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|When Mouths Fail To Quiver|
By: Tariq A. Al-Maeena
It was refreshing to hear of the apologies of the British ambassador to the Kingdom, Mr. Cowper Coles, for the inhumane treatment of prisoners held in Iraq. And he was right in adding that such treatment “alienates the local population whose hearts and minds you are trying to win.”
But such statements are curiously unforthcoming from the department currently conducting the war on Iraq, and Afghanistan for that matter. Employing secrecy and wishful thinking and dismissing such occurrences to the actions of a few, the US Department of Defense and the top brass in the Pentagon all seemed publicly very surprised that a few deviants exist among their troops who match Saddam in his savagery.
And once exposed by their media, when the truth was too large to sweep under the proverbial carpet, and when passing off such actions as the work of an isolated handful of people failed to convince the world, in a chorus they promised to get to the bottom of it all.
Sadly, this will end up as another one of those “we didn’t know” and “we had to do something” ploys that have been used so effectively by the current US administration against its people. I do not doubt that most naïve Americans will put aside this despicable and inexcusable blot as another consequence of war. Their conscience has already taken a toll.
From the unjustified killing in Afghanistan to the illegal detentions in Guantanamo, and now to the savagery by their own boys in uniform, they will once again have to stretch their principles and accept willingly what they are told — the alternative would be too hideous to bear.
This brutality has not been a recent revelation for the rest of the world. Back in 2002 and last year the International Committee of the Red Cross and various human rights organizations took up the issue of such brutality with the various organs of the US government, without much success.
And despite surfacing allegations of the widespread use of torture by US troops, the US secretary of defense has held fast to his disdain for the Geneva Conventions. Rumsfeld, in response to rising accusations of ill treatment back in early 2002 in Afghanistan and elsewhere, said that these charges were nothing but “isolated pockets of international hyperventilation.” These were his own words.
While today’s stories of brutality and torture by the US military machine may come as a surprise to the folks back home, we have long known otherwise. There are nearly 10,000 prisoners from Mr. Bush’s war on terror held around the world in the custody of US forces and possibly subjected to abuse and torture similar to that at Abu Ghraib prison.
Oh yes, Donald, we shall continue to hyperventilate. Until justice is served.