Thursday, August 23, 2012

For Syria Rebels

Throughout the American War of Independence, British forces operating in America made themselves notorious for cruelty to military prisoners and crimes against civilians.  In his 1779 instructions to John Paul Jones, Benjamin Franklin urged Americans to believe their national honor depended upon the decent treatment of prisoners:

“As many of your officers and people have lately escaped from English prisons in Europe or America, you are to be particularly attentive to their conduct towards the prisoners…lest resentment of the more than barbarous usage by the English in many places towards the Americans should occasion a retaliation, and an imitation of what ought rather to be detested and avoided for the sake of humanity and for the honor of our country.”

Unfortunately, many Syrian rebels mistreat captured Syrian soldiers and militia.  Sometimes, rebels even kill their captives, as Ben Hubbard reported for the Associated Press.  Martin Chulov reported for UK paper The Observer on one Syrian leader, Sunni sheikh Omar Othman, who showed consideration captives.  Sadly, not all rebels follow such examples.  The New York Times released this video of Syrian rebels with a cruel plan involving a prisoner:

Benjamin Franklin, Instructions to John Paul Jones, Commander of the American Squadron in the Service of the United States, now in the Port L’Orient (28 April 1779), in Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, 6 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1889), 3:145-46
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