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Here's the news from Hyndman, PA, home to both convicted Abu Ghraib participant Jeremy Sivits, and prison-abuse whistle-blower Joe Darby:

There are also tales of regret, embarrassment and broken rules. But in a twist that would confound any Hollywood scriptwriter, the praise and placards expressing admiration are for the first soldier convicted of abusing Iraqi prisoners.

The admonishments are reserved for the soldier who blew the whistle.

Whole story is worth reading. Link via Air Force mechanic Sgt. Stryker, who adds: "As we try to transform Arab society, we must be mindful that Victory begins at home."

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  1. the best way to keep the moral high ground is to keep your transgressions under wraps…we should recycle these hillbillies but that implies the materials are worth something…my theory is that these type of folks live in rural areas in order to keep their ass-backward ways from scrutiny…trent lott and all his confusion is from somewhere rural, right?

  2. Yeah, Trogy, they do seem to live apart. I ran for county legislature once and tried to knock on every door in my district. I was greeted at every house with something ranging from kindness to something just short of

  3. The “they” ya’ll want to look down on are the ones protecting your right to be snobby assholes.

  4. Ooops! What happened? Oh well, to finish. No one was rude except for a person in a house far off the road and as far as possible from their neighbors. They stopped me short and said ‘are you against abortion?’ I said ‘no’ and the door slamed shut.

  5. I’d rather have sadists fighting our wars than a bunch of pansies. Anyway, I believe the pictures were made to empower Arab women.

  6. Anyway, if the abuse was so harming to us why has the body count dropped since the pictures were released?

  7. “Empower Arab women”? Surely you jest.

  8. You can bet there were plenty of “abused” Arab women that found joy in watching their dominators get theirs.

  9. This about says it all:

    “In Hyndman, 200 people turned out ? almost 20 per cent of the population ? to back Sivits, waving U.S. flags, wearing yellow ribbons, pledging allegiance to the flag with the local Boy Scout troop and singing “America Gives Me Liberty, But Jesus Gives Me Love.”

  10. “Anyway, I believe the pictures were made to empower Arab women.”

    That’s by far the most creative apology/excuse I’ve heard for the torture that occurred at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. It makes Rush Limbaugh, with his frat comments, look like a damn hippie. It’s positively Coulteresque! Rock on!

  11. The fact that these “torture” techniques were occurring all over shows that there’s more to it than good old American redneckdom.

  12. I’m not looking down on anyone. But this is a useful corrective to the b.s. we’ve had rammed down our throats about the superior morality of Red America.

    Oh, and I guarantee, there will be no stories in any major magazines or newspapers blaming Sivits’ misdeeds on the political and social influences of his family and county, a la John Walker Lindh.

  13. Joe-
    EXCELLENT point. If Marilyn Manson caused Columbine, maybe Lee Greenwood caused Abu Ghraib?

  14. Lee Greenwood?!? No way – he’s way too old for these young torturers. Perhaps Toby “The Angry American” Keith. I’ve always suspected he was Marilyn Manson’s alter ego anyway, so that keeps things nice and simple (and highly plausible).

  15. joe,
    Gotta tip my hat to you on that one.

  16. It’s truly sad to hear what’s going on among the ignoramuses in Darby’s – as well as Sivits’s – hometown (thank God for folks like Sarah Johnson).

    I propose Joe Darby for a Congressional Medal Of Honor.

  17. Joe makes a good observation. But the upshot (IMHO) is NOT that the press and media are biased against liberals but rather that there simply IS no justice where the press and media are concerned because the factors that make stories juicy and “newsworthy” simply have nothing to do with what would make for an ethically symmetrical approach to balancing what different sides of the political spectrum would prefer to see. For instance, “blame the culture or the parents” stories just seem to work better when aimed at the left than at the right. But that goes for all sorts of stories, some of which work in the left’s favor and some in the right’s favor. And so there will never be any “justice” in that regard. But people from both sides will continue to rage and grouse when that apparent lack of justice goes against “their own” side.

    (Note: this is not a criticism of Joe per se because I could not tell exactly what conclusion(s) he was drawing.)

  18. Doesn’t this article help draw a connection between the Taliban, Osama, and religous fundi’s here?

    Didn’t Tim McV, our own homegrown freak come from people just like this?

    When I go to places like this, I see a lot of Confederate flags. I have always thought. Gee, why can’t we jail these traitors. I mean, isn’t sporting one of those flags the same thing as saying, I want to destroy the US of A. Isn’t that what that flag stands for, the worst anti-american group that ever existed in this country.

    I suspect these folks feel exactly the way as Osama does about this country. They hate freedom. They hate America. Maybe we should start admitting that the only person who hates America more than Osama is your average redneck.

  19. Even if everything you say is true, james ard, and that occupation over there is a war to “protect our freedom,” there’s still a problem.

    Torture and brutality have an effect on the torturer. And they don’t stay “over there” forever. The U.S. armed forces don’t do a real good job of untraining people to torture and kill on the way back home. You might also keep in mind that an awful lot of MP’s in the Army Reserves are also cops in their civilian lives. We’ve already got enough problem with overlapping professional cultures, what with cops cross-training with the regular military, SWAT teamss, etc., so that local police forces view the local population as an occupied enemy. This really ought to help things along, huh?

    And by the way, every splendid little war the politicians ever lied us into to enrich big business was called a war to “defend our freedoms.” “Defending our freedoms” is what American wars are for, by definition. Most of our wars have actually come about, as Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler said, a dollar overseas earns more money than a dollar here at home, and the U.S. armed forces follow the dollar. But that doesn’t sound quite as good as “defend our freedoms” for selling a war to us suckers, does it?

  20. I think some of you might be reading too much into the effect of the locale on this story. I think it is entirely possible that you could have found the same kinds of reactions among neighbors if Sivits had come from a tight-knit ethnic neighborhood in a big city (Boston, maybe?), or even if he had been a respected star athlete at a suburban school.

    Another aspect of the story I notice between the lines is that it just might be that Sivits has managed to make more friends in his lifetime than Darby, and so has more defenders. I think it is only natural that when people see someone they know and like being accused of wrongdoing that person is probably going to get the benefit of the doubt from many of those people, rightly or wrongly.

    Also, the fact that these two guys grew up five minutes away from each other makes me doubt there’s anything special in the water or the gene pool there that would tend to produce more sadists than any other place. I’ve been through that area plenty of times, and believe it or not, most of the people I saw still had their front teeth.

  21. My statement about the moral equality of people in rural and urban areas has drawn charges of uppity snobbish sushi eating hippie. How utterly shocking.

  22. Why do I get the feeling that, when he’s not hopping on light rail, Joe drives Ed Begley’s car to get around?

  23. Joe,

    Were you bitten by a libertarian dog when you were very young?

  24. If I believed for a minute, Joe, that you thought that so-called “Red Staters” were your moral equals, it wouldn’t be nearly as funny.

  25. I wonder what backwoods, hillbilly town civilian interrogator Steven Stefanowicz hails from. The lawyer representing him is in Philadelphia. It couldn’t be that a city boy was involved in the abuse, no, no way.

  26. the praise and placards expressing admiration are for the first soldier convicted of abusing Iraqi prisoners.

    The admonishments are reserved for the soldier who blew the whistle.

    Witness jingoistic war hysteria subverting ethical judgment. Even those who will not shed a tear for the victims of our government’s abuse should cry a river for what this doing to our republic. How does government lead a nation from decency to depravity? Were watching it happen here.

    Remember what were talking about. Look at these!:

    http://www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=2444

    An autopsy shows that the dead man in the photos with the male and female soldier giving the “thumbs up” over his body was beaten to death!

    Also, we likely haven’t seen near the worst of the photos and evidence from the Abu Ghraib prison since the Senators who have viewed them characterized them as; “sickeningly cruel”, “much worse” and “barbaric”.

    This is behavior that can only be appropriately punished by those responsible, however high up, doing some serious time.

    We have a right to see all these photos since we were forced to finance these crimes. Contact congress! Tell them that we demand to see all of the photos from the Abu Ghraib prison and that all those responsible be punished.

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

    If this depravity is not fully exposed and punished the chances are great that it will happen again.

    History is replete with examples of the same abuse governments inflict on captured foreigners, as it was at Abu Ghraib, later being visited upon dissent at home.

  27. Some people have asked why the Abu Ghraib issue deserves so much attention. The fact that there are people who think that it’s reporting torture, not committing torture, which is a crime shows that the barbarian mindset, while not as powerful as it is in some Moslem countries, is very much alive here and needs to be watched and brought out into the open.

  28. Actually, fyodor, I criticize libertarianism out of love, because I find a great deal to admire in the mindset, and find obvious intellectual failings and dishonesty disappointing. I don’t bother to try to show Freepers the error of their ways because, well, fuck em.

    Phil,

    That must be why it’s not funny. Though it’s very George Bush of you to interpret a statement denying the superiority of “middle America” as an assertion of their inferiority.

  29. It’s not like that statement was made in a vacuum or is the only thing you’ve ever written, joe.

    Using GWB to imply a connection between me and the Republican administration, though – your humility in not taking credit for such an intellectual breakthrough really is an inspiration.

  30. You missed the point, then. Shocking.

    What have I written that disparages the morality of “red staters?” Take a look through the archives, you won’t find anything. And I think you’ll honestly be surprised, since you genuinely do appear to assume that liberals hate people from rural areas.

  31. Joe,

    I FEEL the love!! 🙂

  32. Mr. Fletcher names that smell.

    This is a story about how tight-knit, homogeneous communities react when one of their own gets in trouble. This story could come just as easily from small-town Texas or NYC neighborhoods like Broad Channel or the Dominican enclave of Washington Heights, or the old iron-mining towns of northern Michigan, the Basque enclaves west of Tahoe, etc. Heck, it doesn’t sound any different from the way 1980s Upper East Side socialites and Houston’s circa 2002 business elite respectively circled the wagons in support of Klaus von Bulow and Ken Lay.

    This thread should be kept in mind next time someone accuses liberals of an ignorant, elitist take on poor rural communities.

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