Our government was one of the fiercest and first to criticize the US government for the treatment of Iraqi and Afghan prisoners. Now a little but possibly devastating affair has emerged, 5 days before elections. In 2003, Dutch troops in Iraq “prepared” 15 Iraqi prisoners for interrogation by the intelligence service by keeping them out of their sleep using loud music, bright light, hosing them and blindfolding them with ski-sunglasses so “they could not recognize their capturers”. The Geneva convention is very clear about this. It’s torture and illegal (although some dispute this claim). While one could argue it is a relatively small incident, the fact that the matter was handled internally (with no consequences by the way) and the fact that interrogation was explicitly not part of the mission there and the protests of our administration about the US invented “illegal combatants” category and the carefully guarded concept of The Hague being the Juridical Capital of the world, makes it embarrassing at best and explosive at worst.

Some people who expressed their opinion to me about this followed a line of thinking like “jeez, what the hell are we even talking about?”. I am saying: as soon as this starts, not only are we sliding downhill rapidly, we are also giving our opponents weapons to counter us in a way even worse than explosives and bullets.