Thursday, April 05, 2007
The pot calls the snowball black...
Many on the right are just outraged that Iran would violate the Geneva conventions by showing the sailors on t.v.. Of course these same righties are ridiculed for discovering the conventions now that westerners have been captured... so they loudly proclaim that there is no similarity between the detainees held by the Bush administration and the British captives.
Strictly on a legal basis, which is the same basis the Bushies used to do away with the conventions for detainees held by us, the Geneva conventions only apply to nations in a state of war. Iran and Britain are not at war, so the British captives are not covered. But by making that argument I would be falling into the same objectionable habit used by the Bush toadies to justify their abrogation of the conventions. I happen to believe it would have been better for Iran to strictly adhere to protocol, and in holding that belief I am consistent in also believing that the Bush administration is wrong to not hold the detainees under the same presumption.
However I believe the degree of the offense is far FAR greater by the Bush administration than by the Iranians. In fact I believe that most of the families of those held incommunicado would be positively relieved to see their loved ones on television. Take for example the five Iranians held after the raid on the Iranian consulate in Arbyl Iraq. They have simply disappeared... With the example provided by this administration of how it treats it's prisoners, I do not blame the Iranians for being highly concerned about their condition.
Not to mention the thousands of other detainees who have been held incommunicado, and in fact tortured. Can you possibly imagine the utter outrage from the right if the British sailors had simply disappeared for three or four years and then suddenly turned up in some remote portion of Afghanistan with tales of waterboarding and extreme isolation at the hands of the Iranians? I would be outraged, and consistently so, whereas the Bushies would be outraged (even more so than they are now) hypocritically so.
The outrage of the right is the pot calling the snowball black. The snowball in this case may be slightly yellowed, but the people who are decrying it are utterly blackened by their own deeds. They are guilty of the worst crimes that can be perpetrated upon prisoners, but are themselves outraged by the relatively minor transgression of the conventions by the Iranians. If we held ourselves to the same standard which the Iranians observed, the issue of torturing detainees would not be an issue at all...
The Iranians were wrong to do their little publicity stunts... but this administration has proven itself far worse a transgressor of the rights it now pretends are paramount. Maybe they ought to have thought of the consequences of deciding to conduct war without the Geneva protections. It makes it far more difficult to insist on your rights when you deny those same rights to those in your own control.
In fact, the Brits have gone to war--kicking the shit out of Argentina--for less.
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