Abuse Outrage Outrage


During today's Senate hearing on the Iraqi prisoner abuse, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) outrageously said he's more "outraged at the outrage" over the abuses of the prisoners than he is at the abuse itself. He also says he's outraged that "humanitarian do-gooders" are now prowling around Abu Ghraib looking for wrongdoing.

[Update: Here's a report on Inhofe's statement]

Meanwhile: Should the public see the remaining images of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners?

Here's what three senators say:

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said he would like to see the new images of prisoner abuse made public.

"The way the other photos came out was a P.R. disaster and was beyond just a P.R. disaster," Graham said in an interview. "It had a detrimental effect on the war on the terror. Let's not repeat the same mistake twice."

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), another member of the committee, said he also favored a full public disclosure of the photos. "I don't think you gain anything by holding anything back, because it's going to come out sooner or later."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, "I think we [senators] ought to see them. I can't tell you whether the public should see them. I think the public has enough of a sample to know what went on."

NEXT: Trigger Finger

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  1. “Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, ‘I think we [senators] ought to see them. I can’t tell you whether the public should see them. I think the public has enough of a sample to know what went on.'”

    The public shouldn’t see them, but the Senate should? Samples of terrified, nude men in S&M poses? What’s up with that?!

  2. Karl Kraus,

    After SE Asia how can you believe in that myth? The indiscriminate bombing of Cambodia and Laos wasn’t enough for you? My Lai and other gruesome atrocities wasn’t enough for you?

    And let me blunt here: French and British soldiers were as decent in their occupation of Germany after WWII as American soldiers were (given what Germany had just done to France and Britain that is relatively amazing). BTW, I have to ask, when was the last time France or Britain enslaved vast portions of your population – a practice committed by Germans in both WWI and WWII?

    Joe L.,

    Like Shannon, you would apologize for any wrongdoing of the Bush administration. And no, all the information doesn’t come from the military, and no, the military was not the organization that started to investigate this first – it was the Red Cross that did the latter.

  3. All the hysterical hype over the treatment of the Iraqi prisoners IS way overblown.

    These things happen in war and it’s not like American troops haven’t worse than that before.

    Some time ago, I saw a documentary show on the History channel about WW2 called “Hell in the Pacific”. The war with the Japanese on those Pacific islands was particularly savage. I recall one Marine interviewed who said his outfit never took prisoners. He said one time that a group of about 50 Japanese soldiers tried to surrender and they were all gunned down. Another soldier told about how they used the skull of a Japanese soldier as a candy dish in their camp. Soldiers would routinely use bayonets to pry gold teeth out of the mouths of dead Japanese soldiers.

    And of course, it was part of our military strategy to deliberatly target civilians for destruction with fire bombing raids on Tokyo, etc.

    Of course that was considered a “good” war and press wasn’t trying to play “gotcha” with the military like it does today.

  4. KK wrote: “However, when you claim to be the watch for all that is Liberty and Justice and Freedom and Rights, you damn well better behave in that way. The hypocracsy of the torture-forgivers knows no bounds.”

    Amen. And as you said, it is NOT wrong to hold the U.S. to a higher standard. We are founded on Enlightenmnet values and should uphold those, to the best of our ability, in all that we undertake. That is the moral basis for our objecting to the unenlightened, and we undermine that basis when we behave as happened in Abu Ghraib.

    That all said, I agree largely with Joe L. and am repulsed at the perversion of libertarianism that invokes minding one’s own business to sit back as genocide and torture occur, when we have the means and ability to stop it. Libertarianism adheres to the non-initiation of force principle, but it does not say as against WHOM. Dachau was mega-force, and so was Saddam’s regime.
    Increasinly I am unlikely to identify as a libertarian because of the lewrockwell.com and Justin Raimondo elements therein.

    If I saw someone else’s child drowning, I would attempt rescue; in the U.S., unless I had caused the danger or she was in my care, I would be legally safe in simply letting the kid die. So, if she is a stranger, what’s it to me if she kicks? — is that a proper morality? I’m pretty certain that a lot of you isolationists would — if I knew how to swim — that you and others would pillory me as an immoral bitch, libertarian or not, and even if my failure to help was legal.

    I reject conscription absolutely. But, I have no objections to a volunteer army in which it is understood that this nation will, when practical, move to stop murderous tyrants. If that makes me unlibertarian, so be it. But I reject that the non-initiation of force principle should apply only to those who attack me and my American tribe.


  5. I heard Inhofe-like comments on many conservative talk stations: “They’re bad people, so they don’t deserve to have their rights respected,” or words to that effect. My gut tells me this is repulsive, but I’m having trouble articulating a response. Any thoughts?

  6. Uh – aren’t the photos covered by the Freedom of Information Act???

  7. Uh – aren’t the photos covered by the Freedom of Information Act???

  8. Jim, how about, “We are good people, and this war was predicated* on our being and doing good. It is both wrong and counterproductive for our soldiers to be acting in this manner, and encouraged to do so.”

    *Of course, it wasn’t, but the people you’re talking about are eager to believe that it was at this point in history.

    Mona, there is a big difference between jumping into that pond yourself, and orderring other people to do so – especially if there is a minimal chance of actually saving the kid, and a good chance of the would-be-rescuers dying themselves, and (somehow, the metaphor breaks down here) killing others in the process.

    If you’re going to order firemen into a fully engaged building, you’d better be damn sure you’re not sending them to pointless deaths.

  9. Jim Walsh writes: “My gut tells me this is repulsive, but I’m having trouble articulating a response. Any thoughts?”

    Your gut is telling it straight. Do these conservatives think what is depicted in the photos at issue would be a proper treatment of U.S. citizens charged with murder, or even convicted of it?

    Anyone who apologizes for what appears to have been SOP as dictated or enabled by the military and civilian intelligence communities, does not grasp the morality on which their nation is founded. It is an abandonment of Western, Enlightenment values to justify such behavior, and those who do so are are ethically close to being in the same sewer as Saddam Hussein.

    That all said, and tho Jean Bart is correct that it was first the Red Cross that sought to investigate these abuses, the fact is that the U.S. Army DID, before all the media attention, take control of the situation and begin invesigations and prepare for courts martial proceedings. It also alerted the media last January, even tho doing so could create, and now has created, a climate in which justice for the accused is going to be impeded.

    Due process is also an Enlightenmnet value, and I think the proper share of blame almost certainly resides at higher levels than the direct participants seen in the pictures. The pictures do not tell the whole story, and those seen there may not deserve the severest punishment.


  10. Joe — I agree with your analysis, as far as it goes. My argument has been that this nation should, when it is **practical, move to stop murderous tyrants. Our armed forces should be volunteer at all times, and it should be understood that deployment to dethrone tyrants is a possibility.

    The war in Iraq was just. The failure has been in its execution and the plan (or lack thereof) for what do after. Those are not moral reasons, however, for not having rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein; they are practical critcisisms going to incompetent planning and execution. At some point negligecne in execution is, of course, a moral issue, but even where that is so, it does not mean the reasons for undertaking the action in the first place are vitiated.


  11. “However, the tone here is silly. the outrage IS manufactured, By-and-large… It’s about defeating Bush, not about anything else.”

    I really enjoy CNN’s graphic (can’t have a big story without a big graphic): ‘Iraq ABUSE Scandal’ or some such, with ABUSE in 240 point type.

    “Oh and 1ManLan where was yuour outrage about Abu Ghraib when it was operated under the old management?”

    Check out Lonewacko’s Abu Ghreib flashback.

  12. Tantamount to torture? TANTAMOUNT TO TORTURE? My God, why not just cut their heads off! Oh, excuse me, that is what Kerry’s friends do.
    I wonder if the decapitation video will get the same distribution as the naked leash photo?

  13. Walter,

    “Kerry’s friends?” You are a silly little man.


    I agree with much of what you’re saying about deposing tyrants. The main problem with Iraq, in my opinion, is that it was done under the (demonstrably dishonest) pretense of protecting ourselves and put into action by people who actively supported murdering tyrants like Hussein when it was politically convenient to do so. I don’t think we can trust people like that to lead our forces into war.

  14. When Diane Feinstein finally takes a prinicpled stand on something, it doesn’t suprise me that it’s in the name of class bigotry.

  15. I do find this battle over images to be quite interesting. Do you think the “Great Wars; WWI, WWII, would have been possible if the public had been able to see the full extant of the carnage? Undoubtably a real-time video of the 50,000 casualties that occured on the FIRST DAY of the Battle of the Somme would have stopped the whole rotten affair. I agree with those that contend that we are making far too much of these images (small potatoes really). I disagree strongly with anyone who claims this war was worth fighting. I have to say I have ended up in the isolationist camp. What positive benefits have we realized from war? It seems to me that every war sires another conflict.

  16. Positive benefits?, how about Libya’s WMD confession, Saudi municipal elections, Iran’s nucluer disclosures and, most importantly, no major attacks on our soil, oil depots excepted. What if John Doe #2 really was an Iragi, would that change anybody’s mind?

  17. James,

    Libya has been confessing their WMD’s since the 1990’s. How do you connect our invasion of Iraq with Iran’s nuclear disclosures and Saudi elections? How do you connect it with a lack of attacks on our soil? I can see how our disruption of Al Quaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere (though not in Iraq since they weren’t there) might have prevented an attack on our soil (for now), but Iraq?

  18. Pathetic logic. Even allowing for the very qestionable premise that all those “positive benefits” were actually a direct result of our governments war with Iraq ( “the no major attacks on our soil” benefit is complete nonsense), there is no way that they were worth the tens of thousands of dead and maimed, including the hundreds of dead and thousands of maimed Americans.

  19. Of course we have the right to see the photographic evidence of our government’s employees committing the crime of torture. Our taxes paid for that torture.

  20. Les,
    I hope you are enjoying your denial. Nothing in Iraq could influence world events in your view, so I hope I never hear you mention the happenings in Iraq causing anything.

  21. You should have included Rumsfeld laying the blame on those evil digital cameras and internet for allowing this to happen-

    Unfortunately, his time was up before he could address the evils of dance and whisky.

  22. so who’s a bigger cunt: Inhofe or Feinstein?

    they make it so goddamn hard to pick just one.

  23. Its a close one dhex, but I think Inhofe wins by a (pubic)hair.

  24. Oklahoma sends some real nutjobs to Congress, eh?

    It’s time for a wake up call when you find yourself displaying less class and more partisanship than Saxby Chambliss.

    This is one of those rubber hits the road moments, and Republicans are making it real easy to separate the kids from the lambs.

  25. I don’t want to see any photos. I don’t want to see any flag draped coffins. I don’t want any body counts. I just want to believe that Saddam is Osama’s kid brother and planned 911 while engaged in some heavy petting with his weapons of mass destruction. I come to a site like this and See what happens? My public opinion is getting all enflamed…(whimper). Next thing you know, I will demand to see all the sordid evidence in order to make an informed decision as a citizen..or some such crap like that. Only Rummy and Inhofe can save us from ourselves!

  26. Inhofe’s problem is probably just a communication glitch. He has a close relationship with God — he’s stated on the senate floor that God told him that Israel should get the West Bank, and in his Clinton impeachment statement, he noted that Jesus told him how to vote.

    He probably just didn’t get the memo from above regarding abuse and torture — you know, it’s not spelled out specifically in the 10 commandments, so he’s still waiting for the moral clarification. Now if those soldiers had been coveting their neighbor’s ox, he’d be all over them.

  27. Tonight on “Nightline,” Inhofe gave us the old this-is-above-politics song and dance. Words to this effect: I’m with the people of Oklahoma, who don’t care about the political/partisan ramifications, yada yada yada.

    Thank god the Senator set the record straight; otherwise, I might have accused him of pandering to the bloodlust of the great unwashed. Not our Jimmy-boy, no-sirreee…

  28. I would agree to the release of photo’s sooner or later they’ll come out, so there’s no point in trying to prevent thir release…

    However, the tone here is silly. the outrage IS manufactured, By-and-large… It’s about defeating Bush, not about anything else.

    If it wasn’t politics, we’d be asking for Bremer’s resignation, Sanchez’s resignation, Abzaid’s resignation, and all commanders between Rumsfeld and the prison. Notice, we’re not…

    Oh and 1ManLan where was yuour outrage about Abu Ghraib when it was operated under the old management? Or was it OK, ‘cuz it was brown people doing it to brown people? Or was that simply something best left to the people of Iraq to sort out?

  29. so it’s a toss up between the absurdly paternalistic feinstein (i mean, i think most people in power think like this, but most are also smart enough not to say it out loud, on the record, to A REPORTER) and the obviously hallucinating Inhofe.

    are you there god? it’s me, dhex. we need some plaguing frogs, stat.

  30. Fundamental rule of damage control: No matter how bad the pictures are, if you refuse to let people see them the rumors about what they show will be worse.

    Feinstein doesn’t understand that, of course, as she’s in the front row of senators who think the American people need to be “protected” from all sorts of things they can’t handle. Inhofe shares her contempt of the public, he just has a radically different list.

  31. joe L. – that same question can be asked of every single dipshit who received us support while doing nefarious shit because they were on the right(er) side at the right time. or the best choice of a bad situation. whatever you want to call them.

    while i don’t disagree that this is being spun every which way but loose (by everyone) had this happened, say, in application to american prisoners or hostages by appropriately brown peoples, no matter how simulated the torture was – it would take boatloads of oxy to keep rush and company from losing their fucking mind. just the sodomy alone would be enough. can you fucking imagine it?

    it’s fucked, and it’s the worst pr move they could have made. had they come out, fired a bunch of people and played it like “we cannot fucking believe this shit, people…” it would have been a shitstorm, but not the monumental catastrophe this story will become.

    they fucked up.

  32. well, fired and tried and convicted, that is. i guess that’s implied.

  33. Dhex, that’s what they’ve DONE, in case you didn’t notice… CBS or Hersh did NOT break this story. The Army has and is in the process of adjudicating it. Some people will go to jail some folks will have their careers ended. However, we just can’t do that, there’s an administrative/legal process for it and it takes time.
    It will take years for the process to work itself out…from courts martial to appeals, to not accepting the bad OER’s/EER’s and appealing, to being passed over promotion and being forced to resign…

  34. Joe L.-

    If we had voted for Saddam, and had our tax dollars go to run Abu Ghraib UNDER HIM, you might have a point.

    If Bush hadn’t encouraged torture by sending people to Syria TO BE TORTURED, you might have a point.

    As it is, what the hell is your point?

    Btw- Minding your OWN DAMN BUSINESS is what Libertarian means.

    “Or was that simply something best left to the people of Iraq to sort out?”


  35. The Understanding is now here: If we become shocked and upset by the torture done by the liberators of Iraq, while winning their Hearts and Minds, we offhand accept the brutality of the Baa’ath Rule, is that It? “Either 100% agreement or 100% support of Hussein. Since we are right, everything we do is sanctioned.”

    What a wonderfuly simple world in which You live. How do you know that we “cheered” torture when it was Iraqis? Do you have some magical power? Can you guess my height and weight? Those of you who continue to mitigate these brutal acts by the supposed torch of liberty in this world is confusing: the world is not so black-and-white. Your team can commit a foul and still win okay. Why not admit that this was a huge mistake or problem and work from there? Why insist on saying that these brutal, hypocritical acts are fine?


  36. I’d refer you to Martin Niemuller on that Sir Real….

    In a choice between Minding my own business or ending Saddam’s regime I’ll choose interfering.
    I’m funny that way, and people such as yourself are the proof I always cite, to myself, why I’m not Libertarian/libertarian/anarcho-capitalist.

    I guess my point is, we only seem outraged if Americans do something, or more specifically Americans with whom we have politcal disagreements do bad things.

    Finally, I’m glad be interfered in W. Europe, twice, glad we interfered in Korea. Minding my own damn business can get a lot of folks killed, too.

  37. Joe L, Human Rights watch, Amnesty International, and liberal across America were denouncing Saddam Hussein when your hero Rummy was shaking his hand and giving him coordinates to pass on to his chemical battallions.

    Save us your self serving crocodile tears. If you’re feeling that guilty about your team’s dirty past, speak out against one of the Hussein-level dictators Bush has gotten us chummy with over the past four years. There certainly are plenty to choose from.

  38. Joe L. You claim to support interfering in the various scummy regimes around the world. That’s great. Two questions: 1. Why did you vote for Bush who said he preferred a humble foreign policy and no nation building projects? 2. Who’s next? N Korea, Syria, Iran, Cuba, China?

  39. Joe L.,

    “we only seem outraged if Americans do something, or more specifically Americans with whom we have politcal disagreements do bad things.”

    I guess that’s because we’re directly responsible for what the American government does. If my neighbor is beating his wife while my father is beating my mother, I’m not going to stand out on the lawn and point my fingers at my neighbor’s house.

    I’ve found that the party that drones on the most about “personal responsibility” is filled to overflowing with folks without the balls to actually assume it.

  40. Yes, invoking World War II – where America was directly attacked. America knew of Kristallnacht and the N?rnberg Laws and did nothing until she was attacked. This is your argument, yes?

    A Preemptive Attack is what you advocate back then. And since Hussein is as bad as Hitler, all attacks are justified. And since it is justified, all brutality is justified.

    My mother dodged bullets from a P-51 (we think). Despite of that the US behaved better than the British, Russians and French here. The image of the brave, honest hardworking GI is still in the memories of many I know. These images of Iraq torture have completely undone that. The disappointment on the faces of those who believed the US lie, as it now seems, is strong.

    It is not wrong to expect more from America. If this were France with its “Passage a Tabac”, it would be less shocking. But this is America. The myth of America is not to behave this way.

    Justification of these acts is so far removed from the image of America, that the shock will last for years.

    Again, your black-and-white world it is easy to forgive the US torture. Why can you not reject the torture and accept that this is 1) not the way to win the “Hearts and Minds” of Iraq and 2) a giant mistake?

    And how dare you assume that I would only object to US actions?

    However, when you claim to be the watch for all that is Liberty and Justice and Freedom and Rights, you damn well better behave in that way. The hypocracsy of the torture-forgivers knows no bounds.

    That is disgusting.


  41. Joe L, I don’t know about you, but I am proud to be American because in America, we are supposed to stay the moral highroad. Liberating oppressed people is a noble and worthy cause, but detouring off the moral highroad is both embarrassing and dispicable. I am outraged over this issue simply because I hold our country and its government to a much higher standard than any other country in the world. We are the leaders of the free world, are we not??? Acts like this sure make me feel we are not.

  42. joe l…i’m referring to the administration in this matter. they fucked up. they did not handle this correctly. rightly or wrongly it will be regarded as a turning point in the war on terror.

    and not one of those good turning points either.

    i’m sure you noticed this public process began only after the pictures surfaced. in cases like this there is no benefit to anything but “full disclosure” (meaning full enough to satisfy most critics).

    it should go without saying that the moral high ground is a major selling point and key bullet that bush + co (and the presidents before them, and most world leaders i would presume, etc gak gak gak) have pushed forward. this not only sacrified that moral high ground, it gives all sorts of assholes more ammunition, regardless of the scope of the abuses (and i’m sure we’ll be innundated with even worse news in the coming weeks).

  43. Come on, s.a.m., admit it. You don’t mind torture and rape so much as you hate Bush! It’s just not possible to feel sincere outrage at these barbaric acts because others have done much worse! Just admit that you’re a partisan Democrat and we can stop all this pretending.

    Sorry, but Joe L. has brought out the Thoreau in me.

  44. Supporting the evil regime that ran Abu Ghraib with financial aid, military intelligence, and turning a blind eye at the use of WMD against Iran & the Kurds is pretty bad, I’ll admit. Deciding Saddam is a reprehensible character after our warm relationship _might_ seem hypocritical. That’s why I hope no one ever looks at this:


  45. James,

    Ad hominem just means “to the man.” Instead of answering my questions you implied that I was too fixed in my own opinions to be worthy of discussion. That’s focusing on me (the man) instead of the questions.

    Semantics aside, you’re just reasserting your points regarding Libya and Saudi Arabia without providing any clear evidence of a connection (not that one doesn’t exist, I’m just waiting for evidence).

    While I’m also glad that we’re not fighting Al Quaeda in my living room (it’s hard enough to keep this place neat as it is), I’ve not seen any evidence that Al Quaeda was on its way to conduct major combat operations in America before we lured them all to Iraq.

  46. Les,
    Ad hominem would be to call you a total ass, which isn’t what I did. to clarify my point, Libya finally turned over their WMD program because Qadaffy realized America is serious this time, and may kill more than his grandaughter with the next bomb. I don’t remember any elections being held in Saude Arabia before Iraq, and, finally, If you don’t think al Quada was in Iraq before, they surely are now, and I’m glad we’re fighting them there instead of in your living room.

  47. James,

    I haven’t made any assertions. I just asked a few questions. Instead of answering them, you announced that you completely understand my opinions on the subject. I can guarantee you, based on your response, that you do not.

    I don’t know if it’s the case, but it looks like you’re merely unable to answer my simple questions and replaced informative answers (all I was looking for) with an ad hominem. If it’s not the case, then just answer the questions.

    I was just wondering, after all.

  48. First, we had the outrage over Abu Ghraib, which was justifiable. Then we had Sen. Inhofe’s outrage over the outrage, which was not. Now we have Reason’s outrage over Inhofe’s outrage. It’s a matter of time before the new outrage ends up outraging someone else.

    Someone really needs to break this cycle of outrage.

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