Saturday, August 19, 2006

Islamofascism & the Left- I just need to vent

This is going to be a long one gang, so settle in...

It started when a friend of mine posted this from the NYT-

Rewriting the Geneva Conventions
New York Times Editorial - August 14, 2006

In January 2002, when the Bush administration created the camp at Guantánamo Bay for prisoners from the war in Afghanistan, President Bush said he would be “adhering to the spirit of the Geneva Convention” in handling the detainees.

Unfortunately, like many of the things the administration said about Guantánamo Bay, this was not true. The president did not intend to follow the Geneva Conventions, and in some vital respects, he still doesn’t, despite a Supreme Court ruling that the prisoners merit those protections.

To everyone’s relief, the White House is now working with Congress on one major violation of the conventions found by the court — the military tribunals Mr. Bush invented for Guantánamo Bay. But the president remains determined to have his way on the other big issue — how jailers treat prisoners.

He wants Congress to make the United States the first country to repudiate the language of the Geneva Conventions. The only discernible reason is to allow interrogators — intelligence agents and private contractors — to continue abusive practices plainly banned by the conventions and to make sure they cannot be held accountable.

The Bush administration objects to the clause in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions that prohibits “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.”

This standard has been followed for more than a half-century by almost 190 countries, including the United States. The War Crimes Act of 1996, passed by a Republican Congress, makes it a felony to violate the Geneva Conventions. But the Bush administration authorized techniques to handle and interrogate prisoners that clearly break the rules — like prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, long periods in stress positions, strapping prisoners to metal contraptions and force-feeding them.

The rational response to the court’s decision would be to ban those practices and bring America in line with the rest of the civilized world. But that’s not how this administration works. It asked Congress to change the law — to amend the War Crimes Act to redefine the standards of Common Article 3.

The White House wants to apply an American legal principle, used to prohibit cruel and unusual punishment, that bars treatment that “shocks the conscience.” Mr. Bush wants Americans to believe that the language in Common Article 3 is too vague and makes fighting terrorism impossible.

In fact, the Geneva standard is more specific than the shocks-the-conscience standard. And a vast majority of Guantánamo inmates are not terrorists. In fact, many do not appear guilty of anything, not even fighting United States troops in Afghanistan.

The administration’s real aim is to keep on using abusive interrogation techniques at the secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency. And it wants to make interrogators — and those who give their orders — immune from prosecution.

Finally, the administration wants Congress to ban the use of the Geneva Conventions as the direct or indirect basis for a legal case in American courts. This would seal off the route that a prisoner used in the case on which the Supreme Court ruled in June.

The Geneva Conventions protect Americans. If this country changes the rules, it’s changing the rules for Americans taken prisoner abroad. That is far too high a price to pay so this administration can hang on to its misbegotten policies.

Not wanting to get into it too deeply with my favorite left leaning friend, I concentrated on the last paragraph-


Because the islmofascists who kidnap and MURDER Americans are CERTAINLY abiding by the Geneva Conventions.

< Rolls eyes >

Because these terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places abide by the rules regarding uniforms for soldiers, using civilians as shields and the like.

I'm not making a case for, 'well they don't abide so why should we', I'm merely pointing out the LIE that the Geneva Conventions to ANYTHING to protect Americans in any of these countries.

The rest of the piece is the one-sided stuff I've come to expect from the NY Times, but that last bit just made me laugh it it's idiocy.

Her reply? -

There is never any guarantee about the Geneva Conventions. However, when we - the supposed "Good Guys" - choose to ignore them, we set ourselves up to have them ignored for our troops in ANY country - in ANY future conflict.

Not to mention that it's one more way for our standing in the international community to drop.

"Islamofascists"? You've been listening to Faux News again, eh? ;->


What part of "I'm not making a case for, 'well they don't abide so why should we'" wasn't clear here? and the writer wasn't talking about FUTURE conflicts, he was clearly talking about current ones, and it's demonstrably false to imply that Americans are in MORE danger because of what goes on at Guantanamo. (Leaving aside for a moment the facts that he is CLEARLY biased on what he THINKS is going on there)

But what really got me going then was her final 'dig' about islamofascists and FOX news. So my snarky reply went-

"Islamofascists"? You've been listening to Faux News again, eh? ;->

No, and you know that.

Would you rather I paint with the broad brush and say that the problem is because of Muslims in general? I don't believe that, and so I didn't.

Who the hell do YOU think flew planes into the WTC and Pentagon?

Grandmothers from Minnesota?

First off, she KNOWS (and now so do you) that I don't watch TV...ever. Well, ok, I occasionally catch 5 minutes of CNN when I go to the food court at the PX. But we don't have TV at home, if we didn't watch DVDs we'd have no need for the box at all.

What I don't get is why Islamofascist is rightwing thing. Doesn't the left KNOW who it is we are fighting? I know they don't agree, but good Lord, please tell me that they do know that these terrorists are members of a dangerously radical form of Islam who want nothing less than the destruction of western civilization!

Her next entry was regarding the work that Dr. Shirin Ebadi has been doing with the Center for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran and how it has recently been sut down. She had a link to a feminist site where you could send an email to the UN and President Ahmadinejad to beg them to reinstate this organization. Not wanting to waste my time on futile efforts that will fall on deaf ears, I responded thusly-

What do you expect from a man like their president?

Y'all (that's the general left leaning y'all, not you specifically) got up in arms over President Bush making comments about his faith leading him, about how 'scary' that was and all.

Doesn't this nutball in Iran scare you? Makes George's words seem kind of pale and meaningless in comparision.

This is nothing new for Ahmadinejad, and I have zero faith in anything the UN might want to do to 'intervene' here. Hopefully, if she wants to leave, they can at least get Dr. Edabi out of the country safely.

Did you hear about the government going around smashing satellite dishes? They're not going to give in to a little 'pressure' from the UN, that's clear.

Sorry for the venting here, I really wish there was more we could REALLY do to change things there before it's too late.

Her reply-
It never hurts to put public pressure out there IMO.

I agree that Ahmadinejad is a nut. Or more precisely, he's backed by Seriously Nutso Fundies.

Iran is fascinating to me. For the past decade or so, the (predominately under 30) general population has been moving towards more democracy, more secularism, more freedom, etc. As that has happened, the Imams in charge since 1979 have gotten more and more terrified of losing power - and therefore keep trying to crack down in various ways.

I personally see the crap the Iranian president has pulled this past year or so as being attempts to use fear tactics to get the people "in line" with fundamentalist policies.

I hadn't heard about the satellite dishes, but I'm unsurprised.

I *am* thrilled that people like Dr. Edabi are trying to change things in their own country. For that reason, I feel she should be supported and it should be publicly done.

I'm glad and heartened to see that she DOES recognize the evil in Iran. And, I agree that folks like Dr. Edabi deserve our support. I don't think firing off emails to the Iranian President and the head of the UN constitute much by way of PUBLICLY supporting her, but that's just my opinion.

Ok, THEN I got snarky with her-

I *am* thrilled that people like Dr. Edabi are trying to change things in their own country. For that reason, I feel she should be supported and it should be publicly done.

I have no problem with that, I just am enough of a realist to know that it won't change the minds of anyone in that regime....oh, sorry, is that a 'faux news' word too? Should I say 'government' instead?

Are you at least willing to consider the fact that Ahmadinejad and his ilk ARE Islamic fascists?

You seem plenty scared of the folks you would name Christofascist (ok, YOU may not have used that word, but you HAVE agreed with the concept), can you not call THESE religious nuts what they are? I'm a hell of a lot more scared of a Nuclear Iran than I am of Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.

But, what the hell do I know.

I'm just the wife of a man who WILL get sent over there if things get ugly, and I believe they will. So maybe it's just MY fear talking this time.

Tell me, do I have anything to fear from the likes of the Iranian government?

Did I step over a line? I don't know. I'm just sick of the PC police determining that concepts like Islamofascist are 'rightwing' ideas that the Left can just dismiss with derision and a 'smilie'.

Ok, now WHY is all of this here and why didn't I link to HER blog? Well, she's dealing with the immenant death in the family and needs to spend her energy there and not in arguing with me. But, I couldn't sleep tonight, and just wanted to vent a bit about this whole exchange.

If you've made it this far...thoughts? Comments?



At August 20, 2006 5:22 PM, Blogger waarthog said...


Here's some ammo for you:

Ask her why we even NEED to treat them according to the principles of the GC. We are well within our rights to shoot the fools out of hand.
Everything in the post shows this person (do I know her?) has little conception of what Geneva says and is reduced as usual to nonthinking liberal soundbites.
In order to receive the protections of the Geneva Conventions, the combatants must adhere tothe following conditions:
(GC Article 4 Subsection 2)
(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) That of carrying arms openly;

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

If they do not do ALL of these things, they are not entitled to GC protection. Well 0 for 4 and they are not entitled to it. So, ask just WHAT provision of the GC makes us treat these animals by in accordance with it.

At August 20, 2006 5:34 PM, Blogger Kyrie said...

Wow, thanks for wading through all that and for the 'ammo'!

I'll let you know what she says, and yeah, I THINK you know her.

At September 01, 2006 1:14 AM, Blogger Alicia said...

Sure, I made it thus far. I enjoy your writing, and there's something special about the ones that come out of not being able to sleep after discussions.

I'm trying to understand the original article, first of all. Did it mention what the acts are that Bush is arguing to permit the interrogators to do, or why he wants to allow them to continue? I read once how a case could be made to allow for extreme means of persuasion in cases where it's necessary to save lives--i.e. the terrorist who's hidden a bomb on an airplane and won't say where it is. Is that along the lines of what Bush was arguing to do? That was a flaw with the article, that it merely said Bush was arguing for something inhumane, without ever saying what it was. It seems to me that arguing to change the language of the Geneva Convention is not the same thing as not intending to follow it.

I think that--well, in my experience Christians are most likely to do it, but we aren't the only ones, as our friend demonstrates--we have a strong eye out there for hypocrisy; we want people to act exactly as they say they'll act, and we want people (ourselves, our leaders) to be honorable regardless of whether anyone else around them is honorable. It's just not clear how this present situation makes Bush dishonorable--he might be doing exactly the thing he needs to do in a dangerous situation.

>What I don't get is why Islamofascist is rightwing thing. Doesn't the left KNOW who it is we are fighting?

I agree with you. However, I do think I understand a little where the confusion is coming from. Most of us--Christians--are coming from the point of view where it's easy for us to separate theology and practice: the Church teaches X because it's right, and so someone who doesn't believe X isn't part of the Church, no matter what they call themselves. But when people don't grow up thinking in those terms, I think they often draw different categories--they think this church teaches X because it's the most valuable thing socially, and it might change--they see religion as a kind of organic thing, shifting and changing, and also an individual decision. Again, I don't agree with that way of thinking, but it does help me understand. I don't know if your distinction would make sense if one thought of religion as defining itself rather than being defined by something outside. feels ineffectual to me sometimes. What do you think would be a better way to support those who are trying to make a difference in their own country, though?

I pray for the situation in Iran.

>I'm just sick of the PC police determining that concepts like Islamofascist are 'rightwing' ideas that the Left can just dismiss with derision and a 'smilie'.

That's a good way to put it. The situation is real; the danger is real, and it seems this isn't the time or place to debate whether they're after conversion by force.

At September 01, 2006 1:25 AM, Blogger Kyrie said...

I'm trying to understand the original article, first of all. Did it mention what the acts are that Bush is arguing to permit the interrogators to do, or why he wants to allow them to continue?

Basically, it comes down to a definition of Torture.

The Left claims much of what we are doing at Guantanamo constitutes torture. The Administration and those of us who understand more of what's going on over there know better.

A couple of the things the Left considers torture-

Subjecting a person to extremes of temperature

Playing rap music loudly and continually

Now, since we're not burning/freezing them, or playing music so loud as to burst eardrums, I really don't see how these things constitute torture. Oh, and force-feading the inmates. That's another 'torture'. They don't mention that those inmates went on hunger strikes. An of course if we DIDN'T force feed them, we'd get accused of starving them to death.

It's really become a no-win scenario when dealing with these irrational Lefties.

And make sure you read Waarthog's comments too, he really makes the point that ANY Geneva Convetion coverage we give them is more than they deserve.


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