Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Silence on Butchery, Whining at Guantanamo

This morning reports are that the two missing U.S. soldiers who were kidnapped in Iraq were found dead, and "butchered" before their deaths. Army Pfc. Thomas Tucker and Pfc. Kristian Menchaca are good men, and now their families are heartbroken over their loss and the unimaginable torture they experienced before their deaths.

Fox News' E.D. Hill offered an even more graphic description this morning which I have not yet been able to find anywhere posted on the web, but if her account is even close to accurate, it involved the most unimaginable and barbaric acts possible. These men's bodies were destroyed prior to their deaths to the point that they could not be identified.

But what does the anti-war crowd have to offer? Guantanamo Bay. As President Bush sits in Vienna, he is pressured by hand-wringing Europeans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The concern of these Europeans is over not the conditions at the prison, where numerous terrorists captured in the War on Terror are being held, but over the flap that is being made by anti-war groups like Amnesty International and the terrorists themselves who are "unhappy" with the fact that they are being detained, as evidenced by a coordinated suicide two weeks ago by three of them.

And prominent anti-war voices like Jack Murtha, who never met a U.S. soldier in the line of fire whom he wouldn't second-guess, are strangely silent at the news that their own soldiers were kidnapped, torn to pieces and only then murdered by al Qaida in Iraq terrorists.

Where is their outrage?

It's been established unapologetically that Gitmo is not Club Med. It is not a fun place, and the military is making every legitimate effort to extract information from these terrorists about al Qaida. But neither is it a place where terrorists are tortured. They receive three very good meals each day, and have access to genuine spiritual advice. These people, not being members of the military of any established nation-state, but rather illegal, non-national combatants who tend to operate in clandestine fashion, are not entitled to even the most basic courtesies under the Geneva Convention. But they are not short of leftist western advocates from the self-loathing and freedom-embarrassed camp in Europe and the United States.

But the fact that the same voices who scream outrage any time a terrorist's infinitesimal sensibilities with regard to a guard's handling of the Koran are insulted (despite the fact that it's ok when it's the terrorists desecrating the Koran in their cells) offer not a peep of objection when two soldiers are kidnapped, disarmed and put through unimaginable torture before being murdered by anti-civilization terrorists, speaks much of how filthy their characters have become. Because if they are to have any authority on the humanitarian treatment of people, they need to decry torture and pursue to the punishment of ALL torturers, not just those with whom they politically sympathize.

And I would be delighted if these two men suffered only what the terrorists suffer at our hands.

Would that these two young men were treated like the terrorists at Gitmo. Would that they were treated like the al Qaida in Iraq brigands at Abu Ghraib. Would that they were just given three hots, a cot and all the religious catering they could want. Would that they only were threatened by angry dogs. Would that they only were made to stand for hours and made to think that they were going to be electrocuted. Would that they were only stripped naked and forced into some ridiculous cheerleader pyramid.

But they weren't. Their bodies were ripped to shreds while they still lived. They were humiliated in ways that no human being (save for the kind who would do such a thing) deserves. They were our boys.

The silence of Rep. Murtha and Amnesty, in the face of the torture and desecration of those who provide them the freedom to be the fools they are reflects the emptiness of their position and their lack of morality and reveals the fact that their prior cries of outrage were rooted in nothing more than politics rather than honest advocacy.

8 Comments:

Blogger lgstarr said...

Every single person in this country needs to read what you wrote. It's an abomination beyond belief what happened to these boys and it's a moral obscenity what the whiners and hand-wringers are both doing--agonizing over the rights of terrorists--and not doing--ignoring or re-directing blame for the torture of these boys from it's rightful target: the sadists in this world who drape their sick and terrible compulsions in the guise of religion.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous chatrap said...

We knew from the beginning the savagery of the people we are dealing with, and its no surprise to anyone (except maybe the chickhawk neocons) that they would use the most brutal and inhuman tortures on these poor captured soldiers. Its the price our soldiers are paying for our unnecessary and ineptly managed invasion of Iraq. Thats why it draws small headlines and comes as no surprise. The real moral obscenity is watching those who supported sending our soldiers into harms way whining and feigning outrage and surprise when these tragedies happen.

Guantanamo Bay is important because the United States has long held itself as a moral beacon in the world, a country that could be counted on to treat even its enemies and prisoners with fairness and humanity. That the current administration has so casually tossed aside the moral high road in their attempt to live out ideological fantasies about remaking the middle east is big news indeed. We are at war with extremists precisely because they are the kind of inhuman scum that would kidnap and torture. If we are going be unjust and unprincipled, why bother to fight the war at all?

1:00 PM  
Blogger Lawjedi said...

Chatrap,

Thanks for entering your comment in the "I don't get it" category.

I was tempted to stop reading after the "chickenhawk neocons" tag--an easily uttered non-substantive, ad-hominem attack that really identifies nobody, nor any qualities of whatever individuals such a comment is directed at--but to be fair, I trudged through it all.

Once more: We are in this war that was started by someone else who supported terror and refused to abide by UN resolutions to disarm. He was a threat to our security (economic and military) and those of our regional allies.

If that's not good enough, the whole argument is lost on you. It's not about how nice we can be.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous chatrap said...

Lawjedi,

The "chickenhawk neocon" comment was pretty much meaningless, but it had little to do with the main thrust of my post. Did I once suggest that this was a test of how nice we could be? No. I said we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard than those of homicidal religious fanatics. Pretending that we didn't think terrorists were capable of savage acts is absurd. Its not that I "don't get" your argument. I think your argument is short sighted and wrong. We started the war in Iraq. It was our choice and at a time of our choosing. He was a well contained little fish that the Bush administration strained to paint as a creditable threat. Now, thanks to the poorly planned invasion and unplanned occupation, we are dropping the ball in both Iraq and Afghanistan. And the indifference the Bush administration has shown for human rights concerns and basic fairness, both overseas and at home, has cost us the support of world opinion. That doesn't sound like a winning war strategy.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Lawjedi said...

Chatrap,

Ok, this is the kind of response I was hoping for, and now I see your position more clearly.

You are arguing that because of poor planning of the invasion and peace makes Iraq a problem, and that Saddam was isolated as it was, that the whole Iraq war is misbegotten.

You are also arguing that human rights violations have lessened our standing in the world community. Check on that as well.

And I think you're wrong.

Upon what facts do you base the assertion that we are dropping the ball in Iraq and Afghanistan, and please spare me the logic that soldiers still get picked off there. That is not indicia of a botched war. How often were Allied soldiers getting knocked off in 1945 Germany or Japan?

Also, when you allege that Saddam was contained, do you recall what he did in August 1990? And the WMD stuff? He had them. Check the news of this week.

And as far as torture goes, please let me know what we did, and let's just for a moment step away from Abu Ghraib as the acts of a few morons. Your focus was on Gitmo. What is going on wrong there?

Be careful. There are no right answers to these questions.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous chatrap said...

lawjedi,

Sadly, I'm running out of time today and will have to pick up this debate tomorrow. But I leave you with this 1991 quote from Dick Cheney:

"Now you can say, well, you should have gone to Baghdad and gotten Saddam. I don't think so. I think if we had done that we would have been bogged down there for a very long period of time with the real possibility we might not have succeeded."

6:08 PM  
Blogger Lawjedi said...

And the point, besides the fact that he was echoing the policies of the Bush 41 Administration? Or are REPUBLICAN cabinet secretaries under a duty to speak out of turn?

7:56 AM  
Anonymous chatrap said...

Lawjedi,

We have dropped the ball in Iraq because the overall strategic picture for the US under even the best possible outcomes of our current situation there is worse than it was before the invasion. We dropped the ball in Afghanistan by becoming so bogged down in Iraq that we have allowed the Taliban to not only continue to exist but actually thrive.

To discount the torture issue at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo as "the acts of a few morons" is naive. The stage for these excesses was set by a president who evidently feels that his entire administration is above the law, and legal opinions by Alberto Gonzales (objected to by Pentagon lawyers) that helped cloud the interrogation guidelines soldiers were supposed to follow.

That said, I don't think its the torture issue that has made Abu Ghraib and Gitmo such symbols of US lawlessness and abuse of power. The real issue has been fairness. We arrest thousands of people worldwide (trust us, they are guilty) and place them in facilities where we refuse to identity them (trust us, we know who they are), make up a new prisoner classification that we claim makes the Geneva conventions "obsolete" and change rules to make torture a legal interrogation option (trust us, we would never really do it), then tell the world we will hold these prisoners until the war on terror is over (when will the war end? Never.) What kind of Kafka like East German logic is this? There was a time when accusations that American agents regularly kidnapped people off of the street in western Europe and used "rendition" to send them to countries that practice torture would have been viewed skeptically even by our enemies. Today, even the most ardent administration supporters can do no more than say "it hasn't been proven beyond a doubt" while taciturnly acknowledging that its probably true.

How did we let this happen? These are the kinds of things America once stood against!

10:06 AM  

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