DATE: 5/06/2004 08:15:00 AM
Abuse - Peggy Noonan has a good column today on the humilation of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Gharib prison. The news is bad - the television media has found something new to obsess about and like any piece of bad news about the war, it's thrown Andrew Sullivan into one of his vaguely anti-Bush funks.
A few things bother me about the story. One is obviously the behavior of those US trooops involved. The joy they seem to be taking in the humiliation of prisoners under their care is sickening. I hope these soldiers are punished to the full extent of military law. And then they compound the problem by taking pictures. A friend of mine recently said it seems as though people doing illegal or unethical things always seem to feel the need to document their stupidity. Didn't these folks take a moment to sit and think, or were they proud of what they'd done?
Something else that struck me is the finely-tuned sense of victimization the Arab world seems able to summon at a moment's notice. The Arab media has routinely ignored the human rights atrocities committed in its region of the world - so-called 'honor killings,' slavery, suicide bombers, religious persecution of non-Muslims, etc. But give them a chance to portray Arabs as the victims of American imperialism, and it's 24/7 pictures of naked scrums on the floor of an Iraqi prison, with commentary on how evil America is to allow such things to happen.
Then there's the United "Kickback" Nations. Kofi Annan, who allowed genocide in Rwanda, has called for the US to "ensure that those kinds of activities are not repeated." And then he blamed it on Israel. Okay, I made that last part up, but would it really surprise anyone if such an accusation were made? The UN webpage features a press release saying the UN's Human Rights body is calling for the end of the "torture." There's a pot-kettle moment for you. Included in the human rights commission of the UN are Cuba, the Sudan and other such champions of the rights of man.
It is nice to see Kofi so concerned about the rights and well-being of Iraqis. Maybe if he's really lucky, this news will help drive the US out of Iraq and allow a reasonable guy like Hussein to take over again. Sure, the people of Iraq might not like it, but think of the oil money.