Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Keep spreading the word

A big thank you goes out to the following Bloggers Against Torture for advertising the Blogathon on their site.

Blogger Round Table

Wot is it Good 4

Ang's Weird ideas

Bush Out


And Robbie at both his blogs: Independent Opinions, and Greetings from America's Finest City.


Jen's community spirit inspired me and got me thinking, apart from helping torture victims directly by donating to the NGOs, what else should be done?

We know that human rights abuse inspires retaliation against us, yet it is the soldiers who will reap most of what we've sown. I also recall The Man from Missouri saying that the one thing that doesn't get emphasised enough is the psychological impact of the policy upon the troops. As discussed here, the policy predates upon the vulnerabilities that we all share, and it leaves soldiers forever scarred. Again we do the wrong thing, yet they pay.

If the over-used phrase "Support the Troops" means anything, it is that we have a responsibility towards those who serve us. We are working to end this disastrous policy, but changing policy takes time. We should also be ameliorating the consequences for those who have to deal with the consequences in the meantime.

So say hello to Blogathoners Stale Betty. They are raising money for IFHF, a rehabilitation centre for combat veterans. I've dropped them a line, and sent them a token of our appreciation. Why not drop by and say hello?


Blogger elendil said...

If anyone's wondering why Stale Betty isn't linking back to us, I asked them and they sent me the following response.

From: Betty
To: rummyelendil
Date: Jul 14, 2006 11:12 AM
Subject: Re: [Stale Betty] : Comment From elendil

I didn't miss your contribution. I thanked you as an Anonymous Sponsor, which is how you signed up, and then you plugged yourself in the comments.

What I didn't do was link back to your blog. If you sponsored us for the purpose of a link back, I'm really very sorry but I can not endorse your site. I will understand completely if you would like to withdraw your sponsorship, but please understand that we are all military wives and it would be wrong for me to endorse a site or blog that has posted anti-U.S. military sentiments and classified military information (ie regarding SERE).

Not only would I feel uncomfortable about this but it would go against the Uniform Code of Military Justice and I can not put myself, the other military wives or our husbands in that kind of situation.

I appreciate the plug and best of luck with your Blogathon.


2:00 PM  
Blogger elendil said...

Here is the response I sent back. I realise that it seems adversarial to put these here, but I actually do respect her position insofar as that I believe she has taken it in good faith, even though I disagree with her completely.

I believe that this is the most transparent way to deal with the issue. God forbid that anyone in the alliance should be excluded on potentially controversial matters via some Townhouse-esque email group. This might be a small issue but it is the precedent that must be set. It effects all of you, and you should be able to comment on it, criticise it, and voice any concerns you might have over my actions.

Dear Betty

Thank you for your reply. Although I would very much like a link back to our fundraiser, I did not sponsor your blog just to get a link. I trust that you read our blog post explaining why we did the sponsorship[1]. I am disheartened that it did not adequately explain our reasons to you, but I won't press the issue.

I do, however, wish to reply to the two assertions that you made below, if for no other reason than because they are so inaccurate that I just can't let them pass. Both of them imply that I am unsupportive of U.S. troops, which couldn't be further from the truth. I just can't let that pass.

On 7/14/06, Betty wrote:
> we are all
> military wives and it would be wrong for me to endorse a site or blog
> that has posted anti-U.S. military sentiments and classified military
> information (ie regarding SERE).

First, the SERE information is not classified, but was obtained legally under the Freedom of Information Act, and is now freely available in various news articles and on the internet. Regardless, I appreciate that you are wary of anything resembling the broadcast of sensitive information, and would expect a good reason before doing it, even after an FoIA disclosure.

My reason for quoting it was to further demonstrate that torture is systemic US government policy. Rather than being against the troops, this action is supportive of them. It dispels the myth that torture is committed by "a few bad apples", which is a vile smear against the troops designed specifically to make them scape-goats for what the policy-makers are responsible for.

Second, I have unequivocally condemned the Coalition's torture policy, and the various military policies that are extensions of that, but I have never been against the troops who serve. In fact, we have one milblogger on the alliance and a wife of a US soldier, neither of whom would stand for it, and rightly so. In stark contrast, I have written in the defence of US troops several times[2], including the above.

One of my main arguments against the torture policy is the harm it does to Coalition troops, both psychologically and in terms of retaliation against them. As wives of those serving, this should concern you too. I am not interested in furthering the burden of those I see as victims of the torture policy -- which includes the troops and their families -- and I have little time for those who would indulge their baser instincts by blaming the soldiers for what they, as voting citizens, are ultimately responsible for.

In these polarised times, I am unsurprised that you viewed my gesture with suspicion, and I don't expect that what I've said makes a lot of sense to you. If you hear nothing else, I hope that you'll at least hear this:-

It is a lie that those who oppose the torture policy do so to attack the troops. I have nothing to gain from attacking the troops, but those who say that I do have everything to gain by perpetuating this lie. It should be self-evident to you then who your real friends are. That is why I pledged to you, and that's why I will not withdraw my pledge, whether you appreciate our efforts for your fundraiser or not.


[2]: e.g. here:

2:15 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Excellent response elendil. Betty seems a good person, who really does just feel uncomfortable about it, but there is no doubt that she is wrong about this.

'Supporting our Troops' means taking an interest in what they are facing in Iraq and why they are having to face it. It means caring enough to take the effort (considerable) to find out whether the hardship they are enduring is necessary, and whether they are being treated fairly.

It does *not* mean blindly accepting the official line on anything regarding the soldiers, and it does not mean standing idly by whilst ordinary men and women die, or are treated unfairly (as in the case of the torture scapegoating) because we think accpeting the official line is supporting the troops.

In fact, speaking out about things like torture or Iraq withdrawal is speaking ou in defense and solidarity with the troops, not in opposition to them.

4:04 PM  
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12:37 AM  

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