Dutch Torture Gate

This week the Dutch leftwing newspaper ‘De Volkskrant’ reported that the Dutch military intelligence in 2003 has been torturing captured Iraqi terrorists insurgents during the Dutch military mission in Iraq. It is only a week before the Dutch parliamentary elections and this Dutch ‘Torture’ dominates the Dutch news.

This is painful news for a Dutch elite who has always pride it self for being so much more civilized than those dumb Americans. An elite that has always been in opposition to the trigger happy Americans and their barbaric conduct in the War on Terror. Always critizing the US for Guantanamo bay, logically that these do-gooder don’t want to fit the torturing category they created for the US.

So it was hardly a surprise that foreign affairs minister Ben Bot, who has often personally criticized the American war ‘atrocities’, was quick to condemn the Dutch military: “this can not be allowed. We should never lower ourselves too this kind of practices”. Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende hastened himself to say how “shocked” he was. Remember this government is what people in the Netherlands call a right-wing conservative government.

In Dutch Parliament the leftwing opposition now demands a parliamentary investigation. Dutch opposition leader, Wouter Bos, of the Socialist party (PvdA) now even tries to emulate Zapatero’s election victory in Spain by trying to inflame the public:

“And what's also a shame is that the smell of a cover-up is gradually getting very strong here, because this apparently happened in 2003. (But) we're hearing about it just now”

He added that he compared the Dutch abuses with the U.S. abuses of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison. Recently he also blamed the government of policies that would bring French style Muslim riots to the Netherlands. One can only wonder if he is hoping for ‘insurgents’ in the Netherlands to change the mind of the Dutch voters.

Hearing all these heavy accusations one surly gets curious to what they all mean by torture. It turns out to be that this torture does not even include bodily harm. It does include dousing terrorist insurgents with water to keep them awake. Also playing laud music, masking them with Dust goggles and shinning bright lights on them. Pretty heavy stuff against terrorist insurgents who are trying to blow you to pieces.

Seeing this kind of ‘scandals’ one really starts to wonder in what kind of united state of confusion the Dutch left and ‘right’ are. Some might think it is not that bad in The Netherlands. Didn’t the Dutch government just as first European country announce a Burka ban? Sure, but only they didn’t announce a ban, they announced an investigation in creating the ban. Parliament had requested such an investigation a year ago, but until last week the Dutch government ministers Donner (Justice) and Verdonk (Intergration) always claimed it was not possible. Only now when elections are coming up they claim it is possible. The results of that investigation are of course unknown and one can safely assume it will never turn into law. The only difference between the left and the right in the Netherlands seems to be on the rhetorical level, but not so much in their actions. So far, this ‘right’ wing government pulled back its troops from Iraq, is in opposition to offensive operations in Afghanistan and did not close any radical hate mosques. Nor did they manage to expel a single foreign radical jihad preacher (besides one illegal immigrant who was acting as imam). Meanwhile the trust in the Dutch government is getting lower by the day.

But maybe a recent news article with the following headline explains it all: “Dutch parliament happy with Democracy”. It reports on a study about the functioning of Dutch democracy. A large majority of the Dutch parliamentary members turns out to be quite happy with the state of Dutch democracy. Although oddly enough at the same time, two thirds of those same parliamentary members recognize there is big rift between them and the voters. One can only wonders what they really mean by Democracy …

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