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View Diary: Show Me This Contract I Signed, Dagnabit! (80 comments)

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  •  One exception, POW (9+ / 0-)

    If a soldier or merchant marine is captured during a declared war on foreign soil, I am not sure the social contract applies. In 1944 about 2000 German naval and merchant marines were held in Arizona. A a large group of prisoners escaped

    The Not-So-Great Escape: German POWs in the U.S. during WWII

    In any case, public reaction in Arizona soon focused less on any possible menace to law-abiding citizens than on outrage over all the provisions the newspapers reported found on the recaptured POWs, including rationed or otherwise hard-to-get items like cartons of cigarettes, packages of chocolate, coffee, sugar, and even ten pounds of pork fat. One Phoenix resident wrote the Arizona Republic: "Now isn't that a hell of a state of affairs when we, the tax-paying citizens, cannot get a single slice of bacon for weeks on end when we come home from working in a defense plant and then read in the papers that prisoners of war can get away with slabs of it?"
    Did the POWs have an obligation to honor the rationing laws?

    It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

    by se portland on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:31:09 AM PST

    •  Not at all. Even though the Axis powers, (11+ / 0-)

      particularly Japan (flagrantly), violated the basics the basic obligations of both detaining power and POW is spelled out in treaties. Those rations were most likely under the earlier version of this "Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 75 U.N.T.S. 135, entered into force Oct. 21, 1950" where:

      Article 25

      Prisoners of war shall be quartered under conditions as favourable as those for the forces of the Detaining Power who are billeted in the same area. The said conditions shall make allowance for the habits and customs of the prisoners and shall in no case be prejudicial to their health.

      In theory POWs get pretty much equivalent treatment of equal ranks of the detaining power's forces as far as food and quarters go. So, in the case cited the things the POWs escaped with would likely be what regionally based U.S. troops would have been given plus Red Cross packets that would also have goodies the local civilian population might have envied.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:08:33 AM PST

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    •  Interesting bit of history there (9+ / 0-)

      Of course we have similar modern cuase for outrage. The free room and board, television, library and medical care that is given to prison inmates. Leading, of course, to moves to charge inmates for R&B, etc. as well as to discharge elderly ailing inmates.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:49:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But... (6+ / 0-)
        “Since the state must necessarily provide subsistence for the criminal poor while undergoing punishment, not to do the same for the poor who have not offended is to give a premium on crime.” - John Stuart Mill
        Jails and workhouses used to charge inmates for their food. Those who could not pay starved and died.

        It used to be quite a racket for the jail keepers. They would make a fortune selling overpriced luxuries to rich inmates and sold the work of the poor for their own personal profit. Of course the job of being a jail keeper was acquired and kept through bribery and political favoritism and corruption.

        Such a system is inherently corrupt and immoral. Jails and prisons are required to feed and care for their prisoners based on moral duty. They don't have to be fed steak and given silk to wear, but starving them and letting them die is morally bankrupt.

        Of course, under conservative rule in many states, America is returning to the bad old days of exploiting prison labor, even to the extent of corrupt prison corporations bribing the state for contracts to run jails and the state guaranteeing a certain number of prisoners to guarantee profits. Talk about moral hazard and the worst form of corruption and human trafficking. Oh well, as long a nice white conservative people never get caught in the system, who cares?

      •  Well, in theory (3+ / 0-)
        The free room and board, television, library and medical care that is given to prison inmates.
        In practice, of course, they very often don't get the necessary medical care. Sometimes this does result in death, but other times it just results in lifelong disability or suffering.

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