Another blemish on our “good guy” reputation

by on May 26th, 2004

Here is another disturbing story relating to alleged U.S. abuses of power in Iraq. My jaw just drops everytime I read stuff like this and I have to wonder if we can even still legitimately claim to be “the good guys” if this is how we go about it.

“In a little-noticed development amid Iraq’s prison abuse scandal, the U.S. military is holding dozens of Iraqis as bargaining chips to put pressure on their wanted relatives to surrender, according to human rights groups. These detainees are not accused of any crimes, and experts say their detention violates the Geneva Conventions and other international laws. The practice also risks associating the United States with the tactics of countries that it has long criticized for arbitrary arrests.”

So U.S. military intelligence wants to question this guy, a scientist and former Baath party member, who fled to Jordan soon after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. But instead of working with our allies in Jordan to try an track him down, we go out and arrest his son-in-law to “pressure” him to give up.

This is the kind of thing that most folks would have associated with Saddam, not the United States. In fact, I know Iraqis living in this country who fled their home when a family member fell out of favor with Saddam’s regime. They feared that Saddam would take his revenge on them – a fear that was not unwarranted. So what does it say that we are in charge now and are apparently using similar, if not identical, tactics?

I would say that the moral wheels have fallen off of this operation at some point and the responsibility points straight to the top.

In a speech today, the man who got the most votes in the last presidential election, Al Gore, said that George Bush’s foreign policy has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

“He promised to “restore honor and integrity to the White House.” Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as “a decent respect for the opinion of mankind.” He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.”

Pretty strong words, but not without cause.

Mike Thomas