05/04/2004: I don't pay attention to the freepers, Little Green Footballs, or other wingnuts....
Basically, my philosophy has always been that if I want to upset myself, all I need do is look in the mirror on any given morning (for that matter, all I need to is look in a mirror any randomly selected time). That being said, it must be the case that the wingnuts are justifying the abuse of Iraqi prisioners at Abu Ghuraib by citinig the killing of and desecration of the the corpses of the "contractors" at Fallujah, since Juan Cole felt constrained to address the issue here: Fallujah and Abu Ghuraib: No Comparison. There's nothing that I can add to Professor Cole's masterful analysis of the situation, so I won't even try:
There simply is no logical or ethical comparison between the killings and desecrations of the four private commandos at Fallujah by a mixture of guerrillas and mobs, and the systematic torture of Prisoners of War by a democratic country.There aren't? Guess what: you're wrong again, George.
Any equivalence would suggest that the United States military is not, and cannot be expected to be, better than an enraged mob in a small occupied city in Iraq's western desert. What was done to the commandos was horrible, and it was a crime by civilians and irregulars who should be arrested and punished.
The United States is a government, not a mob. As such, it has entered into treaty relations and made commitments to international law. It is a signatory of the Geneva Conventions, which govern how prisoners are to be treated. The United States army violated the Geneva Conventions when it tortured Iraqi prisoners of war. Period. It was a series of serious crimes not by isolated civilians but by agents of the US government. Crimes of states are always more serious than crimes of individuals, because states are organized collective institutions upon which civilization depends. There is no excuse for it, least of all that sometimes town mobs have behaved worse.
The issue of hypocrisy is also important here. The rabble of Fallujah never pledged that they were committing violence in order to end torture and establish democracy. George W. Bush boasted repeatedly that "there are no more torture chambers" in Iraq.
UPDATE: Someone forwarded a commentary attributed to Charles Krauthammer on Faux Snooze where he expresses the opinion that (working from memory here) the outrage over the Iraqi prisoner abuses is overblown compared to the outrage that should be expressed by the Fallujah corpse desecrations. So apparently it's not just the Freepers and Late German Fascists.... erm... Little Green Footballs, it's the Representatives of The Major News Media (if Faux Snooze can be dignified by that term) who are putting that spin out.
Len on 05.04.04 @ 11:40 AM CST