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July 15, 2004 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Iraqi women beg to be killed as American soldiers sodomize their children (link is an .rm file, the bit about mothers and children starts about 1:31), according to journalist Seymour Hersh who reports seeing unreleased footage from Abu Ghraib. The question remains unanswered as to why he'll talk about it in a speech, but not publish it in the New Yorker. It's also worth asking, if these allegations are true, who else has seen this footage and why is it not being reported?
posted by dejah420 (122 comments total)

 
For those that can't get real to work...here's an excerpt from his speech:

"Debating about it, ummm ... Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."

"It's impossible to say to yourself how did we get there? Who are we? Who are these people that sent us there? When I did My Lai I was very troubled like anybody in his right mind would be about what happened. I ended up in something I wrote saying in the end I said that the people who did the killing were as much victims as the people they killed because of the scars they had, I can tell you some of the personal stories by some of the people who were in these units witnessed this. I can also tell you written complaints were made to the highest officers and so we're dealing with a enormous massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there and higher, and we have to get to it and we will. We will. You know there's enough out there, they can't (Applause). .... So it's going to be an interesting election year."
posted by dejah420 at 1:21 PM on July 15, 2004


I've been hearing rumors about child abuse in Iraq, but I never heard it was soilders having sex with children. On what planet is that even justified in the blackest of covert ops?

What's the gain to be made in doing anything harmful to a child in a war situation? (ignoring that the abuse may be sexual in nature, I still don't see what gains can be made from any abusive practices directed at kids)
posted by mathowie at 1:25 PM on July 15, 2004


There is something very, very wrong with the U.S. military -- and there has been for a long time now. I think it's time to quit using these things as ammo against Bush and friends and start looking at why the hell the soldiers are actually doing it.
posted by reklaw at 1:26 PM on July 15, 2004


God, please let it be just a rumor.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:31 PM on July 15, 2004


Yeah, even if every word of it is true, I don't see this being all Bush's fault, just like if this happened on Clinton's watch it wouldn't be Clinton's fault in my mind. But there could be some really awful people that are high up in the military making these decisions. I hope this stuff comes out so we can end ridiculous wartime acts such as this one (if this is all true).
posted by mathowie at 1:31 PM on July 15, 2004


To speculate, if true, a new word will be needed to describe the God-like level of anti-American sentiment that will emerge.
posted by the fire you left me at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2004


If this is true, it's almost unfathomable, reaching perhaps even deeper than the darkest fears people had about treatment in Iraq. If it comes out, I wonder if the Republicans will even be able to get 30% of the vote in the election--at some point even the most ardent supporters are going to throw their hands in the air and give up.
posted by The God Complex at 1:38 PM on July 15, 2004


If true, this is the stuff of nightmares.

I never ever would have thought that twenty-first century U.S. soldiers would do such a thing.
posted by orange swan at 1:39 PM on July 15, 2004


Yeah, even if every word of it is true, I don't see this being all Bush's fault, just like if this happened on Clinton's watch it wouldn't be Clinton's fault in my mind. But there could be some really awful people that are high up in the military making these decisions. I hope this stuff comes out so we can end ridiculous wartime acts such as this one (if this is all true).

If it's happening and they're covering it up, then it doesn't matter if it was originally his fault. If that ends up being the case, they should impeach Bush and file for war crimes against several members of the administration. Hell, they should have done that already, but if this ends up being true then I don't see any way this couldn't be the result.

Besides, I think it's fairly clear the the Bush admin pushed for torture techniques and had CIA operatives in Abu Ghraib to get the information they wanted--it was what Guantanamo Bay would be if they though they could get away with it, which is scary when you see what they do get away with there. Even if they're not directly complicit to the actions, the indirect approval of the path that led them to this result is there, or many reports seem to lead in that direction.
posted by The God Complex at 1:42 PM on July 15, 2004


As to why Hersch speaks of this but does not publish it: He's not a blogger. He gets paid for articles.

As to his comments on My Lai: It would do Americans well to consider what enabled that particular incident. Books of close to the time, like Kozol's The Night Is Dark And I Am Far From Home, soft-pedal the story and spread a victim-shroud over Calley and the men in his unit. There's a telling discussion of it in Susan Faludi's Stiffed, where one chapter alternates between discussing the evolution of First Blood from novel to film and the story of Michael Bernhardt, one of the key My Lai whistleblowers. Bernhardt's life was ruined by My Lai, without even participating in the killing; I have to wonder if most of the actual participants think of it much at all.

But I digress. It's widely accepted in the US military that My Lai happened as a result of the breakdown of military culture. The current generation of commanders have worked hard to reconsitute a martial culture of honor -- but it seems they may have forgotten the Guard...and their own commanders, who made it necessary to bring the Guard into this in the first place.

The "regular" Army will doubtless (and probably quietly) argue that this shouldn't reflect on them, because it's the Guard, it's not the Army. And that's not completely stupid. They do not have the same regular indoctrination that the regular troops do, their commanders rise through a different hierarchy, and they don't normally report to the same superiors. So if you think about it, it's not surprising that Guard, and not regular Army units would be put in charge at Abu Ghraib: Both the Pentagon (for reasons of control) and the regular Army brass (for reasons of deniability) would want the prisons to fall outside the regular Army culture.
posted by lodurr at 1:42 PM on July 15, 2004


It's a shame Matt Drudge won't talk about this considering it has nowhere near the credible evidence or supporting background as the news about Cheney not being vice-president.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:42 PM on July 15, 2004


This is terrible. As with sonofsamiam, I hope this is only a rumor as well. However, with everything that has been coming out of Iraq, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it wasn't.

Personally, one of the most poignant parts of F 9/11 was the footage of the Prisoners being photographed etc. and the voiceover (Moore?) talking about how a war based on lies leads to corruption (or something like that).
posted by Quartermass at 1:46 PM on July 15, 2004


If this is true, no one will ever, ever trust us again.
posted by bshort at 1:48 PM on July 15, 2004


(Apologies for the self-link coming up...)

On May 8th, I blogged an MSNBC story about Rumsfeld's testimony to Congress, and quoted this passage from it:
"Rumsfeld did not describe the photos, but U.S. military officials told NBC News that the unreleased images showed U.S. soldiers severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi female prisoner and “acting inappropriately with a dead body.” The officials said there was also a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping young boys."
Today, when I re-followed the MSNBC link I had blogged, that quote is gone, and the story is now more about the prison torture issue in general, with no sign of that passage.

Oh, and even if it was "only" the Iraqis doing the child-rape, with Americans "just" watching and videotaping it, that really doesn't make it okay, mmmkay Rummy?
posted by Asparagirl at 1:50 PM on July 15, 2004


Sarcasm aside, I remember people making allusions to this before when the scandal first broke. I hope that it's not true either. I really think it is true, at least partially. I find it hard to believe, given what we know, that at least "mild" (to use a horrible definition, admittedly) levels of child abuse didn't occur during interrogations and recon misisons.

There are lots of good, decent people in the army. I have no doubt that there are also a lot of gung-ho, kill-the-evil-Arab mentalities in it too. And I'm scared to death the higher ups deliberately wanted those type of people in Iraq.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:50 PM on July 15, 2004


I'd go further: If this isn't proven irrefutably untrue, and quickly, no one will ever trust us again.
posted by chicobangs at 1:52 PM on July 15, 2004


On preview: Asparagirl, I blogged about that statement too. I think it's a sign that someone knows that at least part of this accusation has legs.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:52 PM on July 15, 2004


I hope, for all of our sakes, not just America...but humanity at large, that it isn't true. Hearing this was like having a lead weight dropped into my chest. Perhaps because I have a young son...and it's devistating to consider something like this happening.

Perhaps because the actions seem inhuman to me...only monsters could rape children...and to do it to torture their mothers is a level of evil that I'd like to imagine doesn't exist anywhere...but certainly not in a military that I've spent my life defending.

But mostly I hope it's not true because I can't even imagine the wave of revenge that would come crashing down upon us.
posted by dejah420 at 1:55 PM on July 15, 2004


chico: very true
posted by bshort at 1:55 PM on July 15, 2004


Look, I don't want to engage in a game of Bush-bashing here, so I'll attempt to deal with what we, as Americans, should be able to expect from a Commander in Chief. Two possibilities: Hersh is lying or he isn't. If he is, I would expect the CiC to denounce these revelations directly in the strongest possible terms, with full disclosure of information. No military can function or be funded without the backing of the populace, and letting rumors like this float is irresponsible at best, incompetent at worst. If these are lies, than they need to be squashed ... now.

If Hersh isn't lying, then two possibilities: The CiC isn't aware of these crimes, or he is. If he isn't aware, then it speaks again to incompetence. If he is, then he has a duty to us to uphold military law and prosecute the guilty. That means public exposure of the truth of the crimes. Further it is incumbent on the sitting CiC (regardless of who it is) to institute whatever measures are necessary to alter protocols such that this NEVER happens again.

So the only question remaining concerning the highest military authority recognized in this case is ... why hasn't the CiC made a statement concerning the depth of these crimes, and taken the actions that a commander should?

I agree that these atrocities might not be Bush's fault, but everyday that goes by, with these revelations coming from journalists, reflects poorly on the CiC. You can't hold him responsible for what has been, but you can and should hold him responsible for what is (and isn't) being done right now.

I sincerely await the White House response to Hersh, but in this election year, we've every reason to believe that the CiC will distance himself from the duty he swore to perform in Jan. 2001. I would like to think that Bush will prove me wrong ... but I'm not holding my breath for that.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:55 PM on July 15, 2004


I have no doubt that there are also a lot of gung-ho, kill-the-evil-Arab mentalities in it too.

Even the interviews on F9/11, where the soldiers clearly knew they were being taped and were probably on better behaviour, contained a lot this subtle hatred for arabs they were fighting. This is partially understandable, given they're attempting to kill each other, but the sheer joy many of them seemed to get ouf out of it (see both the "let the bodies hit the floor" and "roof is on fire" musical segments) is absolutely frightening.

I, too, have no doubt that there are many fine women and men serving in Iraq (probably more fine ones than bad ones), but when I read a novel about war or see a good film I'm always struck that the only people that I have any compassion for are those who would rather not be killing anybody, especially without cause. Hell, even in WW2, where there were many good reasons to be fighting the nazis, many of the soldiers still weren't gung-ho about killing people, only about surviving.

The problem right now seems to be, in large part, that a large number of soldiers that serve lack any serious education, and the military is not interested in educating them. There was an interview months back where a reporter asked two men going over to serve in Iraq to point it out on a map: they couldn't. How do you send someone over to kill and possibly die without even a basic knowledge of world geography?
posted by The God Complex at 1:58 PM on July 15, 2004


Iraq veterans often say they are confused by American news coverage, because their experience differs so greatly from what journalists report.

When the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was widely reported, thought there was suppose to be a bigger “bomb shell” video to break later. I have heard about "Iraqi women beg to be killed as American soldiers sodomize their children" in the news for the past several months yet with no proof. Is this the bomb shell that was to be reported and shown later? This was discussed when Abu Ghraib prison accounts were proven as facts at the time.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:01 PM on July 15, 2004


To speculate, if true, a new word will be needed to describe the God-like level of anti-American sentiment that will emerge.

No, I think jihad is more than adequate. But I think you might be overstating the outrage. After all, just because these are revelations to the US public doesn't mean that the Arab world doesn't already know about these horrors.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:01 PM on July 15, 2004


I don't know about this. I wasn't surprised to see the Abu Ghraib pictures when they came out, but it would surprise me greatly to hear that American soldiers were raping Iraqi boys and videotaping it. I guess I'd have to say I won't believe it until we see more evidence, like the videotape or at least the testimony of several credible witnesses who have seen it.

If it is true, however... my mind truly boggles to think of the ramifications.
posted by widdershins at 2:01 PM on July 15, 2004


That means public exposure of the truth of the crimes.

Far be it from me to defend Bush, but one can't expect him to say "Oh, by the way, we've been raping iraqi boys". It is possible that these offenses are known and are being quietly prosecuted. If that's the case, the blame lies with the media for not reporting it.

Given how devastating this would be to our efforts in Iraq, can we really blame the administration for not trumpeting it?
posted by jpoulos at 2:01 PM on July 15, 2004


Well, before all of you get too excited about this, Hersh has a well-documented history of making wild, unprovable accusations. True, some of his "scoops" have been accurate, but I'll believe Hersh's allegations if the video and/or pictures actually surface.
posted by Durwood at 2:02 PM on July 15, 2004


Does anyone else here remember seeing the faces of the people coming out of that room where they saw the unreleased prison abuse pictures and videos? Sorry to be vague, but I just have that image in my mind.
posted by reklaw at 2:08 PM on July 15, 2004



I don't know about this. I wasn't surprised to see the Abu Ghraib pictures when they came out, but it would surprise me greatly to hear that American soldiers were raping Iraqi boys and videotaping it. I guess I'd have to say I won't believe it until we see more evidence, like the videotape or at least the testimony of several credible witnesses who have seen it.


Well, there was the case of the Canadian soldier (some years back now) who beat an adolescent boy to death and then posed for pictures with his body. That was our shameful version of Abu Ghraib, only on a smaller scale.

(the soldier later tried to commit suicide and is now the mental equivalent of a young boy himself).
posted by The God Complex at 2:09 PM on July 15, 2004


Hersh has a well-documented history of making wild, unprovable accusations

Really? Documented where?
posted by jjg at 2:10 PM on July 15, 2004


No wonder they gave this information to lawmakers in the same room that is used to review information about nuclear weapons.
posted by bshort at 2:10 PM on July 15, 2004


Durwood, I admire your skepticism, but I have to ask: if the allegations are untrue, why is the military establishment being mum about it? Rumors only spread if they're allowed to, and considering the danger that that poses to our troops in the field, don't you find administrative silence to be acutely dangerous at this point?
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:12 PM on July 15, 2004


Here's a story from the Guardian from last May, where witness testimony corroborates some of what Hersh is talking about. Warning, some if this testimony is graphic and very troubling, at least it was to me.
posted by psmealey at 2:13 PM on July 15, 2004


Durwood -- granted, he's got a history of irresponsible journalism. He's written stories based on unreliable, unverified sources.

But if this didn't happen -- he said he's seen the video himself -- then he's lying. I don't think anybody's EVER accused him of that.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:14 PM on July 15, 2004


Here's the problem: as we discuss this, someone is repeating these things as truth somewhere. And especially across the Arab world, where we've done ourselves no PR favors so far, every day this rumor (if it's just a rumor; if true it's a way bigger nightmare) is not decisively squashed and proven utterly false, it's repeated, and all of our new enemies in the region now have something tangible and eerily visceral to hate America for.

"America is a safer place," my ass.
posted by chicobangs at 2:15 PM on July 15, 2004


This German report, and this one, lend at least some corroborative support to this, as does the now-sanitized MSNBC report Asparagirl mentions above (and, on preview, psmealey's link). Perhaps someone can provide a better translation than google -- but it's pretty clear from multiple sources that children have been abused and tortured in these camps, both physically and sexually. What Hersh describes is of course unimaginably worse than what's in these two reports -- but it's on the same spectrum.
posted by ook at 2:17 PM on July 15, 2004


It is possible that these offenses are known and are being quietly prosecuted.

I believe that when Congress was informed of the full extent of the Abu Ghraib scandal, there were many photos and a video that were brought in and shown to members of Congress under secure conditions, such that they could not be leaked. It's possible what Hersh is referring to is among these materials, and it's been impossible to get a copy of these materials.
posted by rocketman at 2:17 PM on July 15, 2004


Wow, that Guardian story describes torture almost exactly parallel to what Sen. McCain went through at the Hanoi Hilton. Hanging up a guy by the arms who has a broken shoulder?
*shiver*
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:19 PM on July 15, 2004


I am so sickened and sad about all of this. I am ashamed of my country, first that we let this happen, and second that we haven't already begun trying the perpetrators, publicly.

Who can say how many people we have angered enough to have them attack and kill Americans? We will pay for this, and already are paying for this, in blood.

If a country did this to young American boys, we would nuke them.
posted by beth at 2:31 PM on July 15, 2004


I never ever would have thought that twenty-first century U.S. soldiers would do such a thing.

I am not surprised. Soldiers in wartime haven't changed much. They're not all bad apples, of course, but this stuff shouldn't surprise anyone. Shock? Sure. But there's been something very bad going on in our military for a long, long time.
posted by agregoli at 2:43 PM on July 15, 2004


I remember Rumsfeld mentioning this in his testimony as well, and wondered why it wasn't getting picked up anywhere. This Washington Post article from two days later (about whether or not Rumsfeld should resign or be fired) may give some insight as to why. It certainly doesn't seem like it would be a great thing to release the information now, after it's been fairly successfully buried and Rummy has gotten such sterling public props from his overlords for the fandangtastic job he's been doing.

Until the info is released, if ever, we can't really know for sure what all has happened as far as abuses go. From what little has been reported though, it's my understanding that american soldiers did not participate in the rape of Iraqi boys, that it was the Iraqi soldiers who did so while the americans watched and/or recorded it. I do believe that there was evidence that american soldiers had raped women, however (not to mention the beatings, torture, and murders). I state this only to solicit clarification if available, not as an attempt to justify such actions or mitigate the expected response to them.
posted by SpaceBass at 2:43 PM on July 15, 2004


a martial culture of honor

Ah, the military romanticism of that phrase...
posted by y2karl at 2:51 PM on July 15, 2004


Some across this nation and across this world tried to warn about what we would reap from this administration's actions.

The horror coming out of places like Abu Ghraib is not isolated, nor is it without sad American precedence. It is part of a whole arising when injustice and violence are tolerated, or even celebrated...as fool's tools for trumped up ends.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:52 PM on July 15, 2004


He called the prison scene "a series of massive crimes, criminal activity by the president and the vice president, by this administration anyway…war crimes."

The outrages have cost us the support of moderate Arabs, says Hersh. "They see us as a sexually perverse society."

Hersh describes a Pentagon in crisis. The defense department budget is “in incredible chaos,” he says, with large sums of cash missing, including something like $1 billion that was supposed to be in Iraq.

"The disaffection inside the Pentagon is extremely accute," Hersh says. He tells the story of an officer telling Rumsfeld how bad things are, and Rummy turning to a ranking general yes-man who reassured him that things are just fine. Says Hersh, "The Secretary of Defense is simply incapable of hearing what he doesn’t want to hear."

The Iraqi insurgency, he says,was operating in 1-to-3 man cells a year ago, now in 10-15 man cells, and despite the harsh questioning, "we still know nothing about them...we have no tactical information.”

He says the foreign element among insurgents is overstated, and that bogeyman Zarqawi is "a composite figure" hyped by our government.

The war, he says, has escalated to "fullscale, increasingly intense military activity."

Hersh described the folks in charge of US policy as "neoconservative cultists" who have taken the government over, and show "how fragile our democracy is."


Ed McCone
posted by y2karl at 2:54 PM on July 15, 2004


If this is true, it's almost unfathomable, reaching perhaps even deeper than the darkest fears people had about treatment in Iraq.

After members of Congress reviewed (in secret) the Abu Ghraib evidence, several of them made public statements suggesting that we should expect something on this order. They seemed sincerely shocked at the time.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:58 PM on July 15, 2004


my favorite quote from a talking head recently was:

"who let THESE people into OUR army!?!"

yeah right.
posted by muppetboy at 3:04 PM on July 15, 2004


They seemed sincerely shocked at the time.

Ironic that it lets the administration off the hook by default--it being so horrific that even the opposition doesn't want to see this get out, for the damage it would do to the country. No doubt, the great literate tradition of Iraq, of which kablam so recently rhapsodized, will have some lasting tales to tell. If nothing else, perhaps, come Kerry's election, there should be a secret tribunal or two for those responsible for letting these atrocities happen. There would be a poetic justice in that.
posted by y2karl at 3:04 PM on July 15, 2004


"who let THESE people into OUR army!?!"

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, I believe.
posted by y2karl at 3:04 PM on July 15, 2004


mr_roboto , right. All those warnings about some really bad stuff coming soon, never quite happened did it? I bet those tapes were destroyed the second the other pictures came out. Not that it matters, the Arabs already know.

Also, I've read that Hersh will be write about this soon.

Can you imagine what the US political elites and the talking heads would have said if the Soviets were doing this shit in Afghanistan? The US is morally below "godless commies."
posted by skallas at 3:07 PM on July 15, 2004


Don't let our Bizarro Stalinists read that....
posted by y2karl at 3:10 PM on July 15, 2004


I think Senator Campbell has a future in straight man comedy.
posted by muppetboy at 3:11 PM on July 15, 2004


The US is morally below "godless commies."

Ironic too that the Catholic church was found to have huge piles of child porn this week.

Maybe being an atheist isn't so bad after all...
posted by muppetboy at 3:13 PM on July 15, 2004


Given the prison 'culture' in the US, I don't see why people would be surprised that this sort of thing has been exported to Iraq. But maybe rape by prison guards (male and female) isn't such a big deal in the US (but then they're doing it for fun!)

Of course raping young boys is left to Catholic clergy in America.
posted by daveg at 3:15 PM on July 15, 2004


".. if the allegations are untrue, why is the military establishment being mum about it?"

Let me quote the editor of the student newspaper when I was at University.

"I know the Vice-Chancellor doesn't fuck gerbils. I just want to hear him deny it in public."

(Note, I have a dim view of human collective behaviour, and I find said allegations sadly plausible, but come on: absence of denial is not evidence of guilt).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:21 PM on July 15, 2004


joe's-spleen: the thing is, this rumor isn't just something Hersh made up off the top of his head, it's a rumor that's been floating around for a while, and which seems to be corroborated by multiple, independant sources.
posted by bshort at 3:29 PM on July 15, 2004


i get the feeling he isn't making this up either.

my question is "what does the press know that they're not telling us?"

cause they're strangely silent on all this...
posted by muppetboy at 3:38 PM on July 15, 2004


As of right now, it's a rumor. And my first instinct is to disbelieve it, since even in the most violent sectors of society (like gangs and prisons) rape and child abuse is despised by most. Not to mention, I find it hard to believe (for those very reasons) that a lid could've been kept on something this horrendous.

And think of this for a second: we put out propoganda abound evil terrorists murdering children and the like, is it inconcievable that the Iraqis or even someone militantly opposed to the war would do the same?

I could only half blame them, but I'd still say it was a bad idea.
posted by jonmc at 3:46 PM on July 15, 2004


Wow. And it seems to be corroborated by multiple sources. Wow.
Wow.
posted by dig_duggler at 3:50 PM on July 15, 2004


"Judge us by our actions," he said. "Watch how Americans, watch how democracy deals with wrongdoing and scandal and the pain of acknowledging and correcting our own mistakes and, indeed, our own weaknesses."

"We know what the terrorists will do; we know they will try to exploit all that is bad, and try to obscure all that is good. That's their nature. And that's the nature of those who think they can kill innocent men, women and children to gratify their own cruel wills to power.["]
posted by SpaceBass at 4:01 PM on July 15, 2004


we put out propoganda abound evil terrorists murdering children and the like, is it inconcievable that the Iraqis or even someone militantly opposed to the war would do the same?

I find that far-fetched in the extreme, given that we have Rumsfeld's own testimony supporting the "propaganda". And most of the corroborative stories posted in this thread cite US soldiers as sources.
posted by ook at 4:21 PM on July 15, 2004


(I apologize for the misstatement; I conflated Rumsfeld with unnamed "officials" describing his testimony. But the point stands; this isn't coming from some shadowy ministry of Iraqi information, it's coming from our own soldiers and journalists.)
posted by ook at 4:29 PM on July 15, 2004


Golly, my habitual rabid railing against the evil that is America doesn't seem so outré now, does it?

America-hating : it's fashionable again! Come on in to the pool, kids! The blood's...well, body temperature!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:34 PM on July 15, 2004


The God Complex, you raise a good point. While I would venture to say that the abuse itself is not the fault of President Bush per se, if he is attempting to cover it up or instructing others to do so, then at that point it is something that he needs to be impeached for.

America hating might be fashionable, but it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness. And we need a big fucking candle. Right up this administration's collective rectum.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:45 PM on July 15, 2004


Does anyone else here remember seeing the faces of the people coming out of that room where they saw the unreleased prison abuse pictures and videos?

I have a good, childhood friend in the Pentagon who was in that room for the screening. He called me that night and said he wouldn't tell me any details because he didn't trust himself to keep from breaking down, as he nearly had after he got back to his office after seeing the footage. He simply said, "think of your worst nightmare of what soldiers could be doing to women and children. Well, that's what I watched today."
posted by scody at 4:59 PM on July 15, 2004


An alert MeFi reader who doesn't have an account sent me the following link. The AP is now reporting that the commission investigating the prison crimes is now ramping back into swing and would like Paul Bremer to come visit with the congresscritters.
posted by dejah420 at 5:05 PM on July 15, 2004


the abuse itself is not the fault of President Bush per se

I disagree. Bush and his administration rewrote the rules on handling of prisoners; they rearranged the military structure administering the prisons to include these "specialist" nonmilitary interrogators; the justice department even redefined the word "torture" to allow more physically and psychologically abusive measures.

The events at Abu Ghraib and the other prisons and internment camps didn't just happen; they're a direct and predictable result of the policies set by this administration.
posted by ook at 5:08 PM on July 15, 2004




I hope this stuff comes out so we can end ridiculous wartime acts such as this one (if this is all true).

I'd choose a somewhat stronger word than 'ridiculous', mathowie.

Wow, that Guardian story describes torture almost exactly parallel to what Sen. McCain went through at the Hanoi Hilton.

I'm guessing at your implication here, ssFlanders, but if you mean what I think you mean, I have to ask you what on earth you're thinking. Do you mean that because the Viet Cong tortured prisoners, America should be allowed to do so with impunity too? Well, hell, in that case, why not set up some concentration camps and gas ovens, and go for a Final Solution? It's been done before, after all!

(For the sarcasm impaired and hama7, the above is reduction ad absurdum, and not intended as a direct Godwinian comparison. Although if the Bushites steal the next election too, who knows?)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:16 PM on July 15, 2004


Also (via Atrios):

Summary of Hersh's speech here.
Audio here.
Video here.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:20 PM on July 15, 2004


" If it comes out, I wonder if the Republicans will even be able to get 30% of the vote in the election"

As depressing as it sounds, I don't think they would lose more than 5 percentage points or so. That's because the root of the moral rot, bigotry and ignorance in this country isn't republicans; they only exploit it.
posted by 2sheets at 5:28 PM on July 15, 2004


the abuse itself is not the fault of President Bush per se
I disagree, too. But Bush does share responsibility with the Congress that allowed this train-wreck of an operation to happen.One of the things that makes Seymour Hersh's pieces in the New Yorker so strong is his lucid appraisal of leadership in the army. He recognizes diverse strains: professional soldiers to whom we Americans should all be grateful, sadistic bastards who deserve little sympathy and need to be prosecuted, and stressed out, weak and overworked soldiers who are in over their heads.

A friends of my parents survived a Nazi concentration camp. He would have said these three elements-- truly compassionate people, sadistic bastards, and weak or overwhelmed S.O.B.s --exist in every society. Some societies are better at dealing with sadists, while others, such as Nazi Germany, allow them free reign over the weak and confused. Clearly, Iraq has allowed sadists to run unchecked.

One of the things that really disturbed me about this tape was the way people cheered when Hersh referred to horrible crimes, as if these crimes were only about Bush.

I hate Bush, am a member of the ACLU, but I can't cheer when I hear about little boys being sodomized. We as a society have known-- if you read well respected blogs and newspapers-- but we've allowed our attention to be diverted.

This mess is bigger than one election.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:32 PM on July 15, 2004


I remind you that no less a cheerleader for the Iraq invasion than Christopher Hitchens has recently written the following:
It is going to get much worse. The graphic videos and photographs that have so far been shown only to Congress are, I have been persuaded by someone who has seen them, not likely to remain secret for very long. And, if you wonder why formerly gung-ho rightist congressmen like James Inhofe ("I'm outraged more by the outrage") have gone so quiet, it is because they have seen the stuff and you have not. There will probably be a slight difficulty about showing these scenes in prime time, but they will emerge, never fear. We may have to start using blunt words like murder and rape to describe what we see. And one linguistic reform is in any case already much overdue. The silly word "abuse" will have to be dropped. No law or treaty forbids "abuse," but many conventions and statutes, including our own and the ones we have urged other nations to sign, do punish torture—which is what we are talking about here at a bare minimum.
posted by talos at 5:58 PM on July 15, 2004


we have to sodomize little boys in the middle east to guarantee the continued flow of petroleum products to run the cars that take us to see the celluloid fantasies we worship. and just where do you think the plastic for the helmets they wear in the super bowl comes from? jesus you people are morans.
posted by quonsar at 6:04 PM on July 15, 2004


Clearly, Iraq has allowed sadists to run unchecked.

You misspelled "America," right?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:04 PM on July 15, 2004


Is there some reason why this isn't all over every newspaper and TV screen in the whole world as of right now?

I don't think it's possible to go through every link and comment in this thread and not be convinced that this happened -- this is for real. And lots of people know. The whole of Congress knows. It all needs to come out, immediately, and then we need to start dealing with it.
posted by reklaw at 6:20 PM on July 15, 2004


Never underestimate the power of denial.
posted by beth at 6:34 PM on July 15, 2004


> Is there some reason why this isn't all over every newspaper and TV screen in the whole world as of right now?

Start here.
posted by skallas at 6:49 PM on July 15, 2004


jesus you people are morans.

Takin' my wife to movies gets me laid. Sorry, dude, but petro using sex is okey-dokey where I come from.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:54 PM on July 15, 2004


fff. /gulp/ Touche. I meant the war in Iraq.

Asparagirl -- you've won a reader to your blog.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:13 PM on July 15, 2004


the bigger the lie...

sound familiar?
posted by muppetboy at 7:20 PM on July 15, 2004


I bet those tapes were destroyed the second the other pictures came out.- skallas.

Don't think that makes sense...why destroy them after Hersh & scody's friend saw it?

I am utterly repulsed by this. I now know why the US insisted on being exempted from International Court of Justice jurisdiction on war crimes.

How can such a disgusting open secret remain so, in the land of liberty and civil rights?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:20 PM on July 15, 2004


I'm afraid that at some point, every American is going to have a "Holy Shit!" moment. It's that moment where you finally realize, and admit to yourself, that not only are things not right, they are so far from right as to be horrific.

Some of us have already had such a moment. Others more are having them every day. But as has been said above, many, many, more will not have them for a long while, and will deny the rationales and reasons for doing so all the way. Still others will deny that moment to their dying breath.

But eventually, everyone will have that "Holy Shit!" moment.
posted by yhbc at 8:02 PM on July 15, 2004


How can such a disgusting open secret remain so, in the land of liberty and civil rights?

Well, the election hasn't happened yet, for one. Don't wanna be partisan you know. Don't wanna endanger the troops, or be UnAmerican.

...besides, the new fall season is coming up! There are happier, shinier things to think about!
posted by aramaic at 8:10 PM on July 15, 2004


Never mind being an American. I'm ashamed to be human.
posted by chicobangs at 9:08 PM on July 15, 2004


I heard about this in a slightly different form on, of all things, Marketplace, the business radio show on NPR. In it was described the horribly violent and graphic rape of a young boy by an American contract worker (hired by the US govt. from Titan as, if I remember correctly, a translator). Not only was the crime heinous, but Marketplace tried to trace to whom this person would answer for his crimes, and they came up empty handed. Essentially, there was a lawlessness that was allowed for the contract employees because they were not Military and thus didn't answer to military court.

It was an impressive piece of journalism that I promise will make you ill. It certainly did me.
posted by readymade at 9:37 PM on July 15, 2004


Need another witness? How about a Senator?!

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said, "What I have seen is disgusting and it is disappointing." .... Nelson said one poor-quality video appeared to show Iraqi prisoners about to be sodomized, although "it's not clear that the actual act of sodomy was being perpetrated on the videos that I've just seen."

Did Sen. Bill Nelson see full-grown Iraqis on the verge of being sodomized, or children?
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:48 PM on July 15, 2004


I think this is that stuff (or at least some of it) that they showed the Senate privately, and that the Pentagon decided wasn't going to be released...without video or even one picture, i can't see tv covering it, unfortunately.
posted by amberglow at 9:51 PM on July 15, 2004


I also remember reading the quote about their being videotapes of soldiers raping women and boys. At the time there was plenty of horrible stuff to contemplate and I kind of put it out of my mind, assuming it would surface in a couple weeks.

Now, knowing that quote has disappeared - wtf? It reminds of 1984, where party members go back and delete information about events that were never suppossed to have happened.

Shouldn't we know the truth before this jerk gets elected - again?
posted by xammerboy at 10:01 PM on July 15, 2004


Apart from the horror of these stories, what frightens me is that so much of the American population will be completely unable to believe that the allegations are true. I'm talking major cognitive dissonance at work. We've already seen supporters of the first wave of those accused at Abu Ghraib minimize or deny the accusations because our soldiers/their kids/their neighbours are the Good Guys.

If these new allegations are publicized and at least supported strongly -- maybe a contract worker or reservist has a crisis of conscience and makes a public confession of their role -- I'm really afraid that the result won't be a wave of revulsion and anger against the perpetrators and the government that enabled these things to happen -- it will be a stiff necked strengthening of support for Bush and his cohorts and a renewed committment to "stay the course".
posted by maudlin at 10:10 PM on July 15, 2004


(that is, "what frightens me is the possibility that so much of the American population will be completely unable to believe that the allegations are true." I'm not taking this as a given.)
posted by maudlin at 10:12 PM on July 15, 2004


Amberglow's right. This needs something to put on the front page. Words just will not cut it anymore, not in the media mess this war has become.

But one small picture will cut away all that crap ... surely someone, somewhere, can leak it. I've not met a whole load of US troops, but of those I have met, a large number are decent guys.

At least one of them knows what happened in there, and has a picture. It might risk his job, or might run against his feelings of loyalty or political beliefs, but would that stop him from at least trying to get this to the world?
posted by bonaldi at 10:13 PM on July 15, 2004


"They're raping our women" ( Metafilter 30592) - ever wonder how such rumors get started ?

Indeed, "they" were raping "our" women - even those women's children.

If George W Bush had handed the best PR firm on the planet a suitcase stuffed with 1 billon in cash, US $ large denomination bills, to buy anti-US propaganda, I don't think he could have bought more effective anti-US PR.

"War to promote terror" - your tax dollars at work.
posted by troutfishing at 10:41 PM on July 15, 2004


I wonder whether this was part of what was discussed in that closed congressional briefing with the DoD last week? Did the International Red Cross document even more abuse in Iraq against children?

Leaking of the pictures or video would be appreciated, but simply leaking these confidential Red Cross reports might tell us what we want to know.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:43 PM on July 15, 2004


A more deadly point - the factual basis of this human rights abuse has been broadcast far too widely to be stuffed back under the rug.

The cat's out of the bag.


Think about it.


As I said, sex sells (Metafilter 32943)
posted by troutfishing at 10:49 PM on July 15, 2004


It is somewhat tempting to go through the MeFi archives and identify which MeFi members adamantly refused to acknowledge such atrocities could occur, let alone did occur.

I want to publically humiliate the "Triple Whoopee" assholes and force them to own up to their role in supporting an administration that made all this possible.

But it would be pointless.

I trust karma to work it all out in the end.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 PM on July 15, 2004


I'm horrified that my neocon allegory of many months back (warning : deliberately, egregiously offensive), which has been pointed to by others here in the past in attempts to show what an evil, off-the-rails anti-American loonball I am, has apparently had its central metaphor revealed as pretty terrifyingly (and literally) accurate.

Would that I hadn't been so prescient.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:03 PM on July 15, 2004


Sy Hersh on Democracy Now in May.
In any case, they went into the prison. Very tough orders were given. We're going to use coercion, if we have to; and we're also going to use sexual blackmail. We're going to get these Baathist Sunnis. Rusted [Rumsfeld] was calling them, by that time last fall, "The Dead-enders. " These are the Baathist Sunnis, supporters of Saddam, that we thought were the core of the insurgency that we could not find.

But the goal is to go into the prison population, get these guys if we have to blackmail them by putting in compromising, sexual positions, do it. We all have gone through the ritual, Amy, of how terrifyingly taboo it is in Islamic society for men to appear naked before other men, really. And we were going to do that: threaten to take the photographs of them and distribute it in their neighborhood to their families, to their mothers and fathers and wives or whatever, totally embarrassing them.

And I think the goal is to: a) try and get some people to tell us what they knew, and, b) try and convince some people to go and leave the prison and go back into the Sunni community and spy. But whatever it was, it quickly got out of control. By late October, I’ve been told, the CIA had some people involved in this program. They pulled out. They pulled out all of their people involved in the interrogation process at Abu Ghraib. Their general counsel said, "this is nuts." They pulled out, and the program went along, out of control, basically, until it started getting in trouble earlier this year.
posted by euphorb at 11:29 PM on July 15, 2004


stavros - It's not a question of prescience as much as a refusal to be distracted from the truth.

You refuse the way of distraction.

The crew running things in Iraq now earlier cut their teeth through torture and massacre in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

A few, at least, have been paying attention to that fact.
posted by troutfishing at 11:37 PM on July 15, 2004


Oh man. I read this and all the comments on DailyKOS, and was sick to my stomache.

We know for a fact that adult male detainees were sodomized with lightsticks. The Senate has admitted that much as well as a "soldier having sex with a female" (I highly doubt by choice). It was decided that it would NOT be released to the media for fear of the backlash and the danger it would put the soldiers and workers in Iraq. It's not a stretch to conceive they can sodomize kids to coerce parents to give up information they may/may not have (as much as I want to believe we're still the good guys).

UNICEF and other organizations are launching investigations.

Look for the usual right-wing pundits trying to spin/discredit it... look for the rest of Americans to stay in denial. Hersh will get the same sliming as Richard Clarke, et al...

Problem is the world already knows. The rumors are spreading like wildfire, especially in the Arab world where rape is the worst kind of humiliation you can inflict on them. According to Sharia law it's a death sentence to female victims. So why is hush-hush in the U.S.? If it's not true, why the wall of silence when so many people are ready to believe the worst about the US?

With Ridge's warnings about "credible terrorist threats at election time", and the weird behavior by our "leaders" lately, it doesn't take a Looney Left conspiracy theorist to realize the shit is about to hit the fan.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 1:34 AM on July 16, 2004


Would that I hadn't been so prescient.

You should change your name to Cassandra, stav. Facts, logic and intuition are all the marks of the devil; any good neocon would be completely unmoved by such devices.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:04 AM on July 16, 2004


Well hell, if one guy says it's true, then it MUST be true.
posted by eas98 at 6:31 AM on July 16, 2004


Yeah. Only thing is, it's more than one guy, eas98.
posted by psmealey at 7:02 AM on July 16, 2004


But what about the schools we've been building? What about the electricity we brought back to a few of the neighborhoods? The security and democracy? The rebuilding of infrastructure? I mean, come on, this ain't any worse than what they did in my frat house! It's...

Aw, shit. You're right. We're totally fucked.
posted by fungible at 7:33 AM on July 16, 2004


what frightens me is that so much of the American population will be completely unable to believe that the allegations are true. I'm talking major cognitive dissonance at work.

indeed. last night i informed my staunch republican mother about this. her response was to emit a tortured moan, point at my monitor and say "you believe THAT?"

computers lie. just ask your television.
posted by quonsar at 7:36 AM on July 16, 2004


Here is the full testimony (.pdf) of the prime witness to the rape of this Iraqi teen.

I have done a bit of searching, and have determined that the following is is an accurate translation of the main allegation:

"I saw the translator Abu Hamid, fucking a kid. His age would have been about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad, and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming, I climbed to the door because on top it wasn't covered. And I saw Abu Hamid who was wearing a military uniform, putting his dick in the little kid's ass. I couldn't see the face of the kid because his face wasn't in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures."
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:50 AM on July 16, 2004


While it could be claimed that this is all old news, it is quite relevant because on Aug. 18th, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld ordered Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller to conduct an inspection at Abu Ghraib, after Army officers in the field complained of getting no useful intelligence there. The result of these investigations led directly to an Oct. 12 memorandum by Gen. Sanchez, which gave military intelligence a greater degree of control over at Abu Ghraib, which essentially told them to take the gloves off, allowing interrogators to commit acts designed to "manipulate an internee's emotions and weaknesses."

Testimony by Col. Thomas Pappas in the Taguba report details the pressure he felt from higher levels in the Pentagon to extract more information from prisoners at Abu Ghraib. In his testimony, Pappas believed that "policies and procedures" at Abu Ghraib "were enacted as a specific result" of recommendations made by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander at Guantanamo.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:53 AM on July 16, 2004


Well hell, if one guy says it's true, then it MUST be true.
posted by eas98 at 6:31 AM PST on July 16


eas98: Why not at least investigate, and publish in open court the findings? The meaning of your sarcastic snark - "it should be dismissed out of hand, it's so incredible" - is exactly the reverse of what any law based society does. Most people on here, myself included, are nauseated by the possibility that the allegations are true - aren't you? Do you want it investigated and publicly deemed proven, or not proven?
posted by dash_slot- at 8:19 AM on July 16, 2004


There is what the Neocon/Troskyite ideology of permanent World "democratic" revolution comes to, in the end : the rape of children.

And so we see, once again, how the cult of pure ideology - in reality the sleep of reason - gives, as Goya suggests, birth to monsters.
posted by troutfishing at 8:23 AM on July 16, 2004


The Independent out of the U.K. reported on this story today, as has Democracy Now. It remains to be seen whether other major news sources will follow suit, however.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:51 AM on July 16, 2004


er... let me fix the link for Democracy Now.

That said, for some reason, I can't ping them right now, so I don't know what's at that link.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:57 AM on July 16, 2004


I'd expect some completely false rumors to be floated in the next few months, just to make it easier to paint this one with the too-ludicrous-to-be-true brush.

We'll see reports of equally horrifying stuff, except we'll hear about it in places where it couldn't have happened, just so people can point to the whole horrid thing and deny its existence. And everyone will go back to sleep.

Please, god, don't let that happen.
posted by chicobangs at 9:03 AM on July 16, 2004


I believe the lid is going to blow off this mess within the next five days.

I think it has hit critical mass, and I think the American public media is going to see that there is a pile of money to be made by creating a shitstorm of frenzied reporting.

I doubt, however, that it will lead to any long-term solutions to the high-jacking of American democracy.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:27 AM on July 16, 2004


last night i informed my staunch republican mother about this. her response was to emit a tortured moan, point at my monitor and say "you believe THAT?"

Oh my freaking god. Quonsar and I have the same mother!

There is what the Neocon/Troskyite ideology of permanent World "democratic" revolution comes to, in the end : the rape of children

Y'know, I'd like to call bullshit on this idea that somehow Trotsky would approve of the rape and torture of children by an invading army of a capitalist power for the purposes of the working class establishing its hegemony. I'd like to call bullshit on this entire "neocon Trots pulling the strings in the White House" meme while we're at it.
posted by scody at 11:43 AM on July 16, 2004


scody - are you contesting 1) the Neocon/Trotskyite connection, or 2) The influence the neocons have at the White House ?

You know, I didn't say that Trotsky would have approved. Marx surely wouldn't have approved of Stalin's purges either.

Neocon ideology, whether Straussian or Trotskyite - whatever it is and whatever it's myriad influences are - is distinct from it's ideological parents.
posted by troutfishing at 1:47 PM on July 16, 2004


Oh, I'd never contest the influence the neocons have at the White House. I'm just contesting the notion that the theory of permanent revolution* has anything meaningful to do with U.S. foreign policy today, regardless of the neocons' political backgrounds on the Left or Right.

In a nutshell, Trotskyism was a Marxist methodology -- developed at a specific time in response to specific political and material conditions, some of which no longer exist -- that sought as its ultimate aim to end imperialism and capitalism and to establish working-class hegemony and international socialism in their place. Regardless of the ways in which we can genuinely debate these terms ("what does socialism really mean?") or the ways in which the Trotskyist-identified groups of today wage battle over his theories and legacy, I think it's abundantly clear that neoconservatism does not seek anything approaching the same aims. That's the linchpin to me. The fact that Trotskyism certainly isn't a pacifist ideology, for example, does not mean that waging a pre-emptive war under the influence of ex-Trots represents some genuine evolution of either Trotskyist theory or method (neoconservatism as post-Trotskyism, if you will). But mebbe I'm just a purist.

As for this -- Marx surely wouldn't have approved of Stalin's purges either -- I agree completely. But I would take it further and say that Stalinism wasn't Marxist. But that's a whole 'nother discussion! ;)

I realize that all this would possibly be more at home in the more recent thread on this topic, but being that I'm playing hooky from a massive pile of work on my desk at the moment, though, I'll have to sign off from this discussion for now.

*Or any of his theories, for that matter, from the notion of the deformed workers state (which was flat-out wrong) to his analysis in the late 1920s of the potentially global dangers of rise of fascism (which, imo, was brilliant).
posted by scody at 3:32 PM on July 16, 2004


my question is "what does the press know that they're not telling us?"
Burying the story is always a possibility. But it's more likely that news orgs (including the New Yorker) are going to unprecedented lengths to source, document, and verify. It's also possible they're using that as an excuse to delay publishing.

Nonetheless, the news is already out; what we're waiting for is corroboration.
posted by joeclark at 7:17 AM on July 17, 2004


joeclark - there is a wealth of related material on this metaflter thread (the continuation, essentially, of this one)

scody - ( re : I'm just contesting the notion that the theory of permanent revolution* has anything meaningful to do with U.S. foreign policy today ) Here's just one particular corroborating example (there are more examples along these lines)

See Jim Lobe's apparently prescient April 8, 2003 Asia Times analysis "Watch Woolsey"

[Woolsey, an 8 year head of the CIA is now the Minster of Information (!) for Iraq's new Government. The Arab World is surely highly aware of his background and his belief that the US is now engaged in a "WW4" to transform the Mideast, even if the American public knows little of this. So, why "whack the hornet's nest" even more vigorously by bringing Woolsey to Iraq - especially as the "Minister of Information" (read as "Disinformation or "Propaganda" ]

"ANALYSIS

Watch Woolsey
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - If you want to figure out whether the administration of President George W Bush intends a crusade to remake the Middle East in the wake of Washington's presumed military victory in Iraq, watch what happens with R James Woolsey. A former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Woolsey is being pushed hard by his fellow neoconservatives in the Pentagon to play a key role in the post-Saddam Hussein US occupation.
Less well-known than his long-time associates and close friends, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the former head of the Defense Policy Board (DPB) Richard Perle, Woolsey has long believed that Washington has a mission to use its overwhelming military power and its democratic ideals to transform the Arab world."

For extra reading, see David Corn's piece on James Woolsey, "Woolsey, Our Man In Iraq"

"Toward the start of the second Persian Gulf War, I found myself in a room with R. James Woolsey, CIA chief during the first two years of the Clinton administration. A television was turned on, and we both watched a news report on the latest development in the North Korea nuclear drama. How much longer, I asked him, could this administration wait before dealing with North Korea and its efforts to develop nuclear-weapons material? A little while, but not too long, he said. Until after the Iraq war? Yes, Woolsey said, we can take care of things then. (That was when the prevailing assumption was the war in Iraq would take about as long as a Donald Rumsfeld press conference.) And, I wondered, is this a challenge that can be taken care of with, say, a well-planned and contained bombing raid, one that strikes the nuclear facilities in question? "Oh, no, " he said. "This is going to be war." War, full-out war, with a nation that might already have a few nuclear weapons and that does have 600,000 North Korean soldiers stationed 25 miles from Seoul, with 37,000 US troops in between? "Yes, war." He didn't flinch, didn't bat an eye.

Woolsey is something of a prophet of war. And the Pentagon wants him to be part of its team running postwar Iraq.

On April 2, Woolsey made headlines by telling students at UCLA that the Iraq war was part of "World War IV." Speaking at a teach-in sponsored by campus Republicans and Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, a pro-war-in-Iraq group founded by William Bennett, Woolsey remarked, "This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War." He cited three enemies: the religious leaders of Iran, the "fascists" of Syria and Iraq, and Islamic extremists like Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. He called for the United States to back democratic movements throughout the Middle East, which "will make a lot of people very nervous," particularly Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the Saudi Arabia oligarchs. "We want you nervous," he said. "We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you--the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family--most fear: We're on the side of your own people." In other words: crusade, anyone?

Woolsey's comments won him several minutes on the cable news networks. But a quick check of clips showed that he has been saying the same for months, using the exact same words."


"why bring the CIA’s Woolsey to Iraq? [ wonders the "Arab News", June 26, 2004 ] why put him in charge of the news there? Is the Pentagon seeking to build trust in Iraq, or does it have other plans? Woolsey, a patron and paid promoter of the now-officially spurned Ahmed Chalabi, is reportedly tight with Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, who want to add him to their neocon team in Iraq.

And like most neocons, Woolsey has a peculiar way of telling the “truth.” "
posted by troutfishing at 7:38 AM on July 17, 2004


Woolsey: check the various companies he is a part of since leaving CIA! He is hardly objective.
Atrocities: I am amazed that so many comments can not believe (though not proven) that so many men in serivce are capable of this sort of thing...Or, further, the the military and other govt agencies do not cover up such things.
On "friends"--we will conue to do business as usual with countries that are questionable: example: this past week Congress was to block aid going to Egypt because they were not helping our cause etc etc--Rice got in touch with any number of Congress people and the vote was reconsidered and reversed! Pressure, we were learned, was put on Bush group (:andRice) by those having military stuff to sell!
In sum: After age 40, lower expectations.
posted by Postroad at 8:08 AM on July 17, 2004


The news media makes its decisions based on profitability.

If they aren't reporting the Abu Ghraib kiddy-fucking scandal, it's because it's more profitable at this point to pretend that the war is all A-Ok.

When they've determined the cost-benefit ratio is in favour of its being reported, we'll finally hear about it in the general media.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 AM on July 17, 2004


Al-Jazeera just broke the story. It's safe to say that the world's press know by now.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:29 AM on July 17, 2004


FFF - Blogospheric wild card tipping point ?

insomnia_lj - 'Limited hang out' gears stripped from fratricidal conflict, third patriotic force appears ?
posted by troutfishing at 8:14 PM on July 17, 2004


Partially because of blogs, which makes it known what's pop and what's not.

Partially because television sucks for analysis, deep thinking, so it relies on print media to fill in the gaps while it skims the high points.

And partly because it needs shiny glossy things that make people sparkly, and really hates to show nasty black gooey things that will make people not like themselves.

I am sure the American soldier is held in the highest regard by most citizens, who recognize these men for their bravery in stopping tyranny and saving people from evil dictators, who imagine an image of respect and gratitude from a world that needs a saviour, who are, dammit, PROUD To Be An American! ...

...are really going to not like themselves when that black gooey news of kiddy-raping soldiers in a prison run by officers who didn't care and were told to use torture on innocent civilians, by an administration that has suddenly made American look very, very bad.

Er. yah, so blogospheric wild card tipping point + fevered whispers off the net communities + newspapers breaking the story + the shock of a juicey scandal == television finally getting onboard.

...Oh, and, yah, I emphasize television: it's how most of America is told what to think. Mostly shiney glossy, but black and gooey if they're absolutely confident it will make money.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 PM on July 17, 2004


Congress's Inquiry Into Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners Bogs Down

The Congressional investigation into the abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison has virtually ground to halt, as a senior Senate Republican said Thursday that no new hearings would be held on the matter until this fall at the earliest.
The Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee made it clear weeks ago that it believed that the several current military investigations of the scandal were sufficient,
and that summoning commanders to Washington would only hinder American operations in Iraq.
(bold mine)
posted by amberglow at 9:08 AM on July 18, 2004


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