trials.

Lance Larka September 2, 2009 at 2:48 am

Incidentally, terrorists don't stop being terrorists when they do a legitimate military action along with the illegitimate ones.

I agree with you completely on this one.

Lance Larka September 2, 2009 at 2:53 am

Oh, I forgot to specify that only countries that subscribe to the Geneva conventions (aka, the Rules or War) get that protection. If not and your soldiers do atrocities then they sure are terrorists and if you sanctioned those actions you are guilty too.

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