Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Chain of command

A couple of weeks ago, my friend over at Amalgamation posted something about recent events related to Abu Ghraib. She has a good point about the sympathizing with the soldiers, but as you might see from my comment, I don't agree at all with the overall situation and reaction to these torture cases. I figured that would be it on this issue for a while since the media doesn't seem to care about it and the administration certainly doesn't care about it.

Since then, of course, there have been photographs of similar torture at the hands of British soldiers. This had apparently been known for quite some time, but the furor only resulted when the photos were released as part of two courts-martial.

The Economist has published an op/ed piece on this and stated some very important things about Right and Wrong. I don't believe it's login-protected so please give it a read since it's pretty short. In case you don't click over, here's a short blurb comparing the US reaction to the British reaction which covers the net-net for me:
In essence, it ignored the findings of the Abu Ghraib enquiry conducted by Major-General Antonio Taguba, in which he spoke of “systemic” problems at Abu Ghraib, since punishment was not imposed far up the chain of command. It has also sought to ignore consistent evidence that torture has been used in Guantánamo and to avoid confronting the unjust legal limbo in which prisoners there have been kept for almost three years. And the man who commissioned memos justifying torture, Alberto Gonzales, has been punished by being nominated by George Bush as his new attorney-general.
The worst sin, though, is the one that goes right to the top. Neither Mr Bush nor Tony Blair is willing to accept blame for what has occurred, nor to demand accountability for it from their cabinets. That is to imply that, for all their condemnations of the abuses, they think them politically unimportant. At least in international politics, they are wrong.

While The Economist can be quite conservative, I like that when it comes to issues like this, they draw a line in the sand and simply state what is Right and what is Wrong.

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