...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Friday, May 07, 2004
      ( 12:41 PM )

Josh Marshall, Atrios and Digby have all noted Joe's penchant for moral equivalency:

"The people who attacked us on September 11 never apologized."
--Sen. Joe Lieberman at the Abu Ghraib hearings.

Did he really just justify the behavior of those Americans in the prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay by saying that because no one apologized for 9/11, we have every right to do what was done and not apologize for it?

Yglesias puts it best:

Seriously, seriously, seriously why is it relevant at all
that other people have behaved worse than we have?
At all? I'm looking for a goddamn hint of relevance
from the moral clarity crowd. Why does this matter?
It'll be a heck of a campaign slogan: "Lieberman for
Senate -- morally superior to Osama bin Laden."

Have we really sunk so low that we claim moral highground because other people are bad too? This is just shameful and embarrassing. While Rumsfeld tries to defend the fact that he knew these abuses were going on and nothing was done, nor was it revealed, and Lieberman manages to justify the behavior because, well, Osama Bin Laden is REALLY a bad guy!, we are still faced with the horror that our own citizens tortured and abused the citizens of the country we invaded and claim to want democracy for -- not to mention that they have put all the other soldiers there in even MORE danger. It's terrible, we should apologize and we should follow that up with action to remedy the harm.

We have really sunk low even by trying to justify at all what has happened. It's terrible.

UPDATE: Check out Baghdad Burning's post today. The hearings aired live across the world on satellite. It's especially sobering reading how the attitudes towards the troops are changing for even the most pro-American moderate citizens of Iraq. What strikes me as crucially important for people to understand (and they don't) is that if our government continues with the expectation that other cultures think the same way we do, we are in for even worse to come. That's why when studying conflict resolution, you have to know the culture of your opponent. Shame is a gigantic factor in the cultures we've invaded, and River shows a prime example:

There was a time when people here felt sorry for the troops.
No matter what one's attitude was towards the occupation,
there were moments of pity towards the troops, regardless
of their nationality. We would see them suffering the Iraqi
sun, obviously wishing they were somewhere else and
somehow, that vulnerability made them seem less
monstrous and more human. That time has passed. People
look at troops now and see the pictures of Abu Ghraib…
and we burn with shame and anger and frustration at
not being able to do something. Now that the world
knows that the torture has been going on since the very
beginning, do people finally understand what happened
in Falloojeh?


And through all this, Bush gives his repulsive speeches. He
makes an appearance on Arabic tv channels looking sheepish
and attempting to look sincere, babbling on about how
this 'incident' wasn't representative of the American people
or even the army, regardless of the fact that it's been going
on for so long. He asks Iraqis to not let these pictures reflect
on their attitude towards the American people… and yet
when the bodies were dragged through the streets of
Falloojeh, the American troops took it upon themselves to
punish the whole city.

He's claiming it's a "stain on our country's honor"... I think
not. The stain on your country's honor, Bush dear, was the
one on the infamous blue dress that made headlines while
Clinton was in the White House... this isn't a 'stain' this is a
catastrophe. Your credibility was gone the moment you
stepped into Iraq and couldn't find the WMD... your reputation
never existed.

From all indications at the hearings, this is going to get only worse in the days and weeks to come. I only hope and pray that this administration is prepared to do what it can to protect our soldiers over there and truly build some bridges so that we are not leaving a situation that is 10 times worse than when we invaded.

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