Monday, May 10, 2004

Not an isolated incident

From a report
by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC)

This is just chilling.....

“The agency said arrests allegedly tended to follow a pattern.

"Arresting authorities entered houses usually after dark, breaking down doors, waking up residents roughly, yelling orders, forcing family members into one room under military guard while searching the rest of the house and further breaking doors, cabinets and other property," the report said.

"Sometimes they arrested all adult males present in a house, including elderly, handicapped or sick people," it said. "Treatment often included pushing people around, insulting, taking aim with rifles, punching and kicking and striking with rifles."

I can understand that seeking out insurgents during the heat of battle can be a tense and hazardous duty and I would expect our soldiers to take every precaution to protect and defend themselves, but what is the purpose behind these gestapo tactics? What is that supposed to accomplish other than spread fear and resentment among the masses.
And when we are gathering our prisoners in this manner it is little wonder that -

“...some coalition military intelligence officers estimated that "between 70 percent and 90 percent of the persons deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been arrested by mistake.”

Yes, innocent civilians. Not insurgents, not terrorists, but the very people we are supposed to be liberating and introducing to democracy.

And the worst part about the ICRC report aside from how their warnings were ignored by the Bush administration was the answer they got back from military officials in response:

“The ICRC report said the agency was told that in general that the prisoner abuse in Iraq by U.S. military personnel is "part of the process" during interrogation.”

That’s right. Just part of the process.

Here is the process...

“The report cites abuses - some "tantamount to torture" - including brutality, hooding, humiliation and threats of "imminent execution."
"These methods of physical and psychological coercion were used by the military intelligence in a systematic way to gain confessions and extract information and other forms of cooperation from person who had been arrested in connection with suspected security offenses or deemed to have an 'intelligence value.'"”

So this was not just an isolated instance and court marshalling a few guards who had the misfortune and poor judgement to have their pictures taken during some of the abuses is not going to do anything to address the real problem.

U.S. President George W. Bush said the mistreatment "was the wrongdoing of a few," but the Red Cross report backs up with detail the neutral agency's contention that the abuse was broad and part of a system, "not individual acts."

More Bush lies. No surprise there.

Arrogance and Incompetence

Fareed Zakaria, international editor for Newsweek, sums up the “arrogance and incompetence” that has been the hallmark of President Bush’s administration:

“On almost every issue involving postwar Iraq—troop strength, international support, the credibility of exiles, de-Baathification, handling Ayatollah Ali Sistani—Washington's assumptions and policies have been wrong. By now most have been reversed, often too late to have much effect. This strange combination of arrogance and incompetence has not only destroyed the hopes for a new Iraq. It has had the much broader effect of turning the United States into an international outlaw in the eyes of much of the world.
Whether he wins or loses in November, George W. Bush's legacy is now clear: the creation of a poisonous atmosphere of anti-Americanism around the globe. I'm sure he takes full responsibility.”

Speaking of taking responsibility, Zakaria notes earlier in the article that it has little meaning at Bush Corp.

"I take full responsibility," said Donald Rumsfeld in his congressional testimony last week. But what does this mean? Secretary Rumsfeld hastened to add that he did not plan to resign and was not going to ask anyone else who might have been "responsible" to resign. As far as I can tell, taking responsibility these days means nothing more than saying the magic words "I take responsibility."

“After the greatest terrorist attack against America, no one was asked to resign, and the White House didn't even want to launch a serious investigation into it. The 9/11 Commission was created after months of refusals because some of the victims' families pursued it aggressively and simply didn't give up. After the fiasco over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, not one person was even reassigned. The only people who have been fired or cashiered in this administration are men like Gen. Eric Shinseki, Paul O'Neill and Larry Lindsey, who spoke inconvenient truths.”

President-elect John Kerry

Pollster John Zogby predicts election victory for Kerry!! Woo Hoo!!

He gives four reasons summarized as follows:

1. Bush has bad re-election numbers for an incumbent president with the latest poll showing Kerry up 47 - 44 in a 2-way race.

2. There are few undecided voters at this point and most of those tend to break for the challenger against the incumbent.

3. The economy is still the top issue for voters next to Iraq and both situations have veered out of control for the president. The economy is improving too little, too late to make a difference to most voters and Iraq is a quagmire.

4. Historically, Sen. Kerry is a good closer and always performs well in the final weeks of a campaign.