March 07, 2006

Does Anyone Else Find It Strange?

Does anyone else find the following things strange?

--Saddam Hussein is on trial for ordering the deaths of 140 citizens of the Iraqi town of Dujail in 1982, when the Reagan Administration was supporting and arming him, sending special envoy Donald Rumsfeld over to greet Saddam. This is the time period that George W. Bush is referring to when Bush says that Saddam "killed his own people."

--The Bush Administration claims to be promoting "freedom" and "democracy" abroad, including a free press, yet in Iraq the Administration pays journalists to plant newspaper stories. In the U.S., Bush Administration officials attack and seek to prosecute journalists for publishing leaks unfavorable to the Administration, while leaking to reporters classified information favorable to the Administration.

--Americans kill criminals, euphemistically calling it "execution;" solve problems in other countries by invading and killing people there; and permit a ban on military-style assault weapons to lapse, then wonder why America has a problem of violence among our young people.

--Some people claim to be fervent followers of religions that preach tolerance, peace and the sanctity of life, yet the same people fervently support the death penalty and a war that has resulted in over 2,300 dead American soldiers and some 100,000 dead Iraqis.

--When Democrats propose a reduction in troop levels in Iraq, Republicans attack the idea and call it "cut and run." When Republicans propose a reduction in troop levels in Iraq, Republicans call it "draw down" and claim that it's a good idea. Watch for the mad Republican scramble to "draw down" troops this year as election day approaches.

--During previous wars fought by the U.S. during and after the signing of the Geneva Convention, the U.S. agreed not to torture prisoners from other countries, even if the prisoners were thought to have information critical to stop nuclear or other attacks on the U.S. or its citizens or soldiers abroad, but suddenly it has become necessary to violate the Geneva Convention and torture prisoners after a handful of terrorists crashed a few airplanes at U.S. targets.

--After being attacked by Osama Bin Laden and Bin Laden's Al Quaeda followers on 9/11, the U.S. went to war against Iraq, which did not attack the U.S. on 9/11 or at any other time, while at the same time the cargo underneath Americans on airplanes and entering American ports on ships goes unchecked.

--Since 9/11, worldwide hatred against the U.S., and the number of terrorists seeking to attack Americans, has increased rather than decreased.


At 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Re Saddam: this is your old "straw man" arguement -- what has Rumsfeld's visit have to do with Sadam murdering 140 people?
2)Re troop levels; it's the Democrats that support pulling out now that we oppose, not those asking for troop reductions (which was Bush's strategy from the beginning -- soon as the Iraqis were able to train their own troops)
3) When did we torture prisoners? Do you mean the abuse of which those soldiers responsible were convicted?
(Did Saddam bring any of his soldiers to trial for torturing and murdering their own people?) And since when are non uniformed insurgents and/or terrorists covered by the Geneva Convention?
4) Cargo is checked (my checked bags were opened and inspected with chemical sensitive material during my last flight from LA). Containers etc are inspected before leaving ports abroad and upon arrival here (tho this is a huge and difficult job and we do need more intensive inspections in this regard)
5) Number of terrorists: this is an assumption on your part; and what did we do again to provoke the murder of 3000 innocents in the WTC?
Let's kill the radical extremists and terrorists over there; before they get another chance to repeat their evil deeds here!

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous cantbeanonymous said...

Dear Anonymous:

1) I'm not the author, but the prettty obvious point is that Rummy and chums thought Hussein was just fine, and could murder whoever he wanted back in the day, as long as he was against Iran, which he was.

2) Oh really? Who are "we"?

3) Is the "we" the same "we"? maybe never. But when the administration and/or pentagon sent prison managers who had been fired or disciplined for their treatment of prisoners here in the US to run prisons in other countries, it seems hard to deny that "we" didn't know what they would do. Plus, who ever heard of that many soldiers carrying out what appear to be systematic "abuses" when no one above a seargent ever heard of it? It's just not credible. AND none of them would have been prosecuted but for some whistleblower who leaked the photos. (What does whatever Saddam did have to do with whether "we" tortured anyone or whether "we" agreed to abuide by the Geneva convention?)

4) Cargo is not checked. Containers are spot checked at best. Check your sources, they seem to ignore reality.

5) Actually, the US government's own survey of the number of terrorist attacks shows that they have steadily increased since "we" began to fight the "war on terror."

At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

Thanks, anonymous, for your comments. I'd like to respond point by point, although I doubt I can do so as well as cantbeanonymous.

1) While I appreciate that you read my 11/4/05 "Straw Man" post, I think you are using the "straw man" term incorrectly. In fact, the Washington Post ran an article just 10 days ago entitled "Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments In Speeches." The article can be found at It says exactly what I wrote 4 months ago. I'd like to think the writer read my post first. Rumsfeld's visit is relevant to illustrate the hypocrisy and futility in demonizing and deposing the same guy who the U.S., under Reagan, befriended and armed as a bulwark against Iran. The theory, apparently, was, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Well, sometimes the enemy of my enemy is a really bad guy too, and should not be made my friend. The U.S., also under Reagan, did the exact same thing with Osama Bin Laden and the Mujehadeen in Afghanistan, as a bulwark against the USSR. The cost in lives, money and prestige in having to go to war against the people the U.S. armed and helped train a few years earlier is incalculably high.
2) I am not aware of any leading Democrats who advocate pulling out of the region now. Even Democratic military hawk Jack Murtha says the U.S. troops should simply redeploy to neighboring Kuwait, ready to come right back in at a moment's notice if needed. The other leading Dems, as far as I can tell, have suggested troop reductions when firm benchmarks are reached as to Iraqi forces being trained and able to fight. That's precisely the position of Bush and the GOP folks who accuse the Dems with the same plan of "cut and run." Again, the hypocrisy is astounding.
3)I guess "abuse" is now a euphemism for "torture." There are news reports today that more pictures of the "abuse" are being released. Need I reiterate what "abuse" was committed? Terrorising prisoners with dogs? Beatings, a number of which led to deaths? Sleep deprivation? Physical abuse? Sexual and religious humiliation? These acts fit every single definition of "torture" that has ever been established by every body, such as the UN, to which the US is a signatory.
And the trials and convictions, often with ridiculously mild penalties, of a few low level soldiers hardly qualifies as punishment of "those soldiers responsible." The evidence clearly shows that this scandal goes to the top -- instructions were given from Rumsfeld on down that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere should be treated by means of "abuse." And surely you do not believe that the U.S. should hold itself to the standard of Saddam Hussein in the treatment of prisoners. That's really a straw man. Since when does the U.S. hold itself to the lowest level of barbarous treatment and say, see, we're better than those brutes. I hope you would agree that the U.S. holds itself up to a higher standard of civilized behavior than the brutal dictators of the Middle East, and rightfully so. Finally, your question regarding the Geneva Convention implies that it is ok to torture the prisoners. But you said earlier that we do not torture prisoners. Which is it? In fact, on May 7, 2003, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer stated that U.S. policy regarding both Taliban (covered by Geneva) and Al Quaeda (not covered by Geneva for the reasons you state) detainees is "They will continue to be treated well because they're in the custody of America. . . . They will continue to be treated well." See "Abuse" or "torture" is not consistent with the U.S. policy as stated by Mr. Fleischer.
4)You're flat wrong. Your checked bags are baggage, not cargo. Baggage from passengers is inspected. Along with those bags, in the cargo hold of passenger planes, are many pieces of commercial air cargo. This cargo is not inspected.
5)Statistics regarding the estimated number of terrorists are produced by the U.S. State Department. Feel free to check this out. You will find that those numbers have increased, not decreased, since 9/11. Additionally, I did not say we provoked the heinous 9/11 murders. I said that, SINCE 9/11, worldwide hatred against America, and the number of terrorists worldwide, have increased. This has been very widely reported. In my opinion, these increases have come as a result of a rather ham-handed U.S. foreign policy that has alienated our friends and has turned folks that would otherwise be neutral or, at worst, a bit disgruntled, into outright haters of America, and in many cases, terrorists.
Again, though, thanks for your thoughtful comments.


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