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Where’s the Outrage?
by Aaron Goldstein
10 May 2004

The self righteous indignation of the Washington Press Corps and the Left demonstrates they care more about toppling the Bush Administration than they do about the plight of Iraqis.


There has been considerable outrage worldwide at the treatment of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib military prison and rightly so.    No prisoner of war should be subjected to the treatment we have seen in those now world famous (and infamous) photos.  There must be standards that separate democrats and demagogues, those who practice toleration and those who practice tyranny.

Nonetheless, the self righteous indignation of the Washington Press Corps and the Left demonstrates they care more about toppling the Bush Administration than they do about the plight of Iraqis.  The liberal media would have us believe that nothing was known about this incident before the broadcast of the aforementioned photos on 60 Minutes II on April 28th.  The incident in question took place in January.  The six soldiers involved were turned in by fellow soldiers.   An investigation begun promptly and charges were announced against the six soldiers in Baghdad in March.  

In Saddam’s Iraq, it was left to human rights organizations to document atrocities against Iraqi civilians months and years after the fact.  It does not excuse the actions of those six soldiers.    Rather it illustrates the point that in totalitarian regimes these practices are sanctioned by those in power.  In democratic societies those who practice such barbarism are subject to sanction.

I find it troublesome that the Left and the media in general reacted almost with indifference at the execution of four American civilians killed in Fallujah in March. The four men were employees of Blackwater Security Consulting – a firm that provides security for personnel and property in Iraq as well as providing food shipments in troubled areas such as Fallujah.  Instead of an outpouring of sympathy, James Ridgeway of The Village Voice wrote the following in an article titled, “U.S. Turns to Mercenaries:”

The four “civilians” killed, burned, and dragged through the streets of Fallujah, Iraq, on Wednesday morning weren’t really civilians.  Or were they?

Why does this matter so to the Village Voice?  Are their families somehow less deserving of our sympathy if they are not deemed to be civilians?  After all, it is entirely possible that some of the people who were humiliated in the Abu Ghraib photos themselves may have performed similar injustices to other Iraqis in the name of Saddam Hussein.  Whether they did or not is, of course, irrelevant.  It is no more relevant than asking whether the employees of Blackwater Security Consulting were civilians.    There should have been outrage and a demand for justice in the name of these men by the Left and the media.    

Earlier this week, the UN Human Rights Commission voted to retain Sudan as a member of that panel, prompting the United States Ambassador Sichan Siv to walk out of the meeting.  Over 2 million people have died in the Sudan in the past twenty years due to civil war and famine.  Sudan’s Islamic Fundamentalist government has placed its indigenous and Christian minorities into slavery. There are apologists for the Sudanese regime that claim that slavery does not exist.  But one only need read Francis Bok’s powerful book Escape from Slavery for that myth to be shattered to pieces.  Bok was kidnapped from his village at the age of seven and sold into slavery, where he remained until escaping ten years later and eventually making his way to America.  It was not uncommon for Bok’s master and his family to administer beatings to him and refer to him as an “animal.”  Where are The Nation, Mother Jones, Michael Moore, Janeane Garofalo, the Washington Press Corps and for that matter John Kerry on the question of Sudan?  President Bush, on the other hand, signed the Sudan Peace Act into law. It compels the parties to make peace or be subject to a UN arms embargo and bans all U.S. oil companies operating in Sudan from all U.S. stock exchanges.

The Bush Administration is taking action on Sudan just as it as with the rogue soldiers in Iraq.  They are taking action because it is the right thing to do.  The Left and the media care only for talk.   At that, they only talk when it hurts America and serves the doctrine of moral equivalence.

Aaron Goldstein, a former member of the socialist New Democratic Party, writes poetry and has a chapbook titled Oysters and the Newborn Child: Melancholy and Dead Musicians. His poetry can be viewed on www.poetsforthewar.org.

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