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Would you rather be in Guantanamo or Dachau?

Americans are not responsible for making Germans happy. Americans are not responsible for keeping Germans informed either. Surely, as smart as Germans are, they can do something for themselves.

It appears we already caught the attention of some of the angry left out there, here is a major blog entry (in italics) from Sadly, No! challenging our story. My replies follow (in bold):

What's German for "Simmer down now!?"

Over at the always reliable MedienKritik, the good people are getting all excited about alleged lies in the German press:

In a harangue of the Bush administration which has grown typical in the German media, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung's Stefan Ulrich writes:

"...On April 28 a representative of the Bush government before the Supreme Court claimed: US soldiers don't torture."

Ulrich's commentary, intended as a devastating moral indictment of the Bush Administration, is based largely upon the claim that a "representative of the Bush government" actually asserted that "US soldiers don’t torture" before the Supreme Court. But after looking into the matter, we discovered that Mr. Paul D. Clement, the Deputy Solicitor General from the Department of Justice who argued the government's case in both proceedings before the high court that day, never made that statement.

Clement never made any such claim? Sadly, Yes! Given that MedienKritik links to the Supreme Court transcripts, one imagines the problem here is one of deficient reading skills, since those transcripts contain the following exchange:

QUESTION: Suppose the executive says mild torture we think will help get this information. It's not a soldier who does something against the Code of Military Justice, but it's an executive command. Some systems do that to get information.

MR. CLEMENT: Well, our executive doesn't[.] [Rumsfeld v. Padilla, p. 22.]

Could it be any clearer? If not, how about this one?

Well, just to give one example, I think [!] that the United States is signatory to conventions that prohibit torture and that sort of thing. And the United States is going to honor its treaty obligations. [Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, p. 49.]

MedienKritik also tells us that:

Something clearly does not add up here if we are to believe Mr. Ulrich: A government so convinced that "US soldiers don't torture" that it would be willing to argue as much before the Supreme Court would never have taken reports of abuse seriously nor would it have launched an investigation into such reports. But the Bush government did take allegations of abuse and torture "very seriously" [according to unnamed Pentagon officials --S,N!]

Hey, if anonymous Pentagon officials say so, you know it can be trusted! We agree something doesn't add up -- but it has more to do with a certain person's battle with cognitive dissonance than problems with the German media. Not only did Clement tell tall tales to the Supremes, today we learn that:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A high-level panel investigating U.S. military detention operations has concluded that top Pentagon officials and the military command in Iraq contributed to an environment in which detainees were abused at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, a defense official said on Tuesday.

The independent Pentagon panel headed by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger found that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff failed to exercise proper oversight over confusing detention policies at U.S. prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba, the official said.

And now for the big MedienKritik conclusion:

In this case, one point made by Mr. Ulrich is true: "Propaganda is seldom exposed so quickly and brutally." Just another day at the office for Medienkritik...

Looks to us like someone put up their "Mission Accomplished" sign a bit too early.
Posted by Sadly, No! at August 24, 2004 06:07 PM | TrackBack

Comments

There is a clear and obvious difference between stating that "US soldiers don't torture," as it is used in the Ulrich article, and stating that "our executive," i.e. the President and the executive branch of the government don't believe torture will help get information in an interrogation. In fact, we made that same point in our article. Did you read the whole thing?

In the quote you mention, Mr. Clement is clearly being asked about entire "systems," not about individual soldiers.

In other words, just because a government or a military commander makes a determination that torture is not an effective means of interrogation does not mean that his subordinates will never wrongly engage in torture against the wishes of their superiors. Mr. Clement clearly acknowledged that there are systems in place to deal with and punish incidents of torture should they occur. Why would Mr. Clement acknowledge that while at the same time trying to convince everyone that: "US soldiers don't torture?"

---Sorry, but no, that doesn't make any sense.

We also do not dispute that Mr. Clement stated that the US is a signatory to conventions that prohibit torture. That is by no means the same as saying "US soldiers do not torture." What you are writing here is the equivalent of saying that in America we have signed and passed laws against murder and therefore no Americans ever commit murder. Sadly, no that just isn't the case.

It would appear that you buy into the spin and distortions served up by Mr. Ulrich. We do not and we will continue to point them out everytime.
Posted by: Ray D. at August 24, 2004 07:26 PM

Hey, if anonymous Pentagon officials say so, you know it can be trusted!

Did you read the entire CNN report I linked from January? Are you trying to deny that investigations took place? If the Bush administration did not take the reports seriously, why did it conduct investigations? As far as the "anonymous" claim goes, the investigations were openly announced by Generals Sanchez and Kimmitt in January. In fact, General Kimmitt announced that investigations were taking place at a press conference on January 16. Gee...that doesn't sound too anonymous to me...

Here is the timeline if you don't believe me.

Sorry, no, you don't have a leg to stand on.
Posted by: Ray D. at August 24, 2004 07:42 PM

It appears we already caught the attention of some of the angry left

Thanks Ray for debating this without resorting to name-calling. A link to the post would arguably make reading it and your replies a bit easier, no?

Hi Sadly,

A link to the post would arguably make reading it and your replies a bit easier, no?

As far as a link goes, you already provided one for us in the trackback section (just scroll up), so there is no need for another. Additionally, I already posted everything right here in the comments section in its complete form...which is not something I can say of your post's handling of my article...I've rarely seen an article sliced and diced with such skill.

Thanks Ray for debating this without resorting to name-calling.

You certainly didn't hold back any compliments (in your article) either I must say:

one imagines the problem here is one of deficient reading skills. (...) but it has more to do with a certain person's battle with cognitive dissonance than problems with the German media.

Do you have a response to my arguments, or are you just here to panhandle for a link and sulk about "name calling?"

Why do you consider the editorial anti- American. It is anti-Bush. Believe me, there's a big distinction.

to vic:
unfortunately there is no difference. and even more unfortunaltey there are too many people who keep walking right into this fallacy. anti-americanism has alwayy been there and it always will be, especially if the german media has anything to say about it.

Vic,

You will find it difficult to seperate the American people from their President. What is going on in this election cycle is more like a family fight than part of America joining the franco-German Pact.

Even if Kerry should win, you will see that citizens of old Europe with soon be upset with him too. This should prove to you that it is not President Bush but America who you fellow citzens are upset with.

BTW a Kerry presidency will speed the distancing of America from old Europe. Americans will see more clearly what we can come to expect of your leaders and your nation.

This is not necessarily bad. It can have a positive effect on Europe as well as the US. Old Europe can develop the ability to defend herself and at the same time become a true equal to the US. The US can stop wasting time on issues which, while important, will not be resolved.

"name calling"...heh heh...typical wussy liberal response. Boo hoo.

Sorry for my beavis/butthead caliber response..it's late.

Keep up the great work fellas. You are the future.

Das war witzig, Niko :-)


Hey, Ray and David, don't insist on supplying facts that contradict the claims of the German media. This is not fair. The reactionary left doesn't need facts in its march towards a bright, Bush-free future. If we start digging for facts, where will we get...? Maybe, we'll get the ... TRUTH ?? Hell no, they don't want THAT. The one and only truth is being manufactured by the media and the anti-everything indoctrinated crowds.

Romania's Ceausescu used to repeat like a brainless parrot: "Socialism is the golden dream of humanity". He was convinced of that ! He had no doubts. If that implied faking data and statistics to make socialism look better, well... so be it... Every sacrifice was to be made for the right cause.

Same thing with the Western left. They are not Ceausescus, but are made of the exact same mold.

A lot of what has been written about alledged or proven torture in Iraq is biased nonsense. But as the Schlesinger report clearly shows, a lot was caused by poor planning and poor leadership of some highranking military at least. Where men and women are brought into positions like those prison guards it is nearly inevitable that they cross the line. Especially as the selection process for them seems to have been very bad. And it still is, just read the following article I found in the net. You would assume that the National Guard would know by now, right?

Guardsman Conviction Controversy
Dateline: August 23, 2004 - Stacy Loe



(KGMB) HONOLULU : If a national guardsman has been convicted of a crime, should he be allowed to postpone his prison time to serve his country?

That's a question being debated in court.

In March 2002, Shaun Rodrigues was found guilty of tying up and robbing two woman at gunpoint in their Manoa home.

But he hasn't been sentenced yet and last week he was activated by the National Guard.

His attorney says Rodrigues should be allowed to serve his country because his conviction isn't yet official.

"It's not an adjudication of guilt by a judge or an admission of guilt. It's the sentencing that triggers the conviction," said Bill Harrison, Rodrigues Attorney.

Harrison says the national guard agrees with him.

But prosecutors say Rodrigues should go to prison -- not war.

"He's already been adjudicated guilty. I'm not sure the national guard is aware that these are not probationary offenses, these are mandatory prison terms," said Russel Uehara, deputy prosecutor.

Residents we talked had mixed feelings on the issue.

"If he is going to be sentenced for that kind of crime that heinous crime than no, I don't think he should have the priviledge of serving our country," said Anna Purvis.

"I don't think he should go cause I mean if he comes back he could be a hero right by why should he be a hero if he hurt people," said Lisa Tamashiro.

"It's a serious crime and he should do some time if he goes over there he should still do time when he comes back," said Steven Walsh.

Rodrigues faces 20 years to a possible life in prison when he's sentenced.

The question is -- when will that be?

A national guard spokesman says usually a conviction would result in a soldiers discharge.

A hearing on what consitutes a conviction -- is set for next Monday.


End of text.

Cheerio from Old Europe

@Pat

The world, especially the military world, is a strange place. I knew an American soldier that was stationed in Germany who committed an armed robbery and was sentenced to five years in prison by a German court. Meanwhile, he continued to perfom his military job until discharge. Guess what his job was? He worked in the Armory. You know, taking his keys and opening up the cage where the weapons are stored and then passing them out. I'll bet you the lady he robbed sure felt safer knowing that information.

If I only trusted them (especially after they approved the results of the Chavez referendum), I would say that the international observers would be a good idea, especially to prevent another "Bush stole the election" myth. But I fear they could in fact be the ones who will help promote just that...

W's getting a pre-convention bounce.

It's going to be W by 53% minimum, barring any unforeseen events.

Oil/b is under $44.

Thomas:

It certainly is the case that they will promote the notion. We're talking about Jimmy Carter and the coterie her has built up over the past decade overseeing an election where he was proudly and prominently represented at the political convention of one of the parties.

I would hardly call that evenhanded oversight of an election where one would expect a fair handling of the potential fraud.

Democrats, historically have been the big-city political cheats - stuffing ballot boxes, and using the names of the deceased to give their political operatives a chance to go another polling station after they've voted at their own under their own name, and vote again under another name.

This has been so commonplace to the left that it came as a joke to Lyndon Johnson who is famous for saying: "vote early, and vote OFTEN."

Sandy:
It's far from a 'slam dunk', but I think reports of a rout are exaggerated by dependable leftist emotionalism.
Let me put it this way: I have a 1 year old car. I'm taking a chance by putting a 'Bush '04' sticker on it, because of the lefty predeliction to DENT cars that have bumper stickers that they don't agree with.
The enthusiasm of republicans is understated, and a lot more humble. The problem is, that as nutty as some of the car-borne lefty statements are - there are a LOT more of them. Non-thinkers are not imune to that quantity of exposure.

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