Actions speak louder than words

Headline from the Austin-American Statesman, my local newspaper: “Rumsfeld doing ‘superb job,’ Bush says” (registration required). Apparently, Bush gave Rumsfeld a public back-patting yesterday. Atta-boy Rummy.

The Senate also approved a resolution condemning the torture of Iraqi prisoners, and apologizing to them and their families. That’s a good start, but condemnations and apologies ring hollow if they are not followed by action.

This is a great opportunity to teach the Iraqi people a core tenet of democracy–that leaders are held accountable to the will of the people. It is precisely this accountability that separates our leaders from tyrants.

Speaking of accountability, consider this statement from White House spokesman, Scott McClellan:

“The president’s reaction was one of deep disgust and disbelief that anyone who wears our uniform would engage in such shameful and appalling acts.”

Are you kidding me? The president is laying all the blame for this at the feet of the prison guards? What happened to “the buck stops here?”

When Saddam was in power, we didn’t blame his soldiers for the torture conducted in his prisons–we blamed him. And rightly so. Then, we toppled him from power because of it (that and some as-yet-undiscovered WMDs). Following the same logic, what right does Bush now have to remain in power?

This is no time to be shifting blame, now is the time to show the Iraqi people (and the world) the power of democracy in action.


2 thoughts on “Actions speak louder than words

  1. BartB says:

    “…. Moral posturing may serve political interests, but no honest person can be particularly surprised that wartime prisons manned by relatively untrained and inexperienced reservists are not superior to our own domestic penal institutions. Those feigning horrified outrage ought to look to their own backyards before portraying abuses by a relative few in Iraq as particularly surprising or unprecedented.”


  2. Thanks for the comment.

    If you keep reading this blog, you’ll see I have no particular axe to grind. I don’t consider myself liberal or Democrat (or Republican for that matter). Just genuinely outraged.

    I could understand if this happened once or twice in a single prison. But this is not the case of some renegade GI’s.

    From the same article:

    “… the administration faced more bad news Monday when a Red Cross report said that up to 90 percent of Iraqi detainees were arrested “by mistake” and that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers was widespread and routine.”

    But even if this report is overblown, and this was an isolated incident — how do we prevent it from happening again? We hold those in charge accountable; the one’s knew should have known what was going on and should have stopped it. To do otherwise lets this sort of thing continue to happen.

    If you are an officer in command of a prison, and one of your key objectives it extract information from your prisoners — what is your take away from this? That it was the soldiers fault?

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