Friday, September 16, 2005

ACLU vs the Army

Once again we have widespread evidence of abuse, of the truth, by those sorry misguided extremists at the ACLU. This time because they have no concept of what life is like in an infantry combat unit, whether in peacetime or in a war-zone. In the person of Executive Director Anthony Romero, they have seized on an internal Army document to further their agenda in the media.

The US Army has conducted a series of thorough investigations and reviews of alleged detainee abuse in Iraq. The ACLU sued the Army to gain the release of 1800 pages. The Army concluded that there is no systemic pattern of abuse. They did investigate 400 allegations, and pinpoint 200 cases where soldiers had been singled out for punishment by the Army for abuse. The ACLU of course is shrilly screaming about an Army wide failure.

It’s obvious to anyone with a pulse, that there have been incidents of abuse in detention settings in Iraq. Abu Ghraib is the case in point. But the Army has been extremely forthcoming about that case, as well as others. The keystone document in question here is one by the Army’s inspector general’s office. The Army’s point is that these numbers do not represent a systemic failure.

Thousands of Iraqis have been processed as detainees in Iraq, some for merely a few days, or even hours, as they are investigated, for insurgent ties. Some are held for longer periods of time, and some unfortunately go through the system repeatedly. The Army works so hard at providing a level of fairness that reflects American civil liberties that insurgents are often returned home within 30 days, to fight and kill again.

The ACLU however has chosen to focus on the few incidents when abuse occurs, rather than the vast multitude where it does not. This is not a problem peculiar to the Army. Prisoner abuse is an unfortunate side effect of any detention system. While liberal activists routinely try to portray this as result of conservatives in power, the problem is endemic to prisons.

This is not merely a US problem. Prisons in Europe suffer the same problems. Yes even France, Italy and Germany have seen substantiated cases of prison abuse. In the late 1990s the Beauvais prison was investigated and the director was was dismissed for an atmosphere that fostered abuse. An Italian magistrate issued 82 restraining orders against prison officials. Twenty one were taken into custody the rest placed under house arrest. German prisons have seen similar occurrences. This in the “Liberal” European countries, so often critical of America’s perceived failings.

The famous Stanford psychology experiments where students role playing as guards soon became abusive to the student “prisoners” demonstrates how human nature plays out in these circumstances. It is obvious that even professional prison guards and administrators have a hard time overcoming the temptation to enforce street justice.
American soldiers are not professional penologists. True, MPs are trained in correctional matters, but that is a small part of their overall training. And not all detention facilities in Iraq are maintained by MPs, some are small temporary jails, on infantry posts and other small bases. Even in larger facilities, like Abu Ghraib, and the prison at FOB Brassfield Mora near Samarra, MPs are supplemented by other soldiers.

All soldiers are briefed on the laws of war, and trained in basic detainee handling. Soldiers however are human beings. Some percentage will always forget or ignore their training. When deploying to a combat zone, soldiers tend to focus on training that will help keep them alive. But if soldiers were perfect, we would not need, small unit, administrative and judicial processes to correct them.

In understand the need for the ACLU. I virulently disagree with nearly everything they say, but I recognize the need for someone to challenge the limits of constitutional liberties. They are a necessary evil. Anthony Romero, should stick to defending American’s civil liberties. He and the rest of his crew have no idea what it takes to run an Army. They have no idea what it takes to survive a year in a combat zone. And they do America a great disservice by trying to tar the entire Army with the brush of a few soldiers that the Army has rooted out on its own.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


One thing I've noticed tuning into the Robert's hearing. Of all the people in the room who have thus far been allowed to speak, Judge Roberts is by far the smartest. He is far more articulate and concise in his use of language than any of his interviwers. Republicans and Democrats alike seem almost childlike in their grasp of legal history and analysis compared to Judge Roberts. Why aren't more smart people running the country?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Gun Control, a Compararive Policy Study!!!

Here’s a story with a boatload of Irony. Betsy Newmark and Dave Kopel have publicized a post disaster initiative in New Orleans. The New Orleans Mayor through his police chief has authorized law enforcement and soldiers to go door to door to seize firearms. Not illegal weapons, the legally owned weapons of citizens. This despite the Louisiana constitution’s unequivocal and forthright version of the second amendment:

The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.

So where’s the Irony? Soldiers in New Orleans are doing something soldiers in Iraq cannot. That’s right Iraqis retain their right to keep and bear arms. Every household in Iraq is entitled to one firearm. This right is almost universally exercised. Almost every house holds an AK-47 assault rifle. It doesn’t matter how many males from that house may be in custody, their weapons are sacrosanct.

How did this insane policy come about? In the aftermath of Saddam’s fall, when looting was rampant, Iraqi advisers to the military convinced US generals to allow Iraq’s households to retain their weapons. To reduce looting. To reduce looting Mayor Nagin! In spite of having outlived it’s usefulness, this policy was never revoked. I can tell you stories about how problematic this is for our troops.

During the entire time I was in Iraq I found this ridiculous policy completely objectionable. But there was no way to communicate those objections. I bitched to my Commander, who agreed with me, but as the decision was miles over our head in the chain of command it didn’t matter. And after June 28, 2004 it was out of American hands altogether.

Every time we conducted a “raid” on a house, we had to plan to face AK-7 fire. On a few occasions this proved to be the case. There are provisions for parole or the likes. Released detainees, even those held for substantiated insurgent acts are allowed to return to armed homes.

So US soldiers are disarming law abiding American citizens in New Orleans, but they are forbidden from disarming known insurgents in Iraq. Am I the only one who sees a serious issue with this? What is wrong with this picture?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

9 1 1 For Freedom!!!!

The recent revelation that the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council is sponsoring a an anti-administration, anti-military essentially anti-American art exhibit at Cooper Union merely confirms their complete unsuitability for involvement in the World Trade Center redevelopment effort. The display at the New York college is shameful, but it is a temporary exhibit and essentially harmless where it is. Located on the grounds of a private institution, it is displayed mainly to liberal partisans who seek it out.

The museum at the ground zero is another matter. This is shared public space, made secularly sacred to the tradition of American freedom. While there is certainly a place, indeed a need, for dissent in any celebration of freedom, such dissent should be appropriate. This is not a matter of censorship, but of community values.

New York City, NY State and America were struck by terrorist at the WTC on September 11, 2001. It was an assault on all of us as a community. Most of the victims were New Yorkers, almost all were Americans. Any memorial or cultural additions at ground zero, should respect this. How much more appropriate would a museum that reflects the real meaning of freedom be?

Segun Fredrick Akintade 34 years old was a NY city resident. Originally a Nigerian immigrant, he was a successful businessman working on a college degree at CCNY. Segun joined the National Guard in 2001, just a few months before September 11.
He was killed by an enemy ambush while returning from a mission in the desert, west of Ad Dujail on 28 Oct 2004.Segun became a citizen just before deploying. He was extremely sympathetic towards the Iraqis. Perhaps growing up in Nigeria explains why he understood, these people were the mission.

Christian Engledrum was a New York city firefighter, on September 11, 2001. He was also a sergeant in the National Guard. He initially responded to the 9-11 attacks with the FDNY. He responded to his nation’s war on terror in 2004 when he was called to duty in Iraq. Chris, and Akintade were in the same unit prior to deploying, but Segun was deployed to Iraq with the 2-108th Infantry, in early 2004. Chris deployed 9 months later with the 1-69th. They died only a month, and a few miles apart in Iraq, not having seen each other in more than a year.

Why can’t we have a Freedom Center that recognizes the sacrifices these two New Yorkers made in the name of freedom? Both men believed they were fighting for freedom. To preserve the freedoms we enjoy here in NY. To bring those freedoms to a people who had never enjoyed them. Today the International Freedom Center plans are in the hands of an organization that mocks these ideals.

Pat Tillman wasn’t a New Yorker. He was an American, who saw the attacks for what they were. He answered the attacks by placing his nation above himself, and choosing the Army above the NFL. He put freedom above finances. And he paid the ultimate price, dying in Afghanistan while fighting to ensure freedom continued to supplant Tyranny and Terror there.

The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council disdains and belittles Tillman’s patriotism. In the Cooper Union exhibit they claim to speak in Tillman’s name to make their own political point, opposing not only the war in Iraq but our efforts in Afghanistan as well. Should these people define New York’s public face of freedom?

Let’s keep the Lower Manhattan Cultural Center out of our Freedom Center. Let’s create a Freedom Center that celebrates freedom not merely as a license to create political art in poor taste. Let’s create a Freedom Center that celebrates freedom as an essential value that underlies what America means. A value that is worth fighting for and even dying for. Let's stand up for our Freedom Center.

Contact the Lower Manhattan Development Corp

Or tell NY's Govenor Pataki.

And see "Take Back The Memorial"

See also:
Right Wing Nuthouse
Betsy's Page
Michelle Malkin