The Hunt for Easy Targets



It's easy to condemn the United States, partially because of our mostly open media by whom the incriminating pictures were published, partially because many of us here are outraged. But where is the condemnation for what happened at Abu Ghraib under Saddam Hussein's rule? Nobody can argue that what US soldiers have done is even close to the flagrant human rights violations that gave the prison its reputation.

Likewise, the dreaded sanctions against Iraq in the years leading up to the invasion were not the fault of the US alone. They were UN sanctions. I grant that the US had a starring role, but they weren't the only ones, and the smug UN-approval-for-everything crowd can only ignore that at the expense of their credibility.

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I had to do a double-take

I had to do a double-take and make sure it wasn't Senator Imhofe posting! Here's his now infamous quote on Abu Ghraib: "I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment. You know, they're not there for traffic violations. . . They're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents."

We were taken into this pre-emptive action against Iraq because, allegedly, we're the 'good' guys. Good guys don't do this sort of twisted crap to human beings, even terrorist human beings.

You don't hear a lot of raging over what Saddam did or didn't do, because we EXPECT that he would have done depraved things.

Here is a really good commentary:
http://indyweek.com/durham/2004-05-12/news.html

Even Andy Rooney, from CBS, had a really good commentary on the whole fiasco recently -- if I think of it next time I'm on-line I'll post it.

Damn. Brain-dead Bush

Damn.

Brain-dead Bush apologists have soiled another decent libertarian blog with their specious non-logic.

Damn.

Randall, I'm not going to

Randall,

I'm not going to rip on you like the other guys, but I have to agree with what they wrote more than what you wrote. I expect a lot more out of the United States than I do out of a tin-pot dictatorship. The fact that we're sliding to the point where the moral difference between us and the "bad guys" is merely quantitative, and not also qualitative is *very* disturbing.

Also, I agree with your sentiments that the UN is completely useless, and I personally think we should've gotten out a long time ago. One of the problems I have with the rest of your point in that paragraph though was this--the UN tried several times to lift those sanctions, and each time it was the US and occasionally the UK that would veto the motion. The US and the UK also vetoed allowing the shipment of equipment to repair Iraq's water treatment systems, as well as many needed medical supplies, and other critical items. When the US and the UK were the only two parties in most of the cases vetoing these things, I think it is very hypocritical to lay the blame at the foot of the UN. The UN is rotten, Saddam Hussein's regime was heinously rotten, but that doen't give us an excuse to act rotten ourselves.

~Jonathan Goff

Guys, What would be the

Guys,

What would be the point of a UN Human Rights Commission, if not to point out the abuses of human rights that occur in dictatorships and backwaters? They weren't needed to break this story; the American media broke it themselves. To have some UN body jump on the story weeks after it's out, but remain silent while all kinds of heinous abuses are going on for years before the invasion is a little hypocritical. To say that we expect better from the US is what everyone says, that's why our press broke it without needing any quasi-governmental body to prod them. Obviously we expect better, that's why we're angry.

I thought it was obvious and that I wouldn't need to post the disclaimer, but apparently not everyone got it, so: none of the abuses that occurred under the previous regime excuses any of the abuses occurring recently. What US soldiers did was inexcusable.

And Barry, since when does pointing out UN hypocrisy make one a brain-dead Bush apologist, out of sync with the sentiments of a libertarian blog? Am I wrong about the UN? Have I failed to make my vehement opposition to all US involvement in Iraq clear in previous posts?

But, guys (to coin a

But, guys (to coin a phrase):

Who is the UN to criticize the US when prison abuses in the Balkans, rape in Africa committed by peace-keepers, UNScam, and now a book detailing the high-life of UN staffers are all coming to light.

At least we are dealing with the problem and making the necessary corrections (I'm sure many of you will be pleased to doubt that point).

It's the United Nations whose house needs cleaning (razing) here.

Don't even you Bush-hating, pure-libertarians see the hypocrisy and butt-covering that's going on there?

It's not unlike the Pope scolding Bush for America's decadent society while he presided over the cover-up of the pedophile-Priest saga.

Brain-dead Bush apologists

Brain-dead Bush apologists have soiled another decent libertarian blog with their specious non-logic.

You know what would help? If you explained why pointing out the hypocricy of the UN makes one a "brain-dead Bush apologist" or equals "specious non-logic." Otherwise, people who read this might conclude that the one who fails to produce any logic is you.

If it requires one to be unable to criticize the hypocrisy of the UN to be part of the libertarian in-crowd, I want none of it.

"...easy to condemn the

"...easy to condemn the United States..." "...*our* mostly open media..." [emphasis added]

I thought Austrians practiced methodological individualism!

First of all, the United States, the U.S. government, and "our" media are all different things. If the U.S. government is less oppressive and thuggish than most, it is no reason for either gratitude or vicarious pride. At least not gratitude toward or vicarious pride in the government. It might be reason for gratitude and pride toward the American people, who are more vigilant, more skeptical, and more willing to resist when government crosses the line, than any people in the world.

Our freedoms are not granted by benevolent governments. Liberties are forced on the government from below.

Randall, Were you, or were

Randall,

Were you, or were you not -- attempting to downplay the atrocities at Abu Ghraib by the US by comparing them to actions of Saddam?

If not, that is how your post came across. Once you make comments of that sort, any point you attempt to make about the UN, whether others agree with it or not, kinda falls by the wayside, methinks.

At least I didn't call you a Bush apologist, eh? :)

~Michi

Here's that Andy Rooney

Here's that Andy Rooney article I promised -- remember, if something moves him to this level of writing -- well. . . mention it with caution. :)

'Our Darkest Days are Here'~ CBS Andy Rooney
If you were going to make a list of the great times in American history, you'd start with the day in 1492, when Columbus got here.

The Revolution when we won our independence would be on the list.

Beating Hitler.

Putting Americans on the moon.

We've had a lot of great days.

Our darkest days up until now have been things like presidential assassinations, the stock market crash in 1929, Pearl Harbor, and 9-11, of course.

The day the world learned that American soldiers had tortured Iraqi prisoners belongs high on the list of worst things that ever happened to our country. It's a black mark that will be in the history books in a hundred languages for as long as there are history books. I hate to think of it.

The image of one bad young woman with a naked man on a leash did more to damage America's reputation than all the good things we've done over the years ever helped our reputation.

What were the secrets they were trying to get from captured Iraqis? What important information did that poor devil on the leash have that he wouldn't have given to anyone in exchange for a crust of bread or a sip of water?

Where were your officers? If someone told you to do it, tell us who told you. If your officers were told - we should know who told them.

One general said our guards were "untrained." Well, untrained at what? Being human beings? Did the man who chopped off Nicholas Berg's head do it because he was untrained?

The guards who tortured prisoners are faced with a year in prison. Well, great. A year for destroying our reputation as decent people.

I don't want them in prison, anyway. We shouldn't have to feed them. Take away their right to call themselves American - that's what I'd do. You aren't one of us. Get out. We don't want you. Find yourself another country or a desert island somewhere. If the order came from someone higher up, take him with you.

In the history of the world, several great civilizations that seemed immortal have deteriorated and died. I don't want to seem dramatic tonight, but I've lived a long while, and for the first time in my life, I have this faint, faraway fear that it could happen to us here in America as it happened to the Greek and Roman civilizations.

Too many Americans don't understand what we have here, or how to keep it. I worry for my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren. I want them to have what I've had, and I sense it slipping away.

Have a nice day.

Michi, I was not trying to

Michi,

I was not trying to downplay the actions of US soldiers at Abu Ghraib. In fact, those atrocities weren't my focus at all. My focus was solely UN hypocrisy. Do you deny that they are being hypocritical?

In the future, if you come across something that seems not to have a libertarian message, read it again. The day I become a Bush apologist, I will have a tag on my toe.

Randall, I'm afraid that

Randall,

I'm afraid that hypocrisy is the least of the UN's current problems, but I'll agree that yes, it would seem hypocritical for them to publicly condemn the US for it's actions in Iraq when they had not done so in regards to Saddam and his actions.

~Michi

Randall: It seems to be your

Randall:

It seems to be your claim that the UN is criticizing US abuses at Abu Ghraib, but that organization did not criticize Saddam's actions at that prison.

That is plainly false. The United Nations published many reports concerning Saddam's human rights abuses. Several references to such reports were made in Bush's very own call to war.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/iraqdecade.pdf

Your words, as first written, are indistinguishable from those of Inhofe or Limbaugh. My reaction to them was visceral and harsh, but not, I believe, inherently erroneous.

I have as much disdain for the UN as anybody. I'm a firm adherent to the Buchanan/Tullock/Niskanen views on bureaucracies, and the UN is the mother of all dysfunctional bureaucracies. But trying to claim that they were silent on Saddam's abuses is simpy not factual. There is more than enough actual stuff to criticize the UN about. It is so not necessary to invent new stuff to bash them.

And as to your claim that "(n)obody can argue that what US soldiers have done is even close to the flagrant human rights violations that gave the prison its reputation." Well, several (30+)people have died in the process of "interrogation" by US Forces. The fact that some of those deaths are being investigated as homicides is a testament to the American rule of law, but are these people somehow less dead than the people Saddam killed? What is the qualitative difference? Likewise, what is the qualitative difference between American soldiers forcibly sodomizing Iraqi prisoners and Saddam's henchmen forcibly sodomizing prisoners? Were our boys a bit gentler? Did they wear rubbers?

Furthermore, Saddam's well-known depravities at Abu Ghraib before August 1990 were never cited as a casus belli by the administrations of the day. If "we" wilfully looked the other way (or even gave a knowing wink and nod) back then, why the outrage when the UN did the same? (Even though they didn't.)