U.S. image hurt by prisoner scandals


Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that prisoner abuse scandals in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay and other mistakes have damaged America’s reputation, and work must be done to prove the U.S. is still a force for good in the world.

While he did not mention the war in Iraq, he told a conference of top security officials from around the world that the U.S. has to do a better job of explaining its policies and actions.

For the last century most people believed that “while we might from time to time do something stupid, that we were a force for good in the world,” Gates said.

And while he said a lot of people still believe that, he added, “I think we also have made some mistakes and have not presented our case as well as we might in many instances. I think we have to work on that.”

Delivering his first speech as Pentagon chief, Gates also made an urgent call for NATO allies to live up to their promises to supply military and economic aid for Afghanistan, saying that failing to do so would be shameful.

And in a carefully worded rebuke, he used both humor and some pointed jabs to blunt Russia’s sharp attack against U.S. foreign policy a day earlier.

In remarks before a prestigious security forum, Gates dismissed as dated Cold War rhetoric Russian President Vladimir Putin’s charge Saturday that the United States is seeding a new arms race.

A day after Putin blamed U.S. policy for inciting other countries to seek nuclear weapons to defend themselves, Gates responded: “As an old Cold Warrior, one of yesterday’s speeches almost filled me with nostalgia for a less complex time. Almost.”

Then, as the audience chuckled, he added, however, that he has accepted Putin’s invitation to visit Russia.

“We all face many common problems and challenges that must be addressed in partnership with other countries, including Russia,” said Gates. “One Cold War was quite enough.”

The bulk of his speech was devoted to the future of the NATO alliance, and the need to work together to defend the trans-Atlantic community against any security threats.

He struck a familiar theme — one he pressed during a NATO defense ministers meeting this week, when he urged the allies to follow through on their promises to help secure and rebuild Afghanistan.

“It is vitally important that the success Afghanistan has achieved not be allowed to slip away through neglect or lack of political will or resolve,” Gates said. Failure to muster a strong military effort combined with economic development and a counternarcotics plan “would be a mark of shame,” he said.

Gates also sketched out the challenges ahead, from Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the situation in the Middle East to China’s recent anti-satellite tests and Russia’s arms sales.

Just eight weeks on the job, Gates used the conference and a NATO gathering earlier in the week to introduce himself to the international community and meet privately with a number of defense ministers.

In other comments, he said the Bush administration would like to close Guantanamo Bay detention facility, but there are a number of serious and committed terrorists there that should never be let free. And he said detainee trials there will be conducted openly and with adequate defense for them.

Referring to problems the U.S. has had convincing other countries to accept some detainees, Gates said the issue is a difficult problem the nation will continue to work through.

Delivered amid growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia and to an audience including many Iraq and Afghanistan war skeptics, the speech was the first public test of Gates’ diplomatic skills. It came at a venue that at times had been dominated by his more bombastic predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld.

So as he neared the end of his remarks, Gates made a deliberate move to separate himself from Rumsfeld and any lingering discord.

In the run-up to the Iraq war, Rumsfeld sharply criticized nations opposed to the conflict — specifically France and Germany — referring to them as “Old Europe.”

Without mentioning Rumsfeld’s name, Gates said some people have tried to divide the allies into categories — such as east and west, north versus south.

“I’m even told that some have even spoken in terms of ‘old’ Europe versus ‘new,'” Gates said. “All of these characterizations belong in the past.”


On the Net:

Munich Conference on Security Policy

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press


  1. Ever notice how the term ‘we’ is so often mentioned whenever the U.S. is being blamed for all this tragedy? I don’t remember anybody asking me if it was OK to invade other countries nor do any of my friends or acquaintances. All I can say to the folks in control: SPEAK FOR YOURSELF AND STOP INCLUDING ‘U.S.’ IN YOUR SPEECHES!

  2. Stephennnn

    Gates certainly got to the heart of the matter after only a short time in office…”prisoner abuse scandals in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay and other mistakes have damaged America’s reputation” Wow, with that type of candor he should certainly advance the american agenda. With that in minde I wonder if he could review Guantanamo fiasco and see if may one or two ranking officers should have been charged?? Just a suggestion.

  3. Ray, I am very familiar with all the conspiracies around the Masons, Templars, and the Illuminati and just about everything you mentioned. It has roots in the history of religion. It is scary stuff!

    I had a remarkable history teacher in high school (1948)who made it clear, in our American History class, that none of this could influence Americans because we were a “Secular” nation! Whether our elected officials were influenced by all this superstition is another story.

    Americans are raised from day one to believe in God. The problem is that this can lead to a million interpretations of hundreds of Gods.

    Americans should be focusing on the one document that was written to guide us through our laws and then it would be possible to develop our individual religions for our spiritual laws.

    The basic American does not understand how our nation is supposed to run. The founders thought they had covered all bases but the academics in America let them down. It is a tragedy that we don’t live under our nation’s laws embellished by our own spiritual laws.

    The balance is off in this current white house and we are now looking to D.C. for our spiritual laws. The Conservatives are focused on this and will not stop until our sins are legislated in the Constitution through Amendments. We are handing the government our souls to revamp and then hand them back to us. If there was anything our founders did not want, this is it!

    It is brain washing at it’s finest and I fear that it has won! Schools should not be teaching religion and the churches should not be directing their members how to vote. The human brain is quite able to find their own religion and locate their own candidates.

    Any movement that abuses religion should immediately be exposed! Any President who uses God to terrorize the people should be removed! Too many Americans look to President Bush as a religious leader and has given him complete and total control over what he is doing to America. This is the result of a weak education system in America. This is not a conspiracy!

  4. gem

    Gates is amusing in the same way Bsh and Cheney are amusing: they raise my level of incredulity to the point I guffaw in a mad cycle of laughter. USofA as a force for good in the w-o-r-l-d? They have got to be kidding…we aren’t even a force for good in our own country. We are a disgrace nationally and internationally.

    The disgrace is that we have robbed our children of any future other than drudgery to pay off the BUsh-Cheney bills in their ill-begotten push to world military dominance. (Not to mention the destruction of our environment!) We will destroy the world with invasion after invasion of other countries all because the rest of the world is now so cowed they are incapable of reacting.

    I am so ashamed of us. And, no, he wasn’t elected…he stole the election and we are, if not in name, certainly in action and result now fascist.

    I ask anyone to show me how we are now functioning as a republic or a democracy.

  5. […] U.S. image hurt by prisoner scandalsCapitol Hill Blue – … for inciting other countries to seek nuclear weapons to defend themselves, Gates responded: As an old Cold Warrior … said the Feds (perhaps Pentagon?) contacted him to say they wanted to use an area of inner San Antonio to do an anti-terrorism … […]

  6. JimZ

    Ray, I know Doug hates us to mention any of certain names on here but relating to what you said about “Federalism”, got to mention something in Alex Jones’ first video, “911: The Road To Tyranny”. I agree with some of what Alex says; being a former Austin-ite myself I know people that know him and he is an attention whore and has a big ego, so he blows some smoke, too.

    In that video, he interviews the Chief of Police of San Antonio, TX. The Chief said the Feds (perhaps Pentagon?) contacted him to say they wanted to use an area of inner San Antonio to do an anti-terrorism drill with armed Special Forces troops. I don’t remember all the details right now, but basically he told them “no”. One day, they just showed up and did it anyway. He felt it was a violation and intrusion of their local sovereignty. There’s an example of “stepping on local toes”.

    Ray, I don’t claim to know a lot about the Templar Knights, but just a bit. Why were they in Babylon? I thought they were just around the “Holy Land” and Europe. Wasn’t Babylon under control of the Ottoman Empire back then? I really don’t think any “Saladins” would just have let them go in there and dig around.

  7. So the problem is not that we did bad things to our prisoners but we didn’t explain them to the American People?

    This is the basic problem within the Bush Administration. They would be much wiser not to break the rules of war including prisoner abuse and act like a moral, ethical free nation!

    I’m hearing this from all my old Conservative pals is that it is the media who is hurting Bush. This is pure undiluted bullshit! We elected the wrong man to lead us. We did not realize his agenda was to ruin our nation. Bring America down was the only way he could make any attempt at changing our force in the world.

    We continue to ignore his obvious corruption and his destruction and he will indeed take our nation down the tubes. It is time we put the Conservatives where they belong which means out of political power.

    Make no mistake, this Conservative movement is dangerous! They can no longer hang onto the agenda of Goldwater or Reagan as they have destroyed our American Freedoms. As far as I’m concerned I’m at war with the whole damn movement. They hide behind their religious roots and they are liars! Daily, more programs are in discussion on how to control the American people and we must stand up to this horrible movement running under the cross of religion.

    Hold them accountable for prisoner abuse and hold them firmly!!! Gates is nothing but a voice of the Conservative movement. We have 2 years to rid America of this movement. They will pull out all the stops about the right to life while they send our soldiers to die. They will complain that their marriages are in jeopardy while they themselves diddle in homosexual alliances. I’ve had enough!

  8. Judy

    Sandy said..”We elected the wrong man to lead us.” I’m sorry to say Sandy, but I don’t agree that GWB was elected in 2000..I didn’t believe it then and I never will. Neocon money was spent and their powers used to put him in office allowing for this dictatorship and its crimes to be committed.

  9. Greg

    We are fighting an enemy who is in total violation of the Geneva Conventions. They do not wear an uniform, answer to no country, are outside the law. And these militants commit unlawful acts (like murdering civilians, beheading those they capture). Yet we in the military are suppose to act on a higher level?

    Wake up people. This war will be fought on US soil. Radical Islam is recruiting your kids to fight you. We will see IEDs used against school buses. We will see schools taken over, children murdered, as a means of breaking your will and making you surrender to radical Islam (convert or die). And the attackers will be your own children who will have been brainwashed into the cult of radical Islam.

    Want peace all you want, but Radical Islam sees you as weak, easy to conquer.

  10. Paolo


    “We are fighting an enemy who is in total violation of the Geneva Conventions…”

    Sorry mate, but so are we!

    “And these militants commit unlawful acts (like murdering civilians, beheading those they capture)….”

    Sorry mate, but we’re committing all kinds of illegal acts (see Haditha, Falluja, Abu Ghraib, etc.)and murdering civilians. I don’t know of any beheadings, but we’ve killed people by putting a bag over their head and beating them to death. Of course, that’s so much more polite, as compared to beheading.

    “We in the military are supposed to act on a higher level?” you ask rhethorically.

    Answer: YES.

    “This war will be fought on US soil.”

    Only if we continue to meddle in the Middle East. As Pat Buchanan says, “they’re over here because we’re over there.”

    Most Muslims want what everyone else wants: a chance to make a living in a peaceful world. I have known many Muslims in America, and have yet to find one who is not a first-rate, upstanding citizen. They have absolutely no interest in converting others to their religion through violence. Actually, they’re not interested in converting anyone through conversation, either. Mainly, they just want to be left alone.

    The founding fathers talked about staying out of foreign wars. Boy, did they have that right.

    Islam has no interest in “conquering” America.

  11. JimZ

    Paolo: Well said!

    Everything we are being told about radical Islam wanting to attack, convert, or destroy us is the same thing we seem to want (and seem to be already doing) to them.

    Pat Buchanan is absolutely right. I’ve seen him say the same thing.

    And you are right. If we’d just stop meddling in other countries’ affairs and stop supporting tyrannical governments friendly to the U.S., NOBODY would be wanting to attack us.

    We screwed over Iran badly in 1953, causing them decades of tyrannical rule, creating more Islamic radicalism. We screwed over Iraq for years with all our bombing them and trade sanctions against them. We baited the Shiites to rise up against Saddam, only to just renege on them and let them get slaughtered. Then WE INVADED THEM based on lies. Not that Saddam was a lovable person; I guess he was loved by Donald Rumsfield at one time!

  12. Paolo

    Hi Jim Z,

    Spot on!

    The real tragedy of America is that not one in a hundred people here know what you are talking about when you refer to Iran in 1953. Same goes for the installation of Saddam Hussein, and our support for him in the 1980’s when he invaded Iran. Or what happened when we invaded the Phillipines, or Cuba, or Haiti, or Panama. I could keep going, but hopefully the point is made….

  13. The South Point

    The problem is the molech-worshipping abominations of evilness that have infested D.C. and the christian fundie supporters who are too stupid to realize they’re being used as flunkies.

  14. Ray

    Hell, the federal government has even invaded the states, our states. They make laws and rules and then tell the states funding will be cut off if the state does not enact and enforce the feds new rules. They blackmail the states into compliance. Have you guys ever dug into what federalism really is? Why is there a District of Columbia? And that district is not a state. And why maritime law is used instead of constitutional law. And why flags displayed in DC or Federal Courts have gold fringe. And why the name columbia is on everything. Freemasonry at the higher levels above 33 is where many of the elite illuminati dwell. The washington monument is nothing more than a pegan oblisk representing the god orisis penis. You will find symbolism everywhere you look in DC. Ancient symbols and roman architecture. Babylon/ Rome / Washington DC. The secret knowledge found by the Templars in old babylon has been carefully guarded. The Templars used this knowledge to gain incredible wealth during a period of recruitng the wealthy of that time. Royals begged to join the Templars because they had the secret. To join it was required to give up all money and land but they did it. Then the governments of old europe found out that these Templars had occult powers and so the armies went out and killed most of them, but a few escaped to Ireland and resurfaced as the Scottish Right. From there they started masonic lodges throughout the world. One mason named cecil rhodes was a very evil and powerful man who pushed the university idea. That was where the bloodline were to be educated, not the commoners. Skull and Bones 322 is the initiation club of these evil bastards running the world now. Satanic ritual is a main ingredient of thier doctrine that like GW said ” Its so secret, I can’t talk about it” One little requirement of Bonesman is to lie naked in a coffin and masturbate while classmates look on and perform ceremonial duties. Freemasonry on the bottom layers of the pyrimid has members who have no idea that the top levels exist and they are innocent of the evils used in the network of freemasonry. That handsign bush always makes is not just sign of the texas longhorns, its the satan salute. The body language signs of masons is powerful. Masons swear to oath to never harm on another and that is why you see pardons given out to criminals who should be in jail. Anyway, many of the signers to the constitution were masons. Most presidents have been masons. But the interesting fact is that the Templars bloodline has been guarded and can be tied to Bush,Kerry,Cheney, British Royalty, Ted Turner,Tony Blair, and many many more people of elite status. Research what goes on at the Grove when these elites gather. Satanic Ritual where a child figure is burned in front of a 40foot Owl in what is called the Cremation of Care. Alex Jones snuck in and secretly filmed this sick ceremony. You can see it on his website. The point of all this is to tell you guys, there is an evil secret cabal of the elite bloodlines that practice occult power along with symbolism who are the guy behind the curtain. David Icke puts it all in perspective. If you need proof of designed reality that we are subjected to, and want evidence to make sense of it all, and things we can do to stop this power, read his books. Don’t form any instant opinions because the things he points out for you are shocking. Once you know the things that are going on and how they are being done, you will know what to do to stop the evil cabal and the enslavement of all. Knowledge is power. We have been purposely dumbed down and mind controlled to believe we are helpless and unable to be creative therefore perfect workers for the elitists. These evil killers possess technology that could end all environmental problems, but it can,t be sold by the gallon and besides they don’t want us to advance and learn that all knowledge is controlled. Higher knowledge exists but has been controlled by those who found something in ancient Babylon and have kept it from all peoples for two thousand years. Check out Icke and get some info that will help understand this crap we are witnessing in the world.