QUOTE OF THE DAY I

“The alleged mistreatment of detainees and the inhumane conditions at an Iraqi Ministry of Interior detention facility is very serious, and totally unacceptable,” – from the U.S. commanders who have uncovered torture by the Iraqi army. We led by example, didn’t we? Immediately following that horrific story is the following one:

Army officials said Tuesday that they were looking into claims by two former Iraqi detainees that they had been put into cages holding lions to terrify them during interrogations in 2003. Thahe Mohammed Sabar said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union that soldiers had pushed him and Sherzad Khalid, a friend, into the cage, then pulled them out when a lion moved toward him. Mr. Khalid said soldiers had forced him into the cages after repeatedly asking where to find Saddam Hussein and unconventional weapons.

There you have what’s left of our moral authority in Iraq – and around the world. Rumsfeld called the latter allegation “far-fetched.” This from a man who sat on the evidence of Abu Ghraib for months. He should have resigned then. And he should resign now.

QUOTE OF THE DAY II: “Not all Americans wanted to do these things [i.e. treat prisoners humanely]. Always some dark spirits wished to visit the same cruelties on the British and Hessians that had been inflicted on American captives. But Washington’s example carried growing weight, more so than his written orders and prohibitions. He often reminded his men that they were an army of liberty and freedom, and that the rights of humanity for which they were fighting should extend even to their enemies. Washington and his officers were keenly aware that the war was a contest for popular opinion, but they did not think in terms of ‘images’ or ‘messages’ in the manner of a modern journalist or politician. Their thinking was more substantive. The esteem of others was important to them mainly because they believed that victory would come only if they deserved to win. Even in the most urgent moments of the war, these men were concerned about ethical questions in the Revolution.” – David Hackett Fischer, from “Washington’s Crossing.”

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