Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The Horror... The Horror

It's disturbing, to say the least, that the world is watching right now as photos and videos of our troops and commanders humiliating, sodomizing and torturing prisoners in captivity leak out. The repercussions of this incredible travesty may very well echo out for untold lengths of time, as these indelible images (of "American inhumanity") burn into the psyche of detractors of American foreign policy around the globe.

Just yesterday, the boldest repercussion was made manifest, as a group claiming to have ties to al-Qaida beheaded a Philadelphian man on video and sent it up on a militant Islamic website. The savage murderers attributed their actions explicitly to the abuses in Iraq now being publicized. Disturbingly graphic stills from the video just appeared on an the Drudge Report website today.

What's disturbing even further today is that there are actually people in the American government who look at the many photos circulating now (proof of torture and humiliation by American troops against peoples we are told we are liberating) and don't see anything reprehensible about it. United States Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, is "outraged by the outrage" flying about in papers these days. He claims that a great majority of these prisoners "have American blood on their hands" and so deserve no special care from their captors and questioners and, in fact, are being justifiably punished. Rush Limbaugh even goes so far as to compare the abuses to "fraternity hazing."

Well, firstly, it certainly violates the Geneva Convention to inflict harm of any inhumane nature (including, of course, torture) on any persons, even insurgents, who have been placed out of combat by detention or injury. Yes, this means that it is illegal, by internationally recognized mandate, to do what these pictures show American troops doing.
And secondly, strapping a college kid to a tree by wrapping him head-to-toe in saran wrap, while humiliating, I'm sure, is kind of a whole load of fun while drunk, as compared with being stripped naked and having vicious barking dogs unleashed to your nether regions. People line up for hazing rites like those saran wrap antics, not for having legs devoured by dogs.

There's also a report going around that 70 to 90 percent of Iraqi captives were erroneously arrested. You do the math, folks. That means that most of the men depicted in these pictures were, according to the Red Cross crew and their authoritative, authentic report, innocent Iraqis mistakenly arrested and held captive, for sometimes months, and subjected to untold lengths of depraved maltreatment.

The question now stands: what do we do now? It seems to me that, if the latest conclusions are true--that the abuses were delegated from high-up commanders--then this is only further proof that the planning for this war was and still is just atrociously, reprehensibly faulty, and that the Secretary of Defense should get on his knees and beg for a wiser international coalition to come and save this situation before even greater repercussions bear their fruit.

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