Skip to comments.Parole Saddam? Lew Rockwell on peace and reconciliation in Iraq.
Posted on 05/05/2004 9:45:53 AM PDT by u-89
From the LRC Blog:
Whatever Happened to Hate Mail?
Posted by Lew Rockwell at 11:11 AM
When I wrote about the US spy plane in China a few years ago, and said China was within its rights to act as it did (and that the US claimed the right to shoot down such planes off its shores), I received more than 600 hate emails, including a number of death threats. I've also received plenty of hate mail in response to articles on Iraq. But over the last year, the number of such messages has dwindled. Yesterday's article on freeing Saddam resulted in many nice emails, and only two critical ones, and those were civil. There was no hate mail at all. Of course, the warmongers may have given up on me. But I think the most fervent have lost heart, and that is all to the good, since it presages even less public support for federal killing and maiming.
And here's the article -
The Status Quo Ante
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
The US has lost the war. Now its efforts in Iraq will be defined for the history books by the photos of psychosexual torture methods used by US soldiers and civilian contractors in Baghdad. There is no avoiding this. The mask as moral liberator was ripped off long ago. The danger now is that the US presence will live up to the worst caricature of the most fundamentalist Islamic cleric.
What must the US do to dig out of disaster? What must the US do to make it right? The US strategy now is to try to put the head back on the body by reinstalling former Baathists in positions of power. The fear, of course, is that this will only further infuriate the Shiites. Trying to sort through all this, the US is frantically studying how Saddam was able to maintain order and political stability, and doing its best to replicate this feat. The problem is that even Saddam's top henchmen cannot enjoy legitimacy if the public perceives them as tools of the US.
Clearly, nostalgia for Saddam is sweeping all sectors. The experience of Jasim Muhammad Saleh demonstrates this. He is a former general of Saddam's Republican Guard. When the US pulled back from Fallujah the first really smart thing the US has done in this entire war he drove into the city wearing his old uniform and was cheered. He was the de facto head of state in that city, his legitimacy deriving entirely from his association with the old regime.
So too with the new commander of Iraq's army, Amer Bakr al-Hashimi, who publicly announced that he is "proud" to have served Saddam. What is the US to do? Making such statements only reinforces his status. Punishing him does the same. Replacing him will only destabilize matters more. Day by day, the US is realizing that the status quo ante is the only way out, but US officials are unsure how or to what extent it can go back.
In some way, there is no going back. Many thousands are dead and tens of thousands are wounded, civilians and soldiers. Mosques have been bombed and cities destroyed. The US made mass graves necessary. What was left of civilization in Iraq after the sanctions was nearly eradicated, and for no cause. There were no WMDs. There was no connection to 9-11. This war was a malevolent hoax.
Whatever war propaganda said about Saddam's evil has been turned back on the US: torture chambers, rape rooms, outlawing dissent, and all the rest.
Yes, the troops ought to come home. When? As soon as they can get packed. The same goes for the phonies calling themselves the "Coalition Provisional Authority." All these bureaucrats need to admit is that they have no legitimacy at all, but rather acted as civilian cover for a martial law junta that ruled by blood and lies. Then the UN can work with Islamic clerics, the merchant class, and other Iraqi leaders to fill the void, not with force but with peace.
And yet a straight pullout from Iraq at this point only goes so far. Iraq is left with devastation and death. A generation of Muslims has been taught by this war to hate and despise American influence. The hard core among them will be easy recruits in a terrorist army that will last until kingdom come, always threatening and always providing a pretext for our own government to increase its despotic control over American life.
What can be done to prevent this awful scenario? The US government must apologize, or at least eat a truckload of humble pie. It needs to do everything possible to admit wrongdoing, through both symbolic and substantial acts of penance. This is essential for showing the Arab world that we too recognize that a grave injustice has been done. Insofar as it is possible, acts of public humility will help reverse the damage and help prevent acts of vengeance.
But such expressions will only be symbolic. They need to be matched by substantive acts as well. Perhaps the US can assist in establishing something resembling a representative democracy in Iraq, or at least not deliver the final death blow of permitting an Islamic dictatorship to arise in what used to be the most liberally-minded nation in the region. This cannot be done by the US as such, but under the guidance of an international delegation of the sort that Jimmy Carter has led in the past, operating again under the aegis of the UN.
This isn't just my idea. All people of good will (and, yes, that excludes the entire war cabal in the Bush administration) would immediately view this scenario as the most humane and viable transition from ghastly war to restorative peace.
At the same time, it is preposterous for anyone to speak of democracy in Iraq so long as Saddam Hussein is in an official spider hole. He was unseated on a basis that is contrary to all standards of legal conduct between nations. The US decided on its own that he should no longer be the president of Iraq the very thing all norms of international law are designed to prevent. No government needs to be permanent, but those who pose no threat to international peace should be managed, controlled, or overthrown by their own citizens.
The end is unjustified by the means used. There is no moral nor legal basis (other than might makes right) for Saddam to be held by the US, much less subjected to a kangaroo court staffed by neoconservative conspirators. Saddam must be immediately released and escorted back to Iraq under the protection of an international delegation. At that point, Carter can supervise elections with Saddam among the candidates. And yes, its not impossible that he might win.
Is this a shocking suggestion? Yes, and I hesitate to be the first one to say publicly what so many people including ex-government officials and long-time foreign policy commentators have been saying privately for months. But at some point, such thoughts will become commonplace. It is a fact that this war was unjust. Releasing him would at least concede that the US was wrong to wage it. This is the first step toward ending the bloodshed and terror.
In fact, there is no other option for Iraq at this point. Phony polls aside, the US has made Saddam more popular than when he was in power. The US can choose between keeping Saddam locked up and thereby continue to stir the pot, leading to ever more violence, or it can release Saddam without any charges against him let alone by Ahmed Chalabi's son and have a hope for reconciliation and peace.
Let's deal with a number of objections to releasing Saddam.
He is a tyrant, a liar, a killer, and the new Hitler. We've been hearing this for so long that it is tough to separate the truth from the war propaganda. It was the Bush administration and not Saddam that turned out to be lying about WMDs. As for the other charges, Putin is also a killer and a tyrant. He has killed "his own people" in Chechnya. The US doesn't dispute his legitimacy. In fact, the world is strewn with despots, many of them our allies. The US has no veto power over the leadership of countries in far corners of the world, much less the right to kidnap and try them. Yes, many Iraqis hated Saddam, but the US had no business deciding on its own to unseat him. That should be left to the Iraqi people.
He will return to slaughter his enemies. In fact, he might well return anxious to disprove all the claims made against him. Under the eye of human rights organizations, the press, and the UN, he will have every incentive to behave in a humanitarian way. Even as head of state, he would face pressure to be liberally minded. His rule would be shaky at best; if it turns out to be short-lived, that's fine too, because the revolution would be from within.
The US will lose credibility. Actually, the US has already lost credibility. A reversal on this scale is the only way to bring it back. It is also the last thing that al Qaeda wants, because it would remove a main source of its case for recruiting new terrorists. If the US turns on a dime to become reasonable, humanitarian, and peacefully minded, the terrorists lose rationale for a campaign of vengeance. And the US gains credibility by admitting the truth, and by undertaking a dramatic gesture to right history.
This would reward despotism. It's hard to see how being released from captivity after having your sons slaughtered and your entire life destroyed is a reward for despotism. All it does is grant some small measure of international justice in an impossibly grotesque environment. Also, we must think about the message that keeping Saddam in prison sends. It says that the end justifies the means, and powerful states with WMDs like the US can get away with anything. That is not a good message for the world. The US will continue to pay for this disastrous war so long as it holds Saddam.
This would reverse the one decent accomplishment of the war. And so long as Saddam is in prison, the US will be free to claim that all the bloodshed and the bloody taxes at least accomplished this one great thing. The US government must be denied this prize. The Muslim world cannot continue to think that the US is self-satisfied or that the Bush administration got what it wanted in the end. If the US were required to return Saddam and pull out of Iraq, it would say to the world: aggression will not be rewarded.
Yes, there are a thousand other issues to sort out. What about the billions in damage and theft? Who will compensate the families of the dead? What other actions can the US take that will encourage reconciliation? All these issues must be faced squarely and truthfully. It will be painful. But we must remember that this war has been ghastly, and that a future without justice will be more painful still.
How will George Bush explain to the families of dead US soldiers why he is having to restore the status quo ante? He should begin with the tenth-century prayer said first by the powerful, who sought forgiveness for their sins:
Confiteor Deo omnipotenti
mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
May 4, 2004
Copyright © 2004 LewRockwell.com
Don't flatter yourself, Lew. You are just being ignored more and more.
And that is all to the good.
What do you think we're doing in Fallujah? (c8
I have nothing but contempt for them.
I think he is that dead guy who play "Q" in the James Bond movies.
No. I'm pretty sure he's the guy that married Darva Conger.
As for LRC I am not aware that JR has blacklisted them. I post their articles frequently and to date have had no problem. I know many freepers do not appreciate LRC but many others do. The site does not focus on the war exclusively by the way, there are many interesting articles on economics, history, culture, etc. There was one on the origins of Mother Day I was thinking about posting.
If by sister sites you mean Anti-war.com, well as I understand it they requested that their articles no longer be posted on this FR but I do not know why.
1. Your profile page is the must vulgar display of move-on handwringing I've ever seen.
2. Are you Lew Rockwell?
I think JimRob's objection is mostly with the fact that these sites write explicitly to get mentioned on FR, anti-war.com's self-righteous complaints not withstanding.
Isn't he that painter? Must be getting on in years. Good brew he's smoking too, by the looks of things.
Funny how we never hear of the Lew Rockwells of the world who actually live in the tyrant's nation (pick one) and write this tripe. Perhaps Lew should go try. Then again, he'd probably become a member of the ruling class - a Baathist I would say.
Maybe you could call him a lawyer, or would that be too cruel?
Since we are so enlightened now and flip-flopped on monetary stability and world socialism, I am not the die-hard Republican I once was. I do even toy with the idea of third party voting in place of "none of the above". I do note that the right to express opinion is curtailed by accusation of treason, insanity, or just plain dumb. Like the story of the pied piper, the followers of the party must stay in line, and be led to their fate.
According to the Alexa ratings for political sites Lew Rockwell is the 4th most popular news site on the web. Somehow I don't think they write merely to get noticed on FR but who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of man? They might just live for postings like this and comments like yours. Stranger things have happen.
If you look at the Lew Rockwell homepage you will see that they have an Alexa referral box on it. The Alexa rating system works only for Browsers with the Alexa Toolbar installed. The Alexa spyware collects surfing data on those browsers with the toolbar installed. Currently the Toolbar only works with Microsoft Internet Explorer.Same talking points . . . If you are an employee or contributor or flunky at LR.com, you should at least have the honesty to admit it.
Lew Rockwell hypes the Alexa Rating by featuring it on his hompage and often mentioning his ratings as the example you have linked. His users are more likely to use the Tool Bar offered by Alexa if for no other reason than they are aware it exists, which would not be typically true of the other sites he shows in the comparisons he listed.
Alexa ratings my be relevant comparisons for sites that do not make prominant reference to Alexa and thereby Skew the ratings upward. Also, I don't think he is doing his readers any favors by leading them to a toolbar that loads spyware on their computers.
To take the comments first: they seem to be from threads discussing the latest hysteria over the nude, semi-nude or just silly pictures coming out of Iraq. That is, purportedly coming out of Iraq. As of now, what is real and not real has not been determined - some pics floated around comes from a porn studio in Budapest, for example. And even if some of this is real, being told to stand in a silly manner while naked and feeling humiliated is not torture, even if you're an islamic, a terrorist, or a terrorist sympathizer. Think you can wrap your mind around this?
Vulgar display: that is your profile page packed with all this stuff - screaming "woe is us - we are Bad Americans - we have lost the war, immoral swine that we are". Yes, you are one. Your screeds are exactly what comes out of MoveOn and ANSWER. I'd say that's pretty vulgar. And that's being polite.
Nice of him to let me know when to stop reading.
What is the purpose of your bio page, u-89?
Could his whining for attention be any more clear?
Wah! My first attempt to inflame peolpe didn't work. Let my post the same stupid story AGAIN! There! Now, send me hate mail so I can feel superior!
Gee, Lew, maybe people just don't bother responding to morons anymore. There are better things to do with our time than educating you.
Too funny. I wonder if he'll have Tommy DiLusional do a few articles on how misunderstood poor Saddam was.
Don't read the news much do you chief?
Here's a few quotes from stories on all the news sites since you missed them.
the deaths of two Iraqi prisoners already have been ruled homicides and have on going investigations into another 12 deaths, the Army said Tuesday. In one case, a soldier was court-martialed, reduced in rank and discharged from the Army. In the other case, a CIA contract interrogator's conduct has been referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, the Army said.
Then there's this:
The following are some of the key excerpts from the report prepared by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba on alleged abuse of prisoners by members of the 800th Military Police Brigade at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad. The report was ordered by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of Joint Task Force-7, the senior U.S. military official in Iraq, following persistent allegations of human rights abuses at the prison.
-numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force
-Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees
- Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time
-Pouring cold water on naked detainees
-Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair
-Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell
- Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick
-Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet
-Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees
-Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing
-Forcing naked male detainees to wear womens underwear
-Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped
-Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them
-Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture
-Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainees neck and having a female Soldier pose for a picture
-A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee
-Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee
These findings are amply supported by written confessions provided by several of the suspects, written statements provided by detainees, and witness statements.
Do you find all these FACTS as laid out by the army itself compatible with your values? If so that's OK there are plenty of others around here who think this business is just the greatest. Funny thing though but the president himself doesn't seem too keen on it. But hey, maybe these folks are more conservative than he is. Personally my conservative values are appalled by this but then perhaps I'm just old fashioned.
Because we are ignoring you Lewellen.
It's a test.
BTW Walt. It is messy over there. Hard things are always messy. But not as messy as the alternative would be in not so many years when the mess is measured in mega RADS in some city near you.
You, on the other hand, prefer the mob. Another MoveOn trait.
Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees
Probably annoying as h*ll. Is it harmful? How harmful? Like, do your skin fall off, is it poisonous to the point of killing you or making you sick?
Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time
Oh yes, I imagine that this would be pretty harmful given Iraqi temperatures.
Pouring cold water on naked detainees
Getting doused with cold water in a desert climate must be pure torture. Terrible.
Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair
Too bad. How much of a beating did the victim take? Bruised? Broken bones?
Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell
Getting medical attention is torture? Just wondering: does the guard (I assume that you know who it was) have some paramedic training? Was it a good stitch-up-job?
Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick
Sodomizing detainees isn't a good thing. There might have to be some payback for this one, if true. But I notice that you're saying "perhaps with a broom stick". Do you have all the details on this?
Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet
My heart bleeds profusely. Jumping on people's feet is just beyond the pale. Do you know if anyone suffered physical damage from this, and where can I find a verification of this incident?
Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees
Hmmm... there does seem to have been some pics of naked people floating around. Can you point out which ones are non-faked, and who took them?
Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing
You mean, photographing people in silly and humiliating positions, thereby offending muslim religion and libertarian sensibilities?
Forcing naked male detainees to wear womens underwear
I hate to break this to you, but detainees wearing women's underwear are hardly "naked". Who knows, it might even be a preference for certain editors close to your editor :).
Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped
More humiliating stuff. I suppose this should be cracked down on, if true. I presume that you know if it is true, and who the perp is. Share, please.
Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them
So were any Iraqis hurt or harmed in this stunt? How badly?
Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture
Seen this one, but can't really say anything but obviously a pose. Standing around in silly positions stuff. However, I don't think this person was naked - was wearing some kind of poncho or something, I think. Simulated torture????
A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee
Ah. I do think you must have gotten one of the fakes, from www.sexinwar.com in Budapest. My sympathies, and better luck on your next surf. Or.... do you have some substantiation for that one?
Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee
Working dogs? Not rabid or anything, I hope? Actually, I tend to believe anyone injured around a working dog probably did something stupid. Most bites are the fault of the bitten one. Disappointing as that may be, it's true. So, verifications. Names, who did what to who, where are the (verified) pictures and general evidence? How much is from al Jazeera, how much from al Arabya, how much from Lew Rockwell? And how much from any formal investigation?
> How much is from al Jazeera, how much from al Arabya, how much from Lew Rockwell? And how much from any formal investigation?
This is not what I am saying or any of the other sources you gratuitously mention. Read the green bit in my post again - it's from the official US Army report! Evrything on that list is cut and paste from the report - go to Drudge, MSNBC or any other news site and read it for yourself.
BTW the cold water on a naked body business is not as light as you make it out to be. Apparently they were naked in cold damp cells and hosed down and left to shiver for days. You try that at home and tell if it's torture 3 days from now.
Maybe it's because people who know he's got a screw loose don't bother reading his stuff.
The report mentions "allegations", I believe. Now, which are actually confirmed/proven?
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