Thursday, January 06, 2005

America The Beacon of Democracy and Freedom

Forget about the whole "they are just terrorists", "9/11 changed everything", "what, you care about them more than our American soldiers, you hippie-commie!?", etc.,etc., what ever happened to the idea that We Are The Good Guys, and Good Guys Do Things The Right Way?

Two years later, the frustration among F.B.I. agents had grown. Another agent sent a colleague an e-mail message saying he had seen reports that a general from Guantánamo had gone to Abu Ghraib to "Gitmo-ize" it. "If this refers to intell gathering as I suspect," he wrote, according to the documents, "it suggests he has continued to support interrogation strategies we not only advised against, but questioned in terms of effectiveness."

[...]

Two years later, the frustration among F.B.I. agents had grown. Another agent sent a colleague an e-mail message saying he had seen reports that a general from Guantánamo had gone to Abu Ghraib to "Gitmo-ize" it. "If this refers to intell gathering as I suspect," he wrote, according to the documents, "it suggests he has continued to support interrogation strategies we not only advised against, but questioned in terms of effectiveness."

[...]

An article in today's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine says that military medical personnel violated the Geneva Conventions by helping design coercive interrogation techniques based on detainee medical information. Some doctors told the journal that the military had instructed them not to discuss the deaths that occurred in detention.

Officials have defended some cases of harsh treatment by saying it was simply the cost of the so-called global war on terror. The Special Operations task force was assigned to track down terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. But many of the detainees were not terrorists. In Iraq, 70 percent to 90 percent of those detained, according to military intelligence estimates reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross, "had been arrested by mistake." A military report on Iraqi prisons said that many detainees were held for several months for things like expressing "displeasure or ill will" toward the American occupying forces. (Emphasis mine)

The earliest abuses on record in Iraq apparently came in May 2003. On May 15, two marines in Karbala held a 9-millimeter pistol to the head of a bound detainee while a third took a picture. One marine, according to military records, then poured a glass of water on the detainee's head. In June 2003, according to records, a marine ordered four Iraqi children who had been detained for looting to stand next to a shallow ditch, then fired a pistol in a mock execution.

In August, a marine put a match to a puddle of hand sanitizer that had spilled in front of an Iraqi detainee, igniting a flame that severely burned the detainee's hands.

In April of 2004, marines shocked detainees with wires from an electric transformer - "the detainee 'danced' as he was shocked," an investigative report said.

The F.B.I. complaints began in December 2002, according to the documents. A year later, an agent complained that "these tactics have produced no intelligence of a threat neutralization nature to date." (Emphasis mine)

But agents struggled with what they could complain about, believing that, in some cases, tactics they considered harsh or abusive had high-level approval.

"This technique and all of those used in the scenarios was approved by the dep sec def," or deputy secretary of defense, one agent wrote from Guantánamo in January 2004.

So, when we talk about bringing freedom and democracy to Country X, is this the kind of freedom that we are exporting these days?

This reminded me of a speech given by Dick Gephardt last summer, a line that was also repeated by John Kerry. Mr. Gephardt's version as I remember it was as follows:

"Visiting this nation more than a hundred fifty years ago, Alexis De Tocqueville observed that America is great because Americans are good...I say to you, in addition, that if Americans cease to be good, America will cease to be great."




3 Comments:

Blogger Chip Morgan said...

Great Blog!
Chip
http://www.focusedinterview.com

10:44 AM  
Blogger Chip Morgan said...

I came across your blog by accident....then was intrigued! Chip http://www.focusedinterview.com

7:45 PM  
Blogger Chip Morgan said...

I came across your blog by accident....then was intrigued! Chip http://www.focusedinterview.com

11:13 AM  

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