Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Hollywood and Osama

"Nothing tells you more about Hollywood than what it chooses to honor." The rest is Charles Krauthammer at his best. 

Discussions - 30 Comments

Yet another reason why there is less TV watching in our house and more reading.

Chaps, best get used to it, and get out of denial.


Good grief, is the author of the article incapable of reviewing history?


Hamid K. is a good guy sure, but then so were any number of democratic heads of state eliminated by the US. Iran? Chile? Nicaragua? Heck ... almost Venezuela?


Your guys are torturing and imprisoning without trial right NOW. The self righteous tone of the article simultaneously disgusts and amazes me.


Welcome to Amerika, where black is white and white is black.

I speak only for myself, and not for any other American: I don’t care if a radical Islam who hates America is force fed against his will. I don’t care if one of his comrades says it is worse than whatever torture he received in Saudi Arabia for whatever crime he committed there. Wah-wah-wah. The truth is 9/11 pissed me off. It changed me in ways I never imagined. It affected me more deeply and more personally than just about any other event in my lifetime. If one of these detainees DIED because of a hunger strike I can only IMAGINE the outcry in the world about his captors allowing him to die. These detainees, whether held because of alleged association with 9/11 or JUST association with radical Islam that hates me simply because I’m an American, are still alive and are receiving more media time than any of us who were and are still affected by 9/11 to this day. 9/11 was more than just a tragedy to me and I’ll get "over it" when I’m good and ready. For me, the rest of the world can just deal with it.

The fact that the entertainment industry in America and the world intends to glamorize terrorism and seeks sympathy for those who embrace terrorism is lost on me. If they want to impress the world with their portrayal of a terrorist - so be it - I won’t pay to see that slop on the screen.

By ED JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
Thu Mar 2, 9:23 AM ET


SYDNEY, Australia - Human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein, as lawlessness and sectarian violence sweep the country, the former U.N. human rights chief in Iraq said Thursday.

John Pace, who last month left his post as director of the human rights office at the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, said the level of extra-judicial executions and torture is soaring, and morgue workers are being threatened by both government-backed militia and insurgents not to properly investigate deaths.

"Under Saddam, if you agreed to forgo your basic right to freedom of expression and thought, you were physically more or less OK," Pace said in an interview with The Associated Press. "But now, no. Here, you have a primitive, chaotic situation where anybody can do anything they want to anyone."

Pace, who was born in Malta but now resides in Australia, said that while the scale of atrocity under Saddam was "daunting," now nobody is safe from abuse.

"It is certainly as bad," he said. "It extends over a much wider section of the population than it did under Saddam."

Pace, currently a visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, spoke as sectarian tensions in Iraq push the country to the brink of civil war.

There has been a surge in religious violence in Iraq since the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in the mainly Sunni city of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, and a spate of reprisal attacks against Sunnis.

The situation has been made worse by extremist Shiite militia operating within the ranks of the Interior Ministry, said Pace, who singled out the Badr Brigade, which makes up a large chunk of the Iraqi security services and military.

He said militia and insurgents are responsible for threatening morgue staff in Baghdad not to perform autopsies on bodies of apparent victims of torture and killings.

"They are told it is not necessary, and not in their interests," he said, adding that both militia and insurgents were "trying to minimize any chances" that their activities could be investigated and prosecuted.

Pace, who spent much of his two years in the post in Iraq, said he visited the morgue in Baghdad once a week when he was in the city and regarded it as a "barometer" of the level of violence in the country. He declined to provide more specific details about the threats, citing fears for the safety of morgue workers.

He said that around three-quarters of the several hundred bodies brought to the morgue each month were categorized with "gunshot wound" as the cause of death — a phrase Pace says is a euphemism. "Nearly all were executed and tortured," he added.

Iraq’s interior minister, Bayan Jabr, is a member of Iraq’s biggest Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, which ran the Badr Brigade. Badr claims it is no longer an armed militia.

But former Badr commanders hold key posts in Interior Ministry commando units, which are regarded by Sunnis as nothing more than death squads. In November, the U.S. Army raided an Interior Ministry bunker in Baghdad and found 158 tortured and starved Sunni prisoners.

"They have caused havoc," said Pace, referring to the Badr Brigade. "They do basically as they please. They arrest people, they torture people, they execute people, they detain people, they negotiate ransom and they do that with impunity."

I don’t care if one of his comrades says it is worse than whatever torture he received in Saudi Arabia for whatever crime he committed there. Wah-wah-wah.


Well Deb, thanks for being so forthright.


Firstly you don’t know anything about this guy. No one does, because almost everything to do with these people is shrouded in secrecy.


Secondly, you are conciously sanctioning the torture of the guilty, and subconciously the torture of the innocent. All prison systems end up grinding the occasional innocent into mince, and Gitmo with it’s utter lack of oversight is unlikely to be an exception.


So this is the future is it? The jackbooted heel of america forever stamping on the face of the world?


Your attitude is appalling, inhuman and ironically, deeply unamerican.


Shame on you Deb, shame on you:-(

Brian, your ocmments here are appreciated (at least by me), but I’ve noticed that you are often citing what other people have said yet it looks like something that you are saying yourself. Could you please use quotation marks or italics to indicate that you are quoting someone? Yes, I can figure it out the way you do it now, but for ease of reading and to help create a certain flow, it would help. Thanks!

but I’ve noticed that you are often citing what other people have said yet it looks like something that you are saying yourself.

Consider it done. Thanks for the heads up:-)

"So this is the future is it? The jackbooted heel of america forever stamping on the face of the world? Your attitude is appalling, inhuman and ironically, deeply unamerican."

No shame here, and again, I speak solely for myself, which is protected by my right as an American, appalling as that may be.

I speak solely for myself, which is protected by my right as an American, appalling as that may be.


I’m certainly not disputing your right to say this stuff. Would that the right has available the world over.

Some people seem to be incapable of drawing the distinctions between the motives and actions of the United States and the motives and actions of Nazis, communists, and Islamic terrorists. Some people, I’m afraid, just aren’t very bright.

They should take heart--at least they can have a career as high school geography teachers.

All you are saying Tom, is that the ends justify the means and that we should trust those in authority and accord them unthinking loyalty.


Good luck with that.

Brian,

I think what Tom and Deb are trying to say, is best captured by what Abraham Lincoln said -

"Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT."

It may sound silly to you, and it may sound like some cryptoreligious call to kill, but I think it captures the essence that differentiates what we are doing v. what Islamic Fundamentalists are doing.

Fire away.

Paul

Since we are quoting Lincoln :

"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it."
--From the April 6, 1859


I think Lincoln would disapprove of a people, who claim the right, based only on their own fears, to kill, arrest or imprison any person on the planet.


That, at it’s most basic, is what you chaps are claiming. Gee, did I say claiming? It’s what you’ve done:-)

My son is at Guantanamo. He’s a Navy Corpsman, not a detainee. Therefore, I have an independent reporter, who insists that there is not torture there, never was because of threatened military punishments to those guarding and that they, the prison guards, live as roughly as do the prisoners.


I ask you, is force-feeding to keep someone alive is torture? If his resistance makes it painful, then keeping him alive amounts to torture, because forcing him to stay alive is torture in that circumstance. If the detainee had been allowed to die of starvation, would that be more right? That seems to be what one lawyer was contending. Do you agree? Would the US government be more correct allowing those detainees attempting to starve to death to die? The world press would have been altogether understanding in the event. Right?

My son had to learn hand-to-hand combat when he arrived because if you go to the aid of a prisoner he is liable to try to kill you. The corpsmen giving medical aid are at great risk. The detainees do every vile thing they can think of to the military personnel watching them, because they know there can be NO retaliation. These are not charming, civilized gentlemen being detained. You would not like them in your neighborhood. Which leads me to ask, where are you suggesting they go upon release? Will Sweden hold them if the camp at Guantanamo is disbanded? Surely you are not suggesting sending those people back to Iraq or Afghanistan? Perhaps you are suggesting that they all go freely, because surely they are all innocents? The US Government will go to the time, expense and trouble to hold about 500 innocent folks in order to gain the scorn and derision of people like you, Mr Coughlan, because....why? We must like it, in our putative arrogance. Do you really think you are making a logical, reasoned argument here?

K, much appreciated, but you waste your time with Brian C. He’s a Mooron, and none of his arguments make sense (which is OK by him...his life is about emoting, not thinking). As for how we’ve "offed" good democratic leaders, BS. Anyone who could think that the Sandinistas were the good guys has his head up his posterior. There’s not a country on earth that has anything but a mixed record of foreign affairs. America is far above average on ethics by any reasonable standard. But that’s OK, Brian, I know you are living in lala land...you don’t have a reasonable standard.

I notice no one, responded to my Lincoln quote.


Would Lincoln have approved?

The US Government will go to the time, expense and trouble to hold about 500 innocent folks in order to gain the scorn and derision of people like you, Mr Coughlan, because....why? We must like it, in our putative arrogance. Do you really think you are making a logical, reasoned argument here?


Certainly. Bush has shown time and again that he does what he likes because he thinks it’s the right thing to do, and doesn’t give a rats ass what anybody else thinks. That, right there is the core attitude I object to.


I reject the idea that this man (or any man), can arrest, imprison and "force feed" anyone, forever, anywhere on the planet just because HE thinks it’s a good idea. Screw THAT.


He, and his party are the source of your problem, it is impossible to justify the incarceration of anyone indefinetly, let alone 500 people. You guys try, but you can’t do it.


It constitutes a desicable abuse of power. The worlds most powerful nation doing what it likes, because it can. It really turns my stomach.


Is it logical to argue that the country that accounts for 50% of the annual $900 billion security spend, is so threatened that it must resort (albeit on a smaller scale) to all the instruments of the worst totalitarian states of history? C’mon pull the other one.


Bush is doing it because he can, and you are letting him do it, and you are the only people who can stop him from doing it. It’s that stark.

"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." --From the April 6, 1859

Coughlin, what would an Irishman living in Sweden know about American history? Not much I think. An Allistar Cooke you are not.

Lincoln was referring to the issue of slavery just prior to our Civil War. Now pray tell where are we enslaving people? You may want to send that quote to the Sudanese government.

Yes sir, Coughlin, you need to check the locks on your echo chamber.

Another version of Lincoln’s quote

This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
- Abraham Lincoln

Now consider this onePThere is no slavery but ignorance.
- Robert G. Ingersoll

Have a good day.

Coughlin, what would an Irishman living in Sweden know about American history? Not much I think. An Allistar Cooke you are not.


A fair bit as it happens, although I’d have to agree that I’m no Alistair Cooke, you mean the journalist I take it?


Aside from the idea that american policy dictates that I, for example, can be kidnapped at the whim of the american president. I take it we agree on this point?


There is also the broader issue of US military and economic power that represents a more subtle and insidious enslavery.


An example. During the Iraq war there was overwhelming public objection to american planes landing at Shannon airport. Nonetheless the prime minister of Ireland went ahead and allowed it. Why? Out of love for the US? Because he thought invading Iraq was a spanking good idea? Of course not, he did it because he feared economic retribution. The horror is, that the Irish have "good" relationship with the US.


The list of such examples is endless. America does not want a genuine even playing field, with the same global laws for all, because then it couldn’t do what it likes. I defy you to claim that this is not the case. In fact you probably approve:-)


So might is right and even playing field be damned. That attitude, as I’ve said many times is pretty reprehensible. It is at the heart of your national pathology. The US has become I kind of Jim Jones nation state, convinced of it’s own messianic vision to the exclusion of all rational discourse.


Oh dear, I get carried away. Not everyone of course, and lately people seem to be coming around. Lets hope to God that trend continues. If it doesn’t I fear for the future. Not for mine, I’m tucked away in sunny Sweden, but for the Iraqis, the Iranians and innocent people all over the middle east. They are ones currently paying the price for Bush hubris.

Being evasive Coughlin?

I responded to your Lincoln.

Being evasive Coughlin?


No ... I clarified why I thought the quote appropriate, and the kind of slavery I’m talking about .... didn’t I?


Oh ... and call me Brian, no need to stand on ceremony:-)

Good grief, is the author of the article incapable of reviewing history?
Hamid K. is a good guy sure, but then so were any number of democratic heads of state eliminated by the US. Iran? Chile? Nicaragua? Heck ... almost Venezuela? Welcome to Amerika

Coughlin (I will not give you the benefit of familiarity): What history books have you been reading? Please cite them and please identify the "democratic heads of state" eliminated by the U.S.

The self righteous tone of the article simultaneously disgusts and amazes me.Comment 2 by Brian Coughlan [E-Mail]

So sorry your feewings were hurt.

Welcome to Amerika

That is The United States of America to you sir.

Secondly, you are conciously (sic) sanctioning the torture of the guilty, and subconciously (sic)the torture of the innocent. All prison systems end up grinding the occasional innocent into mince, and Gitmo with it’s utter lack of oversight is unlikely to be an exception.Comment 6 by Brian Coughlan [E-Mail]

Cite your source, sir. Surely you have no personal experience in these matters there in sunny Sweden.

I’m certainly not disputing your right to say this stuff. Would that the right has (sic)available the world over. Comment 10 by Brian Coughlan [E-Mail]
We’re working on it, beginning in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I think Lincoln would disapprove of a people, who claim the right, based only on their own fears, to kill, arrest or imprison any person on the planet. Comment 14 by Brian Coughlan [E-Mail]

Who suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus and imprisoned dissenters without trial? Oh, yeah, my beloved Abraham Lincoln.

Certainly. Bush has shown time and again that he does what he likes because he thinks it’s the right thing to do, and doesn’t give a rats ass what anybody else thinks. That, right there is the core attitude I object to. Comment 18 by Brian Coughlan [E-Mail]

Are you the global test John Kerry was talking about? Surely you don’t think the President of the United States should care what an Irishman, living in Sweden thinks.

He, and his party are the source of your problem, it is impossible to justify the incarceration of anyone indefinetly, let alone 500 people. You guys try, but you can’t do it. Comment 18 by Brian Coughlan [E-Mail]

They are prisoners of war. They will be kept only until the war is over, which means about 30-50 years. We can’t do it? Watch us.

... and lately people seem to be coming around. Lets hope to God that trend continues.Comment 22 by Brian Coughlan [E-Mail]

Worldwide depictions of terrorist acts such as twin tower bombings, train and bus bombings, murders, kidnappings, embassy attacks and cartoon riots have caused people to come around, haven’t they? People realize the United States of America and its allies are the only things standing between you and dhimmitude.

Surely you don’t think the President of the United States should care what an Irishman, living in Sweden thinks.


Sigh ... exactly my point. I don’t count, we don’t count, not one of the 6.2 billion of us count.


Just americans, the new global nobility.


Thank goodness not all of you are amoral reprobates, willing to countenance the murder of whatever number of innocents to satisfy your blood lust.


Though scratch long and hard enough, and you find ’em on this site.

Coughlin:P>I asked you to cite your sources. May we conclude that, because you do not cite your sources, you are making this up as you go along?

We Americans will continue to protect you from dhimmitude so you can continue to exercise your right to expwess your feewings. We really do care about your feewings. Really. You have a right to diswike Pwesident Bush.

Amoral reprobate? Good one. Attack the character of your opponent. That wins debates. Or not.

And another thing. You think you speak for 6.2 billion people? Really? I repeat: why should the President of the United States care what one lonely Irishman, living in Sweden, who exercises the egomaniacal conception that he speaks for 6.2 billion people, thinks?

I have no blood lust, sir, but the terrorists want your blood and the United States of America and its allies are doing everything we can to keep the terrorists away from your ingrateful heart.

Mr. Coughlin...you sure do have a lot of time to write on these blogs. Don’t you have a job to go to?

Job? Maybe Swedish welfare handouts are better than those in ’Ol Eire.

Coughlan seems to have a lot of time on his hands to post in such quantity. I’d like to but I have to put bread on my table.

Mr. Coughlan,
So George Bush has personal animus towards the 500 or so people he has imprisoned at Guantanamo? He chose those people, arbitrarily, all on his own? Simply because he is power-mad? Well, well, well. And do you suggest that he is torturing them, by force-feeding them, just say, on his own and because it pleases him to do so?

I find it desirable in a leader that he will do what he knows to be right, no matter what popular opinion suggests. As Lincoln did, for example. It constitutes a despicable abuse of power. The worlds most powerful nation doing what it likes, because it can. It really turns my stomach. So would it I if I thought it were true.

So, do you presume the innocence of the detainess? You would not like to speculate as to what will happen after they are released? I am tempted to agree that the US is uncomfortably going above and beyond the call of duty in detaining those folks. But who will contain them, otherwise? If I see someone doing someone else harm, am I out of bounds if I intervene because I have no legal standing to stop the harm? If I sit on the guys head to keep him from doing more harm, am I wrong? If there are no "cops" to come help me - no one with the legal right to detain said bad guy, what do I do? Let him go and suffer with the victim when he retaliates? You never answer this; who will hold terrorists if the US does not? The world expects us, the US, to be available to correct every wrong, fight every fire, move every mud-slid mountain. They howl like mad if we show up late or without enough money and supplies. We seem to be obligated to rescue, and why? So who else is to sit on the heads of terrorists who are bound by the laws of no nation? Blood lust? Please!

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