It Gets Worse

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Seymour Hersh has another report on the torture scandal. I won't try to summarize it.

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  1. Jesus freaking Christ, the MI blew up the only bridge at the dangerous Moral Highroad pass and didn’t tell anybody about it. No amount of outsourcing (or even joe’s Seabee’s) can repair this bridge in time.

  2. just wondering,

    We invaded Iraq, in part, to try to build a country were a severe dog bite was the worse injury suffered in a prison abuse scandal. Come to think of it, we invaded to try to build a country where prison abuse is a scandal at all.

  3. Sorry Shannon. American prisons are a scandal and nobody seems to mind.

    Maybe that’s what we’re trying to do – get nobody to mind.

  4. I just the love the fact that so many people who are outraged by the use of fake electrodes on Iraqi prisoners by the US had nothing whatsoever to say about the use of real electrodes on Iraqi prisoners by Hussein, and somehow never quite get around to condemning the continuing use of real electrodes and worse by dozens of other countries.

    I am not saying that the Abu Ghraib kerfuffle isn’t a real problem, I’m just saying that there seems to be an awful lot of convenient and politically useful outrage going on.

    Oh, and Seymour Hersh is a lying sack when he claims that the Army wasn’t pursuing this on its own, and was trying to cover it up.

  5. I won’t dignify Shannon Love’s apologia.

    R.C. Dean,

    Plenty of people were outraged by Saddam’s actions; though not the U.S. government until it suited its needs. Plenty of people remain outraged at the actions of other governments; though again, this is only the case for the U.S. government when it suits its needs. So if you are looking for hypocrites here, point your nose directly at the party I mention above.

    Furthermore, this moved away from “electrodes” long, and your attempt to paint this as the worst for the crimes is an example of your own hypocrisy.

    Prove Hersh wrong.

  6. R.C. Dean, when you break news on the prison torture issue, by publishing in a world-class magaizine, I might be inclined to believe you know as much about the issues as Seymour Hersh. Until then your just another sucker with an unfounded opinion, like me.

  7. Gary: Don’t worry, Shannon and RC will be suitably outraged when something truly horrible like rape of women and children, sodomy with lightbulbs, or murder is reported… Oh, never mind.

  8. Plenty of people were outraged by Saddam’s actions; though not the U.S. government until it suited its needs.

    Before the war, the U.S. Government, much like people such as yourself, was quite vehement in speaking Harsh Words of Condemnation for those Naughty Ba’athists in Iraq. And, much like people such as yourself, was equally vehement about doing jack shit to correct the problem. The difference is that the U.S. Government finally did correct the problem, and people like yourself tried to prevent them from doing so.

    In any case, you have no right to comment on atrocities. The anti-war crowd argued long and hard in favor of allowing even worse atrocities to continue. The only people with a right to condemn the Abu Ghraib abuses are those who favored the liberation of Iraq in the first place. The rest of you are too morally reprehensible to be worth listening to.

  9. So, first Dan insists that the doves were in favor of Saddam’s atrocities. So we’re already tainted.

    Then he insists that we have no right to condemn any other atrocities. So we must remain tainted.

    Dan, if I ever get called for jury duty, do I have the right to vote in favor of convicting somebody for murder? Or should I be recused on the grounds that I lack any moral authority? Is there some process akin to the Catholic sacrament of confession so that I can regain my moral authority?

    Remember, folks, you’re either with your country or against it, and if you ever oppose the President’s decision to go to war you forfeit any moral authority!

  10. Okay, if the dog bite wasn’t the worse physical injury according to Taguba’s report what was?

    I apparently don’t read as well as the rest of you. Perhaps you could take time from manufactured rage to help me figure out:

    A) How many people died?
    B) How many people suffered permanent physical injury or any kind.
    C) How many people required hospitialization? (I think it was two but surely that can’t be right)
    D) How many people show the classic signs of torture, scars, tremors, missing teeth, weight loss, electrical burns, greensplint fractures in the hands and feet etc

    I would really appreciate you help.

  11. Shannon Love, there are some folk who lack the ability to discriminate between cutting off a child’s allowance and cutting off his head. Forgive them their assault on you, their throttle is stuck.

  12. Dan: Yup, the US government corrected the problem – by replacing naughty baathists with naughty GIs. You know nobody sodomizes like a highly trained US soldier and the whole world is better off knowing that Abu G is being run by professionals. On a personal note, you have no right to talk about what other people have the right to complain about because your moral-relativism on this issue is, uhm, morally reprehensible.

  13. Shannon, you bring your dog, I’ll bring my chemical light and let you pick your orifice.
    “Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees”

  14. Were anti-war people arguing for Saddam’s torture or were they just arguing against the flaming pile of dogshit this war has already become? I don’t think we should nuke China, doesn’t mean I don’t think the chinese could learn a thing or two about human rights. What argumentative fallacy is this anyway? Anyone?

  15. Okay, so far I’ve got a dog bite, a “plausibly credible allegation” of sodomy with an object slightly larger than a tampon and xray who apparently believes that having a non-toxic, non-corrosive but glow-in-the-dark liquid poured over one is horror beyond telling.

    Come on people! This is TORTURE we are talking about here! TORTURE causes deaths. TORTURE leaves scars, broken bones and burns. It should be easy to point out the worst physical injury. I mean, you have so many to pick from, right?

  16. Forcible sodomy isn’t torture?

    Wait, scratch that. I don’t want to get into a semantic debate over the definition of the word “torture.”

    Forcible sodomy isn’t illegal, unethical, immoral, and just all around wrong?

  17. Dan, I haven’t seen you denounce child poverty enough lately. In fact, you’ve said some pretty nasty things about programs intended to reduce child poverty.

    Baby killer.

  18. Could somebody give me the contact info on the soldiers who did the sodomy?

    No! Wait! I can’t! Must maintain my heterosexuality!

    On second thought, those soldiers involved in the sodomy are going to bring about the ruin of civilization as we know it unless something is done now! I join the calls for Rumsfeld’s resignation! Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before the soldiers start having sex with dogs. Just like I did after that one gay encounter so many years ago.

  19. Wait, scratch that. I don’t want to get into a semantic debate over the definition of the word “torture.”

    Can we debate whether it was imminent torture?

  20. Jesse-

    I never said it was imminent torture. I said that it was gathering torture. Actually, I didn’t even say it. I said that according to some reports it was gathering torture. And the guy who investigated the torture claim and reported that I’m wrong is married to an undercover CIA agent.

    =-)

  21. Dan,

    “Before the war, the U.S. Government, much like people such as yourself, was quite vehement in speaking Harsh Words of Condemnation for those Naughty Ba’athists in Iraq.”

    When it suited America’s needs; if Saddam had not invaded Kuwait in 1990, and had remained within his own borders, he would still be torturing his own citizens and the U.S. wouldn’t give a crap.

    “In any case, you have no right to comment on atrocities.”

    The weakness of your argument illustrated by this very sentence.

  22. Shannon Love,

    “Okay, so far I’ve got a dog bite, a “plausibly credible allegation” of sodomy with an object slightly larger than a tampon and xray who apparently believes that having a non-toxic, non-corrosive but glow-in-the-dark liquid poured over one is horror beyond telling.”

    It doesn’t matter how bad the actions are; you are going to continue to apologize for them.

  23. Why do we have to sacrifice so many of our guys lives at the alter of the “moral highground”? If cutting off balls can achieve the objective, why are we, and we alone, forbidden from doing it? I support the abuse and hope, for our side’s sake, it continues.

  24. james ard-

    If torture yields information that can’t be obtained by other methods, or if it yields the information faster in a situation where time is of the essence (e.g. the timer on a bomb is ticking) then you might have a point. But my understanding is that (1) people being tortured have a habit of saying what they think their interrogators want to hear and (2) cases of a ticking clock are much rarer in real life than they are in movies and TV.

  25. The most effective form of torture is to threaten to kill a terrorist’s children. It worked for me when I had to stop a nuclear bomb from destroying Los Angeles. And a few hours ago a former colleague of mine was about to unleash a deadly virus, but he canceled his order after I captured his daughter.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I only have 3 hours left to bring the guy to justice. Wish me luck!

  26. My understanding is that the pictured Iraqi’s we’re beating up the people willing to cooperate with us. What would you do to stop that?

  27. thoreau,

    The US can use torture all it likes to in my mind; so long as it doesn’t try to continue to maintain that it is some sort of moral exemplar.

  28. “It doesn’t matter how bad the actions are; you are going to continue to apologize for them.”

    And it doesn’t matter how relatively minor the actions are, you are going to keep portraying it as the second coming of Auswitchs.

  29. JB-

    To be fair, at least it is being exposed (eventually) and dealt with (late and ineffectually).

    So while the US (or any other government *cough*Rainbow Warrior*cough*) isn’t a perfect moral exemplar, there are degrees.

    I deplore the torture and I don’t excuse it; but that being said, it’s silly to find moral equivalence between the US and the regime it displaced. At least the general public here doesn’t seem to be willing to make the tradeoff of torture for moral equivalence that you rhetorically accept.

    In other words, as long as it’s still considered wrong, then we haven’t yet sunk to the level of our enemies.

    That being said, I wish there were a wider gulf between us and them than there is now, and I’m sad about it.

  30. Okay, the tally so far:

    xray: having luminescent fluid poured on you. (I think this is some sort of personal phobia of his.)

    thoreau, Jesse Walker: one unconfirmed incident of sodomy with a glow in the dark stick.

    myself: dog bite.

    I remain confused. People claim this incident reveals the dark Nazi heart of the American military. People are saying that this incident is so bad it delegitimizes the entire Collitions actions in Iraq. People are saying this is so bad that the Secretary of Defense should resign and the that the President shouldn’t be re-elected.

    Obviously, I have missed something really significant. I mean people wouldn’t be making such a claims over an incident where nobody died, nobody suffered permanent injury and where the worst physical harm at all was a dog bite?

    The wouldn’t would they?

  31. Should I assume that if Shannon were raped, it would only upset her if she suffered severe vaginal bleeding as a result? Otherwise, jeez, it’s no big deal.

  32. As horrible as these actions are I’m really starting to move towards the “it isn’t that bad camp.” People actually are comparing this to the atrocities that Saddam committed or what currently goes on in the Middle East. This isn’t even modern day Russia bad.

    These are awful terrible acts, we’re treating the Iraqis like crap and we’re quickly falling from our moral high ground, but this still isn’t as bad as people are making it out to be. You know what seperates us from Saddam? The torture orders came from MI, not the top, we’re investigating it (albeit slwly) and the perps will be brought to justice (if they don’t I’ll eat my words and lose a lot of faith in this country).

    We have a job to do and mistakes will be made, we need to fix these mistakes and keep pushing forward to a free Iraq. We need to keep on the administration and push them to do a better job, but we can’t conflate every issue into it’s Southeast Asian (or German or French) analogue. There is a such thing as pushing too hard.

  33. Shannon,

    The dog attack would have been hearsay or a vague description before the photo was released.

    You’ll get your worst-case scenarios soon enough.

    The glowstick will be Bush’s cigar.

  34. My understanding is that the pictured Iraqi’s we’re beating up the people willing to cooperate with us. What would you do to stop that?

    First, I think you meant to say:

    “My understanding is that the pictured Iraqis were beating up the people willing to cooperate with us.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong. Jennifer, care to add anything to my critique of his spelling?

    Second, you seem to be suggesting that torture could serve as a deterrent against people who might otherwise attack Iraqi collaborators. Let’s just step back from that for a moment. Our goal is to get Iraqis to aid the US, or at least not fight against us. Some Iraqis are accused of using violence to deter people from aiding the US. So now we’re going to use torture to deter others from deterring?

    If our main goal is simply to win Iraqi hearts and minds, then incarceration should be as far as we go in dealing with the people who attack collaborators. It keeps them from attacking any other collaborators, and it shows that American justice is more humane than Baathist justice.

  35. Thoreau-
    After a whole day of correcting grammar and spelling and punctuation and word choice on weapons-systems analyses for various military subcontractors, NO.

    But I want to say that the fact that Saddam was worse, and the fact that other people are making hyperbolic comparisons, don’t matter one bit. To re-visit my earlier analogy, supposing that Shannon were raped (but had no green splints under her fingernails, and no lifelong physical scars, thus proving that there was nothing torturous about her experience), there might be some hysterical Andrea-Dworkin type feminist shrieking “THIS IS THE WORST THING TO HAPPEN SINCE DACHAU!”

    This is clearly not true, and it’s true that at least Shannon didn’t fall into the hands of a Ted Bundy torture-murderer, but SO WHAT? A loathsome crime was still committed, and the criminal still needs to face justice. The suffering of an individual is NOT negated by the existence of greater suffering elsewhere.

  36. “After a whole day of correcting grammar and spelling…”

    Get out while you can. Down that road lies madness. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

  37. Shannon Love,

    “And it doesn’t matter how relatively minor the actions are, you are going to keep portraying it as the second coming of Auswitchs [sic].”

    Examples please. Or should I just treat this as another lie.

  38. Shannon Love,

    “People claim this incident reveals the dark Nazi heart of the American military.”

    You just lost. When has anyone said anything about Nazis? Please, either make a rationale argument, or take your hyperbole elsewhere.

  39. Shannon,

    If you’re heading out the door and someone says, “It’s raining cats and dogs out there,” you should put on your slicker whether or not you respect hyperbole.

    Same goes for Abu Gharib.

    Again, don’t underestimate the seriousness of this until the photos and videos are released.

  40. Doug-
    If I go insane, maybe living in the modern-day USA won’t bother me so much.

    (Actually, I am only complaining about my job to bounce a joke off of Thoreau’s comment. The work, for me, is very easy, the day passes quickly, my co-workers are cool, and since I don’t have to waste any of my creative juices at work [as I did when trying to invent creative lesson plans and such] I have plenty of creativity left over when I get home, to work on my own writing.)

  41. Shannon,

    The Pentagon has announced that it is investigating 25 deaths of detainees held by coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    This is against a background which includes thousands of Iraqis who have been killed by Coalition bombing, during the 3 week war and since, as well as even more who have suffered permanent injuries from Coalition military action.

    Yes, it is not as bad as what Saddam did. But it is not the same thing as liberating them from tyranny either. Are we spending 200 billion dollars, and sacrificing American and Iraqi lives just so we can say “heh, we’re not as bad as Saddam?” It seems like a high price to pay for so little satisfaction.

  42. In an earlier argument (from several months ago) Shannon Love tried to argue that actions against Saddam’s regime were required because there was one standard regarding human rights, and that this compelled action against Saddam’s regime. Here she took what we could call a Kantian approach to such issues. Now, some months later, when her “heroes” have been found to be less than heroic she argues for a shifting standard; she argues for a comparison of Saddam’s regime to that of the U.S.

    However, I agree with Shannon Love’s first sentiment (not her second sentiment which can be described as the “cover my ass” sentiment); there is ONE STANDARD, and the US has violated it. It doesn’t matter whether Saddam’s regime violated it more, or in worse ways; it merely matters that it was violated. Shannon Love, consider yourself hung your own petard.

  43. Apparently there are videos in existence showing atrocities far worse than what we’ve seen already. I wonder how Shannon, James and other like-minded people will rationalize THOSE.

  44. Jennifer,

    Man, I sure seemed to get hypothetically raped a lot in these threads. Seems to happen about once a week. Does this happen to anyone else?

    Greensplint fractures are hairline cracks in the bones that doesn’t cause the bone to actually separate. People who are tortured by having the soles of their feets beaten often develop these type so fractures even though the beatings leave no other evidence.

  45. Shannon Love,

    One of the preferred methods of torture by the Saudis is the beating of the soles of the feet. I’ve heard that it is an especially painful method; especially as they force the tortured to stand afterwards. I hope you enjoy the company that your government keeps.

  46. Shannon-
    Because you are the one most likely to shrug it off as No Big Deal.

  47. What our servicemen and women did to those Iraqi prisoners is perfectly acceptable. I would have no problem with these actions if the Iraq military had invaded the US and was doing the same thing to the crazy Americans who opposed them. Sure there would be some deaths, some beatings, and yes a few prisoners would have to be subjected to ?Some? discomfort as well as a little bit of rape under these Iraqi soldiers, but hey if that?s what it takes to get my sister, brother, mother, or father to talk, if that?s what it takes to soften them up, then so be it. Remember ?All is fair in Love and War?.
    My good friend Rush Limbaugh, proving, once again, he is a great American who believes in American values, called these actions “pretty thoughtful” and “a brilliant maneuver.” Right on Rush, right on.

  48. Mo,

    I’m sure you’ve heard before that freedom is easily defined negatively; that is, it’s apt to be defined by what it isn’t rather than what it is. Since the Cold War, at least, we’ve defined ourselves as Americans this way. A typical American would say, “We’re not like the Communists, they torture people!” Even when we did things like this in Vietnam, “…at least we were doing it…”, the apologist would say,”…to fight the Communists, you know, they torture people.”

    That’s why reading charges like Jean Bart’s are so painful. Many of us have defined ourselves and our values against precisely this kind of behaviour. Jean Bart writes, “The US can use torture all it likes to in my mind; so long as it doesn’t try to continue to maintain that it is some sort of moral exemplar.”, and that’s the problem.

    Thinking of ourselves as a moral exemplar has served us well in the past. It’s prompted us to do great things like fight and die for the end of slavery, volunteer to become freedom riders, defeat the Nazis, etc. But the vicious traitors who perpetrated these atrocities and the filth who directed their commission and the arch fiend who sat quietly and watched our president brag that he’d gotten rid of the torture chambers and rape rooms weeks after the Taguba report, they all robbed us of this.

    I hope it’s only temporary.

  49. Jean Bart,

    I was using hyperbole to make a point about hyperbole. Notice that nobody would actually answer my original questions. They can’t, because it reveals their stances to be hysterics.

    Instead, they must argue against a strawman by asserting that I said that I implied that nothing bad or wrong happened. Everybody, especially everybody official, holds these events to constitute criminal abuse. Everybody agrees that those directly responsible should face criminal penalties and those who failed in leadership and oversight should lose their careers.

    But that is the end of it. This is a problem that came to light due to an internal military investigations. Everything we know about the events comes from that investigation. The military discovered and corrected the problem before the public even became aware of it. The internal checks and balances worked to discover and correct the problem. It has no further significance. People who continue to try to exploit these events due so for selfish reasons.

    I do personally object to calling the level of abuse suffered torture because I believe that it trivializes the very real physical pain and suffering that people continue to suffer around the world. When it comes to pain and suffering, degree and intensity are very important. In this incident, people have lost sight of that critical fact.

  50. I hope you still feel that way after they’ve released the next batch of images Shannon.

  51. Ken Shultz,

    All the images were already reviewed by Maj. Gen Taguba when he created his report. We will not learn anymore facts from the unreleased tapes and photos. The first court martial will start next week. The material released to date have all come from the defendants attempting to sabotage the trials.

    Again, everything we know about this story comes from the militaries own investigations. The media and other independent sources have added nothing. I don’t expect this change.

  52. What I want to know is who were these characters?

    I know lots of soldiers, serving now and in the past and these acts have offended them as much as the majority of Americans. So, who were these folks? ROTC from the Riker’s Island program?

  53. The fact is ?There but by the grace of God go I?. I do not doubt if the majority of the people commenting on this subject, including me, found themselves in the same situation they would act basically the same way. War is full of atrocities, on both sides. Why? Because humans are involved. This isn?t the worst atrocity in history, but the real world ramifications from these revelations are, at this point, beyond measure.
    Given the correct circumstances it is in our nature to act this way. History has proved it over and over. People think that what went on in Germany in the general population and in certain parts of the military in the last century, could never happen here. Nonsense. Most of us assume the German people were mean, weak, easily led, or fooled by a mad man. BS. It was in their own self-interest to do what they did. If they didn?t like it they were told they were un-patriotic. And if shame didn?t work they were intimidated, or worse.
    Under this administration the United States has condoned the use of torture in order to extract information. Sure we ?outsourced? the victims of this abuse to other countries, Egypt for example, so we can appear to be ?out of the loop?. And we have confined prisoners for years in another country without letting their families know where they are, without benefit of counsel, a trial, or even the right know the charges against them. I don?t know about you, but that is not the America I grew up believing in. It is not the America my family has fought and died for. When the word comes down from the top that it is basically OK to deny human rights to other human beings, even if they are our enemies and even if they are US citizens, to give them no chance for justice or dignity, to treat them as less than human, it seems to me Bin Laden has won. He has succeeded in destroying the very idea of American: ?All men are created equal? and ?With Liberty and Justice for all?. I do not blame the soldiers near as much as I blame the mindset of this administration. Along with freedoms comes responsibilities. Along with power come accountability.

  54. Shannon Love,

    “I was using hyperbole to make a point about hyperbole.”

    *laugh* Yes, it was all part of your “master plan.”

    “Notice that nobody would actually answer my original questions. They can’t, because it reveals their stances to be hysterics.”

    Actually, they did; you chose to ignore them and play a game of denial.

    “Instead, they must argue against a strawman by asserting that I said that I implied that nothing bad or wrong happened.”

    You certainly did imply such; now you are trying to cover the shit you created.

    “Everybody, especially everybody official, holds these events to constitute criminal abuse.”

    Which is of course why American officials wished it to be the norm.

    “Everybody agrees that those directly responsible should face criminal penalties and those who failed in leadership and oversight should lose their careers.”

    And those over their heads who made this the scheme for softening up the POWs?

    “But that is the end of it.”

    I am sure you apologized the murder of civilians at My Lai similarly; just as you apologize for the murder of civilians in WWI by Germans.

    “This is a problem that came to light due to an internal military investigations.”

    Actually it came to light because one brave man spoke about this; this ended months of foot-dragging on the matter.

    “Everything we know about the events comes from that investigation.”

    That’s not true. Quit lying.

    “The military discovered and corrected the problem before the public even became aware of it.”

    Another lie; the problem continued and continues to this day. Read the recent Newsweek article on the issue. The Red Cross, Amnesty International, etc. all state that the “problem” has not beed dealt with. Of course it is difficult to see how official policy is a “problem.” A problem would mean that this is an aberration; which it is not.

    “The internal checks and balances worked to discover and correct the problem.”

    No they didn’t.

    “It has no further significance.”

    You resemble an ostrich.

    “People who continue to try to exploit these events due so for selfish reasons.”

    Yes, that’s right; its really the fault of everyone but those who are really at fault. Your paranoia is laughable.

    “I do personally object to calling the level of abuse suffered torture because I believe that it trivializes the very real physical pain and suffering that people continue to suffer around the world.”

    Ah yes, whitewash it all. This was torture; indeed classic versions of both soft-sell and hard-sell torture. Indeed, if you don’t understand that psychological torture exists, and if you think only physical pain is torture, then its readily obvious that you don’t understand anything about these methodologies. Someday I hope these things happen to you, and then you can whine about all the misrepresentations, how very minimal these actions are, and how this is really not important, etc. Somehow I suspect though that you know in your heart that your liar even now.

  55. Ken Schultz,

    You should know that Shannon Love is a political whore.

  56. Shannon Love,

    “Again, everything we know about this story comes from the militaries own investigations. The media and other independent sources have added nothing. I don’t expect this change.”

    This is a lie; the Red Cross and numerous other organizations have all corroborated with their own evidence that these things are occuring.

  57. Hasty shortcuts have made hash out of the war on terror from the use of locals at Tora Bora to giving MI control of the MPs at Abu Ghraib.

    Rummy should resign, along with all those (including the generals) between him and those who did the dirty work at Abu Ghraib.

    Anything less will just perpetuate the arrogant culture at DOD that has screwed the pooch too many times.

  58. Will someone explain one more time, we invaded Iraq, why???

  59. Uh, to liberate the Iraqis and train them to become high-paid S&M porn stars?

  60. We invaded because

    1. Saddam tried to kill George’s daddy.
    2. Saudi Arabia’s nails weren’t yet dry.
    3. North Korea isn’t going anywhere.
    4. Osama wouldn’t sit still.

  61. Thanks, I get it now.

  62. First, you point at your most despicable enemy and define him as sub-human. You use this to justify doing things you wouldn’t do to even “regular” enemies.

    Then, you define all of your enemies as part of a unified movement.

  63. Shannon,

    Just to clarify, but are you saying that you believe that sodomy with inanimate objects and regular physical beatings do not constitute torture?

    And, as has been pointed out, we’ve learned a lot about the mistreatment of the prisoners (50%-90% of whom are described by Army officers as innocents caught in a large net) from a variety of sources outside the military’s investigation.

  64. gryllade, the “few bad apples” story doesn’t fly. These people were encouraged to abuse their prisoners by military intellegence. There were no consequences for their behavior. They were given power over other people, and rewarded for increasing the intensity of their abuse. Were the people who administered “shocks” in the famous cruelty experiment a few bad apples? The people who misbehaved in the famous “Stanford Prison” experiment?

    This problem goes up and down the ranks, but the most serious crimes were not those committed by fumbducks with between one and four stripes.

  65. gryllade, the “few bad apples” story doesn’t fly.

    Where did you get the idea that I thought it was just a few bad apples? Everyone who was involved with this needs to be punished, and damn quick. General, lieutenant, sergeant, private ? no matter the rank, this needs to be taken care of. I sure as hell wouldn’t give a free pass to a general who had encouraged this shit ? they’re the ones who should know better, and should have nipped this in the bud. If this is more common than we’ve been lead to believe . . . well, then I think we need to take a long, hard look at our military. As good as I think our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are, if the military culture that would allow this is very deeply embedded, I think that a lot of heads need to roll and we need to get back to a force that is focused on being the army of a Republic, rather than a laboratory for the cause du jour.

  66. Actually, I don’t know if sodomy with inanimate objects and regular physical beating necessarily constitute torture. Does torture depend on obtaining some particular goal through brtual means, or is it a free-for-all? Is Marc Dutroux – or any rapist or child-beater, for that matter – a torturer or just a sick fuck who needs to be locked up? Were the jailors looking for valuable information or just proving that they need to be eliminated from the gene pool? I am really not sure how to define “torture” here, but the word seems to be used a tad too often.

  67. Good God, what a mess. To all of you who are asking, “What’s the big deal?” Well, this is the big deal: this is the sort of thing that American soldiers don’t do. Yes, it’s wonderful that we’re investigating and punishing those who participated, but the fact that it happened in the first place is reprehensible. The fact that there are those of us in the US who are saying, to even a small degree, “At least it isn’t as bad as Saddam,” means that we have a long way to go as a nation. This is not the way a civilized people makes war, and whatever else we are we are trying to be a civilized people.

    As a former soldier, I am disgusted that these people were not weeded out in boot camp (a big thank you to all the PC types who made basic training into the huge joke that it is!). This is not the behavior that American soldiers should engage in; the actions of these people have brought disgrace on the entire Army. Note that I don’t think that the Army as a whole is now morally bankrupt, just that any Army that has any sense of honor would feel disgraced by the fact that any of its members would do this. If you want a military where this sort of thing doesn’t happen, the best way is not to paint as anything less than it is: a villainous act of cowardice and sadism. Any moral relativism means that such things are more likely to happen in the future, since the bar has just been set a little lower. Our Army needs to recover its honor, and it can’t do that as long as it’s being told that the actions of its members “weren’t that bad.”

  68. From Webster’s:

    Pronunciation: ‘tor-ch&r
    Function: noun
    Etymology: French, from Late Latin tortura, from Latin tortus, past participle of torquEre to twist; probably akin to Old High German drAhsil turner, Greek atraktos spindle
    1 a : anguish of body or mind : AGONY b : something that causes agony or pain
    2 : the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure
    3 : distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument

    * * *

    Torture has nothing to do with intention beyond inflicting pain.

    But you bring up a good point — whether these acts were just the work of sick individuals.

    From the Red Cross report, which explicitly describes how detainees were generally well treated except when designated as “high-value” detainees and were handed to MI, it’s clear that most of the acts in the Taguba report were associated with interrogations and not random sadism, such as the way that Jeffrey Dahmer and Andrew Cunanan tortured their victims.

    You can parse words, but forced sodomy is torture. Bend over, hand a glowstick to someone you know who actively doesn’t like you (a co-worker, rival, etc.), and I think you’ll agree.

  69. Great post, Grylliade.

    Now, one more thing — forced sodomy isn’t just torture. It’s rape.

    The idea of the United States military torturing detainees — it’s unacceptable as policy, but it’s concievable.

    But the idea of the United States military — in our name, with our tax dollars — raping detainees…

    Since most Bush scandals have been consistently proportional to Clinton scandals — and, in retrospect, render Whitewater and Lewinsky as pretty innocuous — this is why I repeat: the glowstick will be Bush’s cigar. You’ll see.

  70. I guessing you slipped that third definition in there just for fun….

  71. “Since most Bush scandals have been consistently proportional to Clinton scandals — and, in retrospect, render Whitewater and Lewinsky as pretty innocuous — this is why I repeat: the glowstick will be Bush’s cigar. You’ll see.”

    Maybe this prison thing IS a Clinton scandal–a direct result of “don’t ask don’t tell” and a feminized military.

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