It appears I have created a shit-storm with this post.
Good- We need to deal with what is going in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Gitmo and we need to act like responsible adults and fix problems where we see them.
Bad- It appears only lefties agree with me, which is not troubling to me because I mind siding with Democrats and Progressives when they are right, but because I find the continued silence by many on my side of the aisle to be troubling. I am as partisan as they come, and I hate being used as a club against my own party, but I am not going to wallow in hubris just because some in my party choose to do so.
Let’s deal with some specific nonsense that has arisen:
1.) This is all about Hugh Hewitt– Nonsense. My personal opinions of Hugh Hewitt, the person, are irrelevant. In the past, I have kindly linked to Hugh when I thought he was right, and I have had unkind things to say when I thought he was wrong. I am sure he is charming, pleasant, and his family and friends love him, but it just so happens that I think he is wrong, dead wrong, on this issue, and his rhetoric is not only demagogic but dangerous, and simply a decent example of what my side is trying to peddle. Enough, already.
2.) We should expect there to be incidences of torture, because this just happens in war– This may be one of the dumber sentiments expressed, and it seems to be used as a defense for what is currently going on. Of course there have always been violations of international law, abuses, and inhumane crimes during times of war. I naturally assume that most of my readers on both sides of the aisle are aware of these things, and I apologize for holding you in higher regard than I should have.
I assumed that people have heard of Lt. Calley and My Lai. I assumed that people were aware of the summary executions of Germans after the Battle of the Bulge. I assume people know history and have heard of the atrocities at Andersonville during the Civil War. That war is nasty and that there will be war crimes seems to be inevitable, and, in this debate, an utterly irrelevant point of order.
The only reason the history of atrocities is mentioned in this debate is to deflect attention from what is currently going on, in an attempt to somehow excuse the outrageous “pulpifying” of innocent victims.
As for me, you can peddle that hogwash elsewhere. The time for a debate about the inevitability of abuse in a time of war is something that should be factored into the discussion about whether or not we should go to war. Not, as some would now have you believe, as a post hoc excuse for ongoing torture, and not, as some would like to pretend, as a sign of media restraint during World War II. I’ve gone through my own archives, and I don’t recall ever slowing down my pro-war rhetoric because I was concerned about abuses- I knew abuses would happen, but I hoped it wouldn’t.
I just didn’t think the abuses would take the form of systematic torture and that it would be this widespread, that people on my side of the aisle would tacitly condone torture, and I thought we would prosecute it.
I was wrong. The torture appears to be more widespread than I thought, my party thinks all you have to do is say ‘We don’t condone torture” and everything is taken care of, and the only people being prosecuted with any great effect are the reporters who had the temerity to cover the issue.
In other words, I was REALLY WRONG.
Personally, I think the only decent and responsible position is to deal with these abuses now, rather than just throwing my hands up in the air and wailing, “Such is war!”
3.) The media was more restrained in previous wars like World War II– Maybe, but in WWII, there was a pretty widespread consensus that the war was approriate and just. While I feel that way about the Iraq War, many do not. Regardless, with the global media and the internet, this is completely irrelevant, especially if you factor in the utter speciousness of the claim that reporting on torture and abuse somehow damages operational security.
Only if the operation you wish to undertake is continued torture. Otherwise, this ‘media restraint’ argument is, in a word, absurd.
4.) “Newsweek Lied, People Died!”– While the Newsweek story may have helped to agitate the riots, it is important to remember several things. First, who pulled the trigger.
Four people are reported dead and 47 injured after the police opened fire on the protest, sparked by the report in Newsweek magazine that US personnel had flushed a copy of the Islamic holy book “down the toilet” at the detention centre in Cuba.
Next, who was shot? Well, most likely, the people who were killed in the riots were extremists who most of us generally would not lose sleep over were they killed. My new left-wing friends may lose sleep over my position, but I don’t necessarily lose a lot of sleep if Talibanesque Islamist fundamentalists are killed in protests- it just doesn’t move me to tears.
But since we are keeping score here, when an innocent cab driver is dragged from his car and systematically and methodically beaten to death for the sheer sadistic pleasure of it, to Hugh and others it is not news. When several people who are most likely Mullah Omar wannabees are gunned down while participating in rabid anti-American riots, we throw the outrage and rhetoric into high gear.
Spare me. I don’t have the requisite ability to ignore my cognitive dissonance to pull this one off.
5.) The Newsweek story was wrong– Maybe technically, but you have to wonder why it resonates so well among the communities in question. Could it be that the hundreds of documented reports of actual use of the Koran and Islamic symbols to bait prisoners resonates in these communities? And as far as I can tell, the source for this story has not denied that the Koran was flushed, but admitted only that he can not find the report in which it was detailed. If I am wrong about this, please correct me.
6.) Michael Isikoff is a left-wing hack– This is just an example of how quickly my fellow persecuted right-wingers make our enemies lists. Let me say just one thing in defense of Michael Isikoff’s alleged left-wing bias: Blow Job.
That is it for now. I am sure more bullshit will surface, and by all means, if you feel the need to offer up your own offal, feel free to do so. This is like playing t-ball with stupidity for me.