What if the Iranians take 15 U.S. soldiers captive. On what moral ground will we stand in expecting that the Iranians treat them according to the Geneva Conventions?
It’s not like the Iranians have paid attention to international law in the past. Consider this, from an article by Mark Bowden:
The higher-level Americans—diplomats, CIA officers, and military-liaison personnel—were sequestered, and taken away one by one for interrogation. Some were beaten; the CIA officers were worked over with heavy rubber hoses under the supervision of al-Islam.
If there’s a reason to adhere to the Geneva Conventions, it’s not because of any reasonable expectation of reciprocity. And let’s not forget that the Third Geneva Convention applies most obviously to "lawful combatants," like the British sailors and marines, and to states, like Iran, that are signatories.
Let me note, lastly, that, by Dreher’s logic, the Iranians would have "no moral ground" on the basis of which to complain of torture, a complaint given some credence by Andrew Sullivan (of course). The Iranians and our other enemies will exploit our scruples without sharing them. And they will find commentators over here to echo their complaints.