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March 11, 2005 9:00 PM   Subscribe

"He told me his brother was there with him, but he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother. He was crying." --thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU has received documents detailing detention, abuse, and death, of many, including children, at Abu Ghraib. Mostly PDFs, but summaries available on most pages: ... Investigation closed because furtherance "would be of little or no value" ... --statements of that sort are common throughout.
posted by amberglow (94 comments total)

 
the children stuff is from this page of summarized pdfs
posted by amberglow at 9:04 PM on March 11, 2005


enough already with abu ghraib. This story is over. The miscreants who dishonored our country & our military are being punished. Enough is enough.
posted by zagszman at 9:33 PM on March 11, 2005


The miscreants who dishonored our country & our military are being punished.

Not all of them, and not enough of them.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:40 PM on March 11, 2005


Disturbing. Not surprising, but still disturbing.

As for those being punished who should have been; bullshit. Not unless you believe it was all the fault of a few enlisted men and women.

Far from being 'punished', some were actually rewarded (see Alberto Gonzales).
posted by UseyurBrain at 9:42 PM on March 11, 2005


If you visit Ben Franklin's grave on a quiet night, you can hear the faint, high pitched hum that can only be produced by a corpse spinning at great speeds.

It's not just that it's torture. It's not some sort of "get vital information" torture, it's people considered too young to ingest one 3.2% beer or play quarter slots, with no more than a basic high school education and basic training, handed fully automatic weapons, and told to stand guard over people they know nothing about other than they're from the same region as some other people who flew planes into the World Trade Center.

Professionally trained guards who haven't been exposed to years of anti-regional propaganda would wind up with a ridiculous list of infractions over this much time. It's no surprise that such horrible acts are happening, it's only sad and demeaning to everyone involved.

It's organizations like the ACLU which offer any kind of deterrent against things like this through transparency and public outrage.

At least we still have enough freedom of speech that I can criticize this country for doing such despicable things.
posted by Saydur at 9:47 PM on March 11, 2005


enough already with abu ghraib. This story is over. The miscreants who dishonored our country & our military are being punished. Enough is enough.

you forgot the sarcastic emoticon, zagszman. At least I hope you did.
posted by puke & cry at 10:03 PM on March 11, 2005


zagszman writes "enough already with Abu Ghraib. This story is over. The miscreants who dishonored our country & our military are being punished. Enough is enough."

Heh. You know, I was thinking of posting this sarcastically, along with pictures of So, lemme see, the miscreants' punishments include: a lifetime appointment as Federal Judge, the third and fourth most important cabinet positions in order of succession, the rank of three-star general, and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Yah, those are real deterrents that demonstrate the United States is unalterably opposed to the abhorrent practice of torture.

How proud we should be to be Americans today!

I mean think how proud Thomas Jefferson and John Adams would be of the nation they midwifed into existence: 229 years after throwing off the tyranny of King George, America's legacy of freedom is used to rationalize tortures reminiscent of the Star Chamber or the Spanish Inquisition!
posted by orthogonality at 10:09 PM on March 11, 2005


So now we're that bully nation that tortures kids? Great.

My country tis of thee
Sweet land of electrodes to the nuts
And dogs allowed to chew on POW's
Of thee I sing.

I'd be saddened by this but, at this point, I'd barely be surprised to hear that Dick Cheney has kittens "juiced" for his morning constitutional. And sadly, they would probably count my deep cynicism as a win.

The people who are ultimately responsible for these abuses will never even be charged, zagsman. That is what blows so mightily about these scandals.
posted by fenriq at 10:10 PM on March 11, 2005


On Postview, what orthogonality said.
posted by fenriq at 10:12 PM on March 11, 2005


If Dick Cheney needs kitten juice in the morning, then by God, he'll have it. It's true I used to be against kitten juicing, but the world changed after Sept. 11th.
posted by 2sheets at 10:53 PM on March 11, 2005


I, for one, have been strongly in favor of kitten juicing since long before Sept. 11th.
posted by Justinian at 11:06 PM on March 11, 2005


I know it's probably frowned upon here to re-post a (somewhat extended) comment I made in another thread, but I want to give the good Christians who may not have read it in the other thread a chance to answer.

Like many social conservatives, I believe that some things are just unequivocally evil.

Unlike many some conservatives however, I don't believe that those things include, nor do I reserve my strongest opprobrium for, gay marriage.

I suppose it amazes me that so many people can stand up, announce that they are devout followers of a man who was tortured to death over the course of three days on a cross, a man who preached in his Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Verse 5)
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. (Verse 6)
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Verse 7)
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Verse 9)
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 10)
and then say that because they follow this man, they must condemn gay marriage but have nothing to say -- other than to rationalize it and make excuses -- about the torture of children.

The torture of children as part of an official policy of the very men -- "let us pray for our President, George" that your priests and preachers open their benedictions with prayer for, every Sunday.

Do you really think your Jesus, who said (Luke 9:48) "Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great", smiles on a nation that makes it its official policy to torture children?

Jesus prophesied (Matthew 26:34) that his apostle Peter would, out of cowardice, pretend not to know to Jesus. How do you count yourself a good Christian when, merely for your own convenience, your turn your face from evidence of these tortures and pretend not to see them?

Recall, you Christians who call the prospect of gay marriage the greatest moral crisis this country faces and who deny the overwhelming evidence that those you voted for made the torture of little children official policy, Matthew chapter 10, verse 33: "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."

So, you Christians who love Jesus, you tell me: which better exemplifies your Jesus, whipped down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem on Good Friday by Roman centurions, his forehead lacerated by a crown of thorns, ridiculed bloody and beaten: the U.S. centurion torturing an Iraqi child, or the bruised bloody and lacerated Child?

Once again, "the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. " (Matthew 26:45)

But this time, it is you Christians who have become Judas, it is you who claim you love Jesus, who have betrayed the Son into the hands of torturing sinners.
posted by orthogonality at 11:09 PM on March 11, 2005


no matter who was responsible for the atrocities detailed within these documents, no matter who said "yes" or whomever looked the other way, no matter what rank or position or power those implicated hold, now you can know. you can read these documents and ingest this information and know what they say. rather than bitch and moan about who got what because of what oversight or who said what when and what they got for it, read these documents and know. do not blow it off with more inflammatory rhetoric on the topic of torture (it's bad. it shouldn't happen. duh). do not be distracted by those who would change the topic or erect misleading rhetoric. consume it as if you were seeing it on CNN or on your local news station. consume this information as you consumed the ugly vision of those planes over that skyline on that day. then, when you have done that, and told one or two or nine people to do the same, you will see that news story on CNN, and FOX, and MSNBC, and on the front page of your paper. ...and the seed for change will continue to grow. as long as good information continues to disseminate (hooray for the FOIA!), there is hope. there is hope for peace, but we must educate ourselves, strive for the truth, and seek change where change is needed.
posted by carsonb at 11:24 PM on March 11, 2005


Zagzsman,

Your comment is outrageous. The story is not over. Didn't you look at the documents? We are not getting the story! The "miscreants" who are being punished are lower-level scapegoats. Enough is not enough until the people that instituted this official policy of torture are brought to justice.

These prisoners suffered rape, being burned, threatened with electrocution and or drowning, were beaten, deprived of sleep, some were killed (beaten to death), and that's just what I can list off the top of my head!

What kind of American are you that this story is tired and over for you?
posted by xammerboy at 11:30 PM on March 11, 2005


What kind of American are you that this story is tired and over for you?

From what I gather these days, the typical American.

[/never underestimate the banality of evil]
posted by PsychoKick at 12:13 AM on March 12, 2005


Seymour Hersh, your congressional representative, and one of two Senators may be a tidge more responsive. Here ya go:

http://www.house.gov/writerep/

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
posted by goofyfoot at 12:25 AM on March 12, 2005


Hear hear orthogonality! Being a Christian or an American for that matter anymore is like bragging about going to >Hamburger University at your 10 year highschool reunion. Could you imagine having to admit you were still a McDonald's manager at your 20th?

Do the math wingers. America is leaking like a seive. All there is left to hold onto is a holocaust of fascism or a transcendence out of this mess.

I choose trascendence. If a "liberal" that makes me so be it. You're the one's in control now. You can continue to crow about the remaking of a planet whilst simultanously entertaining apocalyptic lunatics, but at the end of your era you will find you have bitten off far more than you thought you could chew.

As Feynman famously warned "nature cannot be fooled", you also cannot breezily fuck with humanity's children.
posted by crasspastor at 12:57 AM on March 12, 2005


Enough with this war in Iraq already. We made them free, the story is over.
posted by eatitlive at 1:02 AM on March 12, 2005


/me taps his sacrasm detector repeatedly in frustration, looks perplexed, looks around, shrugs and gives up.
posted by loquacious at 2:12 AM on March 12, 2005


Woah, excellent bit by orthogonality.
Some people are in desperate need of having their priorities realigned.
posted by nightchrome at 3:40 AM on March 12, 2005


And sadly, they would probably count my deep cynicism as a win.

So long as it keeps you from voting, yes.
posted by undule at 4:56 AM on March 12, 2005


re: orthogonality
Erm, nice post I suppose -- as a whipped up indignant form of asexualized log-cabin christianity, ie loose fitting apologia, but c'mon --

other than to rationalize it and make excuses -- about the torture of children.


Should I presume then, hoop!, that without the qualifier of youth (innocence! preciousness!) the torture of adults is hunky bv way of dory?

I call that out as a form of CRAP. And further, so typically christian. In a sense, you're finding an insular persecution cozie by way of an indignant stance to what's apparently super-keen to most mainstream christians. You're practically esoteric! I'm glad there are christians like you who keep the lines clear.

Bottom line: If you follow the religion, you're part of the problem and the excuses you make on behalf of the children would play as satire if they weren't so disgusting. Rock on with that original sin and the needing to be saved business -- I hope i works out for all of us.
posted by undule at 5:11 AM on March 12, 2005


Hmm...what makes you think voting matters?

It's not voting that matters, so much as your voice and actions in the world. If it keeps you from acting, they win.
posted by lodurr at 5:17 AM on March 12, 2005


This was big news last year in Europe. The press in US seems to have avoided it then (pre-election). This time around I tried googling to see who ran the story. Most of the major newspapers, CNN and Fox. Missing were CBS, NBC, and ABC. Of course Google news won't tell you if those who did run it buried the story or not.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:36 AM on March 12, 2005



posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 6:53 AM on March 12, 2005


Since 9-11 we've asked people to do the impossible-- to make us completely safe and anticipate every danger. I try to be sympathetic to American customs agents and civil servants but it's getting absurd. We're become a nation of crazy people refusing to accept any risk in our own lives. We'd rather be irrational and self-destructive than accept the reality that the world is a dangerous place.

Here is more of the quotations amberglow posted:

Karpinski ... also testifies that few detainees were released by the release board; it was "releasophobia" (114, 115) (relating comment of General Fast: "His middle name is Osama. He might know Osama bin Laden. Put him back in the box"); testifies that Miller arrived to "Gitmoize" the operation (128); that Miller advised her to "treat detainees like dogs" (129); that General Wodjakowski said, "I don't care if we're holding 15,000 innocent civilians! We're winning the war!" and that she responded, "Not inside the wire, you're not, sir" (169); about ghost detainee (194); that Miller followed up on interrogation at AGP even after returned to GTMO (209); that TF 121 included (?) an Israeli national

This is madness, and Karpinski is probably the least effective leader in the history of the U.S. military. Sadly, she's the cream of the crop in these documentys. I actually lie awake fearing the neocons more than I do the Islamists.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:56 AM on March 12, 2005


Well looky here
posted by clavdivs at 8:06 AM on March 12, 2005


PsychoKick : " From what I gather these days, the typical American."

Well, most Americans don't like hearing bad or disturbing news over and over. I don't blame them. But it allows evil fuckers to get away with stuff like this while only the minimal of dogs take the fall for their actions.
posted by graventy at 8:23 AM on March 12, 2005


My biggest source of despair isn't that this torture has occurred; I am horrified that the average American isn't outraged by it.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:26 AM on March 12, 2005


> enough already with abu ghraib. This story is over. The miscreants
> who dishonored our country & our military are being punished.
> Enough is enough.

Who knows whether this was sarcasm or sincerity? But for those of us who support this war (or any other war) the story is never over. It's written in its most concise and universal form on the backs of those jackets they sell around military bases, the ones that say "Kill 'em all. Let God sort 'em out." That attitude is the Hellish concomitant of war; no war has ever been entirely free of it and none ever will be.

It is not enough, however, to conclude that "War is not the answer," as certain feel-good bumper stickers have it. A war was the answer to slavery in the US; without that war slavery would certainly have continued many more decades and might still exist here today. A war was the answer to the Holocaust; without that war Europe might be entirely empty of Jews (and Gypsies and homosexuals) today. A war was the answer in Cambodia; without that war Pol Pot's death camps could, indeed very likely would, still smoke and stink. War is the extreme expression of humanity's impulse to cry "No! Not that! Never!" As long as the species continues to excrete intolerable horrors, war will remain as the ultimate, often the only, remedy. For just exactly so long, that other feel-good bumper sticker--the one that says "You cannot simultaneously prepare for and prevent war"--can be foreshortened, truthfully, to "You cannot prevent war." Full stop.

For as long as man-created horrors and death-states appear, and for as long as war remains the ultimate remedy, those like myself who find war thinkable must never forget the Hellish stain that can't be eliminated: Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out. We can't ever stop asking "Have the things we do in this war become worse that the horror we are fighting?" You can't turn your back on the question, ever.
posted by jfuller at 8:36 AM on March 12, 2005


Conquest was the key to success in the past.

Cooperation is the key to success in the future.

The current Administration, by virtue of the actions it has taken, has made it remarkably difficult for the USA to continue to thrive over the long term.

No one, diplomat or CEO, is going to cooperate with a nation that can not be trusted.
clavdivs: "We're sorry, the page you requested could not be found. It may have been renamed, moved or deleted. If you typed in the address, you might check for spelling or punctuation errors."
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 AM on March 12, 2005


enough already with abu ghraib. This story is over.

I agree! We should stop teaching the Holocaust in schools because most of the "victims" are now dead anyways. And the movement of Native Americans to reservations and re-educating this group is just yesterday's news. I mean really, can we get over the civil rights movement already - what's it's going to take?

For the most part I would be quite happy if history education was just removed from the curriculum, and then we might, might just get down to the real news. The stuff that really matters.

I forget. What would that be then?
posted by fluffycreature at 8:47 AM on March 12, 2005


jfuller - I applaud your comments on the act of war, but as well crafted as your comments are, the policy, reasons and right to go to war is still an issue. Along those lines is how a country executes that war - let alone the notion of a superpower going to war.

We are supposed to be the good guys. I am 100 percent behind our troops, but they have been put into precisely the position that warriors are not supposed to be in - policing the area (acting nice but lethal.) This is the same notion that has been railed about by politicians and the military since Vietnam - US warriors are not the police, don't make them so.

Due to overwelming bad policy, this is the situation we are in. "WE", regardless of your views is the entire country.

And I agree, You can't turn your back on the question, ever.

posted by fluffycreature at 8:54 AM on March 12, 2005


As long as the species continues to excrete intolerable horrors, war will remain as the ultimate, often the only, remedy.
There were NO intolerable horrors excreted by Iraq that justify this--no mass graves, no WMDS, etc--only intolerable lies told us over and over and over to justify these absolutely intolerable horrors we're committing in the name of spreading freedom and democracy (another lie, btw).

"Have the things we do in this war become worse that the horror we are fighting?"
We now have black-and-white, undeniable evidence of that, if we didn't already.
posted by amberglow at 8:56 AM on March 12, 2005


enough already with abu ghraib. This story is over. The miscreants who dishonored our country & our military are being punished. Enough is enough.
posted by zagszman at 12:33 AM EST on March 12 [!]


Oppressive ideology always seeks to inculcate the subordinate group from questioning the status quo.

Thanks, zagsman, for not questioning.

"I'm so sick of this whole "war" thing. We won, remember? It's so tiresome. Can we just move on?"

Oh, look! A shiny thing!
posted by exlotuseater at 9:01 AM on March 12, 2005


I agree that some wars need to be fought. I just don't see how this large scale war against fear, terror and evil in the world is going to make a safe. I really can't envision victory, particularly when children are being abused, prisoners are detained without trial, and people are handed over to the Saudis and Syrians for justice and interrogation. I don't see a domino effect in the Arab world, I see a region unifying against the U.S.

I'm sick with fear for my country, but like most of us on the left, I sincerely hope that I'm wrong.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:07 AM on March 12, 2005


We're become a nation of crazy people refusing to accept any risk in our own lives. We'd rather be irrational and self-destructive than accept the reality that the world is a dangerous place.

Americans were unable to accept any risk prior to 9/11. The only thing that changed is the degree of ugliness now acceptable in risk aversion strategies.

Disclaimer: This is NOT an "America is bad" rant, simply an observation.
posted by a_day_late at 9:07 AM on March 12, 2005


Americans were unable to accept any risk prior to 9/11.
i'd say that wasn't so, a_day_late, and it has the effect of feeding into, and justifying, a "9/11 changed everything" mindset, which has been used to justify these abuses and much much more, including the restriction of our own liberties here at home.

We used to use diplomacy, and containment, and funding, to control people who hated us or might possibly attack us, or could contain other enemies of ours (the russians, iran, etc)--strategies that carried much risk and the fruits of which we saw with the rise of the Taliban, and the Iraq-Iran war, to name just 2.
posted by amberglow at 9:24 AM on March 12, 2005


> There were NO intolerable horrors excreted by Iraq that justify this--no mass
> graves, no WMDS, etc

Mass graves in Iraq. From Archeologists for Human Rights. Including citations from the BBC, The Guardian, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The Washington Post, The New York Times. Here's the pdf version, here's Google's html cache.

Amber, you're a nice guy 'n' all but your ability to overlook evidential reality is really world class. The guys from the Guiness Book are trying to get in touch with you.
posted by jfuller at 9:25 AM on March 12, 2005


But this time, it is you Christians who have become Judas, it is you who claim you love Jesus, who have betrayed the Son into the hands of torturing sinners.
with no more than a basic high school education and

basic training, handed fully automatic weapons,

How can you put the blame on Christians and redneck soldiers?

Blaming one's beliefs or your perception of brain level is wrong. One’s ethics is a blame. One only needs ethics knowing how to treat your fellow being. A school education or religious belief is not needed accomplishing life’s class.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:32 AM on March 12, 2005


jfuller, most of those graves were filled ca. 1991 — while we were watching. If those murders didn't prompt an invasion while they were going on, how do they justify one more than a decade after the fact?
posted by vetiver at 9:45 AM on March 12, 2005


Amber, you're a nice guy 'n' all but your ability to overlook evidential reality is really world class. The guys from the Guiness Book are trying to get in touch with you.
really? go insult a mirror.

Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered. (those were the claims we were repeatedly told over and over)
posted by amberglow at 9:52 AM on March 12, 2005


and here's a post i made back in July04
posted by amberglow at 9:58 AM on March 12, 2005


> in the name of spreading freedom and democracy (another lie, btw).



I hope everyone reading this will remember amber's astonishing comment when evaluating the truth (indeed, even the sanity) of anything else he may have to say in the future.
posted by jfuller at 9:58 AM on March 12, 2005


The US is going to reap the whirlwind for all of this. We deserve the fury that's coming to our doorsteps.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:00 AM on March 12, 2005


more, including abuse in Afghanistan from NYT: ... The reports, obtained by Human Rights Watch, provide the first official account of events that led to the deaths of the detainees, Mullah Habibullah and Mr. Dilawar, at the Bagram Control Point, about 40 miles north of Kabul. The deaths took place nearly a year before the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Among those implicated in the killings at Bagram were members of Company A of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, from Fort Bragg, N.C. The battalion went on to Iraq, where some members established the interrogation unit at Abu Ghraib and have been implicated in some abuses there.

The reports, from the Army Criminal Investigation Command, also make clear that the abuse at Bagram went far beyond the two killings. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:06 AM on March 12, 2005


> most of those graves were filled ca. 1991 — while we were watching. If those
> murders didn't prompt an invasion while they were going on, how do they
> justify one more than a decade after the fact?

By "we" you must mean "the world" since anyone in the world who was willing to take the risk of investigating could have known of the murders. I note that the US's action, though shamefully belated, was nevertheless the first effective action against the Iraqi death-state taken by any nation in the world. "Late" is not good, but "never" is worse. (N.b. by "effective" I mean "puts a stop to the dictator.")
posted by jfuller at 10:08 AM on March 12, 2005


What kind of American are you that this story is tired and over for you?

Numb.

The media bombards the populace with atrocities from abroad and at home in an alarming volume, and there's a palpable (if possibly incorrect) sense that fighting it all is futile and fraught with complication and contradiction.

So, people flinch for a moment, then absorb, shrug and sink a little deeper into the couch. And before you think I'm being all high and mighty, I do it, too. We all do to some degree. I think it's how we remain sane. It's not a good or commendable thing but there you have it.
posted by jonmc at 10:09 AM on March 12, 2005


There were NO intolerable horrors excreted by Iraq that justify this--no mass graves, no WMDS, etc--



Iraqi child prisoners freed
More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom on Tuesday as US marines rolled into northeast Baghdad amid chaotic scenes which saw civilians loot weapons from an army compound, a US officer said.

"The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Ba'ath party," he alleged. "Some of these kids had been in there for five years."
Mass grave unearthed in Iraq
U.S. forces have exhumed a mass grave in northwestern Iraq and uncovered the remains of hundreds of people.

Many of the bodies found at the site near al-Hatra are believed to be the bodies of Kurdish women and children thought slaughtered by the Saddam Hussein regime.


More Mass graves 'hold 300,000 Iraqis'
US officials say there may be as many as 260 mass graves in Iraq, containing the bodies of at least 300,000 people.

Forty sites had already been confirmed, said Sandra Hodgkinson, who heads the coalition's mass grave action plan.


Nerve Gas used in Northern Iraq on Kurds
For the first time ever, scientists have been able to prove the use of chemical weapons through the analysis of environmental residues taken years after such an attack occurred. In a development that could have far-reaching consequences for the enforcement of the chemical weapons treaty, soil samples taken from bomb craters near a Kurdish village in northern Iraq by a team of forensic scientists have been found to contain trace evidence of nerve gas.
Alleged Torture Chambers Found
Across Iraq, coalition troops are finding glimpses of past horrors — suspected torture chambers, secret police headquarters, Iraqis who reveal scars to show the cruelty of Saddam Hussein's rule carved onto their bodies.


At a prison in Basra, Iraqis showed journalists a white stone jail known as the "White Lion" where they claim Saddam's secret police for decades tortured inmates with beatings, mutilations, electric shocks and chemical baths.


Try Saddam for His Crimes
For two decades, top Iraqi officials have committed massive crimes and atrocities -- genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. This list includes far more than the common refrain that Hussein and his associates gassed their own people, particularly at Halabja in 1988.

The criminal record includes other serious war crimes during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s; the genocidal Anfal campaign against Iraqi Kurds in 1987 and 1988; the invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990; the violent suppression of the 1991 uprising that led to 30,000 or more mostly civilian deaths; the draining of the southern marshes during the 1990s, which ethnically cleansed Hussein's southern flank of thousands of Iraqi Shiites; more ethnic cleansing of the non-Arab population of Kirkuk and other northern Iraqi areas; and the summary executions of thousands of political opponents.
Chemical Genocide against Women, the Elderly, and Children
Among the most horrific features of the Iraqi campaigns against the Kurds in the 1980s was the regime's resort to chemical weapons strikes against civilian populations. On April 16, 1987, a chemical raid on the Balisan valley killed dozens of civilians; in its wake, "some seventy men were taken away in buses and, like the Barzanis, never seen again. The surviving women and children were dumped on the plain outside Erbil and left to fend for themselves."
Amnesty International Report on Iraq, 1999
Hundreds of people, including political prisoners, were reportedly executed; some may have been extrajudicially executed. Death sentences continued to be imposed, including for non-violent offences. The victims included suspected political opponents, members of opposition groups, military officers suspected of involvement in alleged coup attempts and other people convicted of criminal offences.
Amnesty International Report on Iraq, 1998
The fate of thousands of people who “disappeared” in previous years remained unknown. They included hundreds of suspected members of opposition groups and their relatives who were arrested when Iraqi government and KDP forces took control of Arbil in August 1996; thousands of Shi'a Muslims arrested in the aftermath of the March 1991 uprising; more than 600 Kuwaiti and other nationals arrested by Iraqi forces during the occupation of Kuwait in 1990 and 1991 and believed to be held in Iraq; an estimated 100,000 Kurdish civilians who “disappeared” in 1988 in the so-called “Operation Anfal”; and thousands of Shi'a Muslim Arabs and Feily Kurds who were arrested on the basis of their Iranian descent during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
---------------
U.S. War Crimes Ambassador Reviews Saddam Hussein's Criminality
Iraq: State of the Evidence
http://www.massgraves.info/
---------------

None of this is to say the miscreants, as zagszman put it, were justified in torturing or killing detainees. They deserve swift, severe punishment and the upper ranks should receive full investigations as well. Obviously there could be no justification for those incidents, and anyone who says there might be is a reactionary not worthy of attention. But glibly dismissing the decades of repression & atrocities which occurred in Iraq long before coalition forces arrived is as much an injustice.
posted by jenleigh at 10:20 AM on March 12, 2005


jenleigh: I understand your rage at the aforementioned things and share it, but, repeat after me: two wrongs do not a right make.

To ultimately triumph over this tidal wave of shit (and I probably despise Al Qaeda and their ilk (and to be fair, Bush and his crew) as much as anyone here), we have to do a ccouple of things: 1. be a hell of a lot smarter about who we throw our weight behind because what goes around comes around, sharing an enemy does not neccessarily mean you're "freinds." and 2. Rise above using their tactics, we lose the moral high ground and we miss the point and piss off more people.

Being tough dosen't mean shit if you're not smart about it.
posted by jonmc at 10:27 AM on March 12, 2005


So, who's next? There are plenty of places that need our help to "spread freedom and democracy".

Really, if people think this is really about helping people, I don't know what to say, other than that they've bought into the most successful propaganda program in history. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

Except how can you buy into it, unless you're asleep?

When the administration's reasons for the war changed day-to-day, how can you not have sensed that something wasn't quite right?

Can we help Burma now? Or how about East Timor? Oh, what's that? You don't know where they are? I wonder why.

Perhaps because they don't really matter. No oil, no strategic positioning.

I know, I know, Saddam was BAD. So are the regimes in upwards of 100 countries. Are we going to do anything about it?

Freedom is on the march, baby!
posted by exlotuseater at 10:35 AM on March 12, 2005


jenleigh writes "But glibly dismissing the decades of repression & atrocities which occurred in Iraq long before coalition forces arrived is as much an injustice."

See also US/UK sustained embargo and bombing campaign. AFAIK Saddam's secular regime, CIA backed autocrat that he was, still had a better human rights record than other US supported regimes throughout Africa and the middle east. I am no apologist for old Saddam, but let's have a little perspective here.

The terror/boredom of the Iraqi people with Saddam might have lead to some grass-roots movements, were it not for the UN sanctions and US/UK bombing unifying Iraqis against the non-arab world and depriving them of basic needs and decimating the middle class. It was clear to them that the we were at war with the people of Iraq, as we still are.

The Kurds, who are used as sound-bite fodder regularly, are hoping for a Kurdish state as a result of the end of the Ba'athist regime. That is why they are so eager to please. Sadly, they are not likely to get any support on this from their liberators, which leaves them back at square one, with a vote in the Iraqi elections granting them a sniff of reccognition and little else.

The idiotic use of force in this case has further destablised the world that we bequeath to our children. Maybe their children will be able to look back at the time when the worlds biggest supporter of terrorism declared war on terrorism with a sense of amusement at the irony, because right now it sure isn't funny.

Also, any claim that the US has any interest in promoting democracy anywhere flies in the face of the evidence of the past 50 years or so.
posted by asok at 10:57 AM on March 12, 2005


jfuller, it may be that we've cashed in Saddam for something hopefully better.

But why should we or the Iraqis believe that democracy is what we intend over there? I can't quite, because the track record of the people involved, e.g., Wolfowitz, Negroponte, Cheney, et al is poor.

The Iraqis can't because all they have to do is look at the state of democracy in our acknowledged sphere of influence, Central and South America. Not a democracy in sight that we like.
posted by atchafalaya at 10:57 AM on March 12, 2005


FFF: bad link, my bad.

looky here
posted by clavdivs at 11:39 AM on March 12, 2005


The US also gasses (or injects, electrocutes, etc.) its own people. And we only recently decided (barely) that the state killing children is wrong.

The cries of the oppressed demand an invasion and liberation! How could other countries turn a blind eye to the horrors here in the States? < /hyperbole>

Since we have the most guns, we can take the moral high ground. There has been plenty of evidence from our short past that we deserve no such distinction, and amberglow's post is just another glaring example of why.
posted by blendor at 11:46 AM on March 12, 2005


It's pretty clear that jenleigh was not purporting to be "outraged" by the listed acts, she was simply pointing out the inaccuracy of stating "There were NO intolerable horrors excreted by Iraq that justify this--no mass graves, no WMDS, etc." And she was absolutely right. As was were you (most likely), jonmc when you reasoned why zagszman made his post.
posted by Juicylicious at 12:03 PM on March 12, 2005


it's not inaccurate--everything pointed to so far is old, much of it from when we were friendly with Saddam, and should have been dealt with then, if at all. We also supplied Saddam with much of the chemical and biological stuff.

I stand by my statement entirely.
posted by amberglow at 12:13 PM on March 12, 2005


How could other countries turn a blind eye to the horrors here in the States?

We didn't, we've built this.
posted by kika at 12:21 PM on March 12, 2005


Perhaps your statement is simply confusing in its wording. I read it as saying that there were no mass graves, etc, which is factually untrue. It seems to appear that you are actually stating that no matter what has ocurred under Saddam's regime, it is not justification for the war. jenleigh probably read it the same as I did.
posted by Juicylicious at 12:24 PM on March 12, 2005


We were repeatedly told that there were hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis in mass graves--that's not true. None of the links presented show that, and the UK itself admitted it was a lie. All the evidence of bodies in graves don't come anywhere close to to what we were told, over and over and over. All the evidence of bodies in graves is from pre-2000 and in most cases pre-1990. Don't forget that we were Saddam's friend until the first gulf war in 91.

It is not justification for this war. There still are no WMDS, and our government has even admitted that. What was used against the Kurds WE supplied to Saddam. It is not justification for this war.

I'll say it again, since it's simple and clear--"There were NO intolerable horrors excreted by Iraq that justify this--no mass graves, no WMDS, etc." You can't tolerate gassing Kurds and killing dozens at a time for decades as we did--and we knew every single thing up to 91--and then turn around now and call any of it "intolerable horror" or try to justify our actions now based on those things. That's dishonest, wrong, and immensely corrupt. I stand by my statement. None of what was presented by jenleigh or jfuller was unknown to us at all for years and even decades--the definition of tolerable, i would say. I don't even think it qualifies as "horror" compared to the Iraqis we've killed and tortured and cities and infrastructure we've destroyed, not to mention genocide in Africa or the other real horrors we see on the news--horrors we certainly are tolerating, to our lasting shame. If you want to call it "horror" that's your choice--the problem lies in refusing to accept that we're committing the same, or worse, there.
posted by amberglow at 12:36 PM on March 12, 2005


Clearly you are outraged. What are you doing to change things? Posting to an already sympathetic audience doesn't do much to change the status quo.
posted by Juicylicious at 1:04 PM on March 12, 2005


Expanding on my first post in this thread:

No diplomat, foreign leader, or foreign CEO trusts the US Administration any more.

This is going to have dire consequences for the nation.

The USA signs trade agreements, breaks those agreements and then, when the WTO says the USA is wrong to have done so, gives the WTO the finger.

No one can trust the USA to stick to its trade agreements any more.

The USA rallies support for a war, is found to have told whopper lies, and then proceeds to commit war crimes as if it were a third-world dictatorship. And when it's caught in the act, it punishes a bunch of low-level grunts while rewarding those in the Administration who are ultimately responsible.

No one can trust the USA to tell the truth about reasons for going to war.

No one can trust the USA to operate its military actions within the rules of the Geneva Convention.

No one can trust the USA to be "the good guy."

The US media fails to inform the US citizenry of what's going on. Most of the population remains uninformed, misinformed, or just plain ignorant of the problems the US Administration is causing.

No one can trust the American electorate to make a leadership decision that will lead to changes in the Administration such that trust and honour can be restored.

The bottom line is that between the economic and military abuses, no diplomat, leader, or CEO can even remotely trust the US Administration; and that between the breakdown of the news media and corruption of democracy, there's no indication that things will get better.

Inevitably, the US is going to pay for this on all levels. The country is going to fail to thrive. And why?

Because co-operation, not conquest, is the game of the 21st century.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:15 PM on March 12, 2005


From Human Rights Watch:
There were times in the past when the killing was so intense that humanitarian intervention would have been justified—for example, during the 1988 Anfal genocide, in which the Iraqi government slaughtered some 100,000 Kurds. Indeed, Human Rights Watch, though still in its infancy and not yet working in the Middle East in 1988, did advocate a form of military intervention in 1991 after we had begun addressing Iraq. As Iraqi Kurds fleeing Saddam Hussein’s brutal repression of the post-Gulf War uprising were stranded and dying in harsh winter weather on Turkey’s mountainous border, we advocated the creation of a no-fly zone in northern Iraq so they could return home without facing renewed genocide. There were other moments of intense killing as well, such as the suppression of the uprisings in 1991. But on the eve of the latest Iraq war, no one contends that the Iraqi government was engaged in killing of anywhere near this magnitude, or had been for some time. “Better late than never” is not a justification for humanitarian intervention, which should be countenanced only to stop mass murder, not to punish its perpetrators, desirable as punishment is in such circumstances.

But if Saddam Hussein committed mass atrocities in the past, wasn’t his overthrow justified to prevent his resumption of such atrocities in the future? No. Human Rights Watch accepts that military intervention may be necessary not only to stop ongoing slaughter but also to prevent future slaughter, but the future slaughter must be imminent. To justify the extraordinary remedy of military force for preventive humanitarian purposes, there must be evidence that large-scale slaughter is in preparation and about to begin unless militarily stopped. But no one seriously claimed before the war that the Saddam Hussein government was planning imminent mass killing, and no evidence has emerged that it was. There were claims that Saddam Hussein, with a history of gassing Iranian soldiers and Iraqi Kurds, was planning to deliver weapons of mass destruction through terrorist networks, but these allegations were entirely speculative; no substantial evidence has yet emerged. There were also fears that the Iraqi government might respond to an invasion with the use of chemical or biological weapons, perhaps even against its own people, but no one seriously suggested such use as an imminent possibility in the absence of an invasion.


In stating that the killing in Iraq did not rise to a level that justified humanitarian intervention, we are not insensitive to the awful plight of the Iraqi people. We are aware that summary executions occurred with disturbing frequency in Iraq up to the end of Saddam Hussein’s rule, as did torture and other brutality. Such atrocities should be met with public, diplomatic, and economic pressure, as well as prosecution. But before taking the substantial risk to life that is inherent in any war, mass slaughter should be taking place or imminent. That was not the case in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in March 2003.
War in Iraq: Not a Humanitarian Intervention
posted by y2karl at 2:17 PM on March 12, 2005


Does even a democracy have nevertheless to countenance such methods when its back is to the wall? Other democracies have not thought so: many of their governments have refused to pass illiberal laws in response to terrorism, and where some have sought to do so their judiciaries have pointed out that if the reaction to terrorists is to abandon the rule of law, terrorism will have achieved an irreversible victory.

The supreme court of India in 2003 held that India's prevention of terrorism laws must respect the fundamental human rights recognised in the constitution. The Israeli supreme court, under its remarkable president Aharon Barak, has - not too successfully, it must be said - told the government and army in a series of judgments that while democracy is fated to fight with one hand tied behind its back, "none the less, it has the upper hand. Preserving the rule of law and recognition of individual liberties ... strengthen its spirit, and this strength allows it to overcome its difficulties". In this country the law lords, rejecting the legacy of wartime decisions permitting arbitrary executive detention, have found detention without trial a greater evil than the evil it is intended to challenge.

Perhaps the strongest evidence that the abuse of prisoners in US hands has been systemic, not aberrant, is the simplest: it is the fact that those involved felt it was quite safe to be photographed repeatedly while committing it. Personnel who fear disciplinary reprisal, or even disapproval, do not usually make a visual record of their conduct. If it says something for Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, that he twice tendered his resignation over the Abu Ghraib disclosures, it says rather more about the Bush administration that his offer was on both occasions rejected.

The outcome of the events tracked in these two books, for which both men bear responsibility, is a world order of which the icon has become a hooded figure, its arms outstretched in torment. The apologists who blame a few bad apples in the barrel might do well to remember what a few bad apples do: they make the whole barrel rotten.
The brutal truth
posted by y2karl at 2:32 PM on March 12, 2005


“Of concern, DOD interrogators impersonating Supervisory Special Agents of the FBI told a detainee that REDACTED. These same interrogation teams then REDACTED. The detainee was also told by this interrogation team REDACTED. These tactics have produced no intelligence of a threat neutralization nature to date and CITF believes that techniques have destroyed any chance of prosecuting this detainee. If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done the “FBI” interrogators. The FBI will be left holding the bag before the public.”
See, that worries me. Right there. That bold bit. Should it?
posted by paperpete at 2:37 PM on March 12, 2005


And also - a rather silly 'big picture' question coming up, from a non-American.

These very aggressive interrogation techniques are used, and used frequently from what I gather, even in the absence of torture. (Loud music, strobe lights, extremes or heat and cold, etc. etc.) So there must be some point in that type of interrogation. They must be continuing to use it, 3-and-a-bit years after 9/11, for a purpose, with a definite suspected end in mind. So what is that?

I hypothesise that they don't expect to find Osama through interrogation of Iraqis, but instead hope to unmask possible al-Q operatives or tap into al-Q plans for any future attacks.

If these future attacks are to take place on US soil or in US skies, has the 9/11 Commission's report been acted on? Or is that just too funny a question for words?
posted by paperpete at 2:47 PM on March 12, 2005


paperpete, the report hasn't for the most part been acted on--Air, Cargo, Docks, Infrastructure, Power Plants, etc, are all pretty much the same except for cosmetic changes.

We don't know the reasons for the interrogations and torture and abuse--They're not shared. The only thing we have seen (or rather haven't) is a distinct absence of convictions, and no parading, or even announcements of capture, of anyone planning stuff here, as in the millennium plot.
posted by amberglow at 4:15 PM on March 12, 2005


> I'll say it again, since it's simple and clear--"There were NO intolerable horrors
> excreted by Iraq that justify this--no mass graves, no WMDS, etc."

OK, with your clarification I can parse this now. You're not saying there were no horrors committed by Saddam, as Communists in the Thirties said there were no horrors committed by Stalin. You're saying that, whatever horrors there may have been, they don't justify the war.

That's fine, you have a perfect right to your value judgement. But (with clarification) it's not a statement of fact, it is just a value judgement, and I disagree with it. In my judgement what Saddam did to the Mesopotamean marshes (I mean, entirely leaving aside what he did to the Marsh Arabs and pointing only to what he did to the marshes themselves) fully justified military intervention. And the bare possibility that, with Saddam gone, the marshes may be even partially restored justifies toppling Saddam by force ten times over.

Note that I did not say restoring the marshes justifies Abu Ghraib. At the time of the decision to invade, we could not know in advance that Abu Ghraib was going to happen. But we could--did--know that such things happen in wars. And even with the advance knowledge that hellish things happen in war, I maintain that the decision to resort to war is justified in extreme cases, when no effective alternative exists, and that such was the case in Iraq. End of value judgement. My values are not your values, obviously.
posted by jfuller at 6:56 PM on March 12, 2005


It's not a value judgment--what you said was incorrect. I corrected you. I showed that it was more than tolerated--it was even abetted by us pre-91. Others showed more proof. There were no intolerable horrors excreted by Iraq that justified this.

Now back to the subject of this post: New evidence has emerged that US forces in Afghanistan engaged in widespread Abu Ghraib-style abuse, taking "trophy photographs" of detainees and carrying out rape and sexual humiliation.

Documents obtained by the Guardian contain evidence that such abuses took place in the main detention centre at Bagram, near the capital Kabul, as well as at a smaller US installation near the southern city of Kandahar.

The documents also indicate that US soldiers covered up abuse in Afghanistan and in Iraq - even after the Abu Ghraib scandal last year.

posted by amberglow at 8:09 PM on March 12, 2005


and this about moving prisoners out of Guantanamo to countries where they wouldn't be able to go to court, which recent court rulings here have held that they can now: ... Administration officials said that American diplomats in those countries were responsible for monitoring agreements to make sure prisoners were not mistreated. The senior Defense Department official said that the difficulty of "gaining effective and credible assurances" that prisoners would not be mistreated had been "a cause of some delay in releasing or transferring some detainees we have at Guantánamo."

It is possible that Guantánamo inmates could petition a federal court to stop a transfer to a country where they did not want to be sent. But there is little if any precedent to suggest how the courts would rule.

In November, a lawyer for Mamdouh Habib, a prisoner who claimed he had been tortured in Egypt before being transferred to Guantánamo, asked a federal district court to stop the Bush administration from returning him to Egypt. Before the court ruled, he was sent to Australia in January and freed.

posted by amberglow at 8:38 PM on March 12, 2005


I understand the cognitive dissonance of the folks who just want to pretend it isn't happening...that we haven't become the bad guys. I do. I don't want to believe we're the bad guys either. And I refer you to a post I made last July about reports of American soldiers abusing incarcerated children. To which many people said..."Well, I'd like to see more proof."

And here it is...more proof. And what's the response? "Why are you still talking about this?"

I'm talking about this because I am a patriot. I believe in the principles this country is supposed to stand for. I talk about it because my country has been hijacked and sold to the highest murdering bidders. I talk about it because people are *still* not listening. They're still blithely soaking up the panoramic visions of Fearless Flyboy wrapped in flags, while ignoring the pooling blood of the innocents at his feet.

I talk about it because it's wrong. I talk about it because it needs to stop. I talk about because I am a mother, and I weep for these children, just as I weep every day as I read the DOD feed of the people who aren't coming home to the country that sent them to die.

I talk about it because hopefully some day, somebody will listen.
posted by dejah420 at 9:12 PM on March 12, 2005


Thank you dejah420
posted by orthogonality at 9:28 PM on March 12, 2005


thanks dejah--it actually makes it worse that people would rather talk about anything else.
posted by amberglow at 9:39 PM on March 12, 2005


This story is over... Enough is enough.

In 1945, American troops looted the "Gold Train," a collection of valuables originally confiscated by the Nazis from victims of the Holocaust. This week, the American government agreed to pay reparations to the Hungarian Jewish community.

You may be finished with the past, but the past isn't finished with you.
posted by SPrintF at 10:43 PM on March 12, 2005


It's especially hard when talking about 8 year old boys raped by soldiers. What can these kids know? How does this help up?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 11:08 PM on March 12, 2005


I read much of the links, but admittedly not all. Please point to me where the reports state that "8 year old boys [were] raped by soldiers."
posted by Juicylicious at 11:55 PM on March 12, 2005


jfuller,

I suspect you are often willfully obtuse when it comes to matters of Dear Leader. Allow me to assist in explaining this to you in a manner which you cannot so easily reject. The plain truth is that when Saddam was committing these monstrous atrocities he was our* monster. If you're still having trouble with the concept, let me give you a picture:


See, we* sold Saddam the tools to commit the atrocities and then encouraged his as he used those tools.
Got it?

*meaning despicable government leaders
posted by nofundy at 6:36 AM on March 13, 2005


nofundy, you're a hoot. Here the neoconservative right (e.g. Paul Wolfowitz) has had an epiphany and come over wholehartedly and absolutely to your point of view ("nofundy Wolfowitz rejected the Kissengerian worldview that required allying the United States with dictators in order to maintain stability and a balance of power." What's not to like about that, if you're nofundy?) But just because some people you don't like for social/tribal/they're-Republicans reasons have jumped on your train, you jump OFF. No, no, I was wrong, U.S. hands off those dictators, if Bushitler wants 'em deposed then nofundy wants 'em left alone!"

Bro, I expect you to be steadfast in your opposition to murderous dictators, no matter who else has also seen the wisdom of opposing them, no matter if the thunder (not to mention the success, as in actually getting rid of a dictator) of your opposition is stolen by their opposition. That's the bar you have to get over if you're to possess any moral seriousness. It's not a very high bar, breathe deep and give it your best bunny hop and you're over! (I myself strode over it like a colossus over a clover.)
posted by jfuller at 8:20 AM on March 13, 2005


And I expect you, jfuller, to be steadfast in your comprehension that if we propped up, supported and supplied certain dictators and regimes (see Saddam and Taliban, for just 2), it's morally, ethically and altogether bankrupt to call their rules "intolerable horrors" and to compare wars against them now to WW2 or the Civil War. Shifting with the ever-changing lies and bullshit peddled by your leaders does not tell of "moral seriousness" in any sense of the word.

It tells of puppetry, and condoning of whatever lies are being peddled that day. It's quite pathetic, and enables those same rulers to commit torture and abuse--even of children, corrupting all the laws and rules of our country by making us just as bad if not worse than the former dictators and regimes were. You dare to speak of morals? Tell it to the kids locked up in Iraq who just wanted their mommies. Tell it to the thousands of people we have "disappeared" all over the world--Brooklyn, Guantanamo, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, God knows where else--being held without any proof of guilt or legal redress, at risk of torture and death. You speak of morals?
posted by amberglow at 8:35 AM on March 13, 2005


and stop derailing this thread--you haven't made one single comment about the subject of this post at all. take it to meTa.
posted by amberglow at 8:41 AM on March 13, 2005


> and stop derailing this thread--you haven't made one single comment about
> the subject of this post at all. take it to meTa.


amber, my first post in this thread, still there for all to see, states:

... those like myself who find war thinkable must never forget the Hellish stain that can't be eliminated: Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out. We can't ever stop asking "Have the things we do in this war become worse that the horror we are fighting?" You can't turn your back on the question, ever.

That is directly pertinent to your frontpage link. If there was any derail it was your topic-drift-inviting claim "There were NO intolerable horrors excreted by Iraq that justify this," which several people felt moved to contradict at length.

I see no meta thread about this yet but if you chose to start one I will visit (once) and state "amber can't tell mild topic drift from derail."

P.S. You say "if we propped up, supported and supplied certain dictators and regimes (see Saddam and Taliban, for just 2) it's morally, ethically and altogether bankrupt to call their rules 'intolerable horrors.'"

That "we" doesn't include me, bubba. If it is meant to include me just because I am American and didn't leave, then I supported those dictators just as much as you support your current President by not leaving, i.e. not at all. My, jfuller's, right to cry "intolerable horror" is as unimpaired as yours. I won't bother to add "...and don't forget it" because I'll be available to remind you early and often. G'day, mite.
posted by jfuller at 9:11 AM on March 13, 2005


... Outside investigators, meanwhile, have been almost entirely barred from the Afghan detention centers. The International Committee for the Red Cross has had no access to any of them except Bagram, and even there its representatives have not been able to see all parts of the facility. Former prisoners have said the Red Cross never visited detainees being held in the upstairs cells, including Dilawar and Habibullah. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have not been allowed to visit the base at all; neither has the Afghan human rights commission, which has been asking the U.S. military for access to Bagram and other detention centers for a year. “We expected to have a friendly relationship with the coalition forces,” says deputy chair Hakim. “But what the coalition has done, the abuses, overshadows the friendly aspect of the American intervention. I ask you: What is the difference between the Americans and the Soviet forces who occupied Afghanistan?” ...--From Bagram to Abu Ghraib
posted by amberglow at 9:58 AM on March 13, 2005


jfuller: "FIRST, you were unhappy we propped up this murderer, and NOW you're unhappy that we killed thousands and ruined the economy to remove him! Make up your mind!"
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:02 AM on March 13, 2005


And here it is...more proof. And what's the response? "Why are you still talking about this?"

Possibly because this is metafilter and not the steps of the white house? Metafilter was never designed to change the world. It was a site about good links. It was never a political action site. Is this so hard to accept?

So post away about the same subjects. I have no doubt the next negative spin on the war or iraq will be posted by amberglow. That's what he does, who cares if it's the same story over and over again. And that's great. But quit the bitching because the post isn't getting enough attention. If you actually want to accomplish something, turn off the computer. If you want a pulpit for preaching, be my guest.
posted by justgary at 10:07 AM on March 13, 2005


"negative spin"

that's cute
posted by mr.marx at 11:02 AM on March 13, 2005


Well, I would still like to know where the fat two-star general in charge of Abu-Gharib was when all this was going on.
And I would like her to be wearing her uniform if she is going to appear on TV and talk about military issues.

If Capt. Kirk could take the fall and go to Rura Pente in Star Trek VI then the least missy can do is share some responsibility for her own screwed up crew.

Seriously...if an officer gets a DUI; they get a "letter of reprimand" in their file which amounts to exactly what it sounds like: Nothing.
If an NCO or regular soldier gets a DUI; they ALWAYS lose 1-2 months pay, get an extra four hours a day of duty for 30+ CONTINUOUS days, and seriously lose any chance for advancement for a few (3-5) years.

Abu Gharbage is merely the culmination of years/decades of idiocy brought to public light. Actually; the whole Iraq mess is. Did we need a reminder of how poorly the Viet-nam war was handled? Was Mogadishu that long ago that it was forgotten?

We will be in Iraq for years, and the hatred is not going to stop growing. Sooner or later; suicide bombers in American churches. Not a pleasant topic to end on; but if it is given a few moments of thought it is a surety.
posted by buzzman at 11:18 AM on March 13, 2005


Senators Question Absence of Blame in Abuse Report (WaPo) Senators expressed dismay yesterday that no senior military or civilian Pentagon officials have been held accountable for the policy and command failures that led to detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Navy admiral who wrote the most recent review of U.S. detention policies was largely unable to say where that accountability should lie.

Vice Admiral Albert T. Church III's review of interrogation policy and detention operations did not place specific blame for the confusing interrogation policies that migrated from Washington to the battlefield, and he told the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing that no high-level policy decisions directly led to the abuse. But Church said he did not interview top officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, nor did he make conclusions about individual responsibility, saying it was not part of his mission. ... Human rights organizations also assailed the report, again calling for an investigation not subordinate to Rumsfeld. "This report strains credibility," said Reed Brody, special counsel at Human Rights Watch. "Unfortunately, the United States continues to do what every dictatorship and banana republic does when its abuses are discovered: Cover up and shift blame downwards."


And then there's this imbecile:
...Sen. James M. Talent (R-Mo.), praising the report, said he did not "need an investigation to tell me that there was no comprehensive or systematic use of inhumane tactics by the American military, because those guys and gals just wouldn't do it." ...
posted by amberglow at 1:28 PM on March 13, 2005


How on earth anyone could twist what I posted above as somehow approving of criminal behavior at anytime by anyone is beyond my ability to penetrate. Is the cognitive dissonance you suffer really that complete? Wrong is wrong and folks like Rumsfeld and company have made entire careers on being wrong. They were wrong to support Saddam when he committed atrocities and they are wrong now to support our country committing atrocities.
How is that related to me or inconsistency? These criminals running government agencies at different times and your convenient support and/or denial of the deeds are what's inconsistent dude.

Whatever. I don't expect you to back off your worship of your "tribe" leaders, regardless of what their defense costs you in your own credibility.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.
posted by nofundy at 2:39 PM on March 13, 2005


"This report strains credibility," said Reed Brody, special counsel at Human Rights Watch. "Unfortunately, the United States continues to do what every dictatorship and banana republic does when its abuses are discovered: Cover up and shift blame downwards."

The banana republics were the direct result of US intervention on behalf of the United Fruit, Chiquita, Dole, and other dominate plantation companies.

The USA is the creator of banana republics and is perhaps now, ironically, rapidly becoming a banana republic itself.

The karmic wheel continues to spin fairly.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:50 PM on March 13, 2005


i hate spelling corrections but... dominant, not dominate. yeesh.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:51 PM on March 13, 2005


Videos from Iraq compiled by a Florida National Guardsman and called Ramadi Madness showed abuses, yet US army investigators found no cause to charge anyone, according to army documents.--Al Jazeera
posted by amberglow at 7:20 PM on March 13, 2005


I find jfuller's picture of a woman displaying the voting inkstain to be a little misleading. The Baathist regime (for all of its severe failings) was reasonably modern in regard to the role of women in society, contrasted with most of the Islamic world.

Unfortunately, that is changing. [warning - Newsweek]

Freedom, indeed.
posted by malocchio at 9:57 AM on March 14, 2005


Videos from Iraq compiled by a Florida National Guardsman and called Ramadi Madness showed abuses, yet US army investigators found no cause to charge anyone, according to army documents.

In another video, made by members of the Florida National Guard, soldiers are shown kicking a wounded prisoner in the face and making the arm of a corpse appear to wave. The DVD, which is called "Ramadi Madness," includes sections with titles such as "Those Crafty Little Bastards" and "Another Day, Another Mission, Another Scumbag," came to light in early March after the American Civil Liberties Union obtained Army documents using the Freedom of Information Act.

James Ross, senior legal advisor for Human Rights Watch, called it "disturbing that soldiers are making videos like that." But he added, "It doesn't mean that it's necessarily a violation of the Geneva Convention."

The Geneva Convention instructs that remains of deceased shall be respected and not "exposed to public curiosity," Ross said. "It's not putting heads on spikes and things like that. To argue you can't photograph [a body] would be a bit of a stretch."
Extreme Cinema Verite

Human Rights Watch does not think these videos are up to the level of a violation the Geneva Convention so far, and perhaps, in the balance, considering the extremely sanitized version of the War given in TV national news, it's a good thing they are getting exposure in local stateside media.
posted by y2karl at 10:14 AM on March 14, 2005


More docs released to ACLU--

Memo Shows U.S. Inmate Interrogation Plans in Iraq The top U.S. commander in Iraq authorized prisoner interrogation tactics more harsh than accepted Army practice, including using guard dogs to exploit "Arab fear of dogs," a memo made public on Tuesday showed.

The Sept. 14, 2003, memo by Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the senior commander in Iraq, was released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained it from the government under court order through the Freedom of Information Act. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:55 PM on March 29, 2005


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