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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 17:25, May 27, 2004
US awkward in handling prisoner abuse scandal: Commentary
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Nearly a month has passed since media exposed the prisoner abuse event. People have been accustomed to the daily endless "latest news" about this event, at first they were surprised to see the first shocking photo, now after they have seen through the features of the United States as a "hypocrite", they disappointedly shake their heads, saying that the United States is just so-so".

A good beginning is now impossible for the United States, it can only seek a good end. People expect that there can be an early result of the prisoner abuse event, so that they can ease the pain in their hearts at an early date, this feeling is shared either by the Iraqis and the Americans, or by the people in other regions around the world and by the victims and by other people maltreated by US troops. However, even such a "better late than never" desire has not yet been met at the moment.

In fact, it is not that the US government has so far done nothing in regard to the prisoner abuse event, but judged from the result of its present handling of the event, its so-called "action" is only like a blind man lit the lamp - a sheer waste, because its effort has not gained the recognition of the international community, nor reversed the image of the seriously harmed countries, still less cooled the anger of he Iraqi people and soothed the distress of the Arab world and even all mankind.

Generally speaking, its handling measures don't help matters, instead, like going south by driving chariot north - running counter to its purpose. Fundamentally speaking, it has committed the mistake of directionality, therefore, the faster it drives along this wrong way, the farther it will be removed from the expected correct result.

In order to show a positive gesture in handling the abuse event, the United States began on May 19 to severely punish" the suspected soldier.. US Army special military court sentenced soldier Specialist Jeremy C. Sivits to one year imprisonment, who will be expelled from the army after expiration of the imprisonment. This result, in the eyes of the Iraqis, is nothing but a "performance" of avoiding the important and dwelling on the trivial, from this "first performance" staged by the United States in handling the abuse event, the Iraqis see more clearly the hypocritical features of America as manifested in its attempt to cover up the fact of its infringement on human rights.

The US army military court accused the soldier of the crime of "breach of military discipline", and not "infringement on human rights". The United States excluded the Iraqis, "the real victims" ,through military court trials and bypassing international law. Meanwhile, numerous investigative reports show that the abuse of prisoners is absolutely not the "random action" of a few soldiers, but "systematic" actions done upon the order of the higher authorities. Then, is the trial of several soldiers by the military court a final account given to the world?

In order to effectively prevent the occurrence of similar events, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has ordered prohibition of the use of handset with the function of taking photos within installations of US troops in Iraq. It is reported that many photos showing US troops' abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison were taken by handsets with the functions of cameras. Therefore, digital cameras, portable cameras and handsets with the functions of cameras will be prohibited from being used in the future within the installations of US troops in Iraq.

It appears that the prisoner abuse event "was caused completely by cell phones", so it has nothing to do with the US soldiers who show "respect for human rights". If the soldiers had mistakes, that was that they should not enter the prison with handsets having the functions of photo-taking, still less should they take photos of the savage scene showing maltreatment of prisoners, above all, they should not release those shameful photos.

Rumsfeld's method of handling the case is out of people's expectations, but it also unmistakably showed that he has been put in a sorry plight by this matter, with the result that the handling of such a simple matter has resulted in an unconventional reaction. If he has such thinking when his reason is still there, then it all the more shows that he simply has no idea to fundamentally solve the prisoner abuse event, no wonder there are so many people who do not believe his words about undertaking responsibility, instead they all demand that he take the blame to himself and resign. Rumsfeld's action aims to fool the world's people by pointing to a deer, but calling it a horse, if not deliberately trying to cover up the prisoner abuse case permanently. Undoubtedly, he is giving a hint to US soldiers: it is all right to maltreat prisoners, but taking photos is not allowed.

In order to weaken the negative influence brought about by the prisoner abuse scandal, the US government released last week the video on the Saddam regime's cruel torture, hoping by means of which to enable people to positively approach and deal with US soldiers' abuse of prisoners in different ways. But the result runs counter to his desire. The concerns of the news media and the general public over US troops' abuse of prisoners still surpass their concerns over the human right disaster in the age of Saddam Hussein.

Is it that the Bush administration is really confused and dizzy as it goes so far as to compare the "cruel action" of Saddam, the "biggest human right disaster-maker in Washington's eye, to US troops' abuse of prisoners, even if the degree of US troops trampling on human rights is not so high as that of Saddam, this is like those who retreat 50 paces laugh at those who retreat a 100 paces, in the final analysis, both belong to people of the same ilk. How can people be asked to "deal with different things in different ways" through such contrast education?

It is true, the US government has all along been working untiringly for walking out of "prisoner abuse gate" safely, but such effort and the above-mentioned three moves are in the same nature, that is, "putting the cart before the horse', it makes a mistake in directional question of right and wrong, when a mistake is made in regard to direction, it is impossible to find a way out.

In fact, the US government had made such a mistake when it brazenly launched the war against Iraq, later this mistake continued in the process of "managing" Iraq, now in the face of entanglement of the prisoner abuse case, the United States still tumbles down at the same place.

On the directional question, the United States time and again failed to find the right way, this is mainly because it cannot objectively analyze the situation, it fails to courageously bear responsibility in the face of problems and this is closely associated with its sticking to the hegemonic practice of "dominating the world", that is characterized by "pride and prejudice". If in future international affairs, the United States does not make directional adjustment to its foreign policies, there will still be many "gates of hell" such as the "prisoner abuse gate" awaiting it.

By People's Daily Online

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