Friday, May 14, 2004

An Oklahoman on Inhofe's Remarks

While virtually everyone else is condemning the abuse of the Iraqi prisoners James Inhofe, the US Senator from Oklahoma (oh it pains me to say that!) has distinguished himself by not being so outraged - even after viewing photos of forced homosexual sex and other violations of the Geneva Conventions AND US law. To be fair, Inhofe says he was outraged by what seven or so US soldiers did (and he's careful to limit the outrage to those seven) but he is "more outraged by the outrage" over the abuse. His argument is that Saddam Hussein was much much worse in his torture methods, That comparison is apparently supposed to make us feel better?

James Inhofe is no doubt really ticked off that the scandal is directly or indirectly eroding support for the war in Iraq and for President Bush. He feels Democrats are taking advantage of this situation. It's hard to have sympathy in this regard for one of the most intensely partisan persons on planet Earth. I notice the GOP website is holding Inhofe up as a fine example for his statements.

Inhofe's equivocating statements on the abuse are shameful. What the photos show are clearly illegal and immoral. As an American who loves my country I am deeply ashamed of what these particular representatives of my country have done. I am also deeply ashamed of James Inhofe's statements and hope they do not fairly represent the majority of Oklahomans. I don't believe they do.

Knowing Inhofe to be a religious (Presbyterian)man, at least in his mind, I am curious how he can be more outraged over "do-gooders" exposing the abuse than over troops engaging in abhorrent behavior that I'm pretty sure his religion frowns upon. Oddly enough, Inhofe is only mildly outraged that US troops would reportedly force prisoners abroad to have homosexual sex while being truly outraged over homosexual marriage at home. Where is the moral consistency in this?

Inhofe tries to lessen the seriousness of the prisoner abuse by saying the prisoners in these cells were murderers and terrorists. The International Red Cross says they estimate about 70% of the prisoners in the US prison in Iraq were swept up and have nothing to do with terrorism. The truth may lie somewhere inbetween but nonetheless, as one Senator said, "if we lower ourselves to torture prisoners then what are we fighting for in Iraq"?

I was glad to see in the Tulsa World today that Bishop Slattery of the Eastern Oklahoma diocese condemned the prisoner abuse and took an indirect slap at Inhofe. Inhofe was quoted in the Tulsa World article that he was disappointed that the Bishop didn't call him to get the facts.

While it is not a good comparison I can describe my feeling over the abuse of our prisoners by saying, for an Oklahoman, it would be like finding out the national champions OU Sooners football team cheated on their way to victory (which isn't the case). It's just so deflating and shameful. My America is just not like that.

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