Abu Ghraib

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by jay_too, May 4, 2004.

  1. jay_too

    jay_too New Member

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    Abu Ghraib is an American tragedy. Sure the MPs, Army Intelligence, and intelligence agents and consultants make easy scapegoats for a system gone awry, and they do share some portion of the blame. However, I think the major portion rests with the Pentagon, the CIA, the Department of Justice, the Congress, and the administration.

    In the aftermath of 9/11, abridgement of basic individual rights was justified to effectively combat terrorism. Adherence to the rule of law was replaced by assurances from DOJ and the Pentagon, "To trust us we know what we are doing." They have classified American citizens as enemy combatants who do not have the full protection of the law. In the case of John Walker Lindh, he was subjected to humiliation and torture as defined by the United Nations [photographed nude, kept naked in a metal shipping container in below freezing weather, medical care was withheld to make him more cooperative, etc]. The majority of the American public supported such treatment of the American Taliban. Today this sounds like the prequel to Abu Ghraib.

    This may not be surprising since CIA and intelligence consultants were active in the interrogation of prisoners in both Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a shame that no one oversaw the interrogation process to insure that international standards were met. Soldiers are trained to obey orders while intelligence personnel utilize bluff to achieve ends; thus, the request to soften them up becomes an order to a minimally trained soldier.

    Yep, it is a systemic problem that goes up the chain of command and into other parts of the government.

    jay
     
  2. B_RoysToy

    B_RoysToy New Member

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    I'm glad to see your post, jay_too. It's refreshing to see our forum being used at times for things other than big dick banter and the subject of your post is one of utmost importance to our country and way of life.

    Thank you, Luke
     
  3. jay_too

    jay_too New Member

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    Thanks Luke.

    This is and will be a difficult issue for me. As a freshman I read Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarism. One of the major points was that a civilized, democratic society has one standard/set of laws for all citizens. All men should have equal treatment/protection under the law. Two classes of "citizenship" result in the denigration of the less powerful examples were Germany in the 1930's and South Africa under apartheid.

    She was a survivor of the concentration camps and for me, a great voice for equality under the law.

    jay
     
  4. extremely-huge

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    they are freedomfighters, america wants to rule the whole world and that isn't a good thing either. the question is ; who has right, america or they? i don't know
     
  5. B_RoysToy

    B_RoysToy New Member

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    Thanks again, jay_too, this time for the clarification re. the identity of Abu Ghraib. I've never read The Origins of Totalitarism, so it's good to be exposed to one of its basic assertions. As citizens we should alway be alert to any group or individual usurping the rights and welfare of a 'class' of citizens.

    Luke
     
  6. B_RoysToy

    B_RoysToy New Member

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    Thanks again, jay_too, this time for the clarification re. the identity of Abu Ghraib. I've never read The Origins of Totalitarism, so it's good to be exposed to one of its basic assertions. As citizens we should alway be alert to any group or individual usurping the rights and welfare of a 'class' of citizens.

    Luke
     
  7. B_RoysToy

    B_RoysToy New Member

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    Please excuse he double posting. My pc and I are not coordinating this morning.
     
  8. Imported

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    SpeedoGuy: jay:

    I think you're right that the origins of this sorry episode probably go deeper than what appears on the surface. The idiotic pinhead soldiers who allowed themselves to be photographed while abusing POWs certainly deserve their due share of scorn and blame. By itself, their stupidity almost defies belief.

    However, their postures and the stupid grins on their faces ought to cause us to ask some questions about the type of environment we are fostering. Why are our weaker minded individuals thinking this type of behavior is OK? And where were their supervising officers? Further, are the detainees in Guantanamo and Afghanistan being treated in a similar manner? We don't know, do we? Does anyone really think anything good can possibly come from such abuse of POWs?

    SG
     
  9. Imported

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    Inwood: The most disappointing thing about this is that the ultimate leader of the military can't seem to see he's basically doing what those soldiers are accused. The mistreatment in his case is indefinite detention with no recourse.

    That truly is un-American.
     
  10. jay_too

    jay_too New Member

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    When I turned on the news this morning, I heard that the President was going to be interviewed on Arab tv. I was glad my President was going to tell the world of the anguish and sorrow that this has caused both the American people and him. On the way home this afternoon, I heard exerpts and commentary on the interview. Apparently, he did not say the magic phrase that the world was waiting for: "I am sorry. America is sorry."

    The President was right in saying that he was appalled. In the next clip he says that the problem was systemic. In techno-babble, systemic means excusable mistake. If the President knew the meaning of what he said, then the remark is inflammatory.

    I guess the reason that the President chose his words so carefully is that saying you are sorry means accepting responsibility or being accountable. Oh yea, accountability [ya know, testing and no child left behind] is for teachers in inner city schools struggling with too many students and too small a paycheck.

    The nation would have been better served without such an interview.

    jay
     
  11. Imported

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    mindseye: The Smoking Gun has posted the 53-page Army investigative report on the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

    The document is largely technical and administrative, and uses a lot of acronyms and jargon, but it's still fairly revealing as to how many people were involved in these abuses, and how many people knew about them and did nothing.

    The acronym "GOMOR", used several times, is a "General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand". My understanding from other sources is that this is more than a "slap on the wrist", but less than a court-martial. A soldier who receives a GOMOR doesn't lose their commission, but is denied future promotion. Maybe gushiggins or someone else on here might be able to clarify this.
     
  12. Imported

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    SpeedoGuy: [quote author=mindseye link=board=99;num=1083675416;start=0#10 date=05/05/04 at 21:03:17]...but it's still fairly revealing as to how many people were involved in these abuses, and how many people knew about them and did nothing.
    [/quote]

    Did nothing until the photos surfaced in the press and then suddenly the abuses at Abu Ghraib were terrible, abhorrent, inexcusable, un-American and whatever other adjectives W and his pols are throwing around now.

    But not worthy of an apology as jay pointed out.

    SG
     
  13. jay_too

    jay_too New Member

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    This is a link to the New Yorker article by Seymour Hirsh; it covers the same ground as the leaked report by the Army on prisoner abuse but is more readable:
    http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040510fa_fact

    Today's New York Times has another pertinent article for those trying to understand how this could happen [Read to the end of the article to see the psychological consequences of the experiment.]:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/06/international/middleeast/06PSYC.html

    I think I understand how the soldiers became tormentors. In workshops on leadership and team building, they teach that the most effective leadership skill is continuous positive feedback. This makes members want to strive harder and to adopt team goals as personal goals. So when the CIA or Military Intelligence tells the prison guards that they are doing a great job and to keep up the pressure the abuse is viewed as justified and required to protect America.

    What I do not understand is: Who put the CIA, contractors, and MI in the chain of command for these soldiers? It is someone(s) higher than the Brigadier General in the nominal command of the prison. Someone who served as a military liason and decision-maker with the spy agencies, the interrogation contractors, and the Department of Justice. Hmmm...it certainly would appear to be a Defense Department official. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith certainly have the contacts across the administration and into the spy agencies to make such things happen.

    jay
     
  14. KinkGuy

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    Listening to the radio today, the commentator was ranting about no international outrage at the murder and treatment of our people in Iraq. Yes, we should all be outraged. HOWEVER, Iraqi's did not invade America and start dropping bombs. We declared war (sort of) claiming moral causes and superiority...well, it may be difficult to "free" a people against their will. I just will never understand how G.W. planned to solve in 18 months, what is in essence a religious and cultural war that has raged for centuries.

    OK, that was more than 2 cents worth.
     
  15. Max

    Max New Member

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    [quote author=KinkGuy link=board=99;num=1083675416;start=0#13 date=05/06/04 at 13:18:50]


    OK, that was more than 2 cents worth. [/quote]

    But a very good 2 cents at that.  Many of us Brits feel at least as uncomfortable as you do.
     
  16. Imported

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    ORCABOMBER: Of course, the problem with this is that the Iraq war is being frought on moral grounds. It is naive and stupid to assume that by some decree we are "holier" or better than our enemies, case in point, say Bin Laden was captured, alive and well, how many people would shed a tear for his suffering, heck, people would pay to watch him executed on TV. How many people would pay to watch Castro hang, King Jung Il gassed or "the current flavour of the month" ripped apart by dogs?

    Personally, who cares who did what to who? It's no good expecting soldiers to hold prisoners and treat them with a standard that makes British prisoners blush, it isn't their job. Rather, if you want to make a fuss, you should make a fuss about the country they are in, not what they're doing to the inhabitants. Personally, this is not at all un expected. I don't remember the American people crying when Taliban prisoners are routinely violated.

    In other words, stop the bitching, you made the cake, you ate the cherry, so damn well eat the cream!
     
  17. KinkGuy

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    [quote author=ORCABOMBER link=board=99;num=1083675416;start=0#15 date=05/07/04 at 01:09:28]
    Personally, who cares who did what to who?

    In other words, stop the bitching, you made the cake, you ate the cherry, so damn well eat the cream![/quote]


    Do I understand your message to be that we, as American citizens should shut up, look the other way and not question the decisions and activities of our "elected" leaders? I am hoping one of your points was that "it's a mess we are stuck with"...but, the question remains, where do we go from here?
     
  18. B_RoysToy

    B_RoysToy New Member

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    [quote author=ORCABOMBER link=board=99;num=1083675416;start=0#15 date=05/07/04 at 01:09:28] . . . . It is naive and stupid to assume that by some decree we are "holier" or better than our enemies . . . . [/quote]
    From your diatribe, I took the liberty to 'lift' the preceding statement from the others b/c it's the one with which I agree, ORCABOMBER.

    Also, I will continue to pray for our enemies, as well as Bush, although I disagree with their motives and lack of compassion.

    Luke
     
  19. jonb

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    Actually, ORCABOMBER, the US has a long history of working with Saddam. In fact, during that whole time he was gassing Kurds, Ronnie :wub: Saddam. It was only after he invaded Kuwait -- approved by Bush, BTW -- that he became an enemy. Until you understand this, you can't understand the Iraq war. (This goes to all my ex-plonks who escaped my killfile when the moderators changed the format.

    Honestly, the US is like a 14-year-old boy whose motto is "PH33R M3!!!!11" and knows how to winnuke.
     
  20. Imported

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    Javierdude22: Wow, nothing yet on Rumsfeld and the consequences this should have for him?

    I heard something funny of a REpublican Senator yesterday when he responded to claims made that Rumsfeld should resign. He said something to the likes of this:

    'Are we gonna ask him to resign even before we've heard him? Hold him accountable for stuff of which we havent heard his side? That is truly un-american'

    Well...I know a few Guantanamo Bay prisoners who might disagree with that...and a few thousand Iraqi prisoners who are accused of stuff without a fair trial. But I guess theyre not Americans.

    I guess ive come to realise a few new things of the US with regard to the Abu Ghraib situation.

    THe UNited States of America prides itsself to be the most democratic country in the world, proclaiming a freedom for all people. Ive learned from this that these rights do not count for non-Americans. US politicians all of a sudden know how to spell Geneva when their prisoners are not treated right but think its a ride in Disneyland when it concerns their actions towards others. Freedom only for America, the rest should deal with the way US politicians define that freedom for the rest of the world.

    Wait, did I say freedom for all Americans? I meant the white Christian ones.

    Pardon my sarcasm, and something that must look like I dislike Americans. I do not...usually. I very much dislike your politics, and a lot of things of your culture, which explains how 48% of you vote.
     
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