The Thoughts of Chairman May... on the Iraq conflict
A pissed-off Antipodean responds to the US prisoner abuse photos
Just when you thought the United States couldn't screw up any worse in Iraq - brushing aside inconvenient things like facts and international law when it came to invasion, using military sledgehammers to crack dissident nuts, and failing to restore public utilities to something even Saddam had before the US invasion - someone goes and makes the mother of all screw-ups. Yes, the now infamous photos from Baghdad shows the world that when it comes to international human rights, the USA apparently believes in the "do as I say, not as I do" principle.
Christ-all-bloody-mighty! What the hell were those soldiers THINKING? It's bad enough that the world's only super-power is indulging in abuse of prisoners in a foreign country under occupation, it's even worse that such abuse was (and maybe is) being carried out in one of Saddam's former torture centres, but it's that these photos... they... these photos aren't "secret camera filming risking our cover and possibly our life", but they're posed photos. Posed, as in "Hi folks, here's what I've been up to recently" travel snaps. You can just imagine it, can't you? "Hi Mum, here's me and the boys in camp... here's some of the local sights, here's me and some of the lads having some fun with the locals..." It's disgusting.
You have to wonder, don't you? How could these people feel sufficiently secure with carrying out these acts on people in their care that they could brazenly take pictures of what they were doing? Either these people were extremely dumb - which makes you wonder what they are doing there in the first place - or, that their superiors turned a blind eye or even approved of what they were doing. Which leads to what their superiors were doing letting these people run loose with such explosive potential. It's got to the point now where I suspect the latter. "Shoot first and ask questions later" appears to be the Yank principle, according to even their British allies. It's now painfully apparent that the real reason the USA wants to be exempt from the International Criminal Court is so that it doesn't get done for stuff like this. This article sums things up nicely.
What's even more incredible is that there's Americans defending this treatment of Iraqis. "You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?"? STRESS RELIEF?!? Using prisoners as your own personal life-sized action figure playset, complete with hoods and electrodes? I doubt that peoiple like these would be quite so relaxed if it were Arab soldiers doing exactly the same to American prisoners. Osama bin Laden's probably laughing his arse off in some cave right now, delighting in the fact that the Americans are doing more for his organisation's recruitment than he ever thought of - and he doesn't have to lift a finger! THE YANKS HAVE JUST LOST THE "WAR ON TERROR" as after this and the lies over Iraq's WMD it's going to take a LONG time before the rest of the world believes ANYTHING coming out of the White House.
"They've got stockpiles of WMD!" - "You said that about Iraq, too - and where ARE they?" or, "So has Israel, why are THEY allowed to keep theirs?"
"Stop your nuclear proliferation!" - "Yeah right, after you stop designing and building mini-nuke bunker-busters!"
"Stop your abuse of human rights!" - "Three words: Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib. You know what they say about people in glass houses..."
And now, after slagging off the United Nations before the war as being "irrelevant" because it wouldn't act as a rubber-stamp to the White House's war, the American government now wants the UN to stump up troops and cash for fixing a problem the US created with its invasion. It's prepared to surrender some control to the UN, but - and here's the telling bit - it still wants to call the shots and run the show.
With this going on, I find it incredible that the National Party's latest defence policy statement here in NZ essentially wants to put our Armed Forces at the unquestioning disposal of our "traditional allies" - the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. And the Nats are also proposing that we alter our anti-nuclear legislation so that keeping nuclear powered ships out is "policy" and not "law". But why the hell would I and other Kiwis want to be associated with a regime that ignores international laws and treaties while mistreating and putting outside the reach of the law people the way that it has in Baghdad and Guantanamo Bay? For a possible free-trade deal?
"Yeah, Right." Not on my vote, you don't!
To any Americans who may be reading this: If you're as outraged as how the actions of a few have (and are continuing to) drag your nation's name through the mud, please take whatever steps you can to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice - including a regime change in the White House at your next election, for all our sakes. But if you're thinking "Ho hum, another piece of anti-Americanism from some wimpy foreign liberal", let me say this -
... then damn right, I am "anti-American".