Friday, November 11, 2005

Zero Tolerance Policy on Sadism



The sexual exploitation of populations by UN personnel is despicable, and those in positions of authority in the UN must do whatever is in their power to stop it. The UN can and should be an organization that people look to as a defender of justice, freedom, and decency. It is incumbent upon those within the UN to find and punish not only those specific individuals responsible for sadistic acts, but to look unflinchingly at what responsibility the organization as a whole must take for allowing these events to occur in the first place. On the other hand, we must not conflate these misdeeds with the mission of the UN in historic terms and deride the organization as a whole for the wrongs, however vile, committed by those who wear its uniform.

The torture of detainees by U.S. military personnel is despicable, and those in positions of authority in the U.S. military must do whatever is in their power to stop it. The U.S. military can and should be an organization that people look to as a defender of justice, freedom, and decency. It is incumbent upon those within the U.S. military to find and punish not only those specific individuals responsible for sadistic acts, but to look unflinchingly at what responsibility the organization as a whole must take for allowing these events to occur in the first place. On the other hand, we must not conflate these misdeeds with the mission of the U.S. military in historic terms and deride the organization as a whole for the wrongs, however vile, committed by those who wear its uniform.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.50

10 Comments:

At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

Interesting how Ted is guilty of transference here..... Let me guess, he'll retort under a guise of 'consistency'.....

Ted, you're OH SO guilty of the pot/kettle/black syndrome....

And never mind that the U.S. military HAS brought those guilty of Abu Grahib infractions to justice.... The military HAS investigated and brought to justice those guilty of infractions at Camp Gitmo.... The military is policing itself and honorably I might add. I say this in reference to your comment of "It is incumbent upon those within the U.S. military to find and punish not only those specific individuals responsible for sadistic acts, but to look unflinchingly at what responsibility the organization as a whole must take for allowing these events to occur in the first place."

Your comment of, "On the other hand, we must not conflate these misdeeds with the mission of the U.S. military in historic terms and deride the organization as a whole for the wrongs, however vile, committed by those who wear its uniform."


...is noted. Too bad much of your choir does not heed your advice.

 
At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

Um, Ted, why do you gloss over if not ignore the following from Hyman's comment?:

RI (Refugees International) believes the UN has simply ignored the problem, which it notes has been occurring for more than a decade. A UN-sanctioned report delivered to Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July 2005 appears to back up RI's criticism of the world body.

In your counter-point, you parlayed the UN infractions, into the U.S. infractions. Here's my point - the U.S. is investigating, is policiing itself, has brought many to justice.... That's drastically different than what the U.N. has done. So why then, did you attempt your little side-by-side (noting the 'out' you gave yourself)?

 
At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SOS,

I think Ted was really trying to be "fair and balanced".

He didn't even touch upon the embarrasing saga going on in Washington... President Bush and Cheney's combined efforts to thwart the will of the Senate (by a 90-9 vote) to end our reliance on torture (no other word for "waterboarding") and cruel and degrading actions.

Nor did he touch upon the iron curtain that has decended on Gitmo (no prisoner interviews by anybody but the prisoner's lawyer).

Just a little balance on this UN vs US actions. Immoral behavior is immoral behavior. Period.

 
At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummmm, dear SOS, didn't a soldier have to make some very nasty pictures very public before the military got around to "policing itself." I am sure that the UN is going to be launching some serious investigations now. I fail to see the difference you see. Hypocrisy, thy name is Sickofspin.

 
At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

Anonymous said...
ummmm, dear SOS, didn't a soldier have to make some very nasty pictures very public before the military got around to "policing itself." I am sure that the UN is going to be launching some serious investigations now. I fail to see the difference you see. Hypocrisy, thy name is Sickofspin.

--------------

The military started its investigation well before the media got a hold of the story. In fact, it was a military press release (accountability/policing itself) that gave the story its footing with the media. Further, your account, "I am sure that the UN is going to be launching some serious investigations now," Simply doesn't cut it. What exactly, have they done?

http://www.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg200405070940.asp

The side-by-side (U.N. to U.S. military) was not valid and was indeed quite inappropriate.

 
At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SOS,

What about the earlier query?

Where DO you stand relative to the Cheney-Bush pro-torture stance and the fact that 90 Senators and Colin Powell have expressed their opposition to their desire to codify torture as part of US foriegn policy?

Which version of "what America stands for" do you salute? Most veterans I've seen quoted support the majority view.

What's your take?

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

You ask a good questin, Anon. It seems pro-war folks are split between "it was the atrocious act of a few rogue soldiers who've already been brought to justice" and the Rush Limbaugh crowd who suggest the torture was not only no big deal, but in fact a cunning plan that shows how serious we are in fighting terrorism.

As for SOS's last post, in point of fact, the abuses of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere were publicized by the Red Cross well before the military launched its investigation. That the supposedly "liberal" press didn't pick up on these accusations (and delayed revealing them when pressed by Pentagon brass) in this country is indeed an indictment against them, but does not excuse the military. In fact, higher ups in the military bureaucracy couldn't be bothered to examine the evidence that was coming forward. The revelations of the torture of prisoners came thanks to the courage of rank and file soldiers. The military as an institution both created the conditions in which the torture took place and did its best to ignore the facts until they were forced to face them.

See the following New York Times story for details on this:

http://www.globalproject.info/art-1426.html

Moreover, contrary to the all-cap assertions of our friend, the military has not brought those responsible for Abu Ghraib to justice. They have gone after the lowest level servicemen and women, but not those who created and fostered the behavior. My understanding is that no one above the rank of captain has been charged with any wrongdoing whatsoever, despite plenty of evidence that the level of abuse occuring could not be explained by a handful of rogue soldiers acting contrary to orders.

That's not a charge that comes from (as Hyman would say) the "hate America crowd," but from members of the military itself. See the following editorial from "Army Times" for a brief but powerful indictment of how ordinary soldiers have been made the scapegoats for policies that come from above them.

http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2903288.php

tjr

 
At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted:

Amen! Great work at your site. I'm relatively new here and really appreciate the time and thoughtfulness of your remarks, even when you are confronted by some not-so-pleasant inquisitors.

Okay, I must confess that I'm left of Bill O'Reilly and Mark Hyman, by their definition, I'm part of the "angry left" (don't take much to be "left" anymore. Hell, Nixon would be a lefty by Hyman's litmus tests).

But, it's time to be angry, whether you're a Dem or a Rep.

Yep...I'm angry that Cheney and Bush repeatedly do the flag-wrapping dance while abusing the military. They engage in deceitful policies and our men die. And Iraqis die, some under torture.

Cheney-Rummy-Bush put our troops at risk during the light-weight spring invasion, they put them at risk with inadequate armor (just recently, STILL a problem), and put them at risk by "taking the gloves off", at the troops expense and the harm to our country's once-respected reputation.

Thank God there are people like Senator John McCain, Senator Chuck Hagel, and Senator Lindsay Graham who are willing to challenge this band of chickenhawks who are, figuratively speaking, burning our flag in a way much, much, worse than any pinko-lefty could. Those senators, each veterans of combat, know what they speak of, unlike the crowd in control.

And yet Chimpy McFlightsuit has the gall to bring up -- during his Veteran's Day speech -- nonsense about flag burning. Given what damage he has done to our country, how dare he suggest that burning an image of the American flag is somehow wrong.

What's next? Pictures of Chairman Cheney as required displays in every school room?

God, I want my country back.

 
At 2:55 AM, Anonymous hyman's turtle said...

dear sos,
you wrote:

RI (Refugees International) believes the UN has simply ignored the problem, which it notes has been occurring for more than a decade. A UN-sanctioned report delivered to Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July 2005 appears to back up RI's criticism of the world body.

i responded earlier to your misquoting of al gore by noting you failed to read his entire speech. and you've done it again, this time by quoting hyman (who's a liar) instead of reading the report for yourself. from the report's conclusion:

"The “boys will be boys” attitude which has characterized UN peacekeeping missions since Cambodia in the early 1990s is slowly changing. Positive developments include the appointment of a female SRSG in Burundi, the inclusion of gender advisors on assessment missions, and increased importance of the Office of Gender Advisors within peacekeeping missions".

this hardly sounds like the u.n. is ignoring the problem. sure, progress may be slow, but progress at least denotes action. and consider as well that the u.n. is not an indepedent body but rather the sum of its member nations. with that in mind, the ri report goes on to add:

"As the UN continues to discuss new reforms to strengthen its agencies, key changes must be made to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse and the tolerance of these activities throughout the United Nations... (RI) urges the major troop-contributing countries to adopt them. RI recognizes, however, that financial and human resources will be required to support the overall strategy. While this report is an important first step, these initiatives must be fully supported and funded by all members of the United Nations. If donors are serious about ending sexual exploitation and ensuring the protection of victims of conflict throughout the world, they must give the United Nations the resources that it needs to fight this problem within the framework of its peacekeeping operations".

keep in mind now that there is support among republican circles for withholding u.n. dues. does it follow then that these republicans would put scape-goating the u.n. above their stated goal of actually reforming it, or worse, above preventing rape?

finally, from an la times article accompanying the study:

"...But beyond deporting soldiers or firing civilian officials, there is little the U.N. can do to punish violators. The United Nations is not a sovereign entity, so it must depend on the countries that supply the troops or staffers to prosecute them. They often don't".

so there you have it. in summation. u.n. not ignoring, hyman a liar,you should read more.

hyman's turtle

 
At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Hyman's Turtle,

Nice job with your continued attempts at trying to reason with Sick of Spin, our blog's own Rush O'Reilly.

However, I think it's impossible. The guy just doesn't like to actually carry a conversation.

We can hope, tho...

 

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