Tuesday, June 20, 2006

[Iraq, Politics]

When US Soldiers Get Tortured.

While we're on Iraq and Rove-generated reality, it's worth mentioning a harsh reality that's making news today:
Two U.S. soldiers missing since an attack on a checkpoint last week have been found dead near a power plant in Yusifiyah, south of Baghdad, according to U.S. officials, and Iraqi officials say the soldiers had been tortured.
There are some untidy consequences to the arrogance of power. The Bush administration, keen to exploit the dubious leeway of "American exceptionalism," have flipped the bird to the rest of the world. While our juvenile "screw you" to France isn't likely to bite us, flouting international norms on torture have. In his overindulged, hyper-privileged mind, Bush may have imagined that his rights to detain and torture were singular, but as today's very grim news shows, he has no enforcement over this sole power.

It's impossible to say if these two kids would have been tortured had there been no Abu Ghraib. One thing is certain, though: the terrorists who tortured these two kids wouldn't have been able to use Abu Ghraib as a justification. Moral equivalency's a bitch.

7 comments:

Idler said...

Not only is it "It's impossible to say if these two kids would have been tortured had there been no Abu Ghraib" it is ridiculous and contemptible to suggest.

Can you possibly think that the twisted, ruthless bastards our soldiers are fighting against would have been choirboys in the absence of Abu Ghraib? And what was Abu Ghraib in comparison with business as usual under Saddam Hussein and every goddamn dictatorship in the Middle East?

When will people get a clue as to the nature of the enemy we're dealing with? Why does everything magically have to be attributable to some fault of the United States? Is it impossible for our enemies in Iraq to be corrupt and cruel all on their own? What does the evidence suggest?

Jeff Alworth said...

Can you possibly think that the twisted, ruthless bastards our soldiers are fighting against would have been choirboys in the absence of Abu Ghraib?

Of course not. But I can easily imagine that they wouldn't have tortured the soldiers before killing them had there been no Abu Ghraib.

When will people get a clue as to the nature of the enemy we're dealing with? Why does everything magically have to be attributable to some fault of the United States?

It's an affront to everyone in the world who witnessed 9/11 to suggest that they need to "get a clue." In the face of evil, you are not required to respond with evil. I like to think that the manifest vision of the founders was that we would explicitly NOT respond with evil.

As to "fault," I'm not suggesting that the behavior of terrorists is caused by the US. But actions have consequences, and Abu Ghraib was a big, bad action. Why are you so quick to acquit our government for these breaches? I like to think we can manage a slightly higher standard of behavior. We're the USA, for God's sake.

Idler said...

A "big, bad action"! In the grand scheme of things Abu Ghraib was trivial. It certainly doesn't hold a candle to what the insurgents do every day. But Abu Ghraib was set upon by those hungry for opportunities to characterize the United States in the worst light. Abu Ghraib is in fact an example of hysteria combined with malice.

If you can easily imagine that the perpetrators of this atrocity wouldn't have tortured these poor soldiers in the absence of Abu Ghraib then you clearly don't understand our enemy.

What is terrorism, after all, but the attempt to intimidate through atrocity. This is nothing new to the Middle Eastern culture, as is obvious to anyone who has the slightest acquaintance with it. Did civilian murder and head hacking not emerge until the misconduct of Abu Ghraib? You already know that's not the case, and yet your mind moves irresistibly to your deductive conclusions.

And, again, the degree of inhumanity perpetrated at Abu Ghraib is nothing compared to what happens every God-forsaken day in various dictatorships in the region, to say nothing of the more refined methods practiced at Abu Ghraib before it was held by the Americans. There no comparison between what happened at Abu Ghraib under Saddam Hussein and the highly publicized (and very ephemeral) American misdeeds.

What infuriates me is that these souless sons of bitches commit an unspeakable act of cruelty and an especially outrageous war crime against our soldiers and for you it's an occasion to criticize not them but the United States. You're all but saying these soldiers had it coming. "Who can blame the people who did this? Abu Ghraib, after all." To me this kind of (all-to-predictable) reaction is grotesquely perverse.

But beyond the perversity there is also an element of stupidity. Terrorism is perpetrated in order to provoke certain psychological reactions, not to achieve material tactical gains. You apparently don't see that these ruthless, two-legged vermin are aiming these acts directly at the likes of you, who can be counted to respond not with wrath and determination but with self-flagellation (though not really, rather it's a kind of sanctimony that finds the fault with moral inferiors within one's camp, not with oneself) and a determination not to resist, but to give in to their demands.

This is why I say ruthless rather than simply barbarous. These are calculated acts. These are virtuousos and they're playing you and your co-religionists like a fiddle.

As far as the Founding Fathers are concerned, you might consider how they responded to the Barbary pirates. They went all the way over to North Africa in sailing ships and broke their enemies with force. You may have heard the line "to the shores of Tripoli" in the Marine Hymn.

surfsidekick said...

Regardless, it still sucks.

AJ

Jeff Alworth said...

Idler, I'll pick up this thread as a post later today.

iggi said...

well, idler is obviously the passionate sort...that's a long ass comment.

Susan Eggman said...

idler may be a marine