That’s another thing I love about Twitter. Almost any CNN anchor or reporter you can think of has an account. I’ve had conversations with Michael Holmes, Arwa Damon, Octavia Nasr, Christiane Amanpour and Jim Clancy through our Twitter accounts. It’s pretty unreal – they Tweet from wherever in the world they are, coverin
g a breaking story and giving us 140 characters’ worth of information. And then they discuss the football and yoga with mere mortals like us! I’ve had political and apolitical exchanges with them, something that absolutely thrills an aspiring Lois Lane!
Anyway, back to the story at hand. Major anchor and presenter of ‘The Brief’, Jim Tweeted this afternoon about other stories occupying the headlines. Here’s our little exchange:
clancycnn: “It’s pretty clear that Obama in China is the biggest story of the day, but there are plenty of other interesting ones. about 1 hour ago from web”
Me: “@clancycnn …won’t be taken seriously enough. Courts martial (if there will be any) will be sparingly used and we won’t see any humanity.”
clancycnn: “The Chinese are breaking taboo…publicly (and loudly) pointing to continued inaction on reforms, lack of U.S. growth etc. about 1 hour ago from web”
clancycnn: “The U.S. is right to point to internet freedoms, human rights issues and other challenges in China, but face it: Economic strength counts. about 1 hour ago
Me: “@clancycnn Everyonw knows that Suu Kyi’s freedom is central to Burmese reform and freedom. We need an intervention. about 1 hour ago from web”
Me: “@clancycnn And if governments are ever going to take the food crisis seriously, they’d pay attention to civil society orgs on the ground. 44 minutes ago from web”
We all remember Lynndie England and the outrage that followed the release of those photos (see right). Since then, we’ve become immune to the scores of atrocities committed against prisoners and civilians alike, in the name of so-called ‘democracy’, in the Middle East. We shouldn’t, but it’s happened. Which is why I think that if we wind up court martialing those soldiers who committed war crimes, it’ll be another joke. (See below – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial in NYC Federal Court) Too much damage has already been done over the years for us to believe that those who deserve it will ever get any justice.
Nic Robinson of the BBC Tweeted that he was outside 10 Downing Street today, waiting to hear about this latest accusation against British troops. It looks like a lot will be said and promised; evidence may be brought to light and even given a good debate. Maybe I’m just being cynical, but it’s a bit too much to expect the British government to court martial every soldier guilty of war crimes.
First of all, these aren’t politicians or businessmen accused of crime – these are soldiers, specially trained and selected for battle. There is a huge sense of responsibility and pride that rests on the shoulders of these men and women, and (in principle) rightly so. In this conflict though, as we’ve seen through numerous videos and photographs, the atrocities committed by the armed forces – British and American – are unspeakable. The sort of activity you’d expect from a mercinary, bounty hunter or terrorist; not a trained professional trusted with the duty of protecting his or her country.
Secondly, the war isn’t over yet. If these courts martial go ahead, it’s very likely to be after all troops return safely from all foreign stations. After that happens, who knows how long it will take to collect papers and prepare evidence to bring these men and women in front of the court to try them for their crimes?
It’s a grand idea, to be sure. If it could work, and if we could give innocent Iraqis and POWs the justice they deserve, it may shed some positive light on what has been a catastrophic war.