Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Question For Any/All

First of all, I apologize for not keeping the pace I am accustomed to, in my posting and reading/commenting on your blogs. I appreciate everyone's readership, but there are times (like now) where I am busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger.

I have to go out of town tomorrow (Wed, 6-21-06) for the day, I hope to have a new post up that evening. But for now, I would like to pose a question to all of you that care to take the challenge and answer. If you are a regular or are new, liberal or conservative, if you have commented here before or not, you are invited to participate. But, please note that I may use parts or all of your comments on a main post (or I might not). If no one comments, I can and will go on my own diatribe as I so often do.

Here goes:

The two missing soldiers were found today and there are signs that these men were brutalized before they died at their killers' hands. Why no outcry from the same people that loudly condemn the Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and other such things? If one side is wrong for something, the vast majority of the time (the US), why is not the other side wrong when their atrocities are much more brutal?

23 comments:

ms. miami said...

lasunsett- sorry, but i find this comparison completely inapt.

i also consider it a low blow to imply that those who care about violence and injustice (real or perceived) perpetrated by the american government do not care about violence and injustice perpetrated by terrorists.

in any case, the intensity of any outcry will depend, among other things, upon the availability of a clear and visible target to whom to cry out.

Mustang said...

LA:

Aside from the fact that “missing in action” troops brings to the fore all kinds of concerns about leadership and accountability, the fact is that many in this country believe that the two soldiers “probably got what they deserved.”

I’m not sure why anyone would think that another human being “deserves” to be brutally tortured unto death. I have seen coverage of the story in the so-called conservative press, but not a lot of coverage from the opposite track.

If we are responsible individuals, we must admit that the Abu Grahib incident was unacceptable behavior by the guardians of our Country. I believe that those directly responsible for inappropriate behaviors and our national humiliation were punished. I cannot say that senior officers and NCOs have been appropriately vetted. But, there can be NO comparison between what happened at Abu Grahib and the depraved torture and murder of individuals at the hands of terrorist-insurgents. My question for you is why are you surprised that there is no apparent outrage in the mainstream media?

Your detractors can now claim that your insinuation is a “low blow,” but the fact is that the lack of outrage from the left really tells us all we need to know about those who profess to care about violence and injustice. Granted, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard in the conduct of world affairs – but in the final analysis, an outrage should really be an indignation no matter who perpetrates it.

As regard these soldiers, we cannot turn back the clock. Complex environments such as exist in armed conflict often produce costly mistakes and the best we can hope for in the aftermath of such tragedies is to learn from those errors. There can be no learning in the absence of the imposition of tough questions directed at the unit’s leadership. For example, the deployment of troops in such small numbers exposes them to all kind of dangers. Not knowing where the troopers were at any moment borders on criminal neglect. The inability of these soldiers to call for backup in this age of technological marvels is confusing to me. In time, we should have answers to these kinds of questions and our operating procedures modified to prevent other such incidents.

ms. miami said...

mustang- could you please provide some evidence of "many in this country" believing that the soldiers "got what they deserved"?

p.s. broad claims about "the left" and "the right" is really a method of avoiding an authentic discussion. if people can back up their claims, they can use specific arguments.

A.C. said...

Because LA, had we retreated to the horizon last year these men would still be alive. Any soldier's death in Iraq is due to Bush's intransigence and ignorance for going there to begin with, and remaining after no WMDs were found. Invading Iraq was not about the WoT, it was about oil.

Saddam was a huge threat during the Clinton years, but Clinton's policies of targeted bombings rendered him impotent and not worthy of removal in our lifetimes, or until another democrat says so. Bush clearly lied about all this. And, of course, we deserve it after Haditha and Abu Ghraib.

Did I leave anything out?

PS, thanks for being upfront about your ability to post and visit, it's appreciated.

G_in_AL said...

Just to remain fair:

The same reasoning can be applied to us in some respects. First, the answer to why there is no outcry from them:

Because this is not politiclaly expediant to their cause. It serves no political or self-interest to protest US soldiers being tortured before being murdered.

Now, how does this same logic apply to the US.

While we initally went into Iraq under the premis that we were stopping Sadam from essentially supporting terrorist activities, and from potentially using his access to WMD to support those activities against us; there is creditable evidence to show that this was simply ONE of the motivators (a convienent one at that) for the invasion and subsequent occupation.

While an overall power-shift and pardigm shift in the region was also important, our motivation has morphed into freeing oppressed people from the evils of dictatorship and tyranny.

However, Darfur was also under much more brutal tyrrany and oppression, yet we stood by and let the UN do nothing at thousands were slaughtered.

In the Balkins, the US acted upon this exact same senario under the guidence of the UN.

The difference: Darfur is NOT politically advantageous to the United States. From a moral perspective, it is a tradgedy. But from a geopolitical sense, it has none of the importance that Iraq or the Balkans had.

Thus, the US government chose when to act, without UN support, to stop injustice, when it was politically expediant. But the US chose to wait for UN action and abide by UN consent in Darfur when it served no geopolitical purpose.

That is the same moral relativism we assign to the muslims that are suddenly outraged when a US soldier sings "Haji Girl", but are silent when fellow muslims murder and brutalize US troops.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

I think that one telling point is that when an event happens and it comes over the newswire we almost know to a "T" how the media is going to portray it before they even open their mouth or print about it. How do we know that if there is no template?

When we hear a Quran is flushed (later shown to be false) we know that there will be a tone of outrage in the media. We know it will be covered ad nauseum.

When we hear something that will make the US look good or the "insurgents" look bad, we know the media will yawn and find something to move onto. We know it before they do.

I think the notion that we need a clear audience to address our outrage to is bogus. We address our opinions to the world community and those perpetraters will hear.

ms. miami said...

i'm quite confused here.

is this post supposed to be about how the american main stream media reacts to either of these stories or how people (i.e. individuals) react?

i'm sensing some conflation.

Always On Watch said...

LA,
I'm late commenting here because I couldn't get word verification to appear. Blogger glitch? Browser glitch? Who knows?

Why no outcry from the same people that loudly condemn the Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and other such things?

I'm probably being too simplistic here, but I think that anything which demonizes the enemy is glossed over, whereas anything which demonizes the United States is played up. Maybe "demonizes" is the wrong word, but I think you get what I mean.

I also think that the audience (readers, TV viewers) would rather see something negative about the United States than face the barbarity of the enemy. I see the reason as threefold:

1. The U.S. has a lot of bad pr for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to be found in our educational system. (David Horowitz?)

2. While people tend to like fictional horror, real horror is not very appealing because real horror means that it can happen to you. Fictional horror is a kind of vicariousness which serves as a safety valve. An example here: aside from the possibility that his writing style has changed, Stephen King's books don't sell very well now, nor for that matter neither do many of the other horror books which used to sell very well before 9/11.

3. Were the details of the horrendous deaths of these two soldiers to be revealed in more detail and with more coverage, more people might start researching why Islamists believe as they do. That search would lead down the road to political-incorrectness and anti-multiculturalism.

As long as I'm on the topic of selective coverage and outrage, I see the same kind of thing when it comes to Islamic rules for women. Pardon me if I'm slightly off topic. See this video and the comments. Where is the outrage from Human Rights Watch and the feminists? I believe that film is what cost director Theo Van Gogh his life.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

ms. miami,

LA's question included the line "Why no outcry from the same people that loudly condemn the Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and other such things?"

Those who produced an outcry of these includes:

- individuals
- mainstream media
- human rights organizations
- other organizations

If you wish to limit "people" to individuals then we simply interpret it differently. Organizations consist of people, so I think my reference to the media is valid.

By the way, where is Amnesty International and the International Red Cross on this? I have not heard a word. They are likely using the fact that they are not a part of an official government and official military as an excuse to be silent. Yet somehow these non-government, non-military, non-wearing uniform people have Geneva Convention rights ?

Mustang said...

@Ms. Miami:

Mustang – could you please provide some evidence of "many in this country" believing that the soldiers "got what they deserved"?

Yes. How should we describe people who appear at funeral services for soldiers killed in action, carrying signs that say “Live by the sword, perish by the sword?” The number of such demonstrations was enough to force a court decision on the right to express such attitudes during funeral services. Also, recall that there were people who claimed that journalist Daniel Pearl got what was coming, but then of course he was (tongue in cheek) Jewish.

I therefore put forth the following argument: We Americans, imbued with Christian principles, are somewhat arrogant in the manner in which we apply aid. The United States did nothing to protect Chinese from Japan in the 1930s; our refusal to address such barbarity did nothing but reinforce Japan’s self-perpetuating belief that they were invincible. The United States again did nothing to protect Cambodians from the genocide of about 3 million souls. The United States also did very little to protect Muslims from the barbarity of the Serbs until after thousands were murdered. So then at best, we must be afflicted with selective Christianity. And yes, anti-Semitism is alive and well within our borders. The point to this is that “many Americans” have a difficult time relating to the horrors rendered to others in places so far away. When only America’s mistakes are the focal point of the news media, the effect is a poisoning of the political well.

My contention is that Americans deserve to know the truth, not the abbreviated version of “newsworthy” according to the politics of the news editor – but the full truth, both the good, and the bad. Americans have every right to know that there is a great deal of exceptionally noteworthy things going on, from personal heroism by our men and women in uniform, to humanitarian works, to personal relationships being formed. So far, they aren’t getting the full story.

I did not intend to suggest you believe that the soldiers “got what was coming,” Ms. Miami – not at all. But I think that people must have their heads buried in the sand if they do not at least acknowledge that there ARE people in our country who want to see us fail – individually, and collectively. Naturally, they are entitled to their opinion, as I am to mine.

ms. miami said...

//By the way, where is Amnesty International and the International Red Cross on this? //

aics- are you assuming that i represent either of these organizations? it really doesn't make sense to ask me this question.

i notice that there is a lot of "real discussion" avoidance on this blog.

it's a rather simple trick to "define" someone based on a couple of comments, "place" him or her into a constructed bloc, project any view perceived to belong to this bloc onto said person, then start speaking as if this person were this bloc.

the end result, should this person accept such projections, is a very un-real discussion between two perceived blocs- and definitely not a real discussion between individuals.

i asked my question about the media because i don't understand the point of complaining about a media reaction (unless in passing) instead of speaking to each other about one another's views.

ms. miami said...

mustang- i'm aware of these examples, but wouldn't call them "many" in relation to our population as a whole.

i also find these things appalling.

i agree that many media outlets are problematic (i gravitate towards non-conventional and international outlets).

to quickly reiterate what i was typing as you were typing, what does that have to do with me?

i'd rather have a discussion about your views and my views, not the views or choices of some american media outlets.

Gene said...

There was no specific outcry concerning about the horrible end of our soldiers because it is self-evident that it was horrible. I don't hear anyone defending those who killed our soldiers in such fashion. Because it's indefensible. Those who killed our soldiers should be pursued and killed. I don't know of anyone who thinks our soliders deserved to die this way. Because they didn't.

Abusing a soldier in captivity is an abomination. Torturing soldiers is also an abomination. The reason people have condemed the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo is because we're supposed to be much, much better than that. To argue that the United States of America should only be held to the standards of the most vicious and amoral thugs in the world is appalling. It mocks everything that this country stands for and has stood for since it's inception. The second you say that the conduct of the United States should be evaluated not against the laws of the land and the Connstitution but by the atrocities committed by our vilest enemies, you mock everything this country stands for.

LASunsett said...

Thanks to everyone for the responses and my apologies for not getting back sooner to address the comments and to put another one of my antagonistic posts. I was late getting back and was thoroughly wiped out. (You know I am tired when I am too tired to blog.)

Ms. Miami,

i notice that there is a lot of "real discussion" avoidance on this blog.

How so? I think they answered the questions well. They gave us their views. You might not agree with them (and it's apparent that you don't), but they gave them.

Gene (as a late comer to the discussion) states the he believes that the torture and killing of the two soldiers is indefensible. It's probably one of the few times he and I would agree, but the thing to note is, he said this. Those that have gone out of their way to condemn Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, have not. In fact, I have searched your comments, and I have yet to see your condemnation.

The questions that I posed may not have been specific enough, but I do not believe that we have to give specific instances and cite every last little source, when it is such an evident thing. Take Jack Murtha for instance, he has been very vocal about the Marines in Haditha, but silent on this. Ted Kennedy, he has been very vocal on Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, but silent on this. John Kerry has made generalized accusations about the troops in general, off and on, for the duration of the war. But he too, has been silent on this. I could go on, but surely you get the idea.

Where does the media play into this, you ask? They had no trouble leading many newscasts, newspapers, and other broadcast and print journals with these stories ad nauseum. They asked the same questions over and over, until the news was saturated with Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. (in fact these stories are resurrected periodically when there is a slow news day) Why don't they pursue the torture and killing of these soldiers, with the same intensity? After all, they ask the politicans the questions.

No, Ms Miami. You know I love your input here and welcome it openly. But with all due respect, it is you that have skirted the issue here. Not the others.

Let me ask you the question, do you condemn the torture and killing of these soldiers? I am not trying to say you don't, but I would like to see it in writing, for the record, for any future discussions that may arise.

Always On Watch said...

LA,
Just FYI...Protest in Culver City, CA, on Friday, June 23.

ms. miami said...

lasunsett- questioning the question is not the same as skirting an issue. i think that it's always important for people to question the methodology used in such debates.

your post presented an inconsistency that you perceive in society at large. i would request that you specifiy what you mean by "people" in future posts. the media and international orgs don't necessarily represent me, a citizen, so it can get quite confusing.

you are entitled to your opinions on murtha and kennedy. personally, i'm not really interested in how the mainstream media presents this because i don't respect their practices in the first place.

since you've asked a specific question, yes, i condemn torture and killing on any level by any one. i'm surprised that you might wonder about me...

All_I_Can_Stands said...

ms. miami said:

aics- are you assuming that i represent either of these organizations? it really doesn't make sense to ask me this question.

My first comment was not directed to you. You questioned it which is fine. I answered giving a list of specific groups I view as being inconsistent. I then launched into a specific question for the benefit of all about Amnesty International.

If you need me to add a statement in a comment that "I am now directing my comments to all and not just Ms. Miami" then I think you ask too much.

I felt my question was very relavent as these groups are very quick to denounce our troops without proof. Here we have two tortured, killed and booby-trapped US soldiers and they are silent. Since my question Amnesty has indeed come out with a denouncement. The wording is less than I would hope, but they did come out with one.

ms. miami said...

aics- your second comment, which included the question about amnesty international et al., began with "ms. miami,".

i take it that the last paragraph of the comment was meant to be general. sorry, it wasn't clear to me, hence, my confusion...

LASunsett said...

Ms. Miami,

questioning the question is not the same as skirting an issue. i think that it's always important for people to question the methodology used in such debates.

This is not a dissertation, not a thesis, it's not even an undergraduate research project. If it was, I certainly would expect such strict scrutiny. It's a blog that contains commentary from me. I am not submitting any information that I wish to be considered for policy or procedure. I do not care who agrees with me or not. I give you and anyone else the opportunity to post opposing viewpoints. And as long as the poster is courteous and respectful (and you have always been that), I do not mind.

your post presented an inconsistency that you perceive in society at large. i would request that you specifiy what you mean by "people" in future posts.

Where is the inconsistency? It's was a pretty direct question. Maybe it could have been worded differently, but it was my question and it was certainly simple enough for most people to understand.

the media and international orgs don't necessarily represent me, a citizen, so it can get quite confusing.

Call it coincidence or whatever you want. If your view is similar or equal to theirs, that means your view is consistent with theirs.

The bottom line here is, there is a sector of the population (however great or small it may be)that deals with the two issues I mentioned, very differently. They criticize one thing when it involves the American government and they stay silent, when it doesn't. That's what I have observed on many occasions, especially since the 2000 election. I wanted to see what my readers thought about it, that's all.

since you've asked a specific question, yes, i condemn torture and killing on any level by any one. i'm surprised that you might wonder about me...

I never questioned it, I just wondered why you hadn't said it. It wasn't so hard to do, was it? ;)

All_I_Can_Stands said...

ms. miami,

no problem. and this entire one is just for you. :)

AICS

kev said...

Please pardon my directness, but ms. miami's exchange is somewhat reminiscent of an exchange of some time ago, when the question was about what "is," really is. Speaking of the media when you talk about "people" is certainly appropriate because that's exactly where most "people" get the news and, sadly, sometimes the slant of the media, that forms their thinking. And the media is made up of "people." Also, I will offer an example to ms. miami of people in this country who might believe the soldiers got what they deserve. Unfortunately I forget the guy's name, but when the beheaded and mutiliated bodies of contract workers turned up on an Iraq street a year or so ago, he actually said just that. I believe he's either a poster or he runs the "daily kos" blogsite. It's out there if you really want to look for it. It would not surprise me if there were posts there right now similar to his, unless, of course, they learned a lesson from the negative feedback they got and are deleting them. One more thing, ms. miami, regarding your first post--if they do care, why haven't we heard from them? We heard from all of them loudly and continuously, ad nauseum, about Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, but there has been only silence from them regarding this atrocity. And I offer you a clear and visible target--THE TERRORISTS, including their new leader who replaced the dead one. Hopefully, the new one will soon be joining the old one.

M-E said...

I don't think the outrage about what happened to those soldiers doesn't exist. There are still a lot of questions about how those soldiers were captured, whether they were left without support from the other soldiers, etc. Also, I have to wonder if the MSM is waiting to get more information before commenting on it. You have to remember, those soldiers died a brutal death and the families are still grieving and trying to find answers themselves.

Frankly, I'm glad that there isn't a lot of media coverage about this because of the pain and suffering that the family is enduring.

I hear complaints from the right wing when people like Murtha make remarks about the war,they say he is causing harm to the boots on the ground and making the insurgency stronger. Yet, now I'm hearing complaints that those who opposed Abu Ghairb and Gitmo aren't making enough noise. Would this not make the insurgency stronger and cause harm to our troops in Iraq in their view?

M-E said...

I don't think the outrage about what happened to those soldiers doesn't exist. There are still a lot of questions about how those soldiers were captured, whether they were left without support from the other soldiers, etc. Also, I have to wonder if the MSM is waiting to get more information before commenting on it. You have to remember, those soldiers died a brutal death and the families are still grieving and trying to find answers themselves.

Frankly, I'm glad that there isn't a lot of media coverage about this because of the pain and suffering that the family is enduring.

I hear complaints from the right wing when people like Murtha make remarks about the war,they say he is causing harm to the boots on the ground and making the insurgency stronger. Yet, now I'm hearing complaints that those who opposed Abu Ghairb and Gitmo aren't making enough noise. Would this not make the insurgency stronger and cause harm to our troops in Iraq in their view?