May 04, 2004

What part of "isolated incident" do you not understand?

Everyone has seen the photos. Everyone in the US. Everyone around the world.

The photos of a pile of naked bodies, with two beaming soldiers smiling as they stand over it.

Photos of a prisioner standing on a box, while wired to God knows what.

Photos of men, whose sole desire for Americans is that we all die.

Photos of men with more in common with the animals that flew planes into buildings two and a half years ago, killing thousands here.

People across this nation are reacting in shock and horror at those photos, and, while they continue to be fed by a willing and complicit press, those same people are starting to compare our military and the Bush Administration with the Saddam regime.

I have heard people -- some otherwise very intelligent people -- insist that the President and the Administration are no better than Saddam Hussain and his sons, because of this incident. This isolated incident.

These same self-righteous people are so wrapped up in their images, fed by the loathing of reporters from CBS and CNN, from ABC and the Washington Post, from NBC and the New York Times. Fed by Pacifica and Indymedia. Fed by Ted Rall and Michael Moore. They are so wrapped up with the constant barrage of hatred that they forget the reality: that this was an isolated incident which was soundly denounced by officials from the President on down.

The radicalists are trying their damnedest to not only try to paint this isolated incident as standard operating procedure for our military, but to insist that this is how we treat prisioners in this country, too. That police departments across the nation use these so-called procedures as the normal course of business for law enforcement.

Everyone trots out the Geneva Convention as a sort of blanket to throw over this situation.

The vast majority of people fail to recognize that the Geneva Convention does not apply to this situation. That's right. Does. Not. Apply.

The Geneva Convention was designed as a sort of "Marquis of Queensbury" rules for engagement for countries and entities in military conflict.

The problem is that the Islamists do not subscribe to the Convention -- that is, until their thugs get caught.

The Geneva Convention says that a captured individual is and must be treated as a military prisioner of war only if he is reporting to a commander, if he wears a distinctive insignia recognizable at a distance, if he carries arms openly, and if he, himself, conducts himself according to the rules of war. The Islamists do not do that. They dress as the remainder of the civilian population. They do not report to a commander. They do not have a recognizable insignia. They do not carry arms openly.

They do not conduct themselves according to the rules of war.

They throw the rulebook out the window. They hit below the belt. They headbutt. They try to bite off their opponent's ear, to coin an expression.

Are we, as a nation, obligated to use the rulebook, when our opponents have thrown out the same rulebook? Are we obligated to hamstring ourselves while dealing with an enemy who wants nothing more than to kill each and every last American soul?

I'm not condoning what happened in those isolated incidents in Iraq. On the contrary. Those activities are reprehensible.

But those activities are not indicative of our fighting men and women. They are not a part of the concept of truth, justice and the American way.

They are not a part of "normal."

And at the same time, for someone to try to not only equate that isolated incident with SOP, and to then say that we are worse than Saddam has no logical concept of what "normal" is. They have no concept of what Saddam was.

Saddam had rape rooms. Saddam had torture chambers. Saddam had children's prisons. Saddam had mass graves. Saddam used giant shredders to feed living, screaming people into, in order to prolong their pain and agony. Saddam was a tyrant. Saddam was an evil man.

Saddam today, is a sad, old man awaiting his fate; undoubtedly in front of a firing squad.

Contrary to Charles Barron's incessant screeching in my ear on Hannity & Colmes last week, the Coalition of the Willing has rebuilt the infrastructure of the Iraqi nation in less than one year. Schools are open. Hospitals are open. Newspapers are printing. Markets are opening. Telephone service has been restored. Mail service has been reestablished. Internet and e-mail service, believe it or not, is coming.

This does not sound like the activities of a tyrant. This does not sound like the activities of an Administration that is "worse than Saddam."

This is the picture that Katie Couric and others in the press do not want you to see. This is the reality that John Kerry and Hillary Clinton do not want you to know.

This is the truth of the victory of President Bush and the Coalition.

Posted by mhking at May 4, 2004 08:44 PM

"this problem is widespread and will blow sky high in the coming days."

You mean as the BBC fabricates more stories?

Posted by: Jay G. (a.k.a. Guy) at May 5, 2004 12:25 PM

Isolated incident? You are either in denial or are mentally deficient. this problem is widespread and will blow sky high in the coming days. Otherwise, why would your hero Bush be on Arab TV, today? Twice?

Posted by: Harvey at May 5, 2004 01:13 PM

It's called "damage control."

It's called keeping rumor from running rampant.

What do you think, that at Parris Island, Marines have a course called "Humiliating Prisoners 101?"

C'mon. Think about this clearly.

Posted by: mhking at May 5, 2004 01:27 PM

Great post. Very well-put. :)

Posted by: songstress7 at May 5, 2004 06:21 PM

Look, Kerry confessed to committing the same kinds of atrocities that he accused other servicemen of in 1971. Kerry is a confessed war criminal and the Democratic candidate for the Presidency. So pardon me if I don't buy all the hoopla the Dems are making of this issue.

Yes, the Iraqi prison issue is bad. It should be noted that it is also OLD NEWS. The Army got a complaint on Jan 13th, and by the end of the month, BG Karpinsky, the commanding officer had already been releived of command, and the rest of the soldiers involved were under investigation. Criminal proceeding have already been started on all of these soldiers by the time it made the news.

Posted by: Ben at May 8, 2004 04:56 AM

Isolated incident, or another Somalia?

I viscerally recall seeing a grinning, tattooed and bestial-looking Canadian Special Forces member saying to a videocamera that they couldn't leave Somalia because "We ain't killed enough niggers yet."

Aside from the obvious moral lapse, saying such things on tape clearly shows a lack of situational awareness.

(Newsworld retrospective)(Washington Post)

Two eerie paragraphs from the latter source seem prophetic.

The commission's report, titled "Dishonoured Legacy," included recommendations that the military police and justice system be placed under independent command and that an inspector general be established to investigate military operations.

"Our recommendations are concerned with ensuring that Canadian military personnel will never again be sent on hastily formed, ill-conceived missions that lack clear objectives," Letourneau said.

The problem was in part due to the hard core of Aryan Nations members in the Canadian Airborne, which if tolerable at all, certainly disqualified them for deployment to Somalia in any sort of "hearts and minds" role.

And history repeats itself...

Lynndie England, 21, a rail worker's daughter, comes from a trailer park in Fort Ashby, West Virginia, which locals proudly call "a backwoods world".
She faces a court martial, but at home she is toasted as a hero.


The story further states this:

In Fort Ashby, in the isolated Appalachian mountains 260km west of Washington, the poor, barely-educated and almost all-white population talk openly about an active Ku Klux Klan presence.

In the war on terror, we recruit our own domestic terrorists. What depressing irony.

I don't play the race card very often at all - but when it's a clear and obvious factor in a FUBAR - and furthermore, one that SHOULD have been known to be a potential issue in choice of unit assignments, I don't feel it should be ignored, either.

Frankly, I don't see how the contrary could be argued rationally even by a white supremacist, granted, for the sake of argument, that the word "rational" can even be used in such a context.

Oh, I'm not arguing from a bleeding-heart perspective here; it's purely pragmatic. Foreseeable cultural conflicts matter, especially when trying to generate useful intelligence. Even if being "sensitive" compromised immediate results, the long-term value of demonstrating the palpable difference between civilized and Saddam would be worth it, and would generate leads in the long term.

Aside from that, having people there who could not and would not read social cues was in itself a lost opportunity - perhaps unavoidable, but there it 'tis.

And finally, whether or not there's an obligation to obey the Geneva convention, it would have been very wise and politically opportune to not just obey it, but in fact fully adhere to Constitutional requirements for the treatment of US citizens, seeing as part of the role there is in fact building institutions - part of that has to come by example.

Aside from that, that's a modus many of the Reserve forces know in their sleep, so it would have made pragmatic sense as well. I personally think the social impact of miranda warnings, for example, would have outweighed any downside.

But nobody asked me, so of course the current situation was inevitable. [tongue firmly in cheek.]

Posted by: Bob King at May 9, 2004 12:13 PM
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