Monday, July 20, 2009

Anger in US over hostage video.

It was precisely because of circumstances like this, that many of us countenanced against the US use of torture which the Bush and Cheney regime championed.

The American military yesterday condemned the Taliban for releasing a propaganda video that showed a captured soldier pleading for US troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. The Pentagon named the private as Bowe Bergdahl, 23, from Idaho.

A 28-minute video of Pte Bergdahl was posted on the internet, showing the soldier in good health but saying he was scared and missing his family. It is believed to be the first time in more than two years that a US serviceman has been captured in either Iraq or Afghanistan. "We condemn the use of this video and the public humiliation of prisoners. It is against international law," a US military spokesman said.

There's nothing one has to say about how hypocritical that sounds coming from the people who waterboarded prisoners and slammed them into walls and paraded them around Guantanamo Bay in orange jump suits. It was for this very reason that many of us condemned what Bush was doing, not only because what he was doing was so very clearly illegal, but because he was robbing the US of it's moral authority for exactly such a moment as this.

Now Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch - and all the others who were ignored by Bush and Cheney as they tore up international law with no thought to the future - can condemn this barbarism and their words will still carry international weight.

But it's a sick joke to imagine that the US, even with a new popular president promising to end such practices, will be able to condemn anyone else for failing to adhere to international law for quite some time and expect to be taken seriously.

Obama could fast track this worldwide acceptance that the US has changed, but that would involve prosecuting the people who gave the orders for these crimes to be committed in the first place.

And I'm still not convinced that Obama is prepared to do that.

So the US can issue as much condemnation as they like, but they would be better to leave it to those of us who have at least been consistent in this matter.

Make no mistake, what is being done to Private Bergdahl is an affront to his dignity and a breach of the Geneva Conventions. And I would be all for prosecuting the people who have done this.

However, there are others who have committed far more serious breaches of international law, who have actually gone public to confess their crimes, who walk free to this day.

As long as that is the case, the US will find itself seriously hampered when it comes to speaking with moral authority.


Watch how quickly Ralph Peters pushes this young man in front of a bus. Here, he calls him a deserter and states that he is colluding with the enemy.

In the end he actually states that he will support Bergdahl if he was captured, "but if he walked away from his post and his buddies in war time, I don't care how hard it sounds, as far as I am concerned the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills".

This is how sick these Republican thugs are. Peters is actually calling for the Taliban to kill an American soldier.

Perhaps the reason that Peters is so keen to paint Bergdahl as a deserter is because Peters is the man who has called for no prisoners of war to be taken by the US. He has always argued that the US should simply "kill them all". He even went as far as to exclaim at one point, "Fight for human rights, kill terrorists!"

So now, rather than examine the barbarity of his previously held position, he labels Bergdahl a deserter and calls for his death at the hands of the Taliban.

Ralph Peters is an utter scumbag.


Listen here to Chuck Todd tell Glenn Greenwald how important it is that we all accept that Bush and Cheney have been punished enough by the fact that they are politically ostracised and that prosecution is, therefore, utterly unnecessary.
Glenn Greenwald: So what do you think happens - I think what has destroyed our reputation is announcing to the world that we tolerate torture, and telling the world we don't --

Chuck Todd: We have elections, we also had an election where this was an issue. A new president, who came in there, and has said, we're not going to torture, we're going to do this, and we're going to do this--

GG: What do you think should happen when presidents--

CT: Is that not enough? Isn't that enough?

GG: When, generally, if I go out and rob a bank tomorrow, what happens to me is not that I lose an election. What happens is to me is that I go to prison. So, what do you think should happen when presidents get caught committing crimes in office? What do you think ought to happen?

CT: You see, this is where, this is not - you cannot sit here and say this is as legally black and white as a bank robbery because this was an ideological, legal --

GG: A hundred people died in detention. A hundred people. The United States Government admits that there are homicides that took place during interrogations. Waterboarding and these other techniques are things that the United States has always prosecuted as torture.

Until John Yoo wrote that memo, where was the lack of clarity about whether or not these things were illegal? Where did that lack of clarity or debate exist? They found some right-wing ideologues in the Justice Department to say that this was okay, that's what you're endorsing. As long the president can do that, he's above the law. And I don't see how you can say that you're doing anything other than endorsing a system of lawlessness where the president is free to break the law?

CT: Well, look, I don't believe I'm endorsing a system of lawlessness; I'm trying to put in the reality that as much that there is a legal black and white here, there is a political reality that clouds this, and you know it does too.

Oh, how easy it to see illegality when it is a member of the Taliban breaching a US soldiers rights under the Geneva Convention; but, when the lawbreakers are a US administration, no such clarity exists. Suddenly, the fog of "political reality" blinds us all and makes it very hard for us to see what would be perfectly obvious were these same actions being carried out by al Qaeda.

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