September 30, 2005

Responsibility Runs Up, Not Down

Joseph Galloway (hat tip: Intel Dump)

There have been 17 separate investigations of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other prisoner abuse scandals. All have gone straight to the bottom of every case. All have consistently claimed that no one higher up the chain of command, including the civilian leadership in the Pentagon, bears any responsibility for any of this.

Hogwash. BS. Nonsense.

If the lowest private fails, then others have failed in training, leading and directing that private. The chain runs from sergeant to lieutenant to captain to lieutenant colonel to colonel to one, two, three and four stars, on to the longest serving, most arrogant secretary of defense in our history, Donald H. Rumsfeld, and beyond him to the commander in chief, President Bush.

It's long past time for responsibility to begin flowing uphill in this administration. It's time for our leaders to take responsibility for what's being done in all our names and under our proud flag. It's time for Congress to do its job if the administration won't do its job.

What he said.

P.S. This isn't some America-hater writing this, Norman Schwarzkopf has called Galloway "(t)he finest combat correspondent of our generation--a soldier's reporter and a soldier's friend." ( link) Yes, people who care, really care, about the repute of our military are simply outraged by the lack of real accountability. Rumsfeld has brought dishonor on the nation, and Bush has been too clueless to realize it. This is the sad reality we face.

P.P.S. Yes, Bush desparately needs a Clark Clifford. But where is he?


Posted by Gregory at September 30, 2005 02:02 PM | TrackBack (1)
Comments

Yes, the failure of a private, especially in such a ghastly way as the Abu Ghraib idiocy, does reflect all the way up to the commander in chief. The closing of ranks around the higher-ups is very much a question of proportion. When a large chunk of the opposition is casting about for an excuse, any excuse to impeach the President and force as many of his cabinet members as possible to resign so the government is disrupted and the opposition can claim that only they may govern, you are going to get unnatural posturing on both sides.

Abu Ghraib is a stain on this presidency and should not be forgotten. What's the right punishment as you go up the line and failure moves from acting to failure to train to failure to supervise the supervisor?

Posted by: TM Lutas at September 30, 2005 03:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

TM,

Remember, Abu Ghraib was, unfortunately, only one such site. There were myriad others in Iraq itself as well as Afghanistan where there are documented cases of murder, sodomy, sexual assualt, torture, abuse and other poor treatment. We shouldn't fixate on Abu Ghraib to the exclusion of the numerous other locales.

In fact, by reminding ourselves that these atrocities were not limited to Abu Ghraib, we can better inform our judgment regarding the appropriate degree of responsibility and accountability farther up the chain of command.

It becomes increasingly difficult to paint the problem as a "few bad apples" at lower levels when those apples are in so many prisons and detention facilities in multiple countries and locations.

Posted by: Eric Martin at September 30, 2005 03:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Rumsfeld has brought dishonor on the nation, and Bush has been too clueless to realize it."

Interesting. From the history of the two men, I have always thought that the technocrat Rumsfeld was simply following orders. Would you please list past examples of Rumsfeld acting unethically?
Or maybe we can blame Rove and Cheney, and continue with the comfort of "If only the Czar knew."

Posted by: bob mcmanus at September 30, 2005 04:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This is what happens when you place personal loyalty above loyalty and duty to the country.

Posted by: Alan at September 30, 2005 06:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Why, oh why, do I get the sneaky feeling that you are for pardoning the poor soldiers that were 'just following orders.'

tsk tsk, let's see those orders. If not, if you don't have them, let's drop the conspiracy theories about a vast worldwide gulag ordered by BushHitlerHalliburton.

Oh and please stifle the laughter about loyalty to country, when splashing incediary photos all across the press is met with thunderous applause by people that won't suffer one iota of one fraction of the shitstorm this will cause. Before the Iraqi election.

Remember the Koran-in-the-loo ordeal? Good stuff.

Posted by: Brad at September 30, 2005 06:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Granted I've not served in the military, but I would be surprised to find it immune to the sort of unwritten/unspoken rules/demands of pretty much any other institution in existence.

[Brad:] Do you really think the only orders that are/were given are explicitly documented? Or are you saying if they're not documented there's no way to prove or disprove and it's not a valid line of inquiry? I mostly agree with your other points (esp. the "loo incident") but saying "there's no paper evidence".. I dunno, it just seems like avoiding the questions.

Posted by: TG at September 30, 2005 07:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bob McManus: Not for nothing, but Donald Rumsfeld was willing to bring the foreign policy of the United States to a grinding halt to show people on the far right of the Republican Party that he was one of them.

This was during his first tenure as Secretary of Defense, during the Ford administration, when Rumsfeld's priority was his personal political advancement. His time at the Pentagon then was too brief to provide much of a sense as to how he would respond to completely unanticipated contingencies -- like how to arrange the detention and interrogation of thousands of prisoners -- but was long enough to show pretty clearly that he had his list of priorities, and things that weren't on that list when he came into office would have a hard time getting on the list later.

Rumsfeld's second tenure as Secretary of Defense has been dominated by one theme: military transformation. He has given much attention to aspects of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq related to that theme -- and, to be fair, much of that attention helped produce striking successes, for example the lightning campaign against the Taliban in 2001-2. Things unrelated to military transformation have been treated casually and carelessly, to our great cost in some instances and to our national dishonor in this one. No Secretary of Defense as smart and thoughtful as Rumsfeld is, and in as complete command over the military as he is, would have designed a policy toward detainees captured in Iraq that has functioned in the way ours has. Actual practice toward detainees, particularly in the period from late 2003 to 2004, reflected that carelessness and inattention; the abuses that have done America's cause in Iraq so much harm could not possibly have done us much good.

This is a great stain on Rumsfeld's record. An equally great stain on the military leadership's record is its consistent refusal to look beyond the lower ranks in assigning responsibility for prisoner abuses that have added fuel to the Iraqi insurgency, cost American lives, and made almost everything we are trying to do in the Muslim world harder.

Posted by: JEB at September 30, 2005 11:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1) A long time ago in the Infantry Office Basic Course two things we were taught were "Follow me", and that an officer is responsible for everything his Soldiers do, or fail to do.

2) The harm that Abu Ghraib did to the US rests not in the photos but in the breakdown of discipline that they reveal. If we are to prevail in Iraq it is not enough that we have high ideals but that we ourselves, not the rest of the world, hold ourselves to them.

Posted by: Acad Ronin at September 30, 2005 11:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Of all Nixon's crimes and abuses I think the most reprehensible was his pardon of Lt. Calley for My Lie. After Bush leaves office I hope all good Republicans/conservatives will keep up the pressure to have a thorough review and take away some stars from some of the generals that have organized this obsfucation of responsiblity. As a strong supporter of this war, it infuriates me that no matter how successful we are in the long-term, in the history books of our grandchildren there will be two pictures relating to the Iraq war, one of the pulling down of Saddam's statue and one of Lindie England with a prisoner on a leash.

Posted by: wayne at October 1, 2005 02:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interntional criminal jurisprudence, as fond by the Tribunals, is quite clear that command responsibility may be found even without explicit orders, and even without demonstrably direct knowledge of a crime. While not quite a negligence standard, it comes damn close.

Posted by: Kelly at October 1, 2005 04:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Where is Bush's Clark Clifford? He was fired, or at least shut out of the inner circle, for disloyalty, some time ago.

"If only the tsar knew" stops working when the tsar deliberately chooses not to know. The legal term for this is "willful ignorance" and as a matter of federal law, you can still be convicted as a co-conspirator or an accomplice even if you technically do not know.

Have you ever read this email, from Scott Horton to Andrew Sullivan?

Over the last ten years I have worked very extensively in Uzbekistan, on occasion spending up to a month at a time there on business for banking clients. During this time I became closely acquainted with a number of leading figures at the Uzbek bar and heard many gripping stories of abuse and mistreatment of ordinary citizens at the hands of President Karimov's regime. Last year, a public commission which was looking into the situation there contacted me and I helped arrange a visit by commission members to Uzbekistan to look into freedom of conscience issues. I helped put them in touch with a Lutheran pastor who had been intimidated and mistreated, and several attorneys who represented Muslims who had been imprisoned and tortured. In Uzbekistan it is a grave offense to worship in any religious gathering which is not state-sponsored. As a result of US pressure, some room has opened up for Christians, but for Muslims, being caught worshipping other than at a state-sanctioned mosque is likely to be a life-altering experience. Severe beatings, lengthy "investigatory detention," incarceration in TB-laden workcamps is the norm. A prisoner's likelihood of survival at such camps is not much better than 50-50. And of course the famous cases of torture, such as boiling in water. All this reminds that the techniques of which Col Stoddart wrote so vividly in the 1840's continue, with technological enhancements, under Islam Karimov. One of the commissioners apparently challenged President Bush about this when the commission had a meeting with the president. Couldn't he issue an order prohibiting such renditions? Couldn't he issue an unequivocal order against torture? The president, the commissioner said, reacted with near rage. He angrily snapped "Who said that? We do not practice torture!" The commissioner repeated that the president needed to send a clear message to the government that torture was a taboo. The president scowled and walked away in disgust.

The evidence is available to him. If he won't believe it it's because he won't allow himself to believe it. Why do you think that will ever change?

Posted by: Katherine at October 1, 2005 07:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Also relevant:

All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage -- torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians -- which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by "our" side. The Liberal News Chronicle published, as an example of shocking barbarity, photographs of Russians hanged by the Germans, and then a year or two later published with warm approval almost exactly similar photographs of Germans hanged by the Russians. It is the same with historical events. History is thought of largely in nationalist terms, and such things as the Inquisition, the tortures of the Star Chamber, the exploits of the English buccaneers (Sir Francis Drake, for instance, who was given to sinking Spanish prisoners alive), the Reign of Terror, the heroes of the Mutiny blowing hundreds of Indians from the guns, or Cromwell's soldiers slashing Irishwomen's faces with razors, become morally neutral or even meritorious when it is felt that they were done in the "right" cause. If one looks back over the past quarter of a century, one finds that there was hardly a single year when atrocity stories were not being reported from some part of the world; and yet in not one single case were these atrocities -- in Spain, Russia, China, Hungary, Mexico, Amritsar, Smyrna -- believed in and disapproved of by the English intelligentsia as a whole. Whether such deeds were reprehensible, or even whether they happened, was always decided according to political predilection.

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. And those who are loudest in denouncing the German concentration camps are often quite unaware, or only very dimly aware, that there are also concentration camps in Russia. Huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English russophiles. Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own antisemitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness. In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown. A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one's own mind.

I think this is, and in particular the second paragraph, is a much more accurate description of Bush's & the Republican Congressional leadership's response to the torture issue than "cluelessness".

Posted by: Katherine at October 1, 2005 11:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Bush desparately needs a Clark Clifford." That's for sure. Every administration needs, and all the ones of the past I am familiar with had, a few older, wiser men who could tell the president when he is going wrong.

Alas, the older, more experienced men in Bush's administration, like Rumsfeld and Chaney, are just as fanatical and unthinking as the young pups. I think Bush has a deep insecurity that leads him to surround himself with people who think just like he does.

I read once that Eisenhower had a system where when an important decision was to be made as to whether or not to launch on a new policy, he would assign two teams. One would draw up a report arguing for the new policy, and the other would produce a report arguing against it. Ike would read the two, and then make up his mind. In the Bush administration the process seems to be the exact opposite, most of the time. Everyone gets the idea that X would be good to do, anyone who disagrees never gets their objections through to the President, and Bush just goes ahead. Scarey.

Posted by: Les Brunswick at October 2, 2005 03:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sorry if I offend anyone for indulging in a bit of moral relativism:

http://www.scrappleface.com/MT/archives/001956.html

Posted by: Chuck Betz at October 2, 2005 04:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yes. We're better than Al Qaeda. Go us!

The reason there's so much dispute over whether we need a war or a criminal response is that Bin Laden and Zarqawi are as obvious war criminals as you will ever find. Bin Laden calling Bush a "war criminal" is every bit as hypocritical as the administration arguing to Judge Hellerstein that releasing those photographs would violate Geneva. But is there anyone here or in the Red Cross who doubts this? Does the Red Cross really have anything good to sayabout Al Qaeda? If not, what is the point of this? Other than to lie about and minimize the U.S.'s little torture problem, and blatantly misrepresent the Red Cross, of course.

As someone said in response to the whole gulag meshugas: how exactly did we get the point where we need Stalin to blow the curve so we can pass the class? Substitute Zarqawi for Stalin and that's the question I would like to Ott, who is to the Onion as Mallard Fillmore is to Bloom County.

Posted by: Katherine at October 2, 2005 06:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Some of the comments here point up the ignorant self-righteousness of the anti-military Left. All America's fighting men and women are criminals because some of them are sadistic or stupid or some indiscreet combination of the two. Yeah, okay.

I suppose we're all about to be treated to another round of these Abu Ghraib pictures. Because that's what's important right now. A real triumph for truth and journalism.

There isn't any nobility or principle in revisiting Abu Ghraib and investing it with even greater "significance." Not when we are engaged in a struggle against people whose greatest weapon is their ability to use our own media organs against us. Because that's all this is: propagandizing the American people against their best and bravest military men and women.

Who cares if Donald Rumsfeld is sorry about torture or if some general should retire because there's pictures of Lynndie England making fun of some guy's genitals?

There's no question that we would have lost every major war in our history if we had been forced to analyze and criticize our actions in this sort of media climate ---with its pervasiveness and sense-immediacy.

Posted by: Toby Petzold at October 2, 2005 06:53 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The biggest problem the anti-war Left will have in the future is recalibrating the excessiveness of their rhetoric to match the deeds of the American military and its allies. Because the day must come that everything we have seen so far in the Global War against Islamofascist Terrorists will pale beside the necessities of preserving Civilization istelf from nuclearized Jew-killers and petroleum extortionists. Then what will the Sheehanites and Gallowegians be left with to lie to the public?

But, sure, nude Iraqi men in pyramids? Mishandled holy books? That's what's going to cause us to impugn the righteousness of our cause against Muslim brutality? What perverts!

Posted by: Toby Petzold at October 2, 2005 07:07 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I should immediately explain that I was referring to George Galloway, not Joseph, when I mentioned Gallowegians.

Posted by: Toby Petzold at October 2, 2005 07:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Toby,

So sodomy and sexual molestation is just the price for liberty?

Posted by: Go Deep at October 2, 2005 08:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interestingly enough, if a Private does something good - such as rescuing injured children or their colleagues in a firefight, the higher-ups are instnalty there lauding their part in the individual's make-up ...

Pi.

Posted by: Pi. at October 2, 2005 01:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Toby, I think you totally miss the point.

The point is, if you want to be the leader of the free world, if you want to rally the world behind the notions of morals, responsibility, basic human rights, and democracy - then you have to show that you have those traits yourself.

If we look the other way when our prisoners are tortured (and by that I mean raped, water boarded, severely beaten, and even killed) - then the world sees us as no different than those we complain about.

We already look bad enough in claiming nukes, massve stockpiles of WMDs, and links to 9/11 that didn't exist - and then invading a sovereign country based on bullshit.

The whole planet (minus the Republicans) sees this for what it is. I, for one, don't want our country's face smeared further as a country that condones and practices torture!

Posted by: Mark-NC at October 2, 2005 03:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mark-NC,

As an Asheville man myself, I will assume your good faith in the postng above and try to gently lead you in a more constructive direction. You claim that our reasons for the war were "nukes, massive quanties of WMD's and links to 9/11 that didn't exist." I agree wholeheartedly that that is what the MSM has repeated 800,000 times were our motives, and that the administration has done a piss poor job of refuting it, but it just ain't so.

Hre is the Resolution on our war motives and justifications:

http://www.usembassy.it/file2002_10/alia/a2101002.htm

If you do not have the inclination to read it here is the first paragraph:

"Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;"

Our reasons were to enforce the terms of a ceasefire that Saddam was intent on evading,to ensure he not only did not have WMD but that he did not have the credible threat of WMD to intimidate his neighbbors with (as well as the US), and try to restore some bedrock rules of civility to the conduct of international relations.

Repeating a catechism enough times does not make it true; please educate yourself on why our troops are in this war. By the way, on your primary point I agree with you 100%, see my post above as to why.

Posted by: wayne at October 2, 2005 04:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Go Deep:

So sodomy and sexual molestation is just the price for liberty?

The premise of your question is all the evidence one would need to prove the childishness of the anti-military/anti-war Left. Is it really possible to believe that the small-scale abuse of a relative handful of prisoners vitiates the higher purposes for which our military is fighting?

Your moral outrage, in the face of the jihadist threat, barely registers as a curiosity.

Posted by: Toby Petzold at October 2, 2005 09:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mark:

If we look the other way when our prisoners are tortured (and by that I mean raped, water boarded, severely beaten, and even killed) - then the world sees us as no different than those we complain about.

Really? I guess my default setting is to believe ---because a century and a half of History tells me so--- that America is a great beacon to the world and that no one who knows anything about our national character or the sacrifices we have made against totalitarianism and slavery (in all their forms) would doubt the goodness of our efforts in the Middle East.

The one thing that exhausts me most about arguing against the anti-war crowd is that I know they are never going to concede the fact that those who fight us are psychopaths and medieval-minded losers who brutalize women and "the other." I never hear a liberal condemn the savagery of Islamofascism ---just the avarice of Halliburton.

Posted by: Toby Petzold at October 2, 2005 09:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Toby,

I'm assuming by your response that you have no problem whatever with rape, water boarding, severe beatings, and killing. I thought that these things would be objected to by anybody who believes this country should be an example to the world, or objected to by anybody with any sense of decency.

I stand corrected.

However, I object to them for a more basic reason that I neglected to mention. I don't want our troops treated this way if captued! If we set the bar in the sewer - a place you seem quite comfortable with - how bad will our captors be? Apparently, in your world, you just don't care. Some of us do!


Wayne,

Gee, where did I get the idea it was because of nukes, WMDs, and ties to 9/11? Was it the "liberal press"?

First off, you seem to have forgotten that Saddam allowed inspectors in and gave them full access to whatever they wanted to inspect - under duress of course. They found NOTHING! Bush didn't like this, and told them to leave or get bombed.

Then, how about a few quotes (if you like, I'll send you a few hundred more!):

We believe he [Saddam] has reconstituted nuclear weapons.
Vice President Dick Cheney, NBC's 'Meet the Press', 16 March, 2003

Saddam has ... the wherewithal to develop smallpox.
Colin Powell to the Security Council, 5 February 2003

The Iraq Survey Group has already found massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories, workings by scientists, plans to develop long-range ballistic missiles.
Tony Blair, on British Forces Broadcasting Service, 16 December 2003

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 litres of botulinum toxin -- enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure."
President Bush, State of the Union address, 28 January 2003

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide biological or chemical weapons to a terrorist group or individual terrorist ...
Dick Cheney, 10 January 2003

Mohammed Atta met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad prior to September 11. We have proof of that ... The meeting is one of the motives of an American attack on Iraq.
Richard Perle, Pentagon adviser, September 2002

Iraq has trained al-Qa'ida members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases
George Bush, 7 October 2002

"But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.
Vice President Cheney Veterans of Foreign Wars 103 rd National Convention August 26, 2002

But we do know with absolute certainty that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon."
National Security Advisor Rice September 8, 2002

But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Secretary Rumsfeld The New Republic (June 19, 2003) September 8, 2002


Posted by: Mark-NC at October 2, 2005 11:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Toby,

I'm assuming by your response that you have no problem whatever with rape, water boarding, severe beatings, and killing. I thought that these things would be objected to by anybody who believes this country should be an example to the world, or objected to by anybody with any sense of decency.

I stand corrected.

However, I object to them for a more basic reason that I neglected to mention. I don't want our troops treated this way if captued! If we set the bar in the sewer - a place you seem quite comfortable with - how bad will our captors be? Apparently, in your world, you just don't care. Some of us do!


Wayne,

Gee, where did I get the idea it was because of nukes, WMDs, and ties to 9/11? Was it the "liberal press"?

First off, you seem to have forgotten that Saddam allowed inspectors in and gave them full access to whatever they wanted to inspect - under duress of course. They found NOTHING! Bush didn't like this, and told them to leave or get bombed.

Then, how about a few quotes (if you like, I'll send you a few hundred more!):

We believe he [Saddam] has reconstituted nuclear weapons.
Vice President Dick Cheney, NBC's 'Meet the Press', 16 March, 2003

Saddam has ... the wherewithal to develop smallpox.
Colin Powell to the Security Council, 5 February 2003

The Iraq Survey Group has already found massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories, workings by scientists, plans to develop long-range ballistic missiles.
Tony Blair, on British Forces Broadcasting Service, 16 December 2003

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 litres of botulinum toxin -- enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure."
President Bush, State of the Union address, 28 January 2003

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide biological or chemical weapons to a terrorist group or individual terrorist ...
Dick Cheney, 10 January 2003

Mohammed Atta met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad prior to September 11. We have proof of that ... The meeting is one of the motives of an American attack on Iraq.
Richard Perle, Pentagon adviser, September 2002

Iraq has trained al-Qa'ida members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases
George Bush, 7 October 2002

"But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.
Vice President Cheney Veterans of Foreign Wars 103 rd National Convention August 26, 2002

But we do know with absolute certainty that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon."
National Security Advisor Rice September 8, 2002

But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Secretary Rumsfeld The New Republic (June 19, 2003) September 8, 2002

Posted by: Mark-NC at October 2, 2005 11:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wayne,

Iím sure every Iraqi who is raped, sodomized, sexually molested, murdered, killed, and brutally tortured will be happy to find out that Americans are so concerned about International Law.

Posted by: Go Deep at October 3, 2005 12:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Toby,

So you believe morality and ethics are relative to one's national identity?

I think it's called right-wing nihilism?

Posted by: Go Deep at October 3, 2005 01:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Toby,

So you believe morality and ethics are relative to one's national identity?

I think it's called right-wing nihilism?

Posted by: Go Deep at October 3, 2005 01:07 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I do not recall a single captured American in Iraq not having been killed by his captors. In fact, can anyone identify an Isreali soldier that once captured, was not killed as well? So, I suggest, the argument that mistreatment of prisoners by us will lead to similar treatment by the terrorists is a red herring. The value structure of the Islamofascists is such that killing your enemies and the infidels as well is the object of the game. Witness the terror attacks in Bali just yesterday. That is not to say that our behavior should not be exemplary. The record is clear however, that American soldiers were not exemplified by the misconduct of a few and that with very rare exceptions, they follow the rules of engagement to the point of increasing the risks to their own lives.

Michael


Posted by: Michael Pecherer at October 3, 2005 01:24 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

mark-nc,

If your looking for a cheerleader for Bush I'm not your man. I agree he explained our purposes in Iraq very poorly. If you'd like to see why I still believe this war was inevitable, read Robert Kagan's last column in the Washington Post. He explains it a lot better than I could; here's the link:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/11/AR2005091101086.html

Posted by: wayne at October 3, 2005 02:02 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Good job Toby...you are my hero!

Posted by: Norm at October 3, 2005 02:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wayne,

The letter you site is just as I remember history - up to a point.

I remember the atmosphere after 9/11. We would have declared war on a ham sandwich.

I remember the first time I heard Iraq mentioned. It was Pres. Bush in a speech declaring that Saddam had rebuilt much of his nuclear program and we had to oppose its completion.

I remember arguing with my hard-core Republican father and brother that Saddam could not be allowed to have nukes - they thought I was being hasty.

THEN, things changed. I remember finding out that almost nobody thought Saddam had nukes. So the story changed. Then it was WMDs as the excuse, or stealth ships off our coast, or arial drones that could reach our shores, or aluminum tubes, or mobile biological labs.

Finally, we forced Saddam to let inspectors scour the country. They found nothing. No nukes, no WMDs, no drones, no mobile labs, no programs in operation.

And we invaded anyway - without the world's support. Why? Because, by the time Bush decided to invade it was clear that the reasons were pure bull.

If Bush had come out up front and said that Saddam had to go because, in these times, men like him can't be allowed to lead a nation, that we intended to remove him and build a democracy in Iraq to stabilize the region - the world would have followed.

He didn't. He chose a pack of lies that changed daily as the last batch were proven to be crap. He chose belligerence, arrogance, and bully tactics instead of diplomacy with even our traditional allies. The current line (last paragraph) has EVOLVED as the sea of crap has been dumped into the garbage pit.

Posted by: Mark-NC at October 3, 2005 12:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wayne,

The letter you site is just as I remember history - up to a point.

I remember the atmosphere after 9/11. We would have declared war on a ham sandwich.

I remember the first time I heard Iraq mentioned. It was Pres. Bush in a speech declaring that Saddam had rebuilt much of his nuclear program and we had to oppose its completion.

I remember arguing with my hard-core Republican father and brother that Saddam could not be allowed to have nukes - they thought I was being hasty.

THEN, things changed. I remember finding out that almost nobody thought Saddam had nukes. So the story changed. Then it was WMDs as the excuse, or stealth ships off our coast, or arial drones that could reach our shores, or aluminum tubes, or mobile biological labs.

Finally, we forced Saddam to let inspectors scour the country. They found nothing. No nukes, no WMDs, no drones, no mobile labs, no programs in operation.

And we invaded anyway - without the world's support. Why? Because, by the time Bush decided to invade it was clear that the reasons were pure bull.

If Bush had come out up front and said that Saddam had to go because, in these times, men like him can't be allowed to lead a nation, that we intended to remove him and build a democracy in Iraq to stabilize the region - the world would have followed.

He didn't. He chose a pack of lies that changed daily as the last batch were proven to be crap. He chose belligerence, arrogance, and bully tactics instead of diplomacy with even our traditional allies. The current line (last paragraph) has EVOLVED as the sea of crap has been dumped into the garbage pit.

Posted by: Mark-NC at October 3, 2005 12:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wayne,

The letter you site is just as I remember history - up to a point.

I remember the atmosphere after 9/11. We would have declared war on a ham sandwich.

I remember the first time I heard Iraq mentioned. It was Pres. Bush in a speech declaring that Saddam had rebuilt much of his nuclear program and we had to oppose its completion.

I remember arguing with my hard-core Republican father and brother that Saddam could not be allowed to have nukes - they thought I was being hasty.

THEN, things changed. I remember finding out that almost nobody thought Saddam had nukes. So the story changed. Then it was WMDs as the excuse, or stealth ships off our coast, or arial drones that could reach our shores, or aluminum tubes, or mobile biological labs.

Finally, we forced Saddam to let inspectors scour the country. They found nothing. No nukes, no WMDs, no drones, no mobile labs, no programs in operation.

And we invaded anyway - without the world's support. Why? Because, by the time Bush decided to invade it was clear that the reasons were pure bull.

If Bush had come out up front and said that Saddam had to go because, in these times, men like him can't be allowed to lead a nation, that we intended to remove him and build a democracy in Iraq to stabilize the region - the world would have followed.

He didn't. He chose a pack of lies that changed daily as the last batch were proven to be crap. He chose belligerence, arrogance, and bully tactics instead of diplomacy with even our traditional allies. The current line (last paragraph) has EVOLVED as the sea of crap has been dumped into the garbage pit.

Posted by: Mark-NC at October 3, 2005 12:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mark-NC,

I've read that when Saddam took power Iraqi's had a standard of living equivalent to Australia's, when he was removed tens of thousands of children were dying of malnutrition rather than comply with 17 UN resolutions and sanctions. The man had shown his bloodlust and meglomania by killing millions in aggressive wars. He showed his contempt for the ceasefire agreements he had signed by trying to assassinate GHW Bush, by sheltering murderers from the first WTC bombing, and by firing SAM missiles at our airplanes several times a month
Your position is that we should have been sportsmanlike and allowed him to land the first blow before sending our troops accross the border. I concede, in hindsight, that was a plausible position to hold. I just ask you to concede that my position can be held in good faith as well. The facts remain that we are in this war now, I do not believe it was an illegal or immoral enterprise, and we need to make the best of the situation from here on out.

Posted by: wayne at October 3, 2005 07:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wayne:

Your statement.

The facts remain that we are in this war now, I do not believe it was an illegal or immoral enterprise, and we need to make the best of the situation from here on out.


I'll change it to this and call it even:

The facts remain that we are in this war now. I believe it was an enterprise that should have been entered under far different circumstances, but we need to make the best of the situation from here on out.

Posted by: Mark-NC at October 4, 2005 01:41 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If this is the best the left has to offer, Gawd Almighty has blessed the right.

Great, if the US isn't perfect, we are no good at all. Got it.

If Muslim men are forced to wear panty-turbans, it is fair to say that they were raped, tortured and murdered, all on thin evidence and to impugn that a vast, vast, vast(!) archipelego of torture centers exist throughout the world. Based on innuendo, half-fact, ignorance, and lies.

Way to go, lefties, way to forfeit the mental game.

Posted by: Brad at October 4, 2005 05:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Brad,

It is only American right-wingers who do not believe that men and women are being sodomized and sexually molested in your nation's name.

Right-Wing nationalist, in every nation and through all time, are morally blind when their is warmongering to be done.

Posted by: Go Deep at October 4, 2005 07:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Brad,

It is only American right-wingers who do not believe that men and women are being sodomized and sexually molested in your nation's name.

Right-Wing nationalist, in every nation and through all time, are morally blind when there is warmongering to be done.

Posted by: Go Deep at October 4, 2005 07:44 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I had this discussion one time with the usual "Bush is HITLER!" type of person ( ie: a Kerry voter ) and he said that AG was representative of the entire US Military

I asked if Abner Louima's treatment was representative of the entire NYPD ( Mr Louima was abused by several cops in a Brooklyn stationhouse in 1999 or so )

"No, thats different - those guys were rogues and punished"

But did he call for the Mayor and Police Commisioner to resign over that?

"No - different"


So you see - its all about the ability to blame Bush

Because after all - Bush is the blame for everything : )

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 5, 2005 10:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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