The most recent developments involving the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners, as well as the terrible murders and “executions” of American civilians and soldiers in Iraq, are shocking and appalling without description. Many newspapers, magazines and newscasts present in graphic detail the horrible crimes committed. Although the reason for the world’s condemnation of these atrocities might not be fully comprehended without the total and full knowledge of the specifics, we felt that it could not be the task of God’s church, to pass on those terrible atrocities, although we would be delinquent in our duty, if we were to fail to show how these events have deepened anti-Americanism in the world, in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. In regard to the specifics, let it suffice to quote the principle, as set forth in Ephesians 5:11-12: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose [reprove] them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”
TORTURE IN IRAQ WIDE-SPREAD?
Reuters reported on May 7, 2004, that “The Red Cross discovered ‘serious violations’ of the rights of Iraqi prisoners, with abuse so widespread it may be considered to have been tolerated by the U.S.-led coalition, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday. In a confidential 24-page document, which was seen by the financial newspaper, the International Committee of the Red Cross said treatment in some cases was ‘tantamount to torture,’ particularly when interrogators were seeking information or confessions.”
Reuters continued: “The use of ill-treatment ‘went beyond exceptional cases and might be considered a practice tolerated’ by coalition forces, the newspaper quoted the ICRC as saying. That differs sharply from the view of senior officials in the administration of President Bush that military higher-ups had not condoned abuse, the newspaper said… Three former military policemen at the prison told Reuters on Thursday that abuse was commonplace.”
WAS TORTURE PART OF STRATEGY?
On Saturday, May 8, 2004, the British newspaper, “The Guardian,” claimed that “the sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison [the same prison formerly used by Saddam Hussein to torture prisoners] was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources. The techniques devised in the system, called R2I – resistance to interrogation – match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.
“One former British special forces officer… said British and US military intelligence soldiers were trained in these techniques, which were taught at the joint services interrogation centre in Ashford, Kent, now transferred to the former US base at Chicksands. [A method used in the Iraqi prison] is one of the methods taught on both sides of the Atlantic under the slogan ‘prolong the shock of capture’, he said… ‘[The] whole experience is horrible. Two of my colleagues couldn’t cope with the training at the time. One walked out saying “I’ve had enough”, and the other had a breakdown. It’s exceedingly disturbing.'”
The Austrian “News Networld” Webpage claimed on May 8, 2004, that, according to a written report by Major General Antonio Taguba, issued to the US Military Investigation Committee, the terrible acts which were described in detail were part of a strategy by the U.S. Secret Service and perhaps the CIA, to intimidate prisoners to make them more cooperative. Taguba’s report speaks of “the Secret Service and other U.S. agencies.” News Networld claims that the term “other U.S. agencies,” identifies, in a military context, the CIA. Subsequently, Taguba testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, stating that the atrocities were NOT committed “pursuant to a policy.” He pointed out that it “involved only a hand full” of perpetrators, although he also testified that “there were others, but we could not track them down.” He stated that there were no “classified terrorists” in the prisons under investigation.
Major General Antonio M. Taguba’s entire lengthy report was posted on the website of MSNBC. Taguba’s report included the following conclusion: “Several US Army Soldiers have committed egregious acts and grave breaches of international law at AbuGharib/BCCF and Camp Bucca, Iraq. Furthermore, key senior leaders in both the 800th MP Brigade and the 205th MI Brigade failed to comply with established regulations, policies, and command directives in preventing detainee abuses [at those prisons] during the period August 2003 to February 2004.”
AFP reported on May 12, 2004 that “The White House rejected any link between the abuse of Iraqi detainees by US soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison and the ‘brutal, barbaric’ [video-taped murder] of [a] US citizen by terrorists.” U.S. governmental spokesman Scott McClellan “rejected their [terrorists’] claim that they were avenging the mistreatment at the facility near Baghdad.” He continued to say, according to the article: “There simply is no justification for the deliberate and brutal killing of an innocent civilian… The brutal barbaric action of these terrorists shows their true nature.”
AFP added: “Reaction in Baghdad to the slaying was mixed. ‘As Muslims we can’t accept it, but we don’t blame them. It was a natural reaction to the human rights violations we have seen at Abu Ghraib. What the Americans are doing now is terrible,’ said a 45-year-old woman dentist. ‘Since the men came here to do something good for Iraq, it was shameful. Whoever comes to serve this country will be treated kindly by Iraqis, but I blame the Americans for being behind such activities,’ said restaurant worker Falah Faisal, 30.”
THE EFFECT OF WAR!
On May 7, 2004, ABC News published an insightful article, discussing the horrible effects of war. The facts presented in this article should be persuasive, all by themselves, to convince a true Christian that he must not be a participant in war, nor in the preparation of war. The article stated:
“The specifics of the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq remain to be sorted out. But the answer seems apparent for experts in the psychology of war and other mental health professionals contacted by ABC NEWS — such behavior is not uncommon in a time of military conflict and the potential to abuse others may lie in all of us. ‘In war, things do happen, often from emotion of the moment, exhaustion, frustration — a buddy killed, a unit hurt,’ maintains Samuel Watson, a former infantry officer in the Vietnam War who is now associate professor of public health at University of Pittsburgh… And Dr. Carlyle Chan, professor of psychiatry at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, says prisoner abuse is probably more prevalent than we would like to believe, given the trauma soldiers can experience.”
The article continued to ask: “What drives soldiers to abuse others in time of war? The key, believe these experts, is ‘the MILITARY CULTURE’ the soldiers and guards were immersed in.
“In war, ‘the enemy is not represented as a similar human being to oneself, but rather as a brute who is savage and single-minded in destructive intentions,’ says Rona M. Fields, director for cognitive sciences at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. This depersonalization, explains Evans, is a psychological defense against the horrible events soldiers witness during war. But once the enemy is seen as LESS THAN HUMAN, it can be easy to treat them accordingly.
“Another motivation for U.S. soldiers to mistreat Iraqi prisoners may have been simple RETALIATION, suggests Dr. Paul Ragan, a Navy psychiatrist during Desert Storm and now associate professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. ‘The emotional center of the brain, or the limbic system, wants to strike back…'”
ABC News asked this question: “But what if the leadership itself is commanding soldiers to behave in abusive ways? Would normal individuals be willing to follow morally abhorrent orders?”
The history of man has proven that the answer, tragically, is affirmative. Nazis, working at and supervising concentration camps, defended their brutal tortures and murders with these words: “I only followed orders.” And so, ABC News continued, in quoting another expert: “Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process… Even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality.”
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH GETS INVOLVED…
Reuters reported on May 12 that “The scandal of prisoner abuses by U.S. soldiers in Iraq has dealt a bigger blow to the United States than the Sept. 11 attacks, the Vatican foreign minister told an Italian newspaper.”
The article continued: “In an interview published Wednesday in the Rome daily La Repubblica, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo described the abuses as ‘a tragic episode in the relationship with Islam’ and said the scandal would fuel hatred for the West and for Christianity. ‘The torture? A more serious blow to the United States than Sept. 11. Except that the blow was not inflicted by terrorists but by Americans against themselves,’ Lajolo was quoted as saying in La Repubblica.”
Reuters added: “The Vatican paper, L’Osservatore Romano, has also run some harsh comments in the past days. On Monday, it criticized what it called a Pentagon cover-up… President Bush is scheduled to hold talks with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on June 4.”
Der Spiegel Online commented:
“In Germany, criticism continued as well. Gernot Eller, second in command of the Social Democratic Party… claimed that the torture in Iraq is no longer an internal American problem…. He said that the whole Western world has become inadvertently accused… He continued that the USA does not have the right to ask questions of other societies, but does have to answer for itself.”
US FACES LASTING DAMAGE ABROAD
The Washington Post published an article on May 7, 2004, pointing out the terrible damage abroad caused by the atrocities in Iraq. It stated:
“The United States faces the prospect of a severe and enduring backlash not just in the Middle East but also among strategic allies… The White House is so gloomy about the repercussions that senior adviser Karl Rove suggested this week that the consequences of the graphic photographs documenting the U.S. abuse of Iraqi detainees are so enormous that it will take DECADES for the United States to recover, according to a Bush adviser.”
The article continued:
“‘It’s a blinding glimpse of the obvious to say we’re in a hole,’ conceded Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage. He said the backlash in Europe is even greater than in the 22-nation Arab world. ‘For many of our European friends, what they saw on those horrible pictures is tantamount to torture, and there are very strong views about that,’ he said yesterday on CNN’s ‘Paula Zahn Now’ show. ‘In the Arab world, there is general dismay and disgust, but in some places we were not real popular to start with. So I think I’m actually seeing a EUROPEAN REACTION quite strong — quite a bit stronger.’
“In public and private communications, European officials have become critical or DISDAINFUL of the United States.”
“EUROPE AND AMERICA DRIFTING APART”
This was the headline of an article published by The San Diego Union Tribune on May 5, 2004 — even before the news hit regarding the most recent atrocities in Iraq. When describing the acceptance of ten new European countries by the EU on May 1, 2004, the newspaper pointed out: “The U.S. media paid scant attention; it was no big deal. IN EUROPE, IT WAS A GARGANTUAN DEAL.” It continued: “Opposition to the United States also distracts from Europe’s own problems. There’s a growing collision between generous welfare benefits and poor economic growth… The 10 countries received membership on grudging terms: economic aid and farm subsidies were limited; immigration rights were curtailed. The truth is that Europe is too weak to lead and too proud to follow.”
This may be true right now, but Europe understands this situation much better than most Americans do. Europeans realize that they are too weak to lead at this point — but they are determined to overcome that weakness. European leaders of the past, including Charlemagne, Otto the Great, Charles V. of Hapsburg, Napoleon I and III, Wilhelm IV., Mussolini and Hitler, have had a strong conviction that “God,” or a “higher power,” or “destiny,” had selected and ordained them to fulfill a certain predetermined role. Today, this persuasion may not exist in many European leaders. This, however, will change.
“Modern” Europe descended from ancient Rome. After the Roman Empire fell, it went through several “historical revivals.” In the Middle Ages, the “Holy Roman Empire” was born under Charlemagne. Later, it was called the “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation,” under Otto the Great. In more recent times, Mussolini claimed that he had resurrected the ancient Roman Empire.
On April 30, 2004, Die Welt published an interview with French historian Jacques Le Goff. He stated that the word “Europa” or “Europe” was originally adapted from Greece. It comprised the peoples of the Roman Empire and the so-called “barbarians.” The Moors called the Europeans “Franks.” Goff claimed that Turkey does not belong, historically, to Europe, but to the Orient. He stated that in the Middle Ages, European emperors traveled to Rome to be crowned there. Europeans traveled without passports, and the upper class used a common language — that of Latin. It did not make any difference in which European city one studied. Goff suggested that today’s European concept of “open borders” goes back to the Middle Ages. He concluded: “I am filled with joy that the descendants of the Carolingian Empire [under Charlemagne], Germany and France, are playing today a major role in Europe.”
An article by the San Diego Union Tribune, dated May 1, 2004, is quite remarkable in this context. It reminded the readership of the “historic roots of Europe,” stating: “East and West Europe have been divorced from each other for most of history. UNDER THE ROMANS, CHARLEMAGNE, THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE, NAPOLEON AND HITLER PARTS OF IT WERE BROUGHT TOGETHER BY FORCE OF ARMS OR RELIGION. NEVER BEFORE, THOUGH, HAVE EAST AND WEST JOINED TOGETHER LEGALLY AND DEMOCRATICALLY AS THEY NOW HAVE DONE.”
The article made this interesting remark: “What the new 25-nation EU will become IS NOT CERTAIN.”
However, the Bible describes in VERY CERTAIN terms what the future holds for Europe — and the United States of America. The article of the Union Tribune claimed: “Whatever new problems it poses, today’s expansion should be welcomed by Americans…. It has been the policy of every U.S. government for a half century to support European unity.” And indeed, this policy may make sense from a human standpoint. However, America’s and Europe’s future will not be, as many might expect. For a thorough and insightful look into the destinies of these two power blocs, please read our free booklets: “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
PASSPORT PROBLEMS BETWEEN US AND EU
Reuters reported on May 12, 2004, that “the European Union expects to start issuing new biometric passports with digital photographs and fingerprints by the end of 2005 and hopes the United States will continue to allow visa-free travel as a result, a top EU official said on Wednesday. Under current U.S. legislation, visa-free travel for 27 U.S. allies — including many European Union states — is in jeopardy. It requires all new passports from these ‘visa waiver’ countries to contain a biometric identifier, like a fingerprint or a face-scan, from Oct. 26, a deadline most of the states say they cannot meet.”
The article continued: “Both European and U.S. officials are eager for Congress to extend the deadline. Unless this happens, the United States risks a huge shortfall in traveler spending and a consular nightmare when millions of visitors suddenly require visas. Some 15.1 million people came into the United States under the visa waiver program last year, and their spending accounted for about two-thirds of spending by overseas visitors. The Department of Homeland Security has asked Congress to give visa waiver countries two more years to start issuing biometric passports… The Oct. 26 deadline only applies to passports issued after that date. Citizens of visa waiver countries who hold valid passports issued before Oct. 26 will be grandfathered, allowing them visa-free travel until their passports expire.”