Democrats & Liberals Archives

It's Not Just Blues vs Bush

Prisoner abuse is a top story again. If you’ve been hiding from the newswires - and who could blame you? - the issues recently are an unsubstantiated (and later retracted) Newsweek report of desecration of the Koran, anti-American riots, and a NYT story of how an apparently innocent man was tortured to death in Afghanistan. Whoever you are, it’s hard to be apathetic about this.

In the war of ideas, the war for hearts and minds, between the US and moderate pro-Western Muslims and fundamentalist Islamic militants we've suffered a crushing setback. Nobody's happy about this - and everyone is pointing fingers, either at the men in charge of the war, or else at the "lunatic fringe that will believe whatever they have to believe in order to justify to themselves their feverish hatred of George W. Bush".

Conservative pundit John Cole gives a wonderful argument for why, in his words, reporting on abuses that have been committed by our troops, in our name, is not anti-military. He passionately explains, better than I could, why "stories of abuse, torture, and murder" must be reported, and acted on. "If the rot goes all the way to the top, we have a right to know, and I say cut it out with a scalpel...and continue on with our terribly important mission". Cole argues that Republicans should "use our majority status and the trappings of power we now enjoy with the control of Congress and the Presidency, and stop the torture and abuse."

I'm grateful and encouraged to see a conservative take this stand, but it seems horrible to me that in a few short years debate in the US has reached a point where this is a matter for discussion - that there are those that disagree, that actually support the US torturing, humiliating, and killing its prisoners, and that actually want stories of "abuse, torture, and murder" to be muted. And it is horrible to me that those who demand punishment and accountability for these acts are sometimes attacked rather than supported.

I'm writing in the Blue column, but I'm writing to the Red readers of this blog. The Republicans in power by and large don't listen to Democrats, world opinion, or the MSM. But they will listen to you. Don't shut your ears to this, and don't listen quietly!

Posted by William Cohen at May 22, 2005 12:15 PM