Ongoing US prison scandals

Over the past couple days more allegations have surfaced about the US using Abu-Graib style interview techniques in their prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo. Why is this such a problem when it’s the modus-operandi of most Middle Eastern nations?

Well, to blunt… The United States of America is not a Middle Eastern nation. I find it ironic that in the Bush Administrations’ epic quest to bring democracy and “freedom” to the Middle East, they are in fact pushing it further towards anarchy and at the same time dragging their own reputation down to match.

There was a time, not too long ago, when America was truly a beacon for Human Rights and Freedom… that has now apparently ended. Now we see proof that war brings out the worst in people, and governments, and the war on terror and war in Iraq is no exception.

Since 9/11 we have seen the introduction of the Patriot Act (a many similar laws in other countries including Canada and the UK) which has lead to the unlawful detention of dozens if not hundreds of innocent people with no legal basis or recourse whatsoever.

Then we had Maher Arar, the Canadian who was stopped at JFK when on his way home to Canada and sent by US authorities instead to Syria where he was imprisoned and tortured.

Then we had Abu Graib… a new low for the USs’ image abroad. Now they didn’t just send people away to be tortured… they’re doing it themselves.

Then of course there was the Marine in the Mosque in Falluja.

And now we hear that the same was possibly going on in Cuba and at other prisons in Iraq *since* Abu Graib? Never mind the image it portrays to those the US is trying to impress with its’ values in the Middle East. The rest of the world will now start to wonder just what qualifies as “limits” to the US Administration.

If there is a silver lining to this it is that the American public seems to have taken this second accusation very seriously. Abu Graib was passed off as a one-time event… but now that similar accusations are popping up elsewhere some serious questions are being asked.

I don’t think any reasonable American, no matter what their political stripe, would want their government to endorse the torture of a prisoner. At least I hope not… because the alternative is a much steeper dive into the same conflict and violence that they are preaching to stop in the Middle East.

8 thoughts on “Ongoing US prison scandals”

  1. So says Victor David Hanson:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200412170839.asp

    “So both here and abroad, the Western public believes that there is a double standard in the moral judgment of our left-leaning media, universities, and politicians that we are not to supposed to ask how Christians are treated in Muslim societies, only how free Islamists in Western mosques are to damn their hosts; or that we are to think beheading, suicide murdering, and car bombing moral equivalents to the sexual humiliation and roguery of Abu Ghraib apparently because the former involves post-colonial victims and the latter privileged, exploitive Americans. Most sane people, however, privately disagree, and distinguish between a civilians head rolling on the ground and a snap shot of an American guard pointing at the genitalia of her terrorist ward.”

    Merry Christmas -ooops, er, I mean “Happy Holidays!

  2. What’s funny about that though, Jane… is that people of different religions have coexisted in Iraq for centuries. Sunni, Shia, Assyrian Christian (of which there is a large community in Mosul) and even Jew *gasp*.

    And what say Mr. Hanson of the thousands of civilian heads rolling on the ground due to American/Coalition bullets and bombs. Are those civilians somehow different from the civilians killed by “terrorists” or “insurgents”?

    War makes even the best of intentions foul. And this war has sullied the American reputation like no other.

    The only way to change that is to stop it.

  3. Chris

    Whadda ya’ smokin’?

    There are about 3 Jews left in Iraq by now. I think the majority of them left or are in hiding. They didn’t feel safe among Muslims anymore. There were very few to begin with.

    Sunni and Shi’aa are both Muslim, just different sects and they have been killing each other when possible for a looooong time now including during 2004 as well as all during the 80s. You can hardly call the fact of the 40 year Sunni murderous repression of the Shi’aa and the Kurds “living in peace”, can you? Remember the Iraq/Iran decade long war where, I believe, 8 or 9 million Muslims died at the had of another Muslim? and that’s just the last 20 years. Assyrian Christian churches have been bombed in Baghdad – two on a Sunday in 2004 during services – I thing it might have a message from the “insurgents”. Not much tolerance that I can see.

    Yeah, Chris, people get killed in a war, though only the “insurgents” (led by a Jordanian “terrorist”) are decapitating their enemies with steak knives. Seems a bit much to me but there you go, I’m just a stupid red-state American who does support her President and her “troops” fighting this war.

    You may think our reputation is sullied but that is not how I see it. I see the world polarized now between Europe and the US and what surprises me is that I find that I don’t much care what the Europeans think of us anymore. I think the anti-American sentiment is completely based on envy, jealousy, resentment and feelings of inferiority and guilt. The anti-Semitism felt agains Israel is directly tied to the anti-Americanism and is totally irrational IMO. Hating the Israelis for defending themselves is insanity defined. Those emotions are determining Europe’s (and Canada’s) reaction and judgement against the US.

    It’s very hard to take sentiment based on such a negative and unhealthy pathology seriously. In the long run, our policies will win out over the European lethargy, passivity and appeasement. You cannot prevail against murderous thugs by calling committee meetings and passing meaningless resolutions.

    The average American spends little time worrying that our reputation is sullied in the minds of Europeans or Canadians. Europe and Canada spend a lot more time criticizing the US than the US at large does paying any attention to you all. Soon we will find other, more friendly, places to spend our tourist and military dollars.

  4. Jane:

    It’s unfortunate that you believe that, but I can understand why you would.

    I would ask one question though.

    Before the Iraq war, and before its’ buildup, do you remember this “anti-Americanism” being so pronounced, do you not think there is a correlation there?

    There will come a time when the Iraq war ends… at that time the differences that today seem so stark will fade and we will again realise how alike we are.

    As for the War itself, I fear that you will be disappointed and horrified Jane. I fear that you are going to lose thousands more of your citizens and then be faced with a 2nd 9/11 anyway. Only then, perhaps will it be clear that the path George Bush chose was the wrong one.

    As we are seeing in Palestine today with the first municipal elections in 30 years… war and violence does nothing to solve problems.. only political and grassroots will for change.

  5. Chris

    I’ve been away for Christmas so just got to your comment above.
    I believe that the anti-Americanism seen in Europe and Canada merely came to the surface over the Iraqi invasion. It was there all along, a simmering caldron bubbling quietly just waiting for the final ingredient to be added to boil over. The final ingredient was and is the use of American power in opposition to the prevailing mindset chiefly ennunciated by the French and their poodles. You do not produce such virulent hatred of the US (as exists now in Europe) in a matter of months. It has been developing right along and as evidence I cite the unbelievable level of hatred against the Israelis who earn this enimnity simple by successfully defending themselves and being allied with the US. One must be blind not to see this corrolation.

    I don’t see the US becoming anything more than business acquaintances with “old Europe” or ‘new Europe” for that matter after this is over. More and more Americans are coming to see that we have few friends on the “continent” now. Europe is lazy, lethargic, apathetic and has become foolish as a result. And when it comes to interpreting the threats they face, they are too easily convinced that doing nothing is a good plan. Their MSM plays them like gullible children. Bah. Many commenters and opinion writers and ordinary people suggest that it’s not likely that the US will ever bail Europe out again.

    Sorry to express such a harsh vision of the future. I’m as pessimistic of a good outcome between European and American
    relations in the coming century as you are a good outcome in Iraq. Don’t let the current heightened terrorism fool you, Chris. These nuts are running out of places to hide and we will get them to be sure. It’s just a matter of time. Every body that’s anybody in the US and Iraqi governments says “THE ELECTION WILL TAKE PLACE ON JANUARY 30TH!!”. The Iraqi constitution WILL be written by July 1, 2005. New elections WILL TAKE PLACE on schedule after the constitution is finished.

    Well my closing argument is finished. Now let the jury – the Iraqi people decide.

    And I think it’s ludicrous to be so certain that we will be beaten militarily in the Iraqi terrorist/insurgency conflict. Those that expouse such certaintity probably also were certain that John Kerry would be the 44th President of the United States.

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