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May 23, 2004
It's Okay, We're the USA!

Potentially flouting the ban on bioweapons.

Looks like the Bush Administration and their admirers can rest easy on one point. UsofA soldiers can't be tried for war crimes.

I try to keep faith in the fundamental military organization, even after painful, disturbing reading about the abuses. I try to believe they're interested in clearing their reputation, not in a whitewash.

We certainly can't count on any Bush appointees to come clean.

"What has been charged so far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture," said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "I'm not going to address the `torture' word."

"Technically" different. Well, that's good enough for me. Don't bother to read the rest of the column that discusses the torture methods used for hundreds of years that are probably still being used in Abu Ghraib.

The first story wasn't true, but a new story of torture by U.K. soldiers may be. I was especially appalled by this, toward the end of the article:

In a further blow to the Pentagon, a former US Marine reveals today in the IoS that soldiers in his unit routinely killed innocent civilians and desecrated corpses.

I've had occasion in the past to disagree with The New Republic. Let's see what this week's offering, "written by the editors. has to tell us

We hasten to add what would, in calmer times, be perfectly obvious: The atrocity in that room was greater by many factors of immorality than the atrocity in that prison.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Inflammatory rhetoric can't hide the fundamental flaw in their reasoning. In no times would the murder of a single person be worse than the murder and torture of dozens, if not hundreds of people.

I know I've said this before, but I'm saying it again. I deeply regret the death of Nick Berg, but he walked open-eyed into a war zone.

We took a prison already famed and feared in the country for being the home of atrocities and made it even worse because we pretended we were doing it "in the name of freedom." We arrested people upon no definite charges, sometimes taking them from their homes in the middle of the night, we incarcerated them, and we abused, tortured, and sometimes murdered them.

There is no trick of argument that can, or should, be used to excuse or minimize this.

Indeed, the swift succession of images had the effect, or should have had it, of establishing a sense of proportion about the outrages of the day. The American torture in Abu Ghraib was a violation of American principles, but the jihadist slaughter in the anonymous abattoir was a fulfillment of jihadist principles.

As the increasing information on Abu Ghraib (and other places) makes clear, this torture was government policy at work, not the rogue behavior of a few sadistic soldiers. This was, I guess, the fulfillment of neocon principles. What the NR editors should be warning against is those becoming UsofA principles, not telling us we're over-excited and not thinking clearly.

We have a sense of proportion, guys. We see Abu Ghrain in context, okay? And it stinks.

Also, what kind of idiotic hubris brought them to this:

[...] our authority as the agents of all good things in Iraq has been calamitously damaged.

Our authority? Agents of "all good things"? What planet are they living on?

There's much to agree with in the column, but that one paragraph was an appalling mess.

Lies. If you want to believe something badly enough, you'll believe lies.

But forget all that. Support America. We (sort of) suck the least less than a lot of other places.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:03 AM