esmaspäev, mai 03, 2004

Another Reason Why They Hate Us

I have friends who have responded to these Iraqi prison torture stories with fairly minimal outrage. Not out of any support for what happened, but more because of a general disregard for the welfare of Iraqi prisoners. I can understand that argument. I disagree. And this right here is why.

You take a man who's been brutalized by Saddam Hussein, who hates the guy, who appreciates us helping him out. Except then we threw him in jail, forced him to strip naked, and took pictures. And now he's out and, understandably, looking for some payback. This is what this story is really about. Now we've got word spreading around Iraq that the Americans are worse than Saddam. And that's a message we really want to be sending.

I've seen some folks, including Jonah Goldberg and apparently Bill O'Reilly, are arguing that the whistleblowers and CBS put lives in danger by revealing what was happening in that prison. Because, you know, the military was looking into it and we can trust them not to cover it up. Did it create a public relations nightmare? Hell, yes. But it was the truth and it also forced the military's hand. It's also important to remember that these stories and these victims were already running around Iraq, as was the sense that we weren't doing a damn thing about it. People around the world have been complaining about our treatment of prisoners since the war on terror started. And let's face it, the Arab street isn't the type of place where people wait for proof before believing something that makes the US or Israel look bad. So I can't imagine this came as much of a surprise to the Arabs who are so angry about it. If it wasn't this, they'd certainly have found another reason to hate us this week. Leaking a report to Sy Hersh isn't the problem. It's part of the solution. Because now it's is going to need to be solved and the whole world is going to be able to see it. And there's nothing bad about that.

We need to fix this, fix it fast, and fix it very publicly.

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