May 27 2010
The Red Cross has provided first-aid kits and training to the Taliban in Afghanistan; yes, those same Taliban who blow Canadians up with IEDs at random intervals.
This may come as a shock to reasonable people who think wounded Taliban ought not to be prevented from letting infection and gangrene take their natural course. Still, it is consistent with the Red Cross mandate.
That mandate is to “protect human life and health, to ensure respect for the human being, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, sex, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.”
Is it not time to update this mandate for the realities we face today? Let’s say we assume (and this is a very debatable premise) that the Taliban represent a legitimate fighting force as opposed to a rag-tag collection of terrorists, bandits and assorted psychotics.
Taliban members are all essentially motivated by an ideology with stated objectives that are completely antithetical to human freedom, happiness and even the right to life (for anyone except a fellow jihadi psycho or their beaten-down family members).
Their leaders, if such an organization can be said to have ones that represent the complete organization (another iffy assumption) have certainly never been a signatory to the Geneva Convention.
Yet according to the IRC’s mandate, they would appear not to have a choice in the matter — they seem obligated to keep helping thugs who have no respect for civil rights or human life.
Simple solution: change the Red Cross charter. Organizational constitutions are not written in stone. They can be amended, usually by a majority or unanimous vote of the executive body. It’s long overdue for the Red Cross to change its mandate to one that does not reward nihilistic aggressors.