Sunday, April 22, 2007

In the Land of Rubin

In one of the new joint American-Iraqi security stations in the capital this month, in the volatile Ghazaliya neighborhood, Capt. Darren Fowler was heaping praise on his Iraqi counterparts for helping capture three insurgent suspects who had provided information he believed would save American lives.
"The detainee gave us names from the highest to the lowest," Captain Fowler told the Iraqi soldiers. "He showed us their safe houses, where they store weapons and I.E.D.'s and where they keep kidnap victims, how they get weapons, where weapons come from, how they place I.E.D.’s, attack us and go away. Because you detained this guy this is the first intelligence linking everything together. Good job. Very good job."
The Iraqi officers beamed. What the Americans did not know and what the Iraqis had not told them was that before handing over the detainees to the Americans, the Iraqi soldiers had beaten one of them in front of the other two, the Iraqis said. The stripes on the detainee’s back, which appeared to be the product of a whipping with electrical cables, were later shown briefly to a photographer, who was not allowed to take a picture.

At some point there may be hope for Alissa J. Rubin -- if so, it has yet to arrive. The above is from her "After Iraqi Troops Do Dirty Work, 3 Detainees Talk" and it's written by the Teen Queen in paragraph after paragraph. For instance, the excerpt above follows the opening paragraph which finds Rubin trying for local color ("wild west") but just coming off like an idiot yokel who didn't get picked at the county square dance (and for good reason).

In the rest of the article, she tries to paint a picture but knowing so little doesn't help her. She mentions the Army Field Manual barring torture. She somehow forgets it is a war crime. She somehow missed that admission by Alberto Gonzales in the very paper she writes for. Pull up A27 of the Saturday, May 15, 2004 op-ed pages and Rubin will find Alberto Gonzales' "The Rule of Law" (with Davy Brooks writing about Columbine to the right and Nicky K whiney about Iran to the left with cutesy phrases such as "Gulp, yes."). In Gonzales' column, he notes that "Both the United States and Iraq are parties to the Geneva Conventions. The United States recognizes that these treaties are binding in the war for the liberation of Iraq. There has never been any suggestion by our government that the conventions do not apply in the conflict."

Is that plain enough? Of course the government didn't follow Geneva but Gonzales maintained publicly (in a ghost written column) that they did and that they were obligated to do so in Iraq.
That makes what Rubin's describing a war crime. That makes anyone who knows of a war crime and does not report party to a war crime.

So, for instance, when US Captain Darren Fowler is informed of torture, this remark doesn't cut it: "What I don't see, I don't know, and I can't stop. The detainees are deathly afraid of being sent to the Iraqi justice system, because this is the kind of thing they do. But this is their culture." Not only does it not cut it, it opens him up to charges of condoning war crimes. And pinning it off as "their culture" is __. As Rubin notes (in passing) Iraqi law forbids torture.

Little thugs are trained and funded by the US and they then commit torture. When they aren't called out on it, when they aren't punished for it, it makes the US military guilty of the torture it chooses to ignore.

It goes back to the point Tom Hayden raised which is when are Americans going to look at what is being funded?

Rubin? She's got enough talent for an article half the length of what runs in Sunday's paper at present. She'd also do well to either stop aping her editor or fight loudly when her editor changes her copy because at least five sentences aren't Rubin-esque. They all sound like they tumbled out of the mouth of her editor. Aping others won't make Rubin a better reporter -- or even a reporter.

Kirk Semple offers "Iraqi City Council Chief Killed:"

Gunmen killed the chairman of the Falluja City Council on Saturday, striking a blow to American and Iraqi efforts to develop a functioning representative government in the volatile western province of Anbar.
Sami Naib al-Jumaili, who was slain in a drive-by shooting in front of his house, was at least the third leader of the Falluja City Council killed by insurgents. Another resigned after receiving death threats.

Meanwhile, Free Man In Paris Paul von Zeibauer (still no dateline on his articles) offers up "Military Cites 'Negligence' in Aftermath of Iraq Killings:"

A military investigation has found that senior Marine Corps commanders in Iraq showed a routine disregard for the lives of Iraqi civilians that contributed to a "willful" failure to investigate the killing of 24 unarmed Iraqis by marines in 2005, lawyers involved in the case said.

And we're back in the land that Rubin refuses to explore. In The Land Of Rubin.

New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review today:

Truest Statement
A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: The shallow looking pond of the media
TV: Pigs and Prigs on PBS' NOW
Precedent and privacy go out the window
About those links (and other stuff)
Accountablity for Media Big and Small
Pee & B.S.
The Nation Stats
The summer reads

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