Friday, September 13, 2002

Bleats from the Bedwetters

(Profanity Alert: The last paragraph contains very strong language, and multiple profanities. Those who are offended by coarse language should stop reading prior to the last graph)

The Mirror, one of the few papers that can make the Guardian look like a paragon of objective journalism, is the source of this sniveling filth about the horrid treatment of the detainees at our base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I'm not going to dissect the article (The Rottweiler does that better than I could), but I do want to highlight a few passages in the article that irritate me to no end.

The Mirror quizzed guards, doctors, nurses and military officials during a heavily-escorted three-day visit.

Our every move was monitored. And it was difficult to get any information, either on or off the record.
But despite the tight restrictions the Mirror has pieced together the most accurate picture yet of life for the detainees. And it's not pretty.

Um, does that strike anyone else as just a tad self-serving on the part of the Mirror? And here's a news flash for you—they're prisoners of war! Conditions are not supposed to paradisal.

Doctor Commander James Radkee said: "Some have maladaptive, life-long behavioural problems."

Which are apparently our fault, from the general tone of the article.

The rear section of the cell has a 4ft x 4ft mesh window which allows - in theory - the breeze from the Caribbean to blow through the prison.
But the desert heat which sends temperatures soaring into the high 90s by 8am, coupled with intense humidity, means there's little fresh air, let alone wind, to cool off in.

If they were talking about the Cubans who live on the island without air conditioning (which they could not afford even if it were available), it would probably be portrayed as a "rejection of bourgeoise decadence" or perhaps "environmentally correct natural ventilation", but for the prisoners of war, it's maltreatment.

They get three meals a day, all halal approved, totalling around 2,700 calories.

Which is probably about 2000 calories more than they were receiving under the gentle hand of the Taliban regime. We must be trying to kill them through obesity!

Disgracefully, yet just within the guidelines of the Geneva Convention, they are allowed only two 15-minute showers a week when they are also given a freshly laundered orange two-piece prison suit.

Apparently, the Geneva Convention rules are no longer good enough.

Perhaps we should treat the prisoners the way American prisoners have been treated. Oh, wait, their treatment was far worse. Fuck the Mirror and its sanctimonious bullshit. These are probably the best-treated prisoners of war in history, yet these snievling assholes bitch about how we are not treating them well enough. I've had it with them. Their anti-military screaming offends me greatly, and I've read too many accounts of the <sarcasm> kid-glove treatment </sarcasm> our soldiers have received at the hands of others. I don't recall the Mirror decrying the treatment of our pilots in Vietnam, Iraq 1991, or Bosnia, nor did they condemn the brutalization of our soldiers in Somalia in 1993. Only when a chance to bash America is presented do these cretins choose to cry about human-rights abuses. Stop the double standard NOW.

UPDATE 17SEP/9:50AM—George Paine at War Blogging has pointed out an error in my post. They are "battlefield detainees", not "Prisoners of War", as per the Bush Administration. My comment about them being prisoners of war is incorrect. Although, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.... In any case, since the administration wants to split hairs, Mr. Paine is quite correct.

posted at 12:29 PM | permalink | Comments (3)

I agree that generally the prisoners at Gitmo are being well treated. Your point towards the end about the treatment of American POWs cannot go unanswered though.

American POWs have never been treated well -- they've been tortured and deprived food, sent on hundred mile forced marches and more. The treatment of our boys overseas, however, should have no bearing on how we treat our prisoners. They must be treated well and in accordance with the Geneva Conventions -- otherwise we have no high ground from which to criticize the treatment of our soldiers overseas.

posted by George Paine on September 16, 2002 06:22 PM

I thought that the wording of my last paragraph made it clear that I didn't advocate treating the detainees poorly; I was attempting to convey my disgust at the double standard the Mirror advocates.

Of course, the Mirror apparently feels the Geneva Convention standards are not high enough. They didn't complain when it was our troops who were mistreated, but they needed 1705 words to bash the US because these accomplices to murder are not booked into suites at the Four Seasons or the Ritz-Carlton.

posted by timekeeper on September 17, 2002 09:40 AM

My apologies -- you're right.

My reaction was based simply on the fact that I don't think it's proper to compare the treatment of prisoners the US takes and US prisoners overseas. One shouldn't have anything to do with the other. But, rereading it's clear that you didn't mean that.

posted by George Paine on September 17, 2002 03:07 PM

Seattle Times gets it

In this Seattle Times editorial, the editors prove that they did catch the important part of President Bush's speech.

The opening paragraph of the editorial:

President Bush did not make a case for the United States taking on Iraq alone, but he issued a powerful indictment of the United Nations in a speech yesterday before the General Assembly.

According to Bill Quick over at Daily Pundit, this is not the message picked up by most of the other dailies here in the US.

posted at 10:14 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Questions for Chomsky
In Iraq, a decade of harsh sanctions under US pressure has strengthened Saddam while leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis - perhaps more people "than have been slain by all so-called weapons of mass destruction throughout history", military analysts John and Karl Mueller wrote in Foreign Affairs in 1999.

The above quote is from an article in the Australian newspaper The Age, published on 7 September, by Noam Chomsky.

Since Professor Chomsky, among others, continues to peddle the notion that our UN-approved sanctions against Iraq are killing the citizens of Iraq, I would like the professor to read the following paragraph from this article on CNN:

In the Gaza Strip, about 2,000 Palestinians demonstrated in support of Iraq, while leaders of the local branch of Saddam's Baath party passed out $10,000 checks to the families of 36 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers in the past three months.

This is $360,000 that could be used to feed Iraqi citizens, or to buy medical supplies to treat Iraqi sick. I have never seen any condemnation of these payments from any of the anti-war left—Chomsky and Moore and Rall and all of the idiots over at The Nation—yet they assail the sanctions as the cause of death and destruction. Fiscal malfeasance by the Iraqi government has never been addressed.

In addition, Iraq appears to be in violation of the same international standards for which the left has excoriated the US in the past. Both the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority (if the PA are really serious about ending the suicide attacks) should be complaining to the UN about Iraqi interference in their internal affairs, just as Nicaragua and Angola complained about US financial support of their rebel movements, both within their borders and externally (some of the Nicaraguan contras were based in Honduras).

Instead, the anti-war lefties continue to blame only the US and Israel for September 11, 2001, and for all of the strife in the Middle East. Their blind, naked hatred of the democratic values espoused by these two countries baffles me, as they seem to support the same values, but champion causes antithetical to the ideals they claim to cherish.

(For a thorough deconstruction of Chomsky's piece referenced above, see Pejman Yousefzadeh's take.)

posted at 09:32 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

This is why

Iraq nuclear dilemma exposed

Iraq could assemble a nuclear weapon in months if it had foreign help, a report into Baghdad's arms programmes has concluded.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) also says Iraq could have been stockpiling chemical and biological weapons since 1998 when U.N. inspectors left the country and were refused permission to return.

Any questions?

posted at 04:33 PM | permalink | Comments (0)


VodkaPundit wrote about the need to make sure our government maintains its resolve, and urges everyone to write to their elected leaders.

Shell did, and posted her letter on her site. Read it.

posted at 02:13 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Daschle's about-face on Iraq

Four years ago, 12 Senate Democrats co-sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 71, which advocated the useof force if Iraq refused to comply with UN demands for Iraq to end its weapons research programs.

Now, Daschle, Leahy, and Kerry (among others) are singing a different tune. What has changed since that time? Well, for one, Iraq's weapons programs are further along than they were four years ago. But the main reason is that instead of a beleagured Democratic president in the White House, there is a popular Republican.

Remember, though, it's only the Republicans who are using the war as a political tool.

Read this Fox News item for more information on what Daschle was saying in 1998. There is also a link to a video clip of Clinton discussing the issue.

posted at 10:59 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

CNN having trouble with facts

Read this story, and note the following paragraph:

The U.S. State Department has labeled Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist group, as a terrorist organization. The group's military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, has admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and the Israeli military.

The implication is that the State Department designation is of dubious reliability. What further activity is required for CNN to identify them as a terrorist organization? While it's nowhere near as overtly biased as Reuters' refusal to label Hamas as a terrorist group, CNN appears to be heading in that direction. I would not have noticed this a few months ago, but as more and more of the blogosphere have focused on media bias against Israel, I have become more attuned to this sort of distortion.

posted at 10:44 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 9, 2002


A link to this article on CNN was sent to all in our unit, after we were warned about possible political fallout from US military presence in Germany. I think that last night's debate just ratcheted up tensions another notch. Schroeder has been trying to play to both sides in the debate, "defying" Bush as a sop to his leftist constituents, and "supporting the UN resolutions" in an effort to capture the centrist vote. Gauging public reaction to the debate shows that he is succeeding, as a decisive majority favor his foreign policy views over those of his challenger.

In other news here, German police arrested a Turkish man and his American fiancee, who was employed at an AAFES retail store on the base which houses the US European Headquarters, among other facilities. A search of the couple's home revealed 287 pounds of explosives and five pipe bombs, among other things, and a portrait of Osama bin Laden. You can read about this here.

My personal view on this subject is pretty cut and dry. We should request extradition of the woman, and then put her on trial for treason. Let the Germans handle the man any way they wish, but I want the woman on trial here in the U.S. I take threats like that VERY personally. It could have the base to which I am assigned, and that strikes far too close to home for me for comfort.

posted at 05:11 PM | permalink | Comments (1)

Re: your demand for extradition and trial for treason; I'll second that motion! However, I will bet the Germans will fight any such move unless we promise not to seek the death penalty.

posted by John F. MacMichael on September 10, 2002 11:30 PM

Hopping on the Bandwagon

Well, now the Los Angeles Times is hopping on the bandwagon of blaming Ashcroft for Reno's sins. The editorial of 9 September (registration required) contains this snippet:

In May, for instance, judges on the secret federal court that approves classified wiretaps and searches in terrorism and espionage cases blasted Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft for the FBI's use of false information in dozens of requests for top-secret warrants.

While is is factually correct (the judges addressed their findings to Ashcroft, the current Attorney General), it is misleading, because the 75 wiretaps in question were conducted prior to September 2000. Ashcroft was still a senator at that time.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons to dislike Ashcroft and his detemined efforts to expand the FBI's surveillance powers, but it would be nice if the Times would stick to blaming Ashcroft for what he has done, not what others have done.

posted at 12:22 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

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