Sunday, July 31, 2005


The US military is being evicted from Uzbekistan in retaliation for American criticism (however muted) of that country's brutal massacre of protestors in Andijan in May. Which kindof makes the question of whether the US should cooperate with such a regime a moot-point. Though I am wondering - will they still be flying suspected terrorists to Tashkent to be tortured, or will that little arrangement be ending as well?


Well, it seems that now we have permission to build a permanent base in Azerbijian, we have no need for Uzbekistan. Azerbijian will make it easier for us to target Tehran and other locations inside Iran. As for the torture, I'm sure there are a lot of willing countries to do our dirty work, now that prisoner abuse has been uncovered in Iraq.

Posted by Lew Scannon : 7/31/2005 01:09:00 PM

Looks like the US was trying to do things behind the scenes - and pushed it either too far, or found out that that strategy jsut doesnt work in this case.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/31/2005 01:49:00 PM

they just can't win with you can they. Collaborate with evil dictators - you yell and scream. Criticise said evil dictators and you still complain. What is the right thing to do?

What IS your beef with the USA? Or is it just so ingrained (wake up, eat meusli, think lefty thoughts, hate the USA on principle?)

anyone with half a brain could see that what the US is doing in the M/E in particular has the potential to improve human rights and actual living conditions for all the poor benighted humans that have the misfortune of living there than anything your beloved UN of dictators and fellow travellers ever could.

benefit of the doubt dude?

Posted by gazzadelsud : 7/31/2005 07:31:00 PM

Just how much nastyness is required to get you to take the blinkers off Gazza? Abu Graib and Gitmo not enough? Creating the worlds largest terrorist training camp over the bodies of 23,000+ dead civilians not enough?

Most of the world has figured out that Bush&Co are bad guys, and the fact that they sometimes end up fighting other bad guys doesn't really make much difference to the people they kill while they're fighting the bad guys, or the economy they destroy while they're fighting the bad guys. Sure does help all the other bad guys tho, they get a much bigger bad guy to point to and claim that they are in fact good guys by comparison!

Meanwhile Bush&Co get to take roughly half of their disposable income (ie half the tax intake that isn't going into social security) and give it to the pentagon, who give it to their mates. And so long as they keep ranting about all the bad guys out there, and don't talk about how much all this is costing, they can probably keep this scam going for quite some time.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/31/2005 11:39:00 PM


Given that the majority of Iraqi civilian casualties are from suicide bombers and executions carried out by Sunni 'insurgents', your point seems vacuous. Iraq is now ruled by a government that won't carry out genocide against its citizens - why is that so bad? And did you care about Iraqi civilians under Saddam - or is this a recent fad, now you can conviently blame the USA?

Have you posted anything about the plight of Tibetans lately? Falun Gong followers? Black African women in Sudan? Street Kids in Sao Paulo?

I would doubt it, as like most here, your moral sympathies seem to extend only to those situations that can be used as a stick to beat the US with. Here's a sobering piece from today's NYT about the terrorism of rape in Pakistan:

Posted by Anonymous : 8/01/2005 03:55:00 AM

Oops - hit the wrong button. Anyway:

Then on Jan. 2, Dr. Shazia woke up in the middle of the night, and at first she thought she was having a nightmare. "But this person was really pulling hard on my hair, and then he started pressing on my throat so I couldn't breathe. ... He tied the telephone cord around my throat. I resisted and struggled, and he beat me on the head with the telephone receiver. When I tried to scream, he said, 'Shut up - there's a man standing outside named Amjad, and he's got kerosene. If you scream, I'll take it and burn you alive.' ... Then he took my prayer scarf and he blindfolded me with it, and he took the telephone cord and tied my wrists, and he laid me down on the bed. I tried hard to fight but he raped me."

The man spent the night in her room, beating her, casually watching television, raping her again and boasting about his powerful connections. A 35-page confidential report by a tribunal describes Dr. Shazia tumbling into the nurse's quarters that morning: "semiconscious ... with a swelling on her forehead and bleeding from nose and ear." Officials of Pakistan Petroleum rushed over and took decisive action.

"They told me to be quiet and not to tell anybody because it would ruin my reputation," Dr. Shazia remembers. One official warned that if she reported the crime, she could be arrested.

That was a genuine risk. Under Pakistan's hudood laws, a woman who reports that she has been raped is liable to be arrested for adultery or fornication - since she admits to sex outside of marriage - unless she can provide four male eyewitnesses to the rape.

Dr. Shazia wasn't sure she dared to report the crime, but she begged for permission to contact her family. So, she says, officials drugged her into a stupor and then confined her in a psychiatric hospital in Karachi.

"They wanted to declare me crazy," Dr. Shazia said bitterly. "That's why they shifted me to a hospital for crazy people."

Dr. Shazia's husband, Khalid Aman, was working as an engineer in Libya, but he finally was notified and rushed back 11 days later. Dr. Shazia, by then freed, couldn't face him, but he comforted her, told her that she had done nothing wrong, and insisted that they report the rape to the police so that the criminal could be caught.

That was, perhaps, naïve, particularly because there were rumors that the police had identified the rapist as a senior army officer and were covering up for him.

"When I treat rape victims, I tell the girls not to go to the police," Dr. Shershah Syed, a prominent gynecologist in Karachi, told me. "Because if she goes to the police, the police will rape her."

You can read the whole article here:

Disgusting. This woman shouldbe celebrated for her courage - and protected well, given the very real danger of speaking out. People like this are my heroes.

Now - to return to my question. Why is it Tiberias, that I see so little jumping around from people like yourself about any atrocity you can't fnd a way of connecting with the US? Are you just another clone in the ranks of the 'moan about America' brigade?

I like your post, Gazza!

Posted by Anonymous : 8/01/2005 04:03:00 AM

Gazza: The problem was that they didn't criticise enough - they were slow off the mark (their initial response being to blame the victims), and their criticism was indeed muted compared to that from the EU, UK, and other civilised places.

And there is no "benefit of the doubt" to be given over flying people to Tashkent so they can be boiled alive. Any government which knowingly and willingly turns people over to be tortured (and indeed, arranges for their torture and provides the list of questions) deserves the strongest possible condemnation.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/01/2005 09:20:00 AM

Adrienne: you might want to check out the stuff I posted last month on Pakistan around the time of President Musharraf's visit to New Zealand. I do complain about these things - but strangely, there was nary a whisper from the right and those who so loudly complain about the focus on the US (with IIRC the honourable exception of Sir Humpherys').

As for Iraq, it may now be ruled by a government that won't carry out genocide against its citizens, but it is still ruled by a government that tortures those citizens, and which now seems to be running death squads against the Sunni minority. If you're a Shi'a or a Kurd, then its an improvement over Saddam - but to an outsider, it seems that America's glorious invasion and subsequent chaos (and the death of an estimated 25,000 Iraqi civilians and an unknown number of soldiers) has simply changed one group of torturers for another.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/01/2005 09:26:00 AM

sorry I/S "not soon enough" thats an almost impossibly high standard of perfection you are demanding there.

Guess it makes it easier to criticise the US though

Incidentally, what did the UN say - have the UN said anything yet?

Posted by gazzadelsud : 8/01/2005 10:55:00 AM

Adrienne - that moral relativity nonsense is nothing but pathetic justification.
*yes*, the Chinese, Pakistani et al behaviour you quote is abhorrent. So that's your personal cause. Why on earth are you so concerned that others have their own causes and battles to fight?
For me personally, in full knowledge of the atrocities you quote, I'm *still* more concerned about the policies and effects of the US administration.
Why? - because they have the greatest opportunity to effect positive change and yet squander it in pursuit of self-interest and power.
- because for sheer hypocrisy, they no peer. Treating me as an idiot with the endless nonsensical propaganda is a severe provocation
- because what once had a role as a beacon of hope for humanity has become utterly rotten and deviant
- because with a military spend larger than the rest of the world and a mindlessly belligerent, unlearning attitude, they are an incredible threat to humanity as a whole.
Gazzadelsud - you live on a dream planet. In the entire history of the world I doubt you could find an example where the ruthless subjugation and humiliation of a population generated a peaceful democracy. You're just being delusional to imagine this one is likely to.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/01/2005 01:01:00 PM

I/S, I read your posts about Musharrif and agreed completely. I also concur with your points about the silence of the right. However, if one waits for the likes of Don McKinnon or Don Brash or NZ Pundit to sprout some clit/balls and speak out on issues of human rights, then the wait will likely be long and futile. Sad and true.

I keep coming back to your site because you write with intelligence. I certainly don't agree with it all, and enjoy saying so - if you'll forgive me that, I'll continue being a wandering contrarian.

I also am not railing against criticising the US. The US needs to be taken to task for its hypocrisies and hubris - but the most counterproductive (it seems to me) that the left can do is to turn this into a continual knee-jerk obsession and opposition to all US policy, domestic and foreign. Firstly, it means that large sections of people stop listening - the "oh here we go again" syndrome - which makes it very easy for people to caricature and dismiss the left (and in many cases, sadly, that's a justifiable reaction). Secondly, it opens the left up to charges of huge hypocrisy, as they tend to quickly ignore or belittle atrocities that cannot be somehow used against the US.

I remember when Clinton was pushing for intervention in Bosnia, some of my 'further-left' colleges denounced this as Iperialist war-mongering. Reactions like this actually sanction atrocities. I'd like to see Iraq up and running and I'd like to see American (or Western, or any) troops in Sudan protecting civilians, elders, women and children. If the Sudanese government protests, fuck them. To my mind, doing nothing in the face of injustice/violence is as great a moral crime as unjustly and actively oppressing people. It's often on matters arising from this that I feel myself most out of 'kilter' with large sections of the Western 'left'.

Anyway, that's my Sunday night rant...

Posted by Anonymous : 8/01/2005 01:33:00 PM

Huskynut, you're an unadorned idiot. You only have to look at the strong support for US policy in countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia et al, not to mention in Taiwan, who, like South Korea survives thanks to the security guarantees of America. But of course, this isn't convenient for you, is it??

Here's a little quote from the nice, left-wing Guardian about japan during WW2...

Japan's occupation of China had cost 15 million Chinese lives. Civilians had been raped, tortured, enslaved and massacred, while British and US prisoners were subjected to hideous maltreatment. The Japanese had been waging biological warfare in China. Their notorious Unit 731 subjected hundreds of prisoners to vivisection. Many captured American airmen were beheaded. Some were eaten. A B-29 crew was dissected alive at a Japanese city hospital.

the link is:,7369,1539354,00.html

Think for a moment of the US lives lost protecting the Pacific from the continuation of such atrocities. Then think of Communism as practiced by Hohneker or Brezhnev. The US has been an immense force for good in the 20th century. In places like Georgia, waking from decades of ruthless oppression it remains so, and with good reason.

Positions like your little petit-bourgeois affectation of liberality are contemptable because you owe a good deal of your freedom and prosperity to the US, like it or not. Perhaps you should talk to a Pole, Iraqi Kurd, Afghan woman, Taiwanese student, Ukrainian democrat et al, before you jump back into yor adolescent posturing.

The US is not perfect. But any serious discussion of its place in the world must look at the immense good along with the blemishes - I guess you're just too much of a puppet for such startling complexities..

Posted by Anonymous : 8/01/2005 02:07:00 PM

This is the second time around these parts I've seen you make the claim that civilian deaths in Iraq caused by insurgents outnumber deaths caused by Coalition forces. This is not meant to be confrontational or accuse you of being wrong, but do you have a source for that which you could share with me?

The reason I ask is because I am confused. It is at odds with what I've read, which ranges from Coalition forces being responsible for 4 times the number of civilian deaths that insurgents are responsible for, to coalition forces being responsible for only slightly more (but using figures which exclude accidental deaths caused by soldiers - which obviously account for most civilian deaths caused by soldiers).

So what I'd like to know is: are the sources I have read wrong, or are you wrong? I don't know, which is why I'm asking in the hope that you can point me to one or more sources which will answer the question once and for all.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/01/2005 09:16:00 PM

Berlin Bear:

It's my fault - I meant 'currently outnumber'. I should have made that explicit and said 'outnumber this year', or at least for the past 18 months. I have recently read assertions that insurgent killings have accounted for the majority of civilian casualties since 1/4/2003, but I can't remember the sources (I'll have a look later when I'm not at work), and hence I withdraw that pending a source to back it up. Although as you say, figures vary wildly depending on what one reads.

It is clear however, that if the insurgency continues, it will rapidly and indisputably claim the top spot - this from the Guardian:

IRBIL - Iraqi civilians and police officers are being killed by insurgents at a rate of more than 800 a month - one an hour, according to new figures released by the interior ministry.
The figures published yesterday show that between August 1 2004 and May 31 2005, 8,175 Iraqis died as a result of insurgent activity.

About 1,500 of those have died since the Shia-led government of Ibrahim al-Jafaari took office on April 28.

the link is:

Apologies for the lack of clarity.


Posted by Anonymous : 8/02/2005 01:43:00 AM

Ah, that would make sense (and has the added bonus of allowing us *both* to be right!). Thanks for the clarification. I would certainly be interested in those other sources you mention if and when you get the chance.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/02/2005 02:40:00 AM