Above the Fray

In today’s Washington Post, the Mexican Army is accused of using “torture to battle drug traffickers.” The Mexican government itself has recognized the abuse, what the Post describes as “forced disappearances, acts of torture and illegal raids in pursuit of drug traffickers . . .” It is telling that the exact same behavior when perpetrated by the U.S. is not described by the Post or our government as a human rights abuse, torture, or in need of investigation.

The so-called liberal NPR has even admitted that when torture is perpetrated by foreign governments it is torture and when the U.S. government engages in the exact same behavior it is a valid information gathering technique. In a recent response to criticism by Glenn Greenwald for NPR’s official refusal to use the word “torture” with respect to American actions, NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard argued that the U.S. tactics are not torture because the tactics are used to “get information” whereas other countries torture because they use these same tactics as punishment.

Though I am not completely clear on how she would apply her “beating it out of him” is legit standard to the common criminals in Abu Ghraib who had nothing to do with the “War on Terror” and had no “beans to spill”. So, how would the NPR Ombudsman apply her standard to the Mexicans who have said that the entire purpose of the tactics was to get information. Would the Mexican activities therefore not amount to torture either?

So while the Mexican National Human Rights Commission is investigating these abuses as torture, our beloved President Obama, with the full support of the American Mullahs, is letting bygones be bygones and claiming all evidence of abuse is a state secret. The mainstream liberal press (the Post and NPR) is fully on board. Need I say more? It’s good to be above the fray.

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8 Comments

Filed under Essays, Obama 44

8 responses to “Above the Fray

  1. eric

    UPDATE:

    As Greenwald later points out:

    “Just compare Alicia Shepard’s justification for why NPR calls Gambia’s tactics “torture” but not America’s — they do it to inflict pain whereas we (supposedly) did it to extract information — to the definition of “torture” in the Convention Against Torture, to which the U.S. has been a siganatory since 1988:

    Part I, Article I: For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

    The entire civilized world has long defined “torture” to include tactics used to obtain information. By virtue of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, that definition is binding law (“supreme law”) in the U.S. But to NPR’s Ombdusman, it’s not “torture” if they are simply — as she put it — “tactics used to get information.” Those are the depths to which NPR is willing to sink in order to twist language and protect the Bush administration and the U.S. Government.”

  2. Strange thing about transparent agendas: they stink to high hell, no matter how you try to cover them …

    I notice you haven’t said one word about the government sanctioned, enacted and executed behavior of Tehran, Ahmadinedouche, Ayatollah Geissennutzer in torturing, maiming, incarcerating, jailing and murdering their own peoples. Actions taken for the sole purpose of avoiding and evading having to lift the Iranian people out of the oppressive tyranny of the religious stupidity of Islam …

    Bias?
    Slant?
    Lack of perspective?

    The Mexican government has been in bed with the Cartels for … ever? Now that the good Chairman, Maobama, is in office, they stand to lose tons of money and support from the U.S., especially if they don’t give the perception that they “care” about the drug trade.

    Again, read Machiavelli. When dealing with brutality, the only cure is to consumer your adversary with the absolutism of finality; in this way, no revenge ever need to be feared.

    Purification by means of unquenchable aggression; it never fails. The Romans knew this for a long time, when they let go of the method, failure was certifiable.

  3. eric

    Yes, I haven’t said much about Iran because, while I agree that Ahmadinedouche is a total psychotic, I still don’t trust what I read about the situation in the press. There are just too many political interests in the U.S. and Israel dying to bomb Iran to pieces, or at least to make us believe that we need to bomb the place. While Iranians are protesting because they have a douche for president, I don’t think that our interpretation of their protests is necessarily accurate. Remember that the Greeks violently protested in the streets this year for apparently no reason whatsoever for even longer than the Iranians and no one batted an eye. The Egyptians protested in the streets after their U.S. financed dictator won another sham election and that was quickly ignored by the press.

    What’s interesting about the Middle East is that we are enemies with all of our enemies’ enemies. For example, the Iranians are enemies of the Taliban and Al Qaeda and the Sunni Iraquis who had previously been in the Sadam camp. From a logistical standpoint, we should probably be friends with the Iranians then, right? At least they pretend to have elections (which although rigged would probably have been won anyways by Ahmadinedouche).

  4. Granted, the “news” outlets have a less than useful or believable output of propaganda.

    Still, seeing that beautiful young woman, laying dying in the streets of Tehran, from an Iranian Republican Guard bullet, says something all its own.

    Let the media have their pointless banter. I remember clearly the protests of the Greeks, and the economic depression of their country is most sadly, seemingly unavoidable. I was unable to find anything of real substance that the country produces for export/profit. The Egyptian protests were completely unnoticed, had no idea of such occurring.

    From the Machiavellian perspective, yes, the enemy of my enemy is my fried, (ala, how we made, handcrafted both bin Laden and Al Qaeda for a rebel force against the Soviet Russian incursions into Afghanistan.

    Ahmadinedouche is too unstable, and is entirely the ass puppet of the Ayatollah, who is himself, a moron of cosmic proportions. We have no means of using him for advantage, so he remains antipathetic. Unlike Saddam, he cannot be controlled by simple monetary inundation.

    If the Iranians are “enemies” of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, please explain how the primary membership of both groups are Iranians and Afghans? Your facts seem a bit skewed.

  5. eric

    Both Al Qaeda and the Taliban are Sunnis and the Iranians are Shi’a. These guys hate each other more than they hate the U.S. Sadam was also an enemy of all three of these factions. Though he was Sunni and therefore an enemy of the Iranians, he was an enemy of Al Qaeda because he was not a religious fanatic. The same would be true for the Taliban, except that the Taliban has always had purely local interests.

    Interestingly enough, Iran offered the U.S. support in the war in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, but we rejected the offer.

    The recent reports out about Sadam’s debriefing in U.S. custody where he said that his whole phony military might was just a ruse to make the Iranians think he as crap.

    My guess is that it is the beginning of the end of Iran. Nevertheless, we could have said the same thing of China after Tiananmen Square, but there’s China today on the top of our list of countries to kiss up to.

  6. I think that discounts a number of facts; especially concerning Shi’a and the traditions of Imami Shi’ism … !!Arabs first!! Twelvers tend to be this way, have been throughout their history.

    There are also Sunni and Kurds who live in Iran, so the “hate more” argument seems nullified.

    As with the Kingdom of Saud, where Wahhabism, (Salafi, Muwahhidin), is the primary religious sect as part of Sunni, there are still Shi`a, Kurds and a small host of foreign persons/religions.

    Again, I think your facts are skewed. Ethnocentricism trumps all with Arabs, especially where Europeans, Americans or Israelis are concerned.

  7. eric

    Ethnocentricism trumps all with almost every society in the world. Remember how the Russians refused to condemn anything that the Serbs did in the former Yugoslavia forcing NATO to circumvent the UN Security Council in order to invade. The Greeks had the same issue because they are all Orthodox.

    Americans give more money to Israel than to any other country in the world and blindly support whatever Israel does, even when it is directly against our national security interests (Remember Palin saying that the U.S. should “never” second guess Israel — what a load of crap). The reason we support Israel is almost completely cultural and not religious as most Arab Christians do not support our policies there.

    Europe is a more interesting test case because Europeans can’t decide who they hate more Israelis or Muslims. They don’t want Muslims in Europe (because to be European, well you have to be European), and yet they support the Palestinians (though their leaders do nothing, which is the same thing as supporting Israel).

    The Middle East is more nuanced. Everything is purely local, and the individual countries do not do any favors for each other. There is an Arabic saying which is something like the only thing that Arabs have in common is that they agree to disagree with each other. So neighboring countries do not have binding friendships. This lack of unity and mutual mistrust is one of the reasons that Crusaders were able to successfully occupy large portions of the Levant for almost two centuries.

    But when there is a macro issue, people then show their larger loyalties religious (Muslim), denominational (Sunni v. Shi’a) or cultural (Kurd, Persian, Arab, etc).

    And yes within each country you have minorities groups of Sunnis, Shi’a, Kurds, Jews, Christians, etc. When push comes to shove people take sides. The perfect example is the sectarian violence in Iraq between all the major groups. There are exceptions like in Lebanon where members from different minorities will join forces like in the recent elections where some of the Christian groups joined with the Shi’a minority and Iranian backed Hezbolla to challenge the Sunni majority. And the the Sunni majority Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia tacitly supported the Israeli bombing of Lebanon because they fear a powerful Iran at their door steps and Israel’s attacks on Hezbolla were seen to indirectly hurt Iranian interests.

    So yes, common enemies make for friendships, and that is why there is a Arab/Sunnni (and even as mentioned Israeli) unity against the Persian/Shi’a Iran. The only exception is Syria where regardless of being a majority Sunni country is perhaps the only country in the Middle East that is no a direct enemy of Iran. But this friendship is linked to their sharing the same enemy of Iraq during Sadam Hussein, which also gave the Shi’a minority in Syria greater power. We’ll see whether the Syrian Iranian friendship fades as Iraq ceases to be their common threat.

    In Pakistan and Afghanistan, my understanding is that Arab Muslims are generally indifferent, other than to complain about foreign imperialism. The countries are share no borders and culturally unrelated. The Al Qaeda people are there, simply because they were given safe haven by the Taliban to set up their training camps. The Iranians on the other hand share borders with these countries but do not share the same denomination or culture with them, hence making them unfriendly.

    To make a long story short, we are enemies of our friend’s enemies, as well as being enemies of our enemies’ enemies. So while our friends Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Israel are enemies with Iran and Syria we are also enemies with Iran’s enemies Sadam Hussein, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We are also friends with some of our friend’s enemies (the obvious cases being Israel and its Sunni neighbors and Pakistan and India). I recently read how most Iraqis, although generally indifferent to the Iranian elections, prefer Ahmadinejad over Mousavi because they have bad memories of Mousavi as the Prime Minister during the Iraqi-Iranian War.

    But at the end of the day this isn’t all that different to how our politics works. We basically divide the country up into ethnic and “cultural” groups — the white male, the soccer mom, the African Americans, the Hispanics, the Christian vote, etc etc — and tell them all how to vote and they follow suit

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