Saturday, March 25, 2006

No Surprises Here

Our conceit is that we’re the world’s sole superpower

But Katrina shows us treating our own citizens in the same ways as third world despots.

We act or fail to act based on class, caste, ethnicity, creed and race.

So is it any wonder that we don’t even count Iraqi casualties?

In the official American world view they don’t count at all.


The Bush administration bungled the Iraq occupation, arrogantly throwing away State Department occupation plans and C.I.A. insurgency warnings. But the human toll of those mistakes has not been as viscerally evident because the White House pulled a curtain over the bodies: the president has avoided the funerals of soldiers, and the Pentagon has censored the coffins of the dead coming home and never acknowledges the number of Iraqi civilians killed.
American soldiers are immune from the laws of Iraq, so al-Hillali sought justice from the American military, which charged the soldiers with two counts each of armed robbery and discharging a firearm. Although Army officials found some of the missing items in the soldiers' possession and they admitted to robbing houses under the guise of looking for illegal weapons, the Army dismissed the charges. In exchange, Barron said, both soldiers agreed to leave the military.

Using previously undisclosed Army records, the Dayton Daily News found that dozens of soldiers have been accused of crimes against Iraqis since the first troops deployed for Iraq. But despite strong evidence and convictions in some cases, only a small percentage resulted in punishments nearing those routinely imposed for such crimes by civilian justice systems.

In a number of other cases, there was no evidence that thorough or timely criminal investigations were conducted. Other cases weren't prosecuted, and still others resulted in dismissals, light jail sentences or no jail sentence at all.

In several cases, crimes involving military property and violations of military rules such as drinking or adultery — many not crimes at all under civilian law — were treated more harshly than cases involving killing, robbing or kidnapping Iraqi civilians.

"I've been surprised at some of the lenient sentences," said Gary D. Solis, a former military judge and prosecutor who teaches military law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. "I have an uneasy suspicion that it relates to the nationality of the victim."

Criminal acts by soldiers — and the lack of punishment — add to the hatred that is fueling the insurgency in Iraq, putting soldiers at greater risk, Solis and other experts said.

"There's been a decline for the respect for the rule of international law and a failure to understand that we, the United States, have to be the good guys," Solis said. "Misconduct only breeds contempt for those who engage in the misconduct, and if we do what we accuse them of doing, then we are in a losing position."

A Daily News analysis of records from the Army Court-Martial Management Information System database found that 226 soldiers were charged with offenses between the first deployments and Jan. 1, 2005. Of the 1,038 separate charges, fewer than one in 10 involved crimes against Iraqis. Virtually all of the rest, more than 900 charges, involved crimes against other soldiers, property, drug or alcohol offenses and violations of military rules.

Charges involving Iraqi victims were three times more likely to be dismissed or withdrawn by the Army than cases in which the victims were soldiers or civilian military employees, the examination found.

Are you disturbed by our total disregard for Iraq's innocent dead, whether killed by the ‘insurgents’ or killed by us?

Do you believe Iran is more of a threat to us than North Korea?

North Korea has long range missiles and nuclear weapons, but we negotiate with them multilaterally and bilaterally.

So, is it OK to threaten muslims?

con·cept: No Surprises Here