Originally Posted by samwiseb
Ideally the treatment of POWs is about protecting your own soldiers who are likely to be taken prisoners themselves. Having higher-minded ideals about protecting human dignity and all that stuff is great, however the need to pay 'lip service' (if you will) to those things in order to protect your soldiers is usually going to be an easier sell. Especially when you fight against mobs instead of nations, and more conservative factions in your own government are already quick to point out that your efforts won't be reciprocated. And I do therefore believe that the treatment of war criminals is a much stickier issue than POWs, whereby trying to appear just by allowing them their right to trial will most likely result in the very same retaliation and instability that you were trying to avoid in the previous scenario. I don't think you protect anybody by trying to serve the spirit of the law in such a case.
I'd like to think that Geneva Convention type arrangements are as much about how we want our society to behave as they are about tit for tat treatment of prisoners. How do we feel when our enemies torture and kill prisoners? That should be at the forefront of our minds when treating our own enemy prisoners. Once you give up the moral high ground you end up in intractable tit for tat situations like Northern Ireland and Israel.
For example, Kirk pays lip service to offering help to Nero. Would any Romulan viewing those recordings feel that the offer was genuine based on what comes only moments later? Mind you, TOS Romulans would prefer death to dishonour so they'd probably still be rooting for Nero either way.
For the scene to have any moral authority, Nero should have destroyed himself when his own weapons fire was sucked back to his ship or detonated by the gravity well. That would have sent the right Star Trek message IMO. 'Hate is self-destructive', not 'execute those who have wronged you.'