17 May 2004

life imitating art

From A Few Good Men

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to.

Did you order the code red?

I did the job you sent me to do.

Did you order the code red?

You're goddamn right I did.

From Rumsfeld�s appearance before the House Armed Services Committee

I don't believe that it would be right for me to run around looking for scapegoats, so you can toss someone over the side.�And I'll be damned if I'm going to look at that list and pretend that I think it was badly done.�I don't.�I think they did a darn good job. Perfect?�No.�But a good job.

�not badly done' evidently has a whole new meaning not yet shared with the rest of us. It is perhaps, a known unknown.

From today�s Reuters:

Iraqis held by U.S. forces have been subjected to systematic degrading treatment, sometimes close to torture, that may have been officially condoned, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Friday.

Breaking with its usual vow of silence, the Geneva-based humanitarian agency (ICRC) said visits to detention centers in Iraq between March and November 2003 had turned up violations of international treaties on prisoners of war.

"What we have observed are situations from a human point of view that are degrading in treatment and in some incidents tantamount to torture," Pierre Kraehenbuehl, director of ICRC operations, told journalists.

"Our findings do not allow us to conclude that what we were dealing with ... were isolated acts of individual members of coalition forces. What we have described is a pattern and a broad system," he said.

The ICRC, whose reports on prison visits are confidential, went public with some of its findings after parts of the 24-page document were carried by the Wall Street Journal.

The scandal over detainee abuse broke last week with the release of photographs showing the sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, a U.S.-run jail outside Baghdad.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Friday took responsibility for the incidents, which have caused outrage in the Middle East, and apologized to the victims, the Iraqi people and Americans.

Creating a culture has consequences, and those consequences are not unknowns, known, denied or otherwise. The consequences were best defined by Article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter:

Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.

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