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  • Marccooper5_1

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Sunday, May 02, 2004

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unithraxer

It's amazing how this too has turned into Bushes fault. As though this is the first time America has used these tatics. War is nasty. Get over it.

gmroper

Marc, the "potential" for this type of thing? That's why there are military laws against it on the books already. The torture was done IN SPITE of the current law, and no law would have strengthened the probability that it would not have occurred. Proactive indeed; and just what would you have done differently? You have a professional force, professionally trained in the law and in the rules for handling prisoners both US law and International law. That some egregiously violated that law is NOT the fault of the "Bushies." Perhaps you could blame it on Kerry who actually voted for the war before he voted against it (sorry, that slipped out).

Myers has not been on top of this, and should be booted from the Army.

Oh, Dear God.

Not the "mercenaries" meme again!

Your post reads like it come from the retarded offspring of a Maureen Dowd-Michael Moore one night stand.

You need to focus on subjects worthy of you...you know, Britney Spears, Survivor, and the like.

Facts, please

Tell me one army in the history of war where something like this didn't happen. The US has, what, 130,000 people in theatre at any given time and you expect there not to be some horrible crazies? Never happened since the caveman. The "mercenaries" argument, as the poster above said, is recycled garbage. Either you're for the war or against it. This isn't a good reason to be against this one unless you're against ALL war. Logic, please.

steve

from two of the best blogs out there that deal with the Iraq invasion/occupation and the mideast in general:

http://billmon.org/archives/001442.html

http://www.nationinstitute.org/tomdispatch/index.mhtml?pid=1416

steve

more evidence just reading the newspaper will get you more informed about what is happening in Iraq than Bush, Kimmit, Senor, or other PR agents:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&e=28&u=/ap/20040503/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_foreign_fighters_2

Marc Cooper

Indeed, all armies in history do engage in this sort of ugliness, esepcially in time of war. It does not shock me. Precisely because this sort of crap isso easy to anticipate, it would have been just as easy for someone at DOD or the WH to impress upon the yick-yacks running the prison that they were to MAKE SURE it wasn'nt gonna happent this time. Either you are serious about changing the attitudes of the Arab world or you are not. If you fall into the latter category, then we should abandon all pretense of the Geneva Convention, and all pretense of justification, and simply mount a full-out crusade. But I thought most proponents of the war were smarter than that.

steve

Horowitz appears to be in let's pretend this isn't happening mode...
which might be a step higher than myers, which is let's make pretend it's not as bad as even internal reports indicate...or Senor's "well, hey, we didn't kill anyone' take...

sy hersh slammed wolf blitzer when he threw Senor's line at him on CNN btw:

http://billmon.org/archives/001443.html

steve

Quote of the day from the liberal wing of the prowar lobby:

"…we need a presidential order or Congressional legislation that defines exactly what constitutes acceptable degrees of coercive interrogation. Here we are deep into lesser-evil territory. Permissible duress might include forms of sleep deprivation that do not result in lasting harm to mental or physical health, together with disinformation and disorientation (like keeping prisoners in hoods) that would produce stress."

Mr. Ignatief...

Marc

Do you think there should be no definitions or limits or standards? Solitary confinement, for example, is used by every prison system in the world (the Cubans for example love it). Do you think there should be a limit to what that means? I do. Just as I think there should be limits on interrogation. Perhaps u think there should be no confinement or interrogation.

steve

Perhaps u think there should be no confinement or interrogation.

--some 60% of the detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison were innocent of any involvement in anti-'coaltion' activities, according to the internal report itself. My guess is the % is even higher, though who knows of course, no independent monitors have been allowed into the prison. i'm inclined to wonder what kinds of torture are permissible for those 60% in Mr. Ignatief's book...
The problem is not that laws don't exist, national or international. many good ones already exist actually. ignatief's focus, much like mr. myers and rumsfeld's, is off target.

gmroper

Marc writes: "Do you think there should be no definitions or limits or standards? Solitary confinement, for example, is used by every prison system in the world (the Cubans for example love it). Do you think there should be a limit to what that means? I do. Just as I think there should be limits on interrogation. Perhaps u think there should be no confinement or interrogation."

Why should limits be imposed and if imposed, how long. 100 days of solitary? 10 days? 1 day? 15 1/2 Minutes? Interrogation should last how long? 1 hour? 15 hours; or 24 hours; or only 37 seconds? Again why?

The purpose of solitary is partly to punish, partly to segregate and partly to discombobulate. The purpose of interrogation is to obtain information, sometimes in broad detail, sometimes in exceedingly minute detail, sometimes it's to save lives, sometimes to better be able to take lives. How can one set standards with so many variables UNLESS one sets a standard that a mental health worker and a physician knowledgeable about the individual's culture be available to say "when."

As a practicing conservative (and no, that doesn't mean republican) I have trouble with setting standards without being able to give a sound and cogent reason for the standard. I'm, for example, against abortion but I'm also against the death penulty. Both take human life and I hold life to be sacred. Self defense, or in defense of others being the exception. I can say why my standard is reasoned (though others may disagree) so, why your standard Marc?

By the way, this is a great blog and one that requires one to think. Thanks for the good reading and better thinking.

yfb

"The injury wrought to America’s image is nothing short of devastating."

Image is what it's all about, eh, Marc? No need for concern of
the injury wrought on human beings, not if they have funny names
and live far away.

"The American project in Iraq is collapsing quickly-- its moral basis evaporating."

You mean the sham moral basis -- surely you haven't become so retarded
as to think that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was *actually* morally based?

"First we cede Fallujah to Saddam’s officers. Then we cede to his methods."

You have that backwards -- coalition "methods" are what led to this stew.
And how did Falluja become ours to cede? Iraq was invaded -- it would
be obvious to Martians that Iraqis are morally entitled to reject the
invaders with force, even if it isn't obvious to the invaders.
You would certainly grant that if the U.S. or any of its allies were invaded.

"Perhaps u think there should be no confinement or interrogation."

I guess you, like our charming interrogators, have not read the Geneva
Convention:

"If they are questioned, POWs are only obliged to give their name and rank, date of birth and army serial number or equivalent information. No torture or other form of coercion may be inflicted on prisoners of war to obtain from them any type of information."

"the Cubans for example love it"

Are you offering this as an argument *for* it, or *against* it?
Or are you too depraved to care about such intellectual niceties
as coherent argumentation?

rosedog

"Unithraxer" and "Facts Please," it'd help the general level of discourse if you actually read some of the Taguba Pentagon report or, failing that, the NY Times interview with Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski (the reservist general who was in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison), before you start lobbing your little mud balls.

[http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/02/international/middleeast/02ABUS.html]

Marc---good subject. (And I applaud, of course, the excellent use of the term "yick-yacks.")

steve

The purpose of solitary is partly to punish, partly to segregate and partly to discombobulate. The purpose of interrogation is to obtain information, sometimes in broad detail, sometimes in exceedingly minute detail, sometimes it's to save lives, sometimes to better be able to take lives.

--I know it's not PC to say so, but torture more often than not leads to faulty information according to the intelligence community. My reference? a far leftist kim ilsung supporter from the Heritage Foundation on CNN today who stated that torture gets faulty information from prisoners who will say whatever they think interrogators want to hear to stop the torture (or 'abuse' as the media label sodomising prisoners, many of whom have no information anyhow since they were just picked up in random searches according to the military's internal report...).
I await pictures of American soldiers being sodomised in Iraq...no doubt sure to attract sufficient xenophobic rage combined with the usual, 'i don't understand why they're so filled with hate...'...

Rus Steel

Marc:

I think it's appropriate to judge Gen. Myers and the Bush Admin on their follow through with regard to these incidents, but to condemn Gen. Myers for the oversight?

Don't you think that's a bit harsh? This is a man who's in charge of a war effort at the moment. I realize it rings of excuses, but can we honestly expect him to read *every* 53 page report on soldier misconduct -- much less call for his immediate resignation upon failure to read one?

Perhaps, we should consider it from the domestic perspective. Would we immediately call for the resignation of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, if it surfaced that certain prison employees were involved in isolated acts of torture? Wouldn't it depend upon the Director's actions *after* having acquired knowledge of such events?

steve

but can we honestly expect him to read *every* 53 page report on soldier misconduct -- much less call for his immediate resignation upon failure to read one?

--it's not just one report, it's a series of reports from at least 6 months ago, within and outside the military. this was an open secret for quite a while. that by this moment he hasn't read such an important report...that's pretty pathetic indeed. it also indicates a relatively low level of prioritization on his part. bring on those pictures of american soldiers being sodomised by Iraqi rebels...

Rus Steel

Steve:

I admit that I'm late to the party on this one. I hadn't caught wind of this Pentagon report until just this past weekend. I'm curious -- just when did you had first knowledge of these reports?

I'm even more curious as to the sources for the "outside the military" documentation.

steve

I admit that I'm late to the party on this one. I hadn't caught wind of this Pentagon report until just this past weekend. I'm curious -- just when did you had first knowledge of these reports?

--amnesty international and human rights watch, whose reports,as the internal report now shows, were pretty accurate about the widespread nature of such torture and abuses, were my main sources of information. then newspapers occasionally reported what Iraqis were telling them about what was happening in the prisons and the reality that the majority of prisoners were not involved in the resistance [not that picking up a gun to fight the occupation is criminal really, plenty of soldiers in Iraq are on the record saying if the Iraqis came to the US, they too would pick up guns, see http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/02/magazine/02LIVES.html
for one of countless such examples. Occasionally American newspapers have also reported on the conditions inside the prisons, though only very occasionally of course, to report too often would not be PC.
The reports within the military I only recently heard about, like you. What I meant was the military has been doing investigations of such torture for over 6 months, according to Hersh.
--------------------------------------

steve

In a nutshell...

http://billmon.org/archives/001446.html

and scroll down in the comments to the joke of the month, outtasight gallows humor...although the joke is not PC at all.

Marc Cooper

Rus.. in the last 12 hours it has become abundantly clear that there was much much much more than the 53 page report to inform Myers and the DOD of the abuse taking place. I refer you to the Monday morning front-pager by the LA Times which, by itslef, paints a very dark picture of institutional breakdown.

steve

The level of denial at Frontpage is inspiring:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=13239

Rus Steel

Marc:

You're right. This is very well documented, and very disturbing -- and there's more information surfacing, that seems to indicate some serious breakdowns in what should constitute acceptable treatment of prisoners, and the command structure that should be protecting those prisoners.

But, as Steve points out above, the *investigation* by the Army began six months ago. That's an internal review, spawned from inside the Army's Chain of Command. Which would indicate, at the very least, that the Army brass was taking prisoner treatment seriously -- six months ago.

It seems that Gen. Myers was aware of the investigations. He was able to report when the story broke, that six low-level Army Reservists had been formally charged. He was also able to provide details as to the Article 32 investigations that have been initiated. But, of course, when pressed on whether he's seen the actual report, he says: "It's working it's way to me."

From the information we've been provided, I gather that an internal process is at work here. One in which, the Army carries out an investigation, follows-through on that investigation, and then reports to the Joint Chiefs with the results -- hence, the "working it's way to me" comment, the initial charges against the six Army reservists, and the further Article 32 investigations.

I think you can argue that it's not something that would necessitate micro-managing from Gen. Myers and the Joint Chiefs. That there's an ethical code at work here, that says "let the Army handle it's own and judge us on the results."

Would it not be prudent to allow Gen. Myers and the Bush Admin the same opportunity to deal with this situation, before calling for their immediate resignations?

P.S. That last one's half rhetorical. Don't feel wholly obliged to respond.

P.P.S. You're right, Steve. That Front Page article is totally off the mark. We should be avoiding the urge to compare our abuses to those of the Arab world. Afterall, the goal here is *supposed* to be setting the democratic, free society example -- which is precisely what makes these reports so entirely discouraging.

steve

Would it not be prudent to allow Gen. Myers and the Bush Admin the same opportunity to deal with this situation, before calling for their immediate resignations?

--I'd say why not call for their resignations, if they really felt it was important they would have dealt with it seriously from the get go. this problem has been around for way too long and one that should have set off alarm bells much earlier, especially if the goal was, ostensibly, to bring democracy to the region. I don't believe that was the goal, since there's really little evidence beyond assertion in that direction, but that's another issue related to broader causes of the official invasion of Iraq last year and subsequent occupation by the US.

Rus Steel

Fine, Steve. You call for their resignations -- but, let me know what they say, will ya?

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