Friday, May 21, 2004

The War in Iraq - Prisoner Abuse

After the recent apologies of President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld for the abuses that occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Victor David Hanson takes a look at who else needs to apologize.

Regarding Senator Kennedy's comments that Saddam's toture chambers are now under "American management":
"The slur, pompously and publicly aired, is a morally reprehensible pronouncement in almost every way imaginable inasmuch as Saddam murdered tens of thousands with the full sanction of the Iraqi state apparatus. In contrast, a few rogue U.S. soldiers may have tortured and sexually humiliated some Iraqi prisoners — evoking audit and censure at the highest levels of "U.S. management" and inevitable court martial for those directly involved. There is no evidence that the "torture chambers" that disemboweled, shredded, and hung prisoners on meat hooks are now "reopened" for similar procedures on orders of the American government.

Mr. Kennedy should apologize. His reckless and feeble attempts at moral equivalence are wrong in matters of magnitude, government responsibility, and public disclosure, remorse, and accountability. Worse still, his silly comments — printed around the Arab world — suggest to the those on the battlefield that a high-ranking official of their own American government believes that his own soldiers are fighting for a cause no different from that which murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis."
In addition to the senior Senator from Massachussets, Mr. Hanson singles out Thomas Friedman of the NY Times for his charge that the Pentagon "hates" Secretary of State Powell and wants to see him humiliated and one our our favorite targets, UN secretary General Kofi Annan, for his role in the Oil for Food scandal:
"..his agency's wrongdoing did not result in humiliation for some, but probably cost the lives of thousands while under his watch."
As Mr. Hanson points out, time is a factor:
"If it were not an election year, Mr. Kennedy would dare not say such reprehensible things. In two or three months when there is a legitimate Iraqi government in power, Mr. Friedman may not wish to level such absurd charges. And when the truth comes out about the U.N.'s past role in Iraq, both Iraqis and Americans may not be so ready to entrust the new democracy's future to an agency that has not only done little to save Bosnians or Rwandans, but over the past decade may well have done much to harm Iraqis.
But in the meantime, let these who have transgressed all join the president and the secretary of defense and say they are sorry for what they have recklessly said and the untold harm that they have done."