Torture, Colin says "oops" and what we should be doing

German publication Der Spiegel yesterday released a report showing that US General Ricardo Sanchez authorized illegal interrogation techniques in Iraq just months before the Abu Ghraib abuses. In further evidence that Geneva conventions were wilfully ignored after the US invasion, the latest revelations add weight to the charge that senior elements of the US military acted in the knowledge that their superiors were unlikely to chastise them.

Furthermore, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell said this week that he was “furious and angry” that the information he presented to the UN in February 2003 was wrong. “We were sometimes too loud, too direct, perhaps we made too much noise,” Powell told Germany’s Stern magazine. Admitting that blatant lies were told that led to an illegal invasion isn’t something we’re likely to hear Powell admit anytime soon.

Before I’m told that the Left should “get over” the reasons behind the war, I have this to offer. An unprecedented number of people around the world protested before the war and signalled their opposition to an invasion without UN sanction. Ignoring ever-increasing amounts of information that proves duplicity by the leading governments is irresponsible, especially in light of US sabre-rattling towards Iran, Syria and North Korea. We must learn the lessons of past mistakes and hold our leaders accountable. Elections are but one way of doing this.

Journalists shouldn’t see themselves as beholden to government spin. Indeed, the finest reporters are those individuals who work outside the system, cultivating contacts and presenting alternative narratives from the official line, likely to be inaccurate and air-brushed (UK-based Medialens expertly dissects the true role of journalists in Western “democracies.”)

Sadly in Australia, we are yet to produce an equivalent to Seymour Hersh, although Dateline’s Mark Davis is perhaps as close as we get.

no comments