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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

tired but.... « Previous | |Next »
May 7, 2004

I've just arrived back in Adelaide. I saw more of the photos of Iraqi prisoners being abused by American soldiers in the Abu Ghraib prison this morning.

The imperial presidency has said that the US went into Iraq with the express purpose of establishing democracy and rights, and with a promise to improve the lives of the Iraqi people. That late justification for the US invasion and occupation has been undermined by the photos. US credibility is now on the line.
LeakVH1.jpg
Bill Leak

Winning hearts and minds in Iraq, and the Arab world generally, are now illusions.

The Taguba report on the alleged abuse of prisoners by members of the 800th Military Police Brigade at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad can be found here. It shows that the abuse was systematic. This kind of abuse started in Afghanistan. What is unusual is that it was photographed.

om_blog looks at the issue.

Do I sense just a bit of back tracking by Australia's very own neo-con? Some sense that the situation has gone beyond one of damage control? That the image of a wired-up, hooded Iraqi prisoner may signify the nature of the US occupation in Iraq? It cannot be publicly admitted of course, since the line must be held. But doubts have crept in: this might be part of a deliberate policy to soften up, or break down, Iraqi prisoners for interrogation.

Images matter in the clash of civilizations. This image suggests that the soldiers felt entitled to mistreat prisoners of war. They felt that their actions were in accord with what military intelligence wanted done. This cannot be flicked away easily by saying that Saddam was worse. That is not the issue anymore.

Australia should get out. There is no need for Australia to become tied to an image of a wired-up, hooded Iraqi prisoner, which signifies the US occupation in Iraq. Australia should condemn the US for engaging in such standard operating procedure.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:09 PM | | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (1)
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It just gets worse: A photograph obtained by The Washington Post shows a naked detainee at the Abu Ghraib prison, [Read More]

 
Comments

Comments

Hmm I wouldn't be at all surprised if such things happened in East Timor too. It seems to me that you can't unleash the demon of war and not have these things happen.

Of course, we should never have gone in there- Iraq is nothing to us, and never was.

AP,
I have yet to hear the Howard Government condemn the Bush administration for these softening-up practices at Abu Ghraib prison.

I know that John Howard says that he condemns such behaviour "absolutely and unconditionally." It appals me. It is not the normative behaviour of proper military units, and if it has happened - and obviously there is some strong evidence - well, those responsible should be punished ..."

But he fails to criticize the Bush Administration for making it standard operating procedure. He stays with the fiction that it is a few bad eggs.

Then he goes on to say that I far "worse atrocities... were routinely committed by the Saddam Hussein regime, and people weren't punished, they were promoted and applauded ..."

So the Americans are let off the hook because they are not as bad as Saddam Hussein! What has freedom, democracy and self-governance?

I haven't fully kept up with the world news. Is the war about freedom and democracy again? I can't keep up they are always changing their minds...

As for Howard's remarks, I didn't hear them. I don't really pay attention to what he says- but it doesn't really matter what an Australian Prime Minister says in a global context, does it?

I can't imagine the Bush Administration would take notice anyway.

In a world of Superpowers, Hegemons and Terrorists, I think Australia should keep a low profile, and mind it's business. No one likes a loudmouth.