Friday, April 24, 2009

I Disagree With Naomi Wolf

Just following orders is ok
I agree with Arianna Huffington's Article that the world is watching our debate about the torture years.

Arianna knows that our decision will have serious consequences as to how the world perceives it should deal with us.

Let's be clear that Dredd Blog fully disagrees with progressive Naomi Wolf's statement:
"Should we prosecute the agents who committed the torture? We should not"
(Huffpo). I also disagree with conservative Peggy Noonan.

Both Naomi and Peggy argue that we should not prosecute agents who conducted torture contrary to our clear law.

As Arianna pointed out, this is a critical juncture where world opinion, like a titanic ship, is very slowly turning back in our favour since we began to change our foreign policy.

We must not stop that very slow turning now, because it would leave the world's opinion of us dead in the water.

That would have serious negative ramifications for many years to come.

Imagine a neighbourhood of families who have lived there for generation after generation. This represents the world.

Older, well built houses with many different styles have been constructed throughout the neighbourhood over many years. In fact, some churches and mosques in the neighbourhood are in fact many hundreds of years old and are still in use.

People in this neighbourhood have few weapons, one to a household is the norm.

Then one year a new family moves into the neighbourhood, and builds a new house. This represents the US.

This new family talks about freedom, human rights, and peace, yet they own slaves. This is frowned on in general in the neighbourhood.

But the new family has a fight amongst themselves, and they eventually get rid of the slavery issue. Good, the neighbourhood concludes.

But lo and behold, in the new family's new 10 room house the new family begins to use 5 of those rooms for guns and ammunition. While they still talk of peace and freedom.

But since they also seem willing to help protect the neighbourhood with those weapons from time to time when the neighbourhood is threatened, their strange love and excess of things that go boom is for the most part overlooked.

But then some of the teens in the family break into a house down the street, shoot some of the people, bring some of them back, and lock them up in their basement. Then they torture them and they declare themselves to be the police of the neighbourhood.

Then the new family begins a quarrel amongst themselves about whether that was the right thing for the teens to do and whether or not the teens should be punished and corrected.

Of course this symbolic example above is not a perfect symbolism, however, one can easily surmise the point I am trying to make about it being important what the neighbours think.

Especially if we add the ingredient that everyone in the neighbour hood works on collective farms and trade amongst themselves for the financial well being of all.

If we become financially and otherwise ostracised it could be serious to our well being. Having all those guns will not suffice to make the neighbourhood fond of us and favourable toward us.

There are signs that the neighbourhood is having negative reactions already.

If we let the teens run wild with their guns and let them get away with torturing people in the neighbourhood, after we agreed not to, our credibility will suffer a serious set back.

Naomi Wolf's article says only high ups were prosecuted for war crimes at Nuremberg. That avoids the fact that enemy soldiers were prosecuted and put to death for water boarding at that time:
"McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as 'water cure,' 'water torture' and 'waterboarding,' according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning." Politifact went on to report, "A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps."
(Politifacts, Huffpo). Those who were "only following orders", or otherwise doing what they were told, and who then obediently tortured prisoners were prosecuted.

Is Naomi Wolf advocating a different justice for white collar elites than for poor and middle class violators?

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