I can usually tell when Timothy is having a good day or a bad day depending upon his writings of that day.
As a fellow reporter for Pravda.ru, I can assure the American readership that Timothy is one of the biggest advocates of Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Speech.
He is not anti-American, he is pro Freedom of Speech. He also believes in the responsibility of the press to call it as it sees it.
In Tim s last article, Torture for fun, I can tell that the reports of the prisoner abuse stories hit a very raw nerve with him.
I m not here to detract, but only to tell Tim that I think he bit off more than he can chew for the present moment.
The revelations of the prisoner abuse did not surprise me, as an American, in the least when it hit the news wires. Why? A look at American history clearly indicates this latest episode in not an anomaly committed by a rogue unit. American history is filled with abuse of prisoners of war that is perceived or actual enemies.
What the reader should find appalling is that America is quick to point fingers, to whitewash, and detract attention from our own actions. We could fill countless books of reality based history in which we would find that America talks a big line, but we are as bad as any other nation.
We had the audacity to sit in judgment of Nazi Germany at Nuremburg while trying to cover our own tracks here in America. The Indian wars where unspeakable horrors were inflicted upon the Native Americas are one classic example. Women s genitalia were cut off and proudly displayed on the saddle horns of the 7th Cavalry. Only a mere 60 years before Nazi Germany, America was doing the same thing as Germany was accused of.
We stood up and said to Germany you are guilty, yet we had the Jim Crow laws, and just after Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans were summarily arrested and shipped off to detention camps.
My own father was one of the ad-hoc death squads driving under the cover of darkness and seeking revenge in the streets of Paris. They, him and his friends, would hire a French person and they d drive around the French person would point out a former Nazi cooperative, the guys would get out of the car 4 gun shots later, one death French person. They did the same in the dark nights of Berlin. Summary executions are prohibited by the Geneva Convention. What is worse is my father was doing this while the arrested former Gestapo agents were being tried, and hanged, for doing the same thing in German occupied lands during the war.
One can claim my father's actions were not endorsed by the US military government. However, according to my father, they had verbal orders from higher ups, their missions were condoned (as long as they didn t get caught).
I am a Viet Nam era vet and what Americans did to Viet POWs makes this latest scandal look like the work of the Red Cross. How many guys can remember, before all hell broke loose, of carrying an ear cut from a Viet cong?
Usually, America did a better job of covering tracks we did not have digital cameras, CD burners, etc. back then. Modern digital toys are what brought the Iraq prisoner scandals to light. Now, we re seeing the military trying to do damage control by way of hearings, witnesses, and the American cry of justice.
It wasn t just in Iraq either Arab born, English citizens, being released from Guantanamo are telling very similar stories. What makes this very interesting is that the prisoners being released had no access to the news media and they would have never known about what happened in Iraq.
We now have a very nasty question before us. Why is it acceptable for American soldiers to commit such things and wrong for others? If the base commander turns a blind eye to the behaviors, why are they vindicated? Why is the duty Sergeant not being indicted? Publicly crucifying a Private First Class is not going to make it all go away.
What PFC England did was wrong let us be clear about that, but the story does not stop with her alone. I am reminded of William Calley and the My Lai incident. A squad of men was sent into My Lai on a designated search and destroy mission. Their objective was the 48th VC Battalion and or their cooperatives ambiguous terms. Calley and his men followed their orders to the letter. Calley was crucified for it, but the people who sent him in there escaped all responsibility for sending 10 men into an area to face a battalion and things went tragically wrong.
I find it too hard to believe that the POW compound commander did not know what was happening under her command. Absolutely, I cannot believe that story. Where the MP s go, CID goes where were the CID agents when all this was happening? Certainly, at least one of the MPs must have had some scruples and said something about the abuse or were they silenced through threats of court martial? There are too many people involved in running a prison compound and nobody knew the abuses were happening? What about the military doctors whose responsibility it was to heal and treat sick or injured prisoners they did not raise a single question?
What is going to make this another miscarriage of justice is that the higher ups are not going to face retribution. The charge in the civilian world is Accessory. The charge in the civilian world is Lying to investigators.
What makes this whole matter even sadder is we tell the world we are above that sort of thing. Call it denial, call it lying, or call it abuse of POWs in contravention to the rules of war.
One day, very soon, the US will be called before a world court, and the US will be judged for committing the same crimes as the countries we sat in judgment of.
Maybe, America s worst nightmare is being called to trial, and the prosecutor will be our own history.