Saturday, April 7, 2007

What Hath Woo Wrought?

Well, I have to say that, despite whatever humiliation that Britain and the United States may have suffered, I, for one, am happy that the caputred British sailors and Marines are home, safe and relatively uharmed. I'm certainly glad it didn't drag on forever like the Iranian Hostage Crisis I remember from my youth.

It now turns out, predictably, that the British sailors were "blindfolded, isolated in cold stone cells and tricked into fearing execution . . . ." Well, color me outraged -- and I am outraged that the Iranian government chose to parade them people on TV to further their propaganda.

And yet my degree of justifiable outrage is somewhat limited. You see, it appears that these people weren't subject to waterboarding, or forced to stand in stress positions for hours on end, or attacked with dogs, or subjected to sleep deprivation, or forced to form naked human pyramids.

People have always been abused -- undoubtedly prisoners have been mistreated by American troops in every war our country has ever fought. But the Bush Administration has made mistreatment of prisoners a matter of policy. Which makes it far more difficult for us to muster world opinion if our guys (or, in this case, our allies' guys) are mistreated. The damage that the Bush administration has done to our moral authority is simply incalculable.


Anonymous said...

I have a different opinion about the torture thing. Bush isn't responsible for the torture of prisoners, it's just a fact of life in war. It has been for centuries. The only difference is that now, the media has their nose so far up the military's ass, that we actually know about it. But you know what? We've known about it for hundreds of years. We just never talked about it, because that was the thing soldiers did to protect us, and we just didn't talk about it. But when it's in your face on the 6' O'clock news, it's just hard for people to pretend it doesn't actually happen. I truly believe this.


cheerful iconoclast said...

Rich, I did say that prisoners had undoubtedly been abused in every war in American history. However, what makes this different is that this is the first time that prisoners have been abused as a matter of policy.

Thomas Paine said...

I would also add that if we accept that this is really SOP in wartime, then we have to admit that the Geneva Conventions are not worth the paper they are written on, and we should just shut the fuck up about what might happen to our soldiers, or what some despot does to his own people.

And since the Geneva Conventions don't apply, I guess those sailors are just lucky that Iranians seem to have a stronger moral code, or that Iran feels better towards Britain than to the US, because you know damned well that if we had captured 15 armed Iranian special forces near our country (whether or not inside our claimed waters), they would be in Gitmo, or outsourced to someplace else where they have even fewer compunctions about torture!