Friday, September 15, 2006

Because torture and lying go hand in hand

Shorter Ed Morrissey: We are in the process of spreading democracy, human rights, dignity and an elevated level of morality to every corner of the globe. And, if you try to resist, we reserve the right to torture you.

Aside from the disgusting tone of the faux-captain's post, there is a significant level of historical error employed to try to justify the Cheney/Rumsfeld administration's warped interpretation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

We have yet to fight against a wartime enemy that followed the GC with any consistency at all. The Germans routinely violated it even before Hitler began issuing orders to shoot captured pilots, and the massacre at Malmedy only crystallized what had been fairly brutal treatment at the hands of the Nazis for American prisoners (the Luftwaffe was one notable exception).
Oh, where do I start?

Actually, captured US troops were treated reasonably at the hands of the Germans through most of the war. There were no routine violations. If Morrissey had referred to Soviet or Polish POWs, he might have a case, however, the Soviets were just as culpable.

Hitler issuing orders to shoot captured pilots.... hmmm. Morrissey provides no reference but let us assume he's talking about the Sagan Befehl. That was a command established to kill 50 Royal Air Force pilots after the escape from Stalag Luft III located in the town of Sagan. While the shootings were indeed a war crime, the escapees had been warned before they escaped that any such attempt would result in them being executed. The perpetrators were duly tried and convicted of war crimes.

Perhaps Ed was talking about the Commando Order. Even the commander of a rowboat should be able to decipher the meaning of that order issued by Hitler. It had nothing to do with pilots, (except to reiterate that they were to be treated properly), but was aimed at special forces, the likes of which many viewed as irregular troops during WWII.

Ed's assessment that the Luftwaffe was a notable exception to the generally bad behaviour of the German armed forces in dealing with Allied prisoners lacks provenance. It's also patently false. The German navy ran their own camps and treated prisoners as well as they could. Testimony from Allied sailors held at Marlag und Milag Nord does not suggest any mistreatment at all. The accounts of US soldiers held in captivity in camps like Stalag VIIA and Stalag IIIB routinely state that they were treated well but that by early 1945 food was becoming scarce. It was scarce all over Germany by then and the Wehrmacht had put their own troops on short rations.

Ed's reference to the Malmedy Massacre is valid. Now add to the fact that the members of the SS who committed the act were captured, tried, found guilty and sentenced to death. Their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment after a Congressional investigation revealed misconduct on the part of the prosecutors. Further, US troops did exactly the same thing to approximately 60 German POWs at Chegnogne on New Year's Day, 1945. No US troops were ever prosecuted for that act.

The Japanese treatment of POWs was nothing short of barbaric, both before and after Bataan.
Really! And, pray tell, how many US POWs actually existed in Japanese captivity before the Battle of Bataan?

He saw it on TV.

We have been treated to images of broken and tortured bodies of our soldiers on television and the Internet, courtesy of the animals who oppose us in this war.
Hmmm. Who? There have been some captures of US troops since the invasion of Iraq. At one point, during the invasion itself, some soldiers captured by the Iraqis were shown on television. Rumsfeld called that a violation of the Geneva Convention. Their bodies were not broken and tortured.

Perhaps he was talking about this little piece of media manipulation. Theatre, thy name is Jessica.

Or, maybe it was the "capture" of John Adam and the subsequent release of pictures with an accompanying statement that he would be beheaded in 72 hours. Why anybody would wait to chop the head off of a GI Joe® Doll is beyond me, but perhaps they were waiting for the fake blood to cure... before the fake execution.

Presently there are two US troops missing or captured in Iraq. One is "wherebouts unknown"; the other is supposedly being held, but in an unknown location. Pfc. Keith M. Maupin was supposedly the subject of a video shown on Iranian TV, however closer examination by the US DoD suggests it is not him and the Pentagon considers him held captive.

Two US soldiers were indeed executed in June, 2006. There were no pictures of their remains. They were not shown on TV.

So, if Ed has been watching the broken and tortured bodies of captured US soldiers on TV, he seems to have a channel none of the rest of us can get. If he's talking about some of the graphic executions which have been shown on the internet he omitted that they were, in fact, civilian contractors and, ahem, mercenaries employed by the occupying power. They are neither soldiers nor are they entitled to "protected person" status under the Geneva Conventions.

If Powell and Levin and McCain can name one modern conflict where our enemies gave POWs treatment in accordance with the GC, I'd be glad to post it right here on my blog. Don't expect that kind of an update any time soon.
Because, it's much easier to ignore the facts and make shit up.

Have another Cheetos® Ed. And, try not to spill too much of your chili-dog on your keyboard.

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