The Prison Abuse "Scandal"



We have heard much of the prison scandal in Iraq of late but little of the other scandal, which is to say the scandal of our elected officials, the media, Europe, and the Arab world. Ponder, if only briefly, the spectacle of our leaders, our senators and congressmen, falling over themselves in an embarrassing spectacle before the country and the world, sanctimoniously announcing their "outrage" at the unfortunate events of Abu Ghraib. Even our President fell victim to the burlesque, apologizing repeatedly before the world for the behavior of several delinquent soldiers, as if the combined military forces were complicit in the demented actions of a few. And can anyone fathom the logic of the President apologizing to Jordan's King Abdullah II or to the people of Egypt? As if smitten by the scent of Pan-Arabism, the mythologic and toxic vapor that has only wreaked havoc on the region and Iraq itself, the President voluntarily prostrated himself before those whom he owes no apology to. One should not seek exoneration for crimes against Iraqis in other Arab lands. Egypt and Jordan have no status in Iraq. Jordan supported Hussein during the first Gulf War. Egypt, Jordan, and the rest of the Arab World did nothing while the Baathists mutilated and murdered the Iraqi people. Apologize, if you must - but to the Iraqi people - and not to the Arab world that abandoned them and applauded their murderer.

But let us return to the media circus, the insulting and demeaning Senate hearings - and the outrage of the world - and contemplate the overwhelming hypocrisy. At Abu Ghraib, several deviant soldiers engaged in abuses and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners, many of whom were part of the insurgency and have American (and Iraqi) blood on their hands. The Army's reaction to the wrongdoing was swift, and offenders have already been brought to justice. This same prison, under Hussein, by the way, was for 25 years the site of some of the most heinous crimes known to man. It was here and elsewhere that Baathist thugs gouged eyes, cut out tongues, and dropped prisoners into vats of acid - for which no apology was ever given, nor one asked for. But the gleefulness of so many, particularly on the left, to posture before the camera requires little imagination to discern underlying motives. It is not to rectify an unfortunate deficiency in standards but to play before the cameras and - more importantly - to humiliate and discredit Rumsfeld and by association, President Bush. The low point in all this (and there were many) were the words of the great stalwart of the Democratic Party, the senior senator from Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy, who opined on the Senate floor that "…shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management - US management…" It was a breathtakingly vicious remark - to which no Democrat rose to condemn.

The unfortunate reality is that for many on the left and their allies in the media there is no war on terror. 9/11 was an inconvenience they would prefer to forget. Militant Islam is not a problem. Al Qaeda is not the enemy. Their enemy is George W. Bush. Their "war" is to retake the White House. Their adversary is a confident and capable America ready to act independently to protect its interests and advance the cause of freedom. Their single overriding purpose is not to help the country - but to win back political power. If their actions spread disunity, demoralize our troops, and embolden the enemy, so be it.

What is also galling is the selective outrage of the Arab World and the crocodile tears they shed for the prisoners of Abu Ghraib. When Hussein waged war on his neighbors and massacred his own people, they gave him a pass (or cheered). When he tortured and maimed innocent victims, there was not a squeak. Do Arabs cry only when Americans (or Israelis) perform misdeeds? The so-called "outrage" of the Arab world is nothing more than political opportunism, a convenient excuse to discredit our efforts. If Arabs are incensed over the humiliations of Iraqi prisoners, they should be livid over the killing of innocents by terrorists… It is high time the West stopped infantilizing the Arab and Moslem world and held them to the same moral standard as we. More bromides about Islam being a religion of peace are not helpful. Arab leaders, in particular, should condemn the atrocities of their co-religionists - and not just in English for the Western media, but also in Arabic in their own nations. For this, we are patiently waiting…

The US is the one great nation willing and able to alter the political landscape around the world for the better. It must persist in its worthy campaign to create an open polity in the heart of the despotic Arab Middle East - despite the ankle nipping of its detractors.


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