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No excuses

That’s my feeling about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners and the ensuing scandal. There are no excuses for this kind of behaviour. None. And it has to be openly dealt with and stopped, immediately.

I’m hearing all sorts of disturbing things. That there are “two sides”. That it wasn’t an official American government policy, while torturing innocent civilians was an official Iraqi government policy. That most of the countries condemning the United States do far worse in their own prisons, and are just using this as another propaganda tool. Etcetera.

All of that may be true. But it doesn’t mitigate or excuse what happened, nor should it.

Excuses are unacceptable when they’re offered up by the enemy. We refuse to accept the Palestinian finger-pointing at the IDF every time there’s a terrorist attack, or the world’s babbling about “root causes” for suicide bombings in Iraq or Al Qa’eda terrorist attacks. We want sincere apologies without excuses. And even though we won’t get them, we keep demanding them.

So when the United States screws up, I don’t want to hear any nonsense like “yes, but…”. No buts. No excuses. Just outrage, apologies, and steps to fix it.

We have to hold ourselves to higher standards. Our “side” of the War on Terror must practice the ideals we preach. Otherwise, what the hell are we even doing?

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • DaninVan 11.30.-1, 12:00 AM

    Was that a sequel to ‘Das Boot’?

  • Hanthala 05.07.04, 6:04 PM

    So I guess you also reject the IDFs excuses for shooting live ammo into a crowd of unarmed civilians in October/November 2000, killing a dozen or so Palestinian demonstrators? Come to think of it….Israel never gave an excuse or an apology.

  • Hanthala 05.07.04, 6:08 PM

    “Our “side” of the War on Terror must practice the ideals we preach. Otherwise, what the hell are we even doing?” The same damned thing “they” are, official or not. But prisoner abuse of that kind is not new for the “civilized” world. Remember our elite airborn regiment’s actions in Somalia? Not to mention the UN soldiers’ participation in rape camps in Bosnia.

  • Knave 05.07.04, 6:38 PM

    Remember our elite airborn regiment’s actions in Somalia? Not to mention the UN soldiers’ participation in rape camps in Bosnia

    Bad things happen, perpetrators should get punished. Did we not crack down on our soldiers in Somalia? I would hope so…

    As for the UN soldiers, I haven’t heard of that, but again, the people involved should be punished. What more could you ask for?

  • Hanthala 05.07.04, 6:51 PM

    “What more could you ask for?” That it not happen in the first place. The reason I mentioned these incidents is that the underlying argument often is that “they” are barbarian whereas “we” are civilized. Culture and religion then get pointed at. Seems, however, that this is not the case.

  • DaninVan 05.07.04, 9:49 PM

    Hey, ‘Spice Girl’; when you’re right you’re right! Wrong is wrong. You missed the Cdn. Airbourne scandal. When that came to light, the Gov’t. stepped in and stood down the whole reg’t., harsh but effective.
    I still have mixed feelings about the Somali incident. Somaliis were infiltrating a military encampment at night. They got shot. What did they expect would happen if they were spotted? Not a lot of sympathy from me. The whole country was in a state of war and the Canadians were there peace ‘making’, not ‘keeping’. Shit happens.

  • Peter 05.07.04, 10:12 PM

    H never misses an oppurtunity to come out lying.

  • Peter 05.07.04, 10:26 PM

    All this stuff is really old news. The military has been investigating this for months.

    Of course the Arabs are going to use this stuff to go nuts. Its more grist for the mill of the fevered Arab mind. Why Bush felt it necessary to apologize yesterday to that little barbarian in the Saville Row suit is the question I think needs to be answered.

  • Jonny 05.07.04, 11:21 PM

    Right on Sari!

    “Come to think of it….Israel never gave an excuse or an apology.”

    They didn’t celebrate and dance in the street and hand out candy to children either.

  • Hanthala 05.08.04, 5:19 PM

    You’re right Jonny, the IDF just kept on shootin’ people. Yeeha!

  • Hanthala 05.08.04, 5:28 PM

    Danin, I know they dismantled that regiment and I remember the part you’re talking about. But there was no need for them to torture a 16-year old to death and take pictures of themselves doing it. Pretty sick. Sorry, but these guys were animals. Had the misfortune to run accross a few of them in Quebec City in ’91. Course the encounter didn’t last too long as they proceeded to pick fights with all other males and break chairs, tables, and everything else in sight, including a few noses. Just for fun. Barbarians.

  • Tali 05.09.04, 12:14 PM

    I’d like to see three things:

    1) As you’ve alread pointed out, the people involved need to be severely punished. The punishment should include long terms in the brig, dishonorable discharge, and public denunciation of the perpetrators, by name, combined with a sincere apology.

    2) Recruitment and supervision procedures should be examined. The supervising officers who let this happen and the recruiters who hired people with records of brutality in civilian prisons should be dishonorably discharged, and in some cases punished more severely.

  • Tali 05.09.04, 12:15 PM

    3) The 24-year-old soldier who reported this and got it stopped should get a medal(he’s not the same guy who went to 60 minutes in an attempt to make excuses for his nephew by making others look worse). I’m amazed we haven’t seen this already, since his name came out last week in the New Yorker. It would make the position of the US government MUCH clearer if this kid was all over the television, getting a medal pinned to his chest and being congratulated by the president for adhering to both military procedure and US ideals.

  • DaninVan 05.09.04, 7:00 PM

    Hmmm; not sure about the medal, a commendation and a new identity maybe…

  • Hanthala 05.10.04, 6:02 PM

    Here’s an interesting gazette article on the “few bad apples” theory which is what Tali seems to have in mind. I’d tend to agree…I saw many friends go to Bosnia and come back pretty messed up on account of being ill prepared for what they would see over there… (http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=a4bb9478-869f-46fc-a0ef-855e78030c11)

  • Hanthala 05.10.04, 6:04 PM

    And I’m sure you all recall the movie “Das Experiment” and the actual experiments it was based on…

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