mr. zilla goes to town

Friday, May 07, 2004

this is why they hate us (now)

SEYMOUR HERSH, interviewed on Fox News' O'Reilly Factor:

[Taguba] said upwards of 60 percent of the people in the prison had nothing to do with, no bad feelings toward America whatsoever. They simply were caught in a random roadside check or they were snatched off the street. They should have been processed under the Geneva Convention. -- Taguba said they should have been processed. We should have gotten rid of the good guys from the bad guys. There was no control, no paperwork. They had all sorts of problems...

"'s going to get much worse. This kind of stuff was much more widespread. I can tell you just from the phone calls I've had in the last 24 hours, even more, there are other photos out there. There are many more photos even inside that unit. There are videotapes of stuff that you wouldn't want to mention on national television that was done. There was a lot of problems. There was a special women's section. There were young boys in there. There were things done to young boys that were videotaped. It's much worse."

Sidney Blumenthal explains:

Bush has created what is in effect a gulag. It stretches from prisons in Afghanistan to Iraq, from Guantánamo to secret CIA prisons around the world. There are perhaps 10,000 people being held in Iraq, 1,000 in Afghanistan and almost 700 in Guantánamo, but no one knows the exact numbers. The law as it applies to them is whatever the executive deems necessary. There has been nothing like this system since the fall of the Soviet Union. The US military embraced the Geneva conventions after the second world war, because applying them to prisoners of war protects American soldiers. But the Bush administration, in an internal fight, trumped its argument by designating those at Guantánamo "enemy combatants". Rumsfeld extended this system - "a legal black hole", according to Human Rights Watch - to Afghanistan and then Iraq, openly rejecting the conventions.

Mr. Zilla rants:

All preposterous bullshit about hatred-of-freedom aside, the terrorist attacks of September 11 and those that preceeded it such as on the USS Cole, were driven by two straightforward motivations. One, the massive US troop presence that persisted in Islam's holy land (Saudi Arabia) throughout the 1990s. Two, the to-the-hilt US support for Israel in the burning blister of Palestine.

Ten years on, and Bush/America/the West is providing hellfire missiles to Israel who launches them at quadriplegic exremists, and supporting Sharon's unilateral decisions about the future of Gaza - something Israel's Likud wouldn't even do. What a bloody-handed egg-faced farce. And there are 140,000 US troops in Iraq for the indefinite future, some of whom have spent the last month beseigeing one of Shia Islam's holy cities, some of whom have been committing (apparently literally, according to Hersh) indescribable torture upon Iraqis pulled off the street.

How do "we" look now?

I'm sure Chris could put this in a more definitive manner, but these perceptions ARE reality, because perspective influences action. This is why "they" hate us, now. This is what makes the US - and its supporting anglosphere - radioactive to moderates and moderate governments throughout the world. Again, there are sober commentators out there like Hugh White reflecting on the potential strategic consequences of the current crisis:

US failure in Iraq could - probably would - weaken the US. We do not and should not rely on America to defend Australia. But we do rely on it to keep the peace between China, Japan and others in the Asia-Pacific. That is what this alliance is really all about.

Of course Australia does have direct and important interests of its own in American success in Iraq. US failure and withdrawal from Iraq could - probably would - unleash a geopolitical maelstrom in the wider Gulf that would endanger oil exports. Sorry to sound mercenary, but without Gulf oil, North-East Asia stops, and so do we.
The road to hell is paved with the good intentions of something that sounds suspiciously like Christian jihad:

"I also have this belief, strong belief, that freedom is not this country's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom."

This is Bush saying that he is doing God's work in Iraq. That is a particularly inappropriate claim to make, leaving aside the obvious leaping of the church/state wall. Given that Bush has chosen to wage war in an Islamic country, it is unlikely that there are many Iraqis who are anxious to hear Bush's theological justifications.

Bush's rhetoric is proof once again that the government of the United States is in the hands of a crude and deluded leader, whose war policy in Iraq promises more disasters to come.
Say what you want about the similarities of the two major parties in the US, but its hard to imagine a Gore administration would have invaded Iraq after 9/11. Food for thought.


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