US Torture vs Arab Torture; a savage hypocrisy

US Torture vs Arab Torture; a savage hypocrisy

We should all be familiar by now with the reports that US soldiers have been torturing Iraqi (and foreign) prisoners.

I was content to sit and watch the Western world criticize US and Britain over such obviously deplorable actions, but then I read these:

Arab Editors denounce Iraq abuse

Bush says sorry as abuse scandal grows

So my question: how can the Arab world criticize the US/Britain for these acts when in neighbouring Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia these actions are common practice?

To be clear, I’m against torture and the mistreatment of prisoners. What those troops did it Iraq was wrong and I expect to see them sacked. I fully expect the world to further criticize Pres Bush and PM Blair.

But to hear the Arab world criticize the US for acts of torture to me is preposterous.

Does the Arab world actually care about torture and the treatment of prisoners?

After this scandle blows over, will the Arab world be as appalled when pictures of Arab prisons emerge?

It was well known that Saddam tortured millions during his illustrious 25 years in power, but where was the outrage then?

Will the Arab world require an apology from the various dictators occupying their own countries?

I see nothing preposterous here. We’ve told the Arabs over and over that we in the west have higher moral standards than they. You know, freedom an democracy and stuff. To the extent that have any inkling of understanding of those standards, they’re objecting to our not upholding them.

Well, I don’t have any problem saying that they are hypocritical. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean they can’t criticize us, and it certainly is a huge blow to all our biggest rhetorical guns. Keep in mind that not EVERYONE who dislikes what we have done is a ME dictator. It’s ordinary people that are mad too. And I would assume they are plenty mad about torture in general in their own countries, but they can’t exactly complain too loudly there, can they?

You are being misleading, as there was at least some outrage. Most Arab countries hated Saddam. You think Iran, who spent 10 years at his throat, loved the guy or anything he did?

Everyone is a hypocrite. We report American civilian deaths but make little mention of the thousands(?) of innocent Iraqi civilians that have been killed. We call it a liberation, others call it an occupation. Everyone’s viewpoint about the other side is clouded by their own biases.

But of course, damm those camel jockeys! Just who do they think they are!

They should all be lining-up at the doors of US run torture camps with arms raised hoping and praying they’ll be picked next.
::::“Thank you, Sir, may I have another”:::::


Can anyone imagine the amount of dead Iraqi’s were the situation reversed? If it had been Iraqi’s torturing Americans all hell would have broken loose.

Gotta nit-pick this. Iran is not an Arab country, but I’m sure you know that.

Hypocracy is all over the place. No reason not to come down hard on these abuses. There is no excuse for the behavior seen in those photos.

Pardon me for asking, but since when is the Arab world just one unit? How in hell do you justify saying that any Arab person is being “hypocritical” and “preposterous” because a government that is another country, maybe even on another continent, holds a different belief than they do? Suppose that “the Western world” was held to the same standard. Would it be “hypocritical” and “preposterous” for you to support one standard of behavior if some people if Finland or Australia didn’t agree with you?

Technically Aljazeera said it first. The media has continuously gone on and on about “Arab reaction to Bush” and variations of the same.

So if they can do it…

And John Mace, my apologies. I did know Iran is not Arab and originally I just had the Saudi and Syrian torture cases, but then I remembered the Kazari case so I thought Iran in as a “neighbour.”

Well…Arabs never claimed to have NOT tortured anybody, nor to deny it’s a (hated) flavor of the culture. Tha West on the other hand, as was mentioned, presented “better” more humane standards of conduct which we are failing to live up to.

And make an attempt to understand The Arab. While Habib Jones doesn’t particularly *want *to get swept off to jail and have his 'nads take on the full wrath of a car battery, I’ll give you a guess as to who he’d pick between an Arab or an Infidel to “hook him up” if he had to choose.

We DON’T belong in those lands in any capacity other than as courteous visitors. We would tolerate nothing less from them. But instead of courtesy owed to a host we’re running rough shod all over those under-civilized nomads–and have for about a century. I would venture to say that what violence we have received at the hands of the Middle East has been much more restrained than what they can have expected from their more civilized neighbors should they have been the ones occupying, say, France.

My guess is that average Mr. Arab is as angry with bad treatments in their prisons as we in the west are with ours. Maybe. But they don’t have free press, or polarized political systems self-feeding the press. However, in this case it’s also the male sexual stuff…

Anyway, what’s your take on this:

It doesn’t matter what we do, the Arab world will hate the USA. Being upset that some of our military tortured prisoners is understandable. The US is held to a higher standard (as others have said). I certainly think torture is wrong, but I’m reminded of something that I think fits this situation: at the beginning of the war when the convoy (the one with Lynch) was captured I was talking to a relative about the alleged torture, using the prisoners for propaganda, and how I thought that was messed up. He told me, “Yeah, so? It’s war. That’s what happens.” So if “that’s what happens” in war is it really more wrong when one of the sides does it as opposed to the other? As far as I know, no Americans have dragged charred remains of Iraqis through the streets and then strung up the corpses.

You don’t think of this as the Arab/Muslim world against the West? I think it’s pretty clear that it’s an “Us vs. Them” on both sides.

That, of course, is the fundamental problem. With the collapse of the Soviet Union we were hard pressed to find a “them” to hate and fear and use as a rational for national policy. Fortunately we now have a “them.” I sure do feel all warm and cozy about that. Insert some 1984 reference here – anyone will do; they all fit.

I think that’s what bothered me most in this situation. We in the West hold ourselve to a higher standard. Part of the justification for going into Iraq was the human rights violations.

But does the Arab world hold the West to a higher standard?

That’s what I find so strange.

If they didn’t, what would that say for our chances promoting the American version of freedom and democracy among them? I’d find an absence of protest to be frighteningly weird.

As I understand it, what you’re saying is that it’s wrong for the American military to torture prisoners in Iraq, but also wrong for any Arab to criticize American torture of Iraqi prisoners. Since I’ve always believed that people should criticize actions that are morally wrong, I hope you understand why this attitude puzzles me. Quite simply, the statement “If A is worse than B, then it’s hypocritical to criticize B but not A” is an impossible standard to uphold. And as for the media, so what? Yes, the media often does incorrectly characterize the entire Muslim world as being more homogenous than it actually is, but that doesn’t make it right. Why should any Arab individual not be allowed to have an individual identity just because the American media doesn’t treat them that way?

No I don’t. Of course, I could offer a response with more clarity if I knew precisely what “this” and “it” were. But the average Arab civilian is not saying to themself “Gee, those Americans who are torturing Muslims in Iraq are a lot wrose than anything that any Arab has ever done.” The average Arab civilian is not well-informed about what the human rights standards are in every country in the Muslim world. And the average person in the United States or any other western country doesn’t know much about what happens in the Arab world beyond factoids hand-selected for them by the media. And the average westerner doesn’t know everything, good or bad, that western countries have done in recent generations. So to characterize the whole judgement of the morality of this situation by people in both parts of the world as being a strictly “Us vs. Them” situation certainly seems a gross oversimplification to me.

Quite honestly the “THEM vs. US” mentality has been pretty prevalent in the US where serious talk of concentration camps, genocide, and endorsement of specific Muslim humiliations against all Muslims were perfectly normal among many Americans that I have came into everyday contact since 9/11.

Should have read that a little better. :smack: :o

No, that is not what I meant and I apologize for the confusion.

What I find wrong is that a person can stand in a country that openly endorses torture while criticizing the US; to me that is hypocrisy.

This point is absolutely correct, and painfully true. Its unfortunate that in an age where we have access to so much information that people on average are so completely ignorant of what’s going on around them. But that is a reality we have to live with.

This debate really has nothing to do with the morality of torture, I feel narrow minded saying this but the torture of prisoners is absolutely wrong. It was wrong when Saddam did it, it was wrong when the US did it, and it was equally wrong when Syria did it.

The point for debate here is that how can there be “Arab anger” at the US for committing these dispicable crimes, when there this is NO “Arab anger” for “Arab crimes.”

emk: The point for debate here is that how can there be “Arab anger” at the US for committing these dispicable crimes, when there this is NO “Arab anger” for “Arab crimes.”

Who says there’s no Arab anger for Arab crimes such as torture of prisoners? I heard a lot of Arabs bitching about the atrocities of Saddam Hussein when he was in power, for example. Iranians (right, not Arab), Syrians, Egyptians, Saudis, every time a Western journalist goes to a repressive ME society to ask about human rights they get an earful of anger over the governments’ torture and other human rights abuses.

The thing is, the people who are angry are usually strictly prohibited from expressing their anger about their own governments publicly; witness the hostile reaction by Syria to a tiny little protest for political reform. And the Iranian government clamps down on pro-reform protests pretty heavily too.

Now, if what you’re trying to get at is the hypocrisy of the official positions of the repressive governments themselves, which routinely employ torture and forbid their citizens to criticize their policies but at the same time scold the US for human rights abuses, knock yourself out. I completely agree that such a stance is hypocritical and wrong, and I don’t think you’ll get much debate there. (However, I don’t think the solution is for them to shut up about the US’s misdeeds, but rather to clean up their own acts.)