Thursday, January 20, 2005

THERE WERE SO MANY MOMENTS when the words coming out of Condi's mouth seemed truly historic in their stupidity, hypocrisy, and naivete. Here, she tells Sen. Christopher Dodd why America's enemies would not, or should not, follow America's example in the arena of torture on our own captured soldiers:

Dodd demanded to know how Rice would respond if she saw television images of captured Americans being subjected to coercive interrogation methods. "American personnel are not engaged in terrorism," Rice responded.

We are all sure that America's enemies will agree that it's okay for the U.S. to torture their detainees, because they are "engaged in terrorism"; but will refrain from torturing American detainees because they are not "engaged in terrorism."

[Rice also] said U.S. officials expected captured Americans to be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Repeating a long-standing administration policy, she said individuals associated with Al Qaeda did not qualify as prisoners of war under the convention.
In other words, the U.S. is not obliged to respect the Geneva Convention in its treatment of Al Qaeda detainees; but Al Qaeda and its associates are obliged to respect the Geneva Convention in their treatment of American detainees. Forget the hypocrisy; let's put that aside. As a practical matter, we all know that this is how the world works, right? Our enemies will treat us in accordance with international law even if we do not treat our enemies in accordance with international law.

For a woman who is supposed to be politically astute, sophisticated, and pragmatic, this view is astonishingly naive.


Crepuscule with Nellie said...


Great posts on the Condi hearings. I couldn't get myself to even try to express all the frustration with the whole thing. I do have one issue with your comments though, I don't think that Condi is in any way naive. She is in fact quite cold, calculating and cynical; typical of most in the administration.

Her comments about torture are designed to appeal and capitalize on the naivete of the American public. The fact is that most people do want to believe what their government tells them is true. Combined with the general ignorance and misunderstanding of international affairs, foreign policy and even basic world history that is pervasive (and abetted by the media and government) in the US and it leaves us with the current state of affairs and someone like W getting sworn in today.

I wish I could believe that Condi and her ilk are naive, because that would mean that comprehension and a change was possible. But after four years, I think we all know better. Condi knows that torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and all the other untold locations will lead to torture and further terrorism here and abroad. But it is a gamble they are more than willing to take. Why suddenly show concern for the American soldier and public now? They haven't so far.

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