updated 5/4/2004 3:59:15 PM ET 2004-05-04T19:59:15

The Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal is turning into an international incident, and in some people's minds, a national disgrace for the United States. 

The American soldiers who abused Iraqi prisoners brought shame on themselves, on their families, their fellow soldiers and their countrymen. It may take years to undo the damage of these thuggish acts.  These soldiers have to be tried. And, if they‘re found guilty, they need to be punished to the full extent of the law. 

When you consider how their actions undermine the heroism of those who fought and died for the noble cause of liberating Iraq, suddenly a life sentence doesn‘t seem so severe.  But Arab leaders who run the most tyrannical dictatorships in the world can save their protests. It’s hard to care what an Islam fascist or a royal dictator has to say about the state of human rights in Iraq. 

And Kofi Annan can likewise keep quiet.  Here‘s a bungling bureaucrat who stood by while one million people were slaughtered in Rwanda, two million in Sudan, and whose closest advisers oversaw the systematic looting of $10 billion that was aimed at feeding starving Iraqi children. 

The French and Russians can also keep their complaints to themselves. They, too, profited from Saddam‘s murderous regime. 

Again, we need to nail these abusive U.S. soldiers to the wall.  But we also need to remember which critics stood by silently while Saddam Hussein killed over a million Arab people during the bloodiest reign in the history of the Middle East. 

'Scarborough Country' airs Sunday-Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.


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