Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Hague vs. Camp Cropper

First, some context. We consider ourselves neo-conservative, strongly support America's war on terror (including Iraq), and hail President Bush's foreign policy revolution. Also, we have little sympathy for terrorists and their so-called "root causes".

So, when we find ourselves baffled by certain aspects of the war, we wish neither to diminish the war's purpose, nor to malign its prosecution. However, if even people like us -- as hawkish as we are -- are baffled on these aspects, no wonder many worldwide simply do not understand what the US is doing. This is too bad.

For example, we're baffled about why America allies with the barbaric tyranny of Uzbekistan.

We're also baffled about the staggering difference in how the alleged war criminals from Serbia are treated at The Hague (quite well) versus how the alleged war criminals are treated in Camp Cropper in Iraq (horribly). What explains this?

How is it even possible for degrading photographs of Saddam Hussein to escape the iron-clad security of the infinitely competent US military? Why haven't we seen similar photos of Slobodan Milosevic? Why are there two standards of war-criminal prosecution?

Finally, on Charlie Rose yesterday, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff (whose story about Quran being desecrated at Guantanamo apparently set off Imran Khan provoked riots in Pakistan) said mea culpa on how his story came about, but did not really back off its contents. Now, we agree with Varnam that the rioting in Pakistan is precious coming from folks who likely wouldn't know what respecting other faiths implies, but this isn't an issue about how the pathologically violent react; rather, this is about how we -- the good guys in this war -- feel when we finally realize that there might yet be a small possibility that this awful story is true. We aren't Muslim but we're sick to our guts on this realization. We're baffled about how this became a story about Newsweek's journalism and the reaction of rabid Pakistani fundamentalists rather than the core issue at hand.

We remain as steadfast as ever in our support for the war and the brave soldiers who risk their lives each day to secure global freedom. But we're baffled about some things we see and we're not sure it's reasonable to brush these frustrations under the carpet.

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