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Thursday, May 13, 2004

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steve

Marc, if i'm understanding your argument against my comments, you are now equating the US military with some of the most brutal fascist regimes in south american history. now, how does that fly, but saying that torture is torture is somehow 'hating america'?
my apologies to adam for writing this 'offensive' post.

gmroper

Steve, unlike others I don't think you necessarily "hate America" but I do think you lack the ability or the desire to put this into context. The prime difference between "them" and us is that when someone violates our laws, for the most part we go after them and prosecute. Clinton and Nixon both being examples of this (even if you don't agree with one or both of them having been charged/impeached etc.). Teddy Kennedy on the other hand was not prosecuted after Chappaquiddick which in my way of thinking is rather tragic.

The Arab states and Iran (who are not Arabs but Persians) disdain the rule of law in favor of an pseudo-religious-cultural milieu where the whim of the "leader" seems to be paramount, where true barbarity is practiced (and yes, in a previous post you noted that beheading is the preferred form of execution in Saudi Arabia - and yes, I think it barbarous as I am totally and fully anti-death penalty.)

There is a difference between them and us and the difference is stark.

I don't expect you to agree with me, but perhaps you'll think on it some.

Marc Cooper

Steve.. you are NOT understanding my comments,predictably enough. And I am not going to spend any more time arguing with you because it is dizzying to run in circles. You've gotten more than enough attention as it is.

steve

Steve, unlike others I don't think you necessarily "hate America" but I do think you lack the ability or the desire to put this into context.

--thanks roper, this is way more civil than any of the 'are you or have you ever been an evil america hater?' litmus tests that marc and michael are inclined to use as 'responses' to my arguments. i'd agree there are differences, of course there are differences, after all we are the most powerful capitalist state in the world. take your pick of weber or marx, both did masterful jobs of describing the difference between non-capitalist and capitalist power bases in the monopoly of violence that capitalist states enjoy. so it's not unusual at all to find that elites in less developed parts of the world don't share or parcel out the right to violence to powerful elites in addition to the state. I don't find anything that unusual about it, anyone familiar with elementary sociological concepts can acknowledge that.
Where a marc or michael and I would disagree is in the notion that US military power is somehow the remedy to the types of threats that AQ types pose to people worldwide. They then take this to signify support for AQ, in which case of course I can name a whole bunch of Peaceful Tomorrows 911 survivors or people like Rosa Parks who are supporters of AQ by that definition.

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The Arab states and Iran (who are not Arabs but Persians) disdain the rule of law in favor of an pseudo-religious-cultural milieu where the whim of the "leader" seems to be paramount, where true barbarity is practiced

--surely that is real, but that doesn't move me in the direction of declaring Islam to be the 'enemy' as some do in the war lobby or to think that the resolution is to support Arab and Israeli leaders, like Bush does, who are very cosy with the very things the war lobby claims [key word being 'claims'] to be repulsed by. Keep in mind many of those leaders in Arab states would not and could not keep their undemocratic hold on power but for the support of the United States--there's really no denying that and it's a central contradiction in the war lobby's 'arab states are the cause of our troubles' line. I think one of the best antidotes to the war lobby's ideas about Arabs is to read blogs like
the http://angryarab.blogspot.com

posts like this one really drive the point home: http://makeashorterlink.com/?G20652D48

Of course some would say the asa'd is an 'america hater', i leave it to objective readers to decide for themselves. anyway, thanks for the refreshing response, a nice anamoly in this forum.
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Patrick Lasswell

Marc,

One of the most important things you learn in the military about clearly stated rules is how to get right up to the point of breaking them, without crossing the line. Haircuts, uniform specifications, maintenance requirements, or whatever, you learn how to stay just inside the lines and still get your job done. What is not specifically prohibited is allowe.

The critical problem with defining torture with clear language and standards is that the same process occurs. The most effective method of getting information out of somebody is to put on a pair of lead weighted gloves and beat the prisoner until they tell you everything. Since that is against the rules, our troops don't do that. But everything not specifically prohibited is being used.

Is it torture? I wouldn't want it done to me. If I have to get information out of the son of a bitch who set off the IED this afternoon? My interrogation methods are entirely in compliance with the regulations I am required to obey.

steve

The most effective method of getting information out of somebody is to put on a pair of lead weighted gloves and beat the prisoner until they tell you everything.

--you evidently need a long talk with john mccain?

Patrick Lasswell

McCain didn't know anything of great importance when he got shot down. His importance was as the son of CINCPAC. What is your point?

The pilots shot down in Vietnam were tortured for the political value of degrading US military personnel, not for information of military significance. While I despise the idiots who tortured prisoners in Abu Gharib, at the very least it can be pointed out that they had two whole fig leaves covering their sadism. First, they were interrogating illegal combattants who were not fighting as part of an organized military structure within the laws of war. Second, they were at least supposed to be getting information of military significance from the prisoners.

For referance, I think that the posing for, taking of, or failing to control photographs of interrogation is a violation of section 3 of Article 99 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Misbehavior Before the Enemy. Violation of Article 99 is punishable by death.

It really puzzles me, but a lot of people who are perfectly happy to call for Rumsfeld's firing are absolutely dismissive of the possiblity of executing the criminals who performed these acts of cruelty and misbehavior.

steve

McCain didn't know anything of great importance when he got shot down.

--not that unlike the prisoners in abu graib for that matter.
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First, they were interrogating illegal combattants who were not fighting as part of an organized military structure within the laws of war.

--i didn't know the US was legally in Vietnam at that time. learn something new everyday. nor did i know the US was in iraq legally.
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Patrick Lasswell

steve,

How do you know what the prisoners in Abu Gharib knew? Of the abused prisoners, how many of them were not Iraqi nationals? Does the abuse suddenly grant them innocence like a holy sacrament? Is that your vision of pennance? Yikes!

The government of South Vietnam asked the United States for assistance before the French left. If you do not grasp that, you really should not actually talk about Vietnam.

The United States allowed Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime to continue to exist after the first Gulf War dependant on a large number of conditions. Saddam Hussein was in charge in Iraq only as long as he met those conditions. When he repudiated them in 1998, his rule was no longer legal. Or perhaps you believe that the referendum in 2002 where he recieved 100.000% of the vote was democracy in action?

The key problem you have in this discussion is that you are trying to defend the sovreignity of two monumentally vile despotic states. Iraq and Vietnam have each butchered their way to a history of atrocity in the last forty years which exceeds that of the two and a quarter centuries of the US. The Trail of Tears, which affected some of my Cherokee ancestors, is dwarfed in both scope and vileness by the persecution of either the Hmong or the Kurdish peoples. Claiming US efforts to incidentally stop this kind of persecution and genocide might well be illegal, is both stupid and despicable.

Of course, I am willing to have the Bush administration be issued a ticket for failing to recieve the proper certificates before invading...just as soon as Kofi Annan, his staff, and the directors of all the complicit corporations are jailed for the massive incompetance and corruption of the Oil for Fraud program.

steve

How do you know what the prisoners in Abu Gharib knew? Of the abused prisoners, how many of them were not Iraqi nationals? Does the abuse suddenly grant them innocence like a holy sacrament? Is that your vision of pennance? Yikes!

--uhm, gee that's a hard one to answer. how about going and reading the Taguba report. then go read the ICRC report. Then talk to General Dempsey.
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The United States allowed Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime to continue to exist after the first Gulf War dependant on a large number of conditions. Saddam Hussein was in charge in Iraq only as long as he met those conditions. When he repudiated them in 1998, his rule was no longer legal. Or perhaps you believe that the referendum in 2002 where he recieved 100.000% of the vote was democracy in action?

--This is the bugs bunny version of history? you might forget that the US was supposed to end sanctions once Saddam fulfilled his obligations under the treaties he signed? Once he did that, the US (Bush/Clinton) said, 'too bad, now we will do the sanctions bit until you are deposed'. Go read Dilip Hiro's book, it's all there for any objective person to read. And Hiro is not a Saddam fan btw, though he might be an America hater like Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King?
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The key problem you have in this discussion is that you are trying to defend the sovreignity of two monumentally vile despotic states. Iraq and Vietnam have each butchered their way to a history of atrocity in the last forty years which exceeds that of the two and a quarter centuries of the US.

--you can't be serious. wow. saddam/NV outranks Suharto or Rios Montt? or Botha. or even the South Vietnamese regimes. gosh, am i ever convinced now. And as I remember it people like you were calling people like me who criticised the US involvement in the Iran-Iraq War 'commies' who didn't get it and hated America.
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The Trail of Tears, which affected some of my Cherokee ancestors, is dwarfed in both scope and vileness by the persecution of either the Hmong or the Kurdish peoples.

==great, then tell Bush to stop supplying guns to Turkey if you're so concerned about the Kurds. Otherwise, you're just giving me rhetoric.
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just as soon as Kofi Annan, his staff, and the directors of all the complicit corporations are jailed for the massive incompetance and corruption of the Oil for Fraud program.

--hope you can find better proof than your lead witness's statements, mr. chalabi? after all he didn't prove too knowledgeable about so-called "WMDs" now did he?

"...saying that torture is torture..."

Saying that "torture is torture" is just an empty redundancy. I'd rather get bitten by a dog than lose a head. The idea that all torture ought to be opposed (maybe even opposed with equal vigor) is a substantive moral judgment, and much can be said in its favor. Tautologies, however, don't really help one's case.

Luke

Whoops. The last comment was mine.

Luke

From a Hiro interview:

"18 By lifting sanctions we will let Saddam resume armament.

A: Paragraph 20 in Section C of the UN Security Council Resolution 687 states that once the conditions regarding disarming Iraq and paying compensation to those who suffered due to Baghdad's aggression against Kuwait had been satisfied, then 'the prohibitions against the import of commodities and products originating in Iraq and the prohibitions against financial transactions related thereto contained in Resolution 661 (1990) shall have no further force or effect'. But Security Council Resolution 1284 (December 1999) altered the lifting of sanctions to suspension for 120 days at a time. Not surprisingly, Baghdad refused to accept 1284. Since it is the right of every UN member to defend itself, the Security Council will find it hard to justify a ban on Iraq equipping itself with conventional weapons and missiles with a range of up to 95 miles. After all, Iraq is in a region where every other country is well armed, with some of them being over-armed."

So, essentially, his answer is that yes, Iraq would've started building weapons again, but that shouldn't of worried anyone. After all, we all know Saddam would only build defensive weapons for defensive purposes.

I haven't read Hiro's book, but he sounds like a rather unconvincing analyst.

steve

I'd rather get bitten by a dog than lose a head.

--i'm not sure why you avoid this luke, but there were also people killed in the abu ghraib photos, no? i know, i know, but they didn't have their heads chopped off, ok. score one for the good guys.

btw, the war lobby crowd out in blogistan is dying for vengeance and torture, more torture. funny thing is the troops they claim to 'support' are saying in today's Washington Post that things have only gotten worse for their mission since abu ghraib.
karpinski said there's no link between abu ghraib and Berg's murder, it happened before the scandal erupted in any event. Looks like the war lobby is just falling right into Z's trap and setting up the troops for more difficulty. Support the troops, stop the torture!

Luke Weiger

> --i'm not sure why you avoid this luke, but
> there were also people killed in the abu ghraib > photos, no? i know, i know, but they didn't
> have their heads chopped off, ok. score one for > the good guys.

As I said in another thread, I'd take my chances with a severe beating if the alternative was decapitation. And again, the respective aims matter. The troops were pumping suspects for info. The Al Qaeda killers were creating a gruesome spectical in the hopes of creating more violence.

In any event, I'm puzzled as to why you're so dead-set on establishing an equivalency that doesn't exist. The fact one wrong is worse than another doesn't imply that both aren't eminently worthy of resistance. BTW, Ted Rall (a man I don't much like) eloquently made this point in his most recent article.

steve

And again, the respective aims matter. The troops were pumping suspects for info. The Al Qaeda killers were creating a gruesome spectical in the hopes of creating more violence.

--I thought I read in the ICRC report that most of the detainees were innocent of any involvement with the resistance. So we have an illegal occupying force torturing people who are 70-90% likely innocent of any involvement with a resistance against an illegal occupation, score one for the good guys again.

Luke

"--I thought I read in the ICRC report that most of the detainees were innocent of any involvement with the resistance. So we have an illegal occupying force torturing people who are 70-90% likely innocent of any involvement with a resistance against an illegal occupation, score one for the good guys again."

Most of the detainees at the prison were innocent. We don't know what percentage were innocent in cellbocks 1A and 1B, were all the torture and abuse reportedly occurred.

Of course, for you, inoccence shouldn't matter. You think the resistance is a just cause, even though its possible success would be a disaster for Iraq. There's a good argument to made that the US shouldn't have invaded Iraq because reconstruction would likely be impeded by insurgency. However, that doesn't mean that there ought to have been an insurgency.

steve

You think the resistance is a just cause, even though its possible success would be a disaster for Iraq.

--would it be? there are increasing voices out there left and right that doubt that mantra. it's entirely possible, indeed likely that the worst scenario is if the US ["we"] stay much longer. I've read that from people as varied as Juan Cole, ex General Willian Odom, former CIA Ray Close, and Riverbend...It's not that hard to imagine why that would be the case really.

One thing I do hope for is that the failure in Iraq does keep the Bush administration from its adventurous desires to invade other countries in that region. I'm very glad, for example, that the Bush administration now is really unable to follow through on its wishes to invade Iran or Syria.
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There's a good argument to made that the US shouldn't have invaded Iraq because reconstruction would likely be impeded by insurgency.

--no, reconstruction is impeded by 1) the illegal and farcical pretexts, reasons for the invasion/occupation and even more important 2) this is 2004, not 1945. There is no will on either side of the aisle to do what the US did in 1945 to rebuild Japan or Germany. Zip. Nada. None to be found.

> Saying that "torture is torture" is just an empty redundancy.

Ah, so your explanation for why Marc says that Steve hates America is because Steve wrote an empty redundancy. It makes so much sense now.

> Of course, for you, inoccence shouldn't matter.

I think what you meant to write is that for Steve, that shouldn't matter.
That is, Steve doesn't seem to think that the people in 1A and 1B should have been abused, tortured, raped, and killed even if they were guilty. You, the fine upstanding fellow you are, understand that guilty people are due that treatment.

> You think the resistance is a just cause

Resistance to invaders is and has been universally seen as a just cause by people of conscience. People who think that resistance to *specific invasions*, namely those where they are or sympathize with the invaders, clearly lack same.

> You think the resistance is a just cause

Resistance to invaders is and has been universally seen as a just cause by people of conscience. People who think that resistance to *specific invasions* is unjustified, namely those where they are or sympathize with the invaders, clearly lack same.

Marc Cooper

Hey, mr. anonymous, why don't you calm down, sign your posts and engage in dialogue instead of throwing bricks. We're all capable of give and take here. Woof! Woof!

> Hey, mr. anonymous, why don't you calm down, sign your posts and engage in dialogue instead of throwing bricks. We're all capable of give and take here. Woof! Woof!

I count at least 5 ad hominem bricks here.

Kevin Andrew Murphy

As a small side note, not only is "water boarding" a torture, but it's actually a medieval torture. Like "Camp Redemption," they just changed the name.

The proper name for it is "the ducking stool" and there are woodblocks and actual ducking-stools still extant to document its use as a torture for many years: http://www.dm.net/~kevin-a-murphy/blogger.html

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