Liberals get jitters over Abu Ghraib ‘excesses’
23 November 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Liberal Party (VVD) has warned its support for Dutch involvement in international military missions cannot be taken for granted if international laws in relation to warfare are not respected.
Liberal Party (VVD) Defence spokesman Hans van Baalen said the Abu Ghraib scandal, the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, and rumours of secret US detention centres damaged the moral authority of the West.
The VVD is part of the three-party coalition government in the Netherlands. The party is seen as a traditional US ally.
The Dutch government is considering whether to send 1,000 troops to Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan to help in the hunt for the Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. The mission has been called into question by a military intelligence report which claimed the area may be too dangerous.
Van Baalen said close cooperation between the US and Europe, particularly within Nato, was essential to tackle many of the major problems in the world. These include Iraq, Iraq, North Korea and the Middle East.
He said the split that has grown between the US and its European allies had to be sealed and. European countries, including the Netherlands, had to increase military spending and play their roles in military missions.
But Van Baalen said the “excesses” exposed at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and the rumours of secret US detention centres in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, undermined the battle against international terrorism.
“The Dutch government must continue to insist the US adheres to humanitarian laws to guarantee the continued support of the VVD for international operations,” Van Baalen said.
“The battle against international terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan must not be lost due to public opinion in the US and Europe, including the Netherlands, as happened in Vietnam. That would play into the hands of the extremists in the Muslim world, while the fight is being won on the ground,” he said.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news