The President, his top
aides, and members of Congress seemed to be delusional. They
said that Iraqis would want the United States military to occupy
their country, drop 500-pound bombs on their homes, and allow
their country to be used as a cash cow for Halliburton and
other corporations. It was hard to understand how they came to
believe such irrational ideas.
for view of larger & printable
version of cartoon.
answer to the mystery is actually less complicated than it
seemed. The cheerleaders
for war don’t believe that Iraqis are human beings. If the Iraqis
have no humanity then one can believe anything about them that
is convenient. Of course Iraqis have feelings of pride for themselves
and for their nation. The media may tell us that “insurgents” have
taken up arms against the U.S. military, but in fact many ordinary
citizens have decided to defend their country for the simple
reason that they don’t want to be an American colony.
sickening revelations of the torture, abuse and humiliation
of detainees is the most
extreme example of the dehumanizing of the Iraqis at the hands
of the United States. Six soldiers face charges including, “indecent
acts, for ordering detainees to publicly masturbate; maltreatment,
for non-physical abuse, piling inmates into nude pyramids and
taking pictures of them nude; battery, for shoving and stepping
on detainees; dereliction of duty; and conspiracy to maltreat
Still-video images of
the torture have been broadcast by CBS and the BBC. They have
also been published worldwide. The images below were published
Copyright CBS News: Reprinted for Fair Use
on box with wires attatched to his hands
grin behind the pyramid of captives
PoWs are forced to parade before their jeering captors
soldier points at genitals of hooded and naked Iraqis
Bush administration couldn’t manage to apologize or in any
way demonstrate concern for the effect of the awful images
on world opinion.
The President felt “disgust.” Even
someone with his sub par abilities knew that something else was
needed but he could only manage to say, “I didn’t like it one
bit.” Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt sounded as though he was
talking about misbehaving boy
scouts at summer camp. “Every day, we love our soldiers, but
frankly, some days we're not always proud of our soldiers."
As usual Senator John Kerry felt
compelled to be more inept than President Bush.
is disgusted and Kerry is disturbed. The two are having a
while the Iraqis seethe at this display of American terrorism.
Kerry should realize that the Arab and Muslim world won’t care
about the “good work” of American soldiers after seeing these
images that bring shame to an honor based culture.
It is not comforting
to know that low level soldiers may be court marshaled. Such
measures are a cheap fix that only add an insult to the injury.
It is easy to punish a few soldiers but it is hard to explain
that thousands of Iraqis have died so that the U.S. can have
easy access to oil and make corporate interests wealthier.
Some of those corporate contractors were responsible for interrogating
the Iraqi prisoners but they cannot
be charged because they are beyond the reach of military
abuse of Iraqi prisoners was inevitable. The plan to invade
that its people are inferior and unworthy of thought or consideration.
Of course they have been tortured. It isn’t possible to lie
about imminent terror threats, weapons of mass destruction,
and links to al-Qaeda and then become righteous and treat Iraqi
civilians with any dignity.
leaders have learned nothing from past experience and the American
people are too often apathetic, happy to be ignorant, or glad
to see someone else suffering at their hands. It is sad and
terrifying that Americans are so incapable of empathy and knowledge
of people in other parts of the world. The Vietnamese didn’t
want foreign troops in their country and were willing to fight
and die to get them out. Thirty years later Iraqis don’t want
foreign troops in their country and are willing to fight and
die to get them out. The Vietnamese were also regarded as less
than human. We were told they didn’t have the same reverence
for life. We are now told that Arabs are crazed and illogical
and that Islam is a religion that encourages terrorism. It
is easy to first demonize and then torture people who have
been labeled as crazy followers of an evil religion.
prisoner abuse revelations came on the heels of Israel’s extra judicial killings
of Hamas leaders Sheik Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi.
Even Jordan’s King Abdullah, who depends on aid from Washington,
could not conduct photo op business as usual after Washington
gave Israel permission to break the rules of international
law and murder its opponents. No amount of shuttle diplomacy
by the already discredited Colin Powell can placate the Arab
world after the United States government has dispensed collective
humiliation to leaders who were once our allies.
pictures are worth 1,000 words we should no longer hear the
clueless question, “Why
do they hate us?” Americans are hated because we want to control
and dominate, which always leads to killing, stealing or helping
others who want to do the same thing. They hate us because
we say we want to free a country from the grip of an evil dictator
when we really want to take a nation’s resources and turn it
into a military base. They hate us because it is inevitable
that the theft and destruction will lead to using the dictator’s
torture chambers for our own torture sessions. They hate us
because after we kill and destroy we ask stupid questions as
if we were innocent.
Freedom Rider column appears weekly in . Ms.
Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City. She
can be reached via e-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more
of Ms. Kimberley's writings at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com/