Just as a question for clarification; are there any uniformed-members of the US military in “enemy hands” at-present? As I remember, the last two were castrated, gutted like sheep, their corpses multilated AND left in the Sun booby-trapped. Some independent contractors and press-members have been “kidnapped” then killed or released/ramsomed; but is the prospect of a uniformed-trooper being “captured” and treated as a recognised POW a realistic operational-outcome in this asymetric GWOT? I just don’t see the “…but their captors will be war-criminal if they are abused” as being much of a safe-guard either-way.
Or, does asymetric warfare require a return to “Roman” methods? Raise the “cost” of abusing captive uniformed US soldiers so high that the society that shields and supports the terrorists are unwilling to pay for the terrorists misdeeds. What if after the sight of US troopers dead and naked bodies being descecrated in Mogodishu heavy armor (yes we didn’t have any there, grrr….) sealed a radius of several-hundred meters and killed every man, woman, child, goat and dog withing the perimeter; and bulldozed the entire zone into a circular level-plain of barren dirt. And did so the next incident, and the next. Would the word get out that it pays to at-least attempt to follow the Laws of War when the Leviathan’s pissed?
Is there a point where being bound by the Law is pointless when dealing with outlaws? Laws are social-contracts and social-constructs with the implication that both/all sides are bound by them. The very term “outlaw” has it’s origins in their own actions placing them outside the bounds of the law…not that they were protected by the Law they broke. Traditionally, an outlaw could be slain out-of-hand, be denied hearth and fire…and even those who helped them be tried and punished. And before you say that doesn’t exist anymore…look at the rights forfeited by bail-skippers in the US ever day.
While it is a noble ideal to protect our uniformed-troops, is an oversensitivity to hypothetical situation in the Future worth ham-stringing reasonable protective and defensive actions now? We unfortunately are in an era of asymetry, not reciprocity. And the likelihood is that will be the face of armed conflict for this century; not war with China, nor maybe even the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It’s going to be Middle-eastern religious upheavals, tribalism, and regional warlords in Africa. And just maybe there’s no room left for the Golden Rule anymore?