The media have been in overdrive reporting on comments by Rep. Omar (D-Minn) about U.S. and Israeli atrocities compared to Hamas and Taliban atrocities:
First of all: why do the media not publish the verbatim text of Omar’s words, when that is what the issue is all about? Since they didn’t, we are left wondering if what we are commenting on is what she said.
But let’s assume these words are what provoked such outrage:
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
If so, I am left bewildered. What is Omar’s critics’ outrage all about? Are they denying that U.S., Israeli, and Afghan actors have not committed atrocities? The public record establishes beyond the shadow of a doubt that they have. Check out “Abu Ghraib Torture and Prisoner Abuse” in Wikipedia. And then remember these cases:
- 1st Lt. Clint Lorance was found guilty by a military court on two counts of second-degree murder for ordering his soldiers to fire on three men in Afghanistan in 2008. He was convicted in part on the strength of the testimony of his own men.
- Maj. Mathew Golsteyn was arrested and held to stand trial for allegedly killing a suspected terrorist bomb-maker in Afghanistan in 2010.
- Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was charged with murder and other offenses stemming from the murder of a teenage prisoner of war in Iraq. Members of Gallagher’s platoon testified against him. He was acquitted of the murder charges in what was described as a botched prosecution, but convicted of a lesser offense.
So, there is no question that U.S. forces have committed atrocities. What set these alleged American criminals apart from Islamic-based terrorists was the fact that military tribunals brought them to trial and convicted them of their crimes. The American legacy of respect for the rule of law prevailed. (See also War Crimes Committed by the United States in Iraq and Mechanisms for Accountability).
And here is what took that legacy and turned it to excrement:
Trump granted pardons to all three. He even restored Gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer. The military tribunal had demoted him as part of his punishment.
The Republican President of the United States took America’s legacy of respecting the rule of law and observing Geneva Convention rules against war crimes and threw that legacy into the gutter. Donald Trump and his Republican minions singlehandedly created the moral equivalency between U.S. and Islamist atrocities.
Ponder this, in determining the worth of Omar’s words: President Trump granted pardons to the three soldiers charged or convicted with crime against innocent civilians. He subverted the military’s fully functioning legal system in order to do so. And the Israeli treatment of Palestinians in its decades of occupying the West Bank? Do your own research.
Omar’s critics went into hyperbolic overdrive in claiming she posited a moral equivalency between Islamic terrorists and The U.S. and Israel. She did no such thing. That is her critic’s demagogic charge, not what she actually said. She simply called for both sides’ wrongful acts to be given equivalency. What’s wrong with that?