Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Abusive Actions: A military review panel found that although the Iraqi prison torture scandal was not instigated from the top, some leaders such as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created a permissive environment that allowed the abuses to occur.

Essentially, this solves nothing. Both sides will spin this on their own (Repubs: The abuse was made by the hands of a few pesky kids. Dems: Rumsfeld is a Nazi torturer who must resign and be punished). The answer, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. While I believe we can move on from this scandal and still succeed in Iraq, this administration needs to realize how costly this mistake was.

We went into Iraq because the United Nations was failing in its purpose to hold other nations accountable. While the abuses made at the hands of the U.S. soldiers pales in comparison to what atrocities Saddam Hussein committed, the trust in the United States has been severely diminished in the eyes of the world.

The United States has many enemies who are looking for any opportunity to diminish our status in the world. We stayed out of the International Criminal Court for precisely the reason that many hostile nations would use that system to weaken U.S. power any way they could.

No nation is as powerful -- economically or militarily -- as the United States. While it would appear that an international court would be an even-handed way to hold U.S. actions under fair judgement, that power brings resentment from other countries. In addition, that power also brings increased responsibilities for the U.S. -- mainly to act as the goto peacekeeping force anytime a hotspot flares up.

With the United States involved in so many peacekeeping missions globally, then it makes sense to protect our troops from political attacks conducted by an international court. And if China, Russia, and India aren't part of the world court, we should be able to sit out as well.

But the abuse scandal has severely undermined our case for exemption. And now that we're conducting a War on Terrorism, this couldn't have happened at a worse time.


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