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Judge orders Abu Ghraib videos, pictures released.
June 3, 2005 1:07 PM   Subscribe

Judge orders Abu Ghraib videos, pictures released.... and all hell's gonna break loose.

To quote Sy Hersh:
"The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."
posted by insomnia_lj (203 comments total)

 
"It is indeed ironic that the government invoked the Geneva Conventions as a basis for withholding these photographs"

Damn skippy it is.
posted by freebird at 1:14 PM on June 3, 2005


ah the irony
posted by matteo at 1:16 PM on June 3, 2005


I'll believe these actually get released when I can see them....something tells me that this stuff might get "lost". Especially if it's as horrific as described.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:26 PM on June 3, 2005


If the videos are as incriminating as they sound, the government will do everything it can to halt their release. It's going to take a Deep Throat to uncover hard evidence that the government is actively condoning torture.
posted by Loudmax at 1:27 PM on June 3, 2005


They are in total terror.

Duh, they're terrorists, right?

Fuckin' Newsweek!
posted by kirkaracha at 1:28 PM on June 3, 2005


This is why I pay my ACLU dues!
posted by phrontist at 1:29 PM on June 3, 2005


Why does this judge hate America, blah blah blah.
posted by keswick at 1:29 PM on June 3, 2005


If this does get out it'll make Koran flushing seem like a walk...
posted by Sellersburg/Speed at 1:30 PM on June 3, 2005


Insomnia, you need some sleep. Here is the actual quote from your second link:

"The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling, and the worst part is the soundtrack, of the boys shrieking. And this is your government at war."

Makes a little more sense, no?
posted by Rawhide at 1:31 PM on June 3, 2005


Ironic ? That show the real respect this government and its supporters have for people : zero, they think people will not notice it's absurd to invoke Geneva Convention when it best fits your interest and then forget it when it's against your interest.

That may make sense only to those who don't know jack about law..hell but it doesn't requite a lawyer to understand that if the prisoners were not covered under Geneva Convention because they were considered "enemy combatant" therefore their pictures are not covered by Geneva as well because they're not prisoners.

That will surely command a lot of respect from less civilized nations indeed..good example..christ.
posted by elpapacito at 1:34 PM on June 3, 2005


[this is bad.]
posted by LordSludge at 1:37 PM on June 3, 2005


Well, what's worse, becoming aware of it, or keeping it under wraps? If it can be kept quiet, then it will probably continue to be the MO for the operators out there.

I see it as a move in the right direction, even if it causes some pain for our noble directors in Washington.
posted by nervousfritz at 1:41 PM on June 3, 2005


they won't release them, no matter what. There's a reason they've been sitting on them, and i agree they'll conveniently "lose" them if they're pushed.
posted by amberglow at 1:43 PM on June 3, 2005


[this is very, very, very good]
posted by quonsar at 1:44 PM on June 3, 2005


and all hell's gonna break loose.

Methinks you overestimate the capacity for empathy of the Common Man.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 1:45 PM on June 3, 2005


i wish i could stop being on the right side of things for once. it makes me feel like a know it all, and the funny thing is i'm not. i'm not so smart, and i know it, what gets me is how much dumber, people who support these assholes are. the thing that scares me is being surrounded by people more easily lead and confused about what should or shouldn't be done ,in a given situation than i am

point is it doesn't not take that much to know whats wrong here. yet i am sure we will hear much obfuscation.
posted by nola at 1:50 PM on June 3, 2005


If released, how/when will this change anything? Got any especially informed, educated opinions? My own (strictly common sense predictions) of the last few years have failed me miserably and shown me to be a complete dumbass re; the US voting public. I have seen the soul of America, and it is PeePee.
posted by a_day_late at 1:50 PM on June 3, 2005


does not* . . .aw hell why correct myself now.
posted by nola at 1:51 PM on June 3, 2005


because you beat me to it :)
posted by freebird at 1:53 PM on June 3, 2005


If released, how/when will this change anything?
If released, they'll be on every channel--a lot--pictures and video always get coverage, in a way that Downing St. Memos don't. I predict disgust/uproar leading to Congressional investigations and hearings--they won't be able to ignore it. Rummy resigns.
posted by amberglow at 1:53 PM on June 3, 2005


If these are released the streets of downtown NYC, Washington D.C., Philly, Los Angeles, SF, Boston, etc. will run red with the blood of the Infidels.

Be afraid... be very afraid. That said, the truth needs to see the light of day. I fear the cost will be, as Insomnia_lj has alluded to, tremendous.
posted by basicchannel at 1:56 PM on June 3, 2005


that too, basic, but it was gonna happen anyway. All the actions of this administration have ensured that scenario, tragically.
posted by amberglow at 1:57 PM on June 3, 2005


[this is very, very disputed in its effects]
posted by iron chef morimoto at 1:58 PM on June 3, 2005


It will generate a lot of hatred against America in the Islamic world, but it is important that these images get out. Too many people fail to believe that we are torturing prisoners. They won't believe unless they can see it. The torture has to stop. If this is the only way to get the American populace incensed enough to call for an end to torture then so be it.
posted by caddis at 1:59 PM on June 3, 2005


I just hope they release Presidential Order #24591J which directs the military to have butt sex with all prisoners. Because the administration must have ordered the sodomy.

As a side note, if this information comes out (and I hope it does because this stuff needs to be dealt with if its happening), then doesn't that mean we can STFU up about how this administration is a fascist personification of evil. Surely a fascist regime would never release such tapes. If the administration releases this information, doesn't that disprove all the ramblings about how the administration ignores the law and acts with impunity?
posted by dios at 1:59 PM on June 3, 2005


Be afraid... be very afraid. That said, the truth needs to see the light of day. I fear the cost will be, as Insomnia_lj has alluded to, tremendous.

What's the worst that could happen if these photos and sounds are released?
posted by fandango_matt at 2:00 PM on June 3, 2005


I figure Bush Co. will keep the spin up until every real 'Merican is convinced the pictures were photoshoped and all they really did was take a few prisoners to Disney World.

Worked for the Iraq/9-11 connection. How many still believe that little fairy tale? (Almost typed "Fairy Tail" but that would have only been appropriate for the Ganon debacle.)
posted by Hugh2d2 at 2:01 PM on June 3, 2005


If the administration releases this information, doesn't that disprove all the ramblings about how the administration ignores the law and acts with impunity?
No. It PROVES it.
posted by amberglow at 2:04 PM on June 3, 2005


As a side note, this does in fact trouble me, and I hope that everyone who engaged in such acts spend their lives in prison. I don't have any problem with psychological torture. But physical torture is a no-no. Those who engaged in sodomy with prisoners are scum.

I'm also concerned about the actions of this judge, though. After seeing the result of the Newsweek story which was a preposterously lame thing to get upset about (flushing the Quran? Prisoners anywhere else would never have had a copy to begin with!), I suspect that similar but greater violence would come from these videos. In that regard, these videos pose a serious international threat because of the likely reaction. Maybe it would be wise to keep them protected as national security because they will cause such a violent reaction? I know people want to see Bush be brought down, but do you want to put your own country at risk for the chance it might bring down Bush? So I'm a bit conflicted.

I think the wisest mode would probably permit the confidential use of these videos in sealed special investigations by special prosecutors. The people responsible should be charged and tried, but the record possibly should be kept confidential because if videos are as bad as Sy Hersh said, it could be a grave threat to our country if they get out.

So I guess I'm not sure of the wisdom of "getting it out in the open." We know what happened. What do we gain knowledge wise by releasing these vidoes? In legal parlance, the prejudicial value of these videos seem to FAR outweigh the probative value. So, I'm a bit conflicted on this.
posted by dios at 2:44 PM on June 3, 2005


Hmmm, it's too bad betting is illegal. I'd give odds this will never happen. Judges order or no.
posted by cm at 2:47 PM on June 3, 2005


No. It PROVES it.
posted by amberglow at 2:04 PM PST on June 3


I think you miss the point amberglow. From what you are always telling me, this administration would never release this information because of how evil and controlling they are. But I suspect they will (though I don't know that is a wise move). So to some extent, if they do release it, it disproves the complete fascistic totalitarian view of the administration if they would release information that is harmful. I'm not saying it means they are good guys, I'm just pointing out that it disproves the caricature that some people, like yourself, paint the administration as. The substance may be damning, but the procedure suggests that it isn't totalitarian.
posted by dios at 2:50 PM on June 3, 2005


That's awful . . . if it is true . . . from nearly one year ago.

I was going to post a blockbuster of a story about this guy named Pol Pot. It turns out that he is totally killing people in Asia.
posted by esquire at 2:51 PM on June 3, 2005


"If the administration releases this information, doesn't that disprove all the ramblings about how the administration ignores the law and acts with impunity?"

No. It PROVES it.


In that case, what if the administration doesn't release the information? What does that prove?

The fact is, no matter how bad these pictures are, their existence won't demonstrate clear knowledge of these actions at the time they occurred by higher-ups, unless Rumsfeld happened to strike a pose or something. And that's really what we need to say anything about the administration with regard to Abu Ghraib.

Personally, I have no doubt that people in the administration, had they know about this stuff, would've been willing to turn a blind eye to it if they thought it might be at all useful to them. But that's not enough to condemn the administration for what happened.

I just hope they release Presidential Order #24591J which directs the military to have butt sex with all prisoners. Because the administration must have ordered the sodomy.

I suspect that any sodomy that happened was more Abner Louima-style than actual "butt sex."
posted by me & my monkey at 2:53 PM on June 3, 2005


[this is very, very, very good]
posted by quonsar at 1:44 PM PST on June 3


Is it still good if it means that New York ends up in flames again?

I'm being sincere. As I said, if the evidence is true, then I would put away the people for life. But that can be done by using the evidence in sealed hearings. What good can come from releasing them? Seems to me that they would be so incendiary that they would pose a threat to our safety.

Shouldn't we be concerned about the effects of this geopolitically more so than its domestic political impact?

Note: you can still charge whomever you want with war crimes or whatever you want to do legally with the videos without releasing them to the public.
posted by dios at 2:55 PM on June 3, 2005


Actually, my quote of Hersh was correct, even though there are media-edited versions out there.

Here is what Hersh said, in full:
"...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...."


In addition, In addition, the May 10-17th issue of Newsweek said that yet-unreleased Abu Ghraib abuse photos "include an American soldier having sex with a female Iraqi detainee and American soldiers watching Iraqis have sex with juveniles."

Iraqi women were raped on video too, apparently.

posted by insomnia_lj at 3:00 PM on June 3, 2005


What's the worst that could happen if these photos and sounds are released?

Well my predictions are on the following

1. More hatred is fomented against anything even only suspected to be american. There you go, you reap what you sow Rush, Coulter, O'Reilly...but hey probably some soldier will pay for you...no good

2. Some image may leak and.. depending on how much delusional one is , someone will be throw into deep cognitive dissonance , which is lingo for " I can't fucking believe american soldiers can be evil and wrongdoers as bad as terrorist" ..hello welcome to reality, it hurts eh ?

3. Someother will coverup that there are only a few bad apples...mmhhhh right but isn't it late to notice that ? One gotta remove em BEFORE they do damage..not after.

Fundamentally I guess exposure of images isn't necessary BUT if it's a way to reduce the delusion of public..then it's welcome..but I doubt it is enough of a method.
posted by elpapacito at 3:01 PM on June 3, 2005


Shouldn't we be concerned about the effects of this geopolitically more so than its domestic political impact?

You mean as opposed to being concerned about the geopolitical effects of invading and occupying a country based on a false pretense? Why start now? (See also "bring 'em on.")
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:02 PM on June 3, 2005


The Geneva Convention contains some prohibitions regarding the release of photographs of prisoners. That's where that argument against releasing the videos is coming from. It may be a technically valid arguement but I don't know how they can make it with a straight face if the videos actually contain what is indicated.

The Red Cross indicated that an earlier release of photos may have been a violation of the Convention.
posted by Carbolic at 3:09 PM on June 3, 2005


"Maybe it would be wise to keep them protected as national security because they will cause such a violent reaction? I know people want to see Bush be brought down, but do you want to put your own country at risk for the chance it might bring down Bush? So I'm a bit conflicted."

I don't think this is going to come as much, if any, of a surprise in Iraq. If they don't know about this already, they will eventually - unless we're planning on keeping them jailed forever or killing them or something.

The purpose of cutting these tapes loose is to enlighten the rest of us. If we want to avoid NYC in flames again, then it'd be better (for all of us, but not the perpetrators/authorizors of course) to get it out in the open and make an intense public scene of the punishment that all involved receive.

And yeah, Bush should be a part of that. He's dodged responsibility for anyting negative long enough.
posted by 27 at 3:09 PM on June 3, 2005


Is it still good if it means that New York ends up in flames again?

depends how you mean. new york and washington could both use a good pig roast, and george w. bush certainly fits the porcine bill. i've made no secret of the opinion that i'd be jubilant over the sight of a violent mob frogmarching the duhb out of the white house. it'd be the first public demonstration of true patriotism seen in many a year.
posted by quonsar at 3:11 PM on June 3, 2005


So nice of them to suddenly start taking an interest in international law.
posted by carter at 3:12 PM on June 3, 2005


Shouldn't we be concerned about the effects of this geopolitically more so than its domestic political impact?

Yes, I think so. However, I still think they should be released. I see three problems with not releasing them. First, if it's common knowledge that terrible, horrible things were done, and it's common knowledge that this was documented, then we get very little value from not being as open as possible with them, since anything less than full disclosure will be viewed (rightly, I think) as a cover-up.

Second, it may well be the case that they're not as bad as we think - no matter how bad they are. The secret of old horror movies was that they didn't show you the horror outright, but instead let you imagine the worst for yourself, relying on our power of imagination to trump whatever could be put on film.

Finally, the government is not especially good at keeping secrets, and they're likely to come out at some point anyway. Why not disclose them and get it over with?

None of these touches on the simple value of being truthful, of course, and that shouldn't be overlooked.

you can still charge whomever you want with war crimes or whatever you want to do legally with the videos without releasing them to the public.

Yes, but if you do, no one outside the proceedings will be able to tell whether the punishment is commensurate with the crime.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:13 PM on June 3, 2005


The people responsible should be charged and tried, but the record possibly should be kept confidential because if videos are as bad as Sy Hersh said, it could be a grave threat to our country if they get out.

Yeah, God forbid the truth gets out. Don't you think a public airing is better way to defuse this than a star chamber? You know, due process and all that.
posted by cedar at 3:14 PM on June 3, 2005


where IS today's bonhoeffer?
posted by specialk420 at 3:15 PM on June 3, 2005


I suspect that similar but greater violence would come from these videos. In that regard, these videos pose a serious international threat because of the likely reaction.

You missasign blame. It is not the videos themselves which would outrage the international community, but the actions which those videos depict. And considering the (anticipated) monstrosity and magnitude of these actions, outrage would be justified. Thus the logical course of action, even from a totally amoral point of view, would probably be to just not torture your goddamn prisoners. After all, it's really hard making sure nobody finds out about it, considering these prisoners may eventually get released and go home and tell their friends about their great stay at Guantanamo. The USA will get what they deserve; after all, 51% of the country voted for it.
posted by mek at 3:15 PM on June 3, 2005


I think dios raises a good point--has anyone else read Daniel Boorstin's The Image? Don't forget that video/sound recordings have a far, far more visceral and "real" impact than any reportage could. The primary source medium of video/audio recording communicates an immediate sense of reality about an event.

The 9/11 attacks were horrible in so many ways, but the biggest reason I think they were particularly traumatic to the people of the US (and world) was that we all watched it happen on TV. That freaked me out, way more so that if I had read about in a newspaper.

So, I can imagine that the reponse in much of the Muslim world to actually seeing and hearing rape and torture of fellow Muslims occur would be proportionately worse than what we've already seen.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:19 PM on June 3, 2005


Fair enough. My guess is that there is large downside to having these released due to the potential incendiary nature of them but very little upside. But perhaps I am not reading the effects internationally of these videos. Or perhaps Hersh is trumping up how bad they are.

I just worry about the wisdom of some people who are demanding these videos without considering the implication beyond a potential effect on Bush. "It might hurt Bush" seems shortsighted to me if "It will hurt America" too.

One thing I know from trying cases is that videos are highly influential and prejudicial. You can describe things all you want and sufficiently for a jury to assess legal blame. But the effects of video are enormous. And it is the reason that a lot of times a judge might refuse to allow them because the prejudicial value of the video far outweighs the probative (useful) value.
posted by dios at 3:20 PM on June 3, 2005


Maybe it would be wise to keep them protected as national security because they will cause such a violent reaction? I know people want to see Bush be brought down, but do you want to put your own country at risk for the chance it might bring down Bush?

Our country is already at risk, thanks to the actions of President Bush and his handlers. Bringing these pictures out into the open may or may not increase that risk. Continuing to torture prisoners, while denying them access to legal council will absolutely increase that risk.

Leaving these pictures behind closed doors dramatically increases the risk that the President, his handlers and the US military as controlled by our esteemed Commander in Chief, continue operating in this deplorable fashion... and (I think we can all agree here) that's bad for everyone.

More Americans need to know what is being done in our name under the auspices of national security. This isn't about "Bringing down Bush" -- That's a lost cause. This is about my country acting like Stalin's Russia.
posted by toxic at 3:22 PM on June 3, 2005


51% of the country voted for it

51% of "whatever percent of eligible voters who showed up to the polls" voted for it.
posted by ericb at 3:23 PM on June 3, 2005


It will generate a lot of hatred against America in the Islamic world

Everybody already knows damn well that the US is up to no good. It doesn't require that every last picture and video be released before the fallout happens. I doubt the release of the remaining pictures and video will change much of anything.
posted by Potsy at 3:23 PM on June 3, 2005


But, mek, your point is well taken.
posted by ericb at 3:24 PM on June 3, 2005


There aren't going to be videos or photos of boys or women being raped at Abu Ghraib.
posted by shoos at 3:26 PM on June 3, 2005


Unless you use Andrea Dworkin's definition of rape, that is.
posted by shoos at 3:26 PM on June 3, 2005


I think you miss the point amberglow.
I think you're ignoring the horrific, illegal, immoral, evil, sadistic,... torture and abuse that those videos and pics show--an official policy, created and signed off on by Gonzales and others at the very top of the administration.
posted by amberglow at 3:36 PM on June 3, 2005


Well, I'm headed home for the weekend, and I don't check the site while I am gone. So if anyone asks me a question directly, don't think I dodging it.

But I want to sincerely suggest that people consider the effects beyond the effects on Bush. Consider the idea that if the videos are truly disastorous, maybe you win the White House in '08, but at what costs? Is another 9/11 worth it if it causes your party to win the White House? And if so, will that mean that the threat will magically disappear? And if the videos are released, and something terrible does happen, do you really want to be on record saying "Fuck 'em. Bush/Republicans/51% brought this upon us, so we deserve it. Bring it out and fuck 'em!"

If I told you that you can guarentee three things occur directly because of the release of the videos (It hurts Bush, another 9/11 occurs, lots of American die), would you still want their release? I'll be interested in seeing your answers when I check back in on Monday.
posted by dios at 3:38 PM on June 3, 2005


In response to:
51% of the country voted for it ... and
"It might hurt Bush" seems shortsighted to me if "It will hurt America" too.

...but what if America is on trial here?

Should we try those responsible in private instead, while protecting the reputation and sensibilities of those who sat back and did nothing?
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:40 PM on June 3, 2005


The truth should never be hidden--this is America, and we should not be abusing and torturing people (just like Saddam and his sons did, remember?--the "rape room" rhetoric, etc)

Your concern for our safety is years and years too late.
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on June 3, 2005


amberglow, how the fuck can you say that I'm ignoring it? Did you not bother to read my post?

As a side note, this does in fact trouble me, and I hope that everyone who engaged in such acts spend their lives in prison. I don't have any problem with psychological torture. But physical torture is a no-no. Those who engaged in sodomy with prisoners are scum.

But the point you are avoiding from conceding is that your over-wrought exaggerations about how fascistic this administration is would be proven wrong if these videos come out. In a fascistic country these videos aren't released. You can't have it both ways.
posted by dios at 3:42 PM on June 3, 2005


This is about my country acting like Stalin's Russia.

I agree with your sentiment, but think that's a bit of an overstatement. I hate, hate, hate, and am outraged by what has, is, and will go on in the name of my country. However, I also try to balance that with some realism and awareness of history.

States do bad things to protect, and when protecting, themselves--they always have. Whether or not what's going on now is, in fact, protecting the US in any way, is a broader issue than this discussion warrants (I imagine I agree with the majority MeFi opinion on that). The question with regard to this is, what is to be gained by public release of these videos, at this time.

Should these videos be released to whomever should know about them (i.e., can pursue legal consequences)? Sure, but as dios points out, that can be done in a confidential situation.

I don't want anyone to have any more motivation to strap on bombs and blow themselves up among random strangers than already exists. These videos could easily been seen as validating Muslim extremists' points of view--"see, I told you they were evil--look!" Many, many people might not be rational enough to think "well, these are just corrupt elements of the American government and military, not the good, decent common American folk. I'm sure they'll take care of this forthwith." The reaction is more likely to be, "Hmm....maybe we should be afraid of them."

More fear=more violence and suffering.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:42 PM on June 3, 2005


I just worry about the wisdom of some people who are demanding these videos without considering the implication beyond a potential effect on Bush. "It might hurt Bush" seems shortsighted to me if "It will hurt America" too.

Some things are more important than the presidency or the country.

This is very good news. I hope indeed that the government complies with the order. We'll see.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:44 PM on June 3, 2005


Shouldn't we be concerned about the effects of this geopolitically more so than its domestic political impact?

Absolutely NOT! Taking responsibility for yourself and your nation (in a Democracy) means taking your lumps when you've done wrong. If that means more foment of terror attacks against the US, then so be it. Seriously, no one can be so dumb as to think that the verification of the worst nightmares of America's enemies will be any more conducive to attack than the lies, rumors and bravado that has already come from the American leadership.

The knowledge of what's on those videos and images is already out there in the world community. The only place that seems clueless about these horrors is the USofA. I just took a quick spin through my favorite apologist's websites (Freep, Green wackjobs ...) and the reaction to this order has been thus:

1) Treasonous judge
2) Soldiers will be dying because of the truth, and it would be better for soldiers if they died because of the lie,
3) These butt-raped 12 year old terrorists deserved it,
4) the media is at fault,
and 5) It's really all the fault of the ACLU, and their commitment to the idea that American's own this goddamn country.

Those images show our legacy. WE let it happen. Regardless of how defensive any might feel at my stern accusation, these are the facts: when the Abu Griab abuses were first reported, very few called for a full investigation with accountability and full disclosure. Very few shunned the instruments of propaganda (Rush, Fox News, ...) Very few of us Americans called for a change in direction because those are not the actions of the goddamn country we live in and love. Instead, we re-elected the CIC who let these things be swept under a rug, and it took the ACLU and a judge who acknowledges the law to even demand that these horrors be shown to the very people who want to deny them. Us, the citenzry of the US. (I don't mean to insult anyone personally, but if you want to get your high-minded nose bent out of shape at my blanket assessment of guilt, then please feel free, 'cause it kinda proves my point.)

Is the exposure of this material more important to the US than it is geopolitically? Hell yes it is!
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:45 PM on June 3, 2005


In a fascistic country these videos aren't released. You can't have it both ways.

yes. you are right. they have not gained total control yet. feel better? i'm willing to see all hell break loose if that's what it takes to get rid of the scumbags.

*pulls on dubyuh mask, makes longhorn finger sign*

bring it on.
posted by quonsar at 3:47 PM on June 3, 2005




1. More protests, clashes, etc outside the US. Maybe, oh, 50 people killed.

2. Possibly an attack in the US as retaliation, possibly later than sooner.

3. Definite attempts to downplay and shift blame to those red-shirts of our military, the infantry.

4. A tipping point with regard to supporting the war may occur as America sinks deeper into "the shit".

If any corporation went through what America is going through, they'd be finished.

As shareholders in America, Inc., the only proper course of action to demonstrate goodwill and vision is to vote out the board in its entirety.
posted by plexiwatt at 3:49 PM on June 3, 2005


If I told you that you can guarentee three things occur directly because of the release of the videos (It hurts Bush, another 9/11 occurs, lots of American die), would you still want their release?

The way to ensure that another 9/11 wouldn't follow would be to:

Release the videos.
Apologise profusely to the Iraqis and to the world.
Extradite Bush, Rumsfled, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rice, and Powell to Iraq to be put on trial for war crimes.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:50 PM on June 3, 2005


If you're worried what the Islamic world will think of some sodomy videos, what do you think Bush's fundie base will think? Maybe they'll actually be forced to deal with the morality of their government?

Chaos is our friend. Information wants to be free. Bring it on.
posted by fungible at 3:51 PM on June 3, 2005


"If I told you that you can guarentee three things occur directly because of the release of the videos (It hurts Bush, another 9/11 occurs, lots of American die), would you still want their release?"

If I told you that you can guarantee five things occur directly because of the release of the videos...

1> A more honest administration comes to power.
2> The War Powers Act is reformed to require Congressional approval for all offensive military actions except as immediately required for the defense of U.S. soil.
3> The U.S. reforms the role of Attorney General so that partisan politics no longer plays a role in what the president can and cannot legally do.
4> The U.S. earns the reputation of being a fair, impartial, and influential party, overseeing successful peace and disarmament negotiations in many of the world's most troubled hotspots.
5> The U.S. is finally able to reap the "peace dividend" that should've followed the fall of the Soviet Union, balances the budget, saves social security, makes deficit spending illegal, and experiences an economic and political golden age that spreads throughout the world.

...would you still want their release?
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:58 PM on June 3, 2005


what eustace said.

Bring every single person responsible for signing off on the policy and for actually torturing to justice, very publicly, no matter what position they hold. It is unacceptable to torture, and unacceptable to hide evidence of torture. Let the chips fall where they may.
posted by amberglow at 4:01 PM on June 3, 2005


so it boils down to this: when world opinion towards our actions are negative, but we want to
shock and awe them , we ignore the threat of creating hostility towards america. (turning post 911 support for the US into distrust and fear)
but when dirt is dug up on the sanctioned or unsanctioned activities of our troops, suddenly we must proceed with caution, for fear of shocking the world thus causing hostility towards america.

i think that we can safely assume that they are already pissed.
posted by nola at 4:02 PM on June 3, 2005


. . . ."Dominance" means the ability to affect and dominate an adversary's will both physically and psychologically. Physical dominance includes the ability to destroy, disarm, disrupt, neutralize, and to render impotent. Psychological dominance means the ability to destroy, defeat, and neuter the will of an adversary to resist; or convince the adversary to accept our terms and aims short of using force. The target is the adversary's will, perception, and understanding. The principal mechanism for achieving this dominance is through imposing sufficient conditions of "Shock and Awe" on the adversary to convince or compel it to accept our strategic aims and military objectives. Clearly, deception, confusion, misinformation, and disinformation, perhaps in massive amounts, must be employed. . . . from the text linked above.
posted by nola at 4:07 PM on June 3, 2005


But the effects of video are enormous... a judge might refuse to allow them because the prejudicial value of the video far outweighs the probative (useful) value.

dios, I think your right about this administration not being "a fascist personification of evil" in spirit. If they allow them to be released it would show several things, one of which is that they are not an iron fisted fascist regime. On the other hand if they oppose it and fail, that would simply show they're trying to be but don't have the juice.
I'd concede they do at least try to maintain the appearance of lawfulness, but I'd point out that so did Boss Tammany.
Lots of things could happen.

Viscerally I'm with quonsar. On principle even. Hell, we've needed a show of muscle from the populace for the last 70 years.

But as much as this might hurt the government, as many people might get hurt or die, the truth needs to be told. We are not subjects, we are free men* of a free United States. This country is based on ideals and principles laid down by the people in the constitution. Only that which damages those ideals can ever truly harm us. The truth, however harsh, can only serve those ideals. Liberty is not free, if this is the price we must pay to remain true to it, so be it.

"The constitution does not allow reasons of state to influence our judgement. God forbid it should! We must not regard political consequences, however formidable they might be; if rebellion was the certain consequence, we are bound to say, Justitia fiat, ruat coelum—Let justice be done, though the heavens fall."
- Lord Mansfield

*men in the Hu-man, sense of course.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:09 PM on June 3, 2005



If I told you that you can guarentee three things occur directly because of the release of the videos (It hurts Bush, another 9/11 occurs, lots of American die), would you still want their release?


Interesting question. I would say Yes. Why?

Despite 9/11 and what it should have taught us, the deaths of innocents simply led to more death. We retaliated with Afghanistan and then Iraq, killing many thousands of other innocent civilians and some of our own, too. The status quo has to change, or 9/11 after 9/11 will continue to occur, be it on our soil or on others'. Suppressing information will simply encourage the status quo, or at the very least continue to make it tolerable.
posted by mek at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2005


what do you think Bush's fundie base will think

If demonstrably true they'll be horrified and looking for change, hard to say what kind of change though, wouldn't necessarily be to a Democrat admin.

I think they've been unhappily accepting the war-making, deaths, koran flushing, prisoners on leashes, and Saddam underwear pictures as necessary evils but there'll be very few who could rationalize this. If true.
posted by scheptech at 4:13 PM on June 3, 2005


Wulfgar!: Don't forget the mass of 'em that say "so what, we had pictures of this before" -- i.e., nothing new here, move along. Interesting (and revolting) to see them squirm.

If released (and I really can't see that happening), I certainly think these videos will have an effect on Americans' support of the war. The previous pics showed prisoners being humiliated, for sure, but most Americans wouldn't call that torture. Butt rape? Now that's torture, pretty hard to deny...
posted by LordSludge at 4:18 PM on June 3, 2005


Thank you, amberglow.

Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

Dios, you may say that "We know what happened," but I rather doubt the average American does.

Will, this release provoke another 9/11? Does anyone believe that the mindset behind 9/11 needs this before they'd want to bring about another? They'll decide to just leave us alone if we continue to cover this up?
posted by tyllwin at 4:29 PM on June 3, 2005


Look, unless we're going to start thinking that the admin is full of full-on sadists (I'm not ruling it out, but let's not assume) then we've gotta figure that they're playing the end-justifies-the-means game here.

The consequences for this have to be so painful that they won't consider permitting this to happen again. You cover it up because you fear the "consequences" of release, you're just making this a far less expensive lesson, and they'll go on spending.

As for disappointment and disillusionment, save it. It's not at all surprising or disheartening that the admin would try to minimize what went on here. It's the average people on the street who will react to this with apathy or rationalization that truly dishearten me.

on preview: Let justice be done though the heavens fall.
That's the motto of my law school!
posted by dreamsign at 4:37 PM on June 3, 2005


Interesting. Check out a Google News channel search for "abu ghraib sodomy video". Nothing. (Okay, one old story from the Berkeley Daily Planet.)

A Google News search for "abu ghraib judge", of course turns up plenty, but the released story appears to be very sanitized. Doesn't mention any new abuses at all.

Is it just me, or is the sodomy caught on tape old news?
posted by LordSludge at 4:37 PM on June 3, 2005


Some things are more important than the presidency or the country.

Some things are more important than the presidency, that's for sure. But if I ever heard a government official justifying their actions by saying that some things are more important than the country, I would be a bit concerned. As far as the government is concerned, nothing is more important than the country it governs. The sole purpose of the government is to preserve and nurture the country it governs.

Taking responsibility for yourself and your nation (in a Democracy) means taking your lumps when you've done wrong.

Democracy has nothing to do with "taking responsibility for ... your nation" beyond the concerns of the citizens of said democracy. We are not obligated to behave in a moral way to the rest of the world because we're a democracy. It would be nice if we did, of course, but there's no reason to expect democracies to be any less driven by self-interest than individuals.

Very few of us Americans called for a change in direction because those are not the actions of the goddamn country we live in and love. Instead, we re-elected the CIC who let these things be swept under a rug, and it took the ACLU and a judge who acknowledges the law to even demand that these horrors be shown to the very people who want to deny them. Us, the citenzry of the US.

I can close my eyes, and open a US history book to a random page, and I'm likely to find some terrible thing that we have either done, or sanctioned, or ignored. Is this one thing that different? Sure, it's freighted with all sorts of irony - Abu Ghraib being Saddam's prison before, the "liberators" as jailors, and so on.

If I told you that you can guarantee five things occur directly because of the release of the videos...

1> A more honest administration comes to power.


While I was in the car today, I heard Clinton on NPR and I thought about how much I preferred his presidency, even though I had a few beefs with some of the things he did. But honest? Come on. The guy couldn't tell the truth if he wanted to. "It depends on what the definition of 'is' is."

2> The War Powers Act is reformed to require Congressional approval for all offensive military actions except as immediately required for the defense of U.S. soil.

I seem to recall that Congress approved our current little adventure. So this really boils down to that honesty thing again.

3> The U.S. reforms the role of Attorney General so that partisan politics no longer plays a role in what the president can and cannot legally do.

Good luck with that. Can you point out any part of the government where partisan politics doesn't play a role?

4> The U.S. earns the reputation of being a fair, impartial, and influential party, overseeing successful peace and disarmament negotiations in many of the world's most troubled hotspots.

I'm not sure how we get from "here are some ass-rape videos" to there. The plain fact is, though, that our government needn't be "fair" and "impartial," because those words don't really mean very much in international affairs. We favor the outcomes that benefit us, and I simply don't see how it could be any other way.

5> The U.S. is finally able to reap the "peace dividend" that should've followed the fall of the Soviet Union, balances the budget, saves social security, makes deficit spending illegal, and experiences an economic and political golden age that spreads throughout the world.

That "peace dividend" stuff was BS before, and it still is. One can argue that deficit spending is how we got to the fall of the Soviet Union, after all. And all those out-of-work guys at defense plants might not feel the same way about your "golden age,' much as I'd like to agree with you.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:42 PM on June 3, 2005


More context for ya
posted by LordSludge at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2005




Let me be the only one in this forum to come out and predict that the release of these pictures will NOT result in "another 9/11".

My reasoning in this is the fact that, with everything that has happened in the last 3.75 years, we should have already had several more "9/11s". I mean, look at how many people died in the U.S. after the "koran flushing" story got out...

And it's not because the same people who can't find Bin Laden have successfully secured the U.S. since the day the Homeland Security bureaucracy was created.

Of course, if/when Bush's approval rating drops below 25% and the Republicans face big losses in the 2006 elections, THAT will probably result in "another 9/11".
posted by wendell at 4:48 PM on June 3, 2005


dios, for the love of god, releasing the videos doesn't somehow prove the benevolence of the administration, since they're not releasing it. That would be the judiciary, which if I'm not mistaken.... yes, I believe that is an entirely separate branch of the government.

In fact, last I checked, the administration tried very hard to bury this story. But, hey, that's just undisputed fact, don't let that get in the way of righteous hyperbole.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 4:57 PM on June 3, 2005


"I seem to recall that Congress approved our current little adventure."

No, they didn't. They abdicated their Constitutional duty by giving the president blanket approval for any military action the president felt necessary in order to get Iraq to comply with disarmament, in the expressly written expectation that the president would try to resolve the issue peacefully first.

During the period of debate in Congress, the president even spoke words to the effect of "if you don't authorize this, I still have the power to do it anyway..." and he did, because of the War Powers Act.

A true declaration of war is like a light switch that only Congress can turn on or off. They can't give away that power. Several U.S. Congressmen approached the judiciary arguing this specific point before the war, in fact, but the judge said that there weren't enough senators requesting that the policy should be reviewed, basically.

In any event, I replied to Dios' list with a list of my own specifically to point out the ludicrous nature of any argument that says "if I can guarantee X will happen, would you still do Y?"

If I told you that you can guarantee that I'd cook a boxful of kittens, would you still support the release of the videos?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:58 PM on June 3, 2005


Pentagon details mishandling of Quran
That damn Newsweek keeps screwing this up!
posted by Smedleyman at 4:59 PM on June 3, 2005


what do you think Bush's fundie base will think

I find it incredibly hard to believe that they'll think anything at all. The problem with the 'people' is that they're irrational and subjective, and will always make excuses for the side they support. I see it all the time in all aspects of life, from the 'trivial' (football - if a foul is committed by your player, it's all part of the game; if a foul is committed on your player, the other guy should be sent off in disgrace) to the 'non-trivial' (politics, war). No matter how shocking, brutal, graphic this stuff is, no matter how physically and morally repugnant, I see absolutely no reason why the 'fundies' won't fall back on the argument of 'but they're terrorists'. If the soldiers/commanders actually doing or condoning these horrific things think sufficiently lowly of the Iraqis to be doing them, then why the hell would your average redneck Joe think otherwise? You're totally fooling yourselves if you think there's going to be a revolution or conversion of people's thinking. People either don't care because they're not directly involved, or they don't care because, well, they're terrorists and they deserve everything they get.
posted by nylon at 4:59 PM on June 3, 2005


Also, last I checked, the judiciary was being proclaimed as "activist" and "out of control." So, releasing these photos would be in line with the expected behavior of an out-of-control, activist judiciary.
posted by trey at 4:59 PM on June 3, 2005


This is about my country acting like Stalin's Russia.
-I agree with your sentiment, but think that's a bit of an overstatement.


Fuck that, it's an understatement.

At least you had a release date when you were sent to Siberia.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:08 PM on June 3, 2005


"I seem to recall that Congress approved our current little adventure."

No, they didn't. They abdicated their Constitutional duty by giving the president blanket approval for any military action the president felt necessary in order to get Iraq to comply with disarmament, in the expressly written expectation that the president would try to resolve the issue peacefully first.


I agree that Congress abdicated its responsibility. Unfortunately, in doing so, they gave the administration ... blanket approval. Note the word "approval" there. I'm not saying it's good, I don't agree with what they did, but they did it, like it or not.

During the period of debate in Congress, the president even spoke words to the effect of "if you don't authorize this, I still have the power to do it anyway..." and he did, because of the War Powers Act.

Whether he did or did not have that power is arguable, as is whether he would have acted without that blanket approval. Still, no matter what he said, he got their approval.

In any event, I replied to Dios' list with a list of my own specifically to point out the ludicrous nature of any argument that says "if I can guarantee X will happen, would you still do Y?"

If that was your goal, I think you found a poor way to achieve it. Why not just point out that he couldn't guarantee any of those outcomes, instead of coming up with a list of things that would be certainly good, although unlikely to the point of impossibility?

If I told you that you can guarantee that I'd cook a boxful of kittens, would you still support the release of the videos?!

That's hard, because I genuinely like kittens, but the fact is that for all I know you'll cook the kittens anyway, so roll the tape already!
posted by me & my monkey at 5:09 PM on June 3, 2005


It's ironic to hear the claim that the information should be suppressed to prevent possible side effects since this is exactly what conservatives are saying today about the Deep Throat revelations of thirty-five years ago. They are saying that bringing down Nixon caused the loss of the Vietnam War, the rise of Pol Pot, the death of millions and the strengthening of the Soviet Union.

So they would prefer that they kept a corrupt President who ran a criminal enterprise from the oval office that resulted in the incarceration of his chief of staff, his chief domestic advisor, his attorney general, his White House legal counsel, and the special counsel to the President among 30 others. As if the only two choices are the complete corruption of the Constitution or people dying.

The more things change the more they stay the same.
posted by JackFlash at 5:10 PM on June 3, 2005


We really need to back up a couple of post and read the article LordSludge linked. I'm afraid it might take a little wind out of this party.
posted by Carbolic at 5:14 PM on June 3, 2005


At least you had a release date when you were sent to Siberia.

Yes, but since it was the day you died I don't see that as especially helpful. But otherwise, you're right on target - today's America is just as bad as Stalin's Russia. No exaggeration there, no sir.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:14 PM on June 3, 2005


"Is another 9/11 worth it if it causes your party to win the White House? "

That's really pathetic, and not unexpected.
I take this as an admission that "your party" has royally fucked things up, and the only way to fix it is to keep pretending that they didn't. And anybody who has been pointing this out for the past few years should stop and reflect that, although they were right, it would be better to just let the fuck-ups get away with it.
We appreciate your concern for America, but please just fuck off.
posted by 2sheets at 5:24 PM on June 3, 2005


insomnia_lj, do you know what Hersh's source was for this? Has he claimed he's actually seen the tape?
posted by shoos at 5:25 PM on June 3, 2005


shoos - see LordSludges link above
posted by Carbolic at 5:27 PM on June 3, 2005


i agree with nylon on this and the reason is simple.
we have been here debating the topic of every systemic action this administration has undertaken, for 4 years.

the list of crimes against the people of the united states, let alone the world, perpetrated by this administration, is staggering.

i keep trying to see the other point of view in all this , and i just simply cannot. i grew up in a very religious and conservative house hold , my mother and father were and are fundies, and voted for republicans the whole time i was growing up. even they think that this administration is nuts . . . and they are the craziest people i know!

so if the whole country ,except for my crazy ass fundy bible thumping, gun loading , gay hating/praying for, parents can see something is wrong, WTF is wrong with the rest of you??!?!?!
posted by nola at 5:30 PM on June 3, 2005


Two things we can be sure of:

1> There will be another act of terrorism in America again... someday.

2> When it happens, the Republicans will blame it on the Democrats. And the ACLU. And the National Organization for Women. And homosexuals. And the pagans. And the secularists. And the Mexicans.. And the liberal media. And too much freedom.

...and the wrong country. Anyone, really, except for a standing Republican administration or Republican mayor.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:30 PM on June 3, 2005


today's America is just as bad as Stalin's Russia. No exaggeration there, no sir.
In what way, in terms of someone outside the U.S., is America now better than Stalinist Russia? That is, less of a threat? Old Joe kicked in with Hitler, but later reversed that. He surrounded himself with buffer states (it was fashionable then, we still have territories) he supported the fascists in Spain (the CIA has overthrown many governments in S.A. and other areas) and helped instigate the Korean war. Meantime we initiated force against a country that could not harm us.
I'll grant Nikita Khrushchev was a blight on the world, but Stalin was less harmful and less potentially harmful - to people outside the Russian sphere of influence - that G.W. Bush is now.
...hmmm that's a lot of concession there. But I'd add that since millions of Americans aren't being slaughtered by this administration, in those terms, it's an exaggeration.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:36 PM on June 3, 2005


But insomnia_lj, do you have any information indicating that Hersh has actually seen the video? Or is it actually the way portrayed in SludgeLord's post?

According to the information there, there does not appear to be any video of a US citizen sodomizing anyone. In fact there doesn't appear to be video of anyone sodomizing anyone only a story about a foreign contractor sodomizing someone.
posted by Carbolic at 5:38 PM on June 3, 2005


so, what videos caused the 9/11 attack?

doesn't anyone think that if we don't release the videos, that many will conclude that we have something to hide, and proceed on that conclusion?

if we subject our sense of law and justice, our feeling of what is right and what is wrong to what "the terrorists might do" ... then who's going to be in control of this country? ... we or the terrorists?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:38 PM on June 3, 2005


only a story about a foreign contractor sodomizing someone.

Oh!! Well, if it's only a foreign contractor doing the sodomizing while being taped by, and with approval of, the US military, then this whole thing is being blown out of proportion.
It's not like WE were doing this, and the judge doesn't have juristiction over something we OUTSOURCE. Everything's fine!! And Dave Chappelle is back!! Drink more Pepsi Blue! etc.
posted by Balisong at 5:45 PM on June 3, 2005


"insomnia_lj, do you know what Hersh's source was for this? Has he claimed he's actually seen the tape?"

Nope. Nor would I expect him to tell me such a thing, I'm sure, as it may tend to incriminate a source. Besides, it's not like we chat all the time for hours on end. He's a very busy guy.

I actually called Sy up today to discuss "that other matter". I want to know what my options are -- can I safely go forward with what I've got without getting people in trouble? Can I release the photos without providing background information, in the hope that his reporting of the basics of what happened is enough to satisfy the public, but not enough to point the finger at Sy's sources?

Is it worth doing? I suspect it is, especially for some of the Iraqi teens in question, who may still be rotting in Abu Ghraib or some prison for all I know. They deserve freedom and justice, as do their families and the families of those kids who died that day. It may be that there is no way I can guarantee they get justice without ruining the careers of a few soldiers and increasing the level of threat to all our soldiers.

I caught Seymour at the airport, on his way out of town. He said he would call me in a few days when he's back in the office and has access to his information. I suspect today may be a busy one for him, for obvious reasons.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:48 PM on June 3, 2005


Yes, but since it was the day you died I don't see that as especially helpful. But otherwise, you're right on target - today's America is just as bad as Stalin's Russia. No exaggeration there, no sir.

Ah, someone who clearly has no idea of what they're talking about. Instead of talking out your ass, why not read a book or two? (FYI: Solzhenitsyn's sentence was 8 years).

Sentencing information from the American Historical Review: serving up to 5 years: 56.8%, serving between 5-10 years: 42.2%. Over 10 years: 1%.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:58 PM on June 3, 2005


Balisong - no tape of any sodomy. Someone saying that a foreign contractor sodomized someone.

Wanting so badly to believe there is nothing right with the current administration is no different that wanting so badly to believe there is nothing wrong with it. Believing nothing is wrong with it like the people who are so enthusiastically criticized in this forum on a constant basis. BOTH groups are wrong.
posted by Carbolic at 6:10 PM on June 3, 2005


I think the point that everyone here is missing is that we are living in a country far worse than nazi germany, stalinist russia, or mao's china combined and blended together. Oh and I have a feeling we're all gonna die of terrible diseases.
posted by TetrisKid at 6:13 PM on June 3, 2005


insomnia_lj - if he had seen it himself he could say so and not incriminate a source. If he said he hadn't seen it but X had that would incriminate a source. I'm betting there is no taped evidence of either sodomy or other rape - whether it happened or not.
posted by Carbolic at 6:14 PM on June 3, 2005


I'm betting there is no taped evidence of either sodomy or other rape - whether it happened or not.

I'll bet there isn't any tape now, that's for damned sure.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:17 PM on June 3, 2005


Civil_D - That "begs the question" of whether it ever existed or ever happened.
posted by Carbolic at 6:22 PM on June 3, 2005


I think a lot of people here are going to be in trouble when dios comes back on Monday and checks your homework.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:22 PM on June 3, 2005


Carbolic, just as tonight (in a Friday Night Document Dump,) our government admitted to mishandling the Koran, this will be found to be true too. Giving them the benefit of the doubt is a fool's game. They've shown they lie about everything. And so far, every single accusation has been eventually proven true.
posted by amberglow at 6:23 PM on June 3, 2005


amberglow - I doubt seriously that every single accusation has been proven true. There have been so many. Even if they were all true no one would have the time to prove them true. Exageration brings every statement made into question. Okay, most statements.
posted by Carbolic at 6:27 PM on June 3, 2005


And, I didn't say there was no sodomy. I said there was no video of the sodomy.
posted by Carbolic at 6:28 PM on June 3, 2005


Carbolic said: Balisong - no tape of any sodomy. Someone saying that a foreign contractor sodomized someone.

I'm betting there is no taped evidence of either sodomy or other rape - whether it happened or not.


Carbolic you have lost the bet. Consider:

Legislators view images of 'sadistic' prison abuse (St. Petersburg Times, May 12, 2004):

The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops went beyond the photos seen by most Americans, shaken lawmakers said Wednesday after viewing fresh pictures and video that they said depicted forced sex, brutality and dogs snarling at cowed prisoners. . .

"I don't know how the hell these people got into our army," said Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., after viewing what he called a fraction of the images.

Others said they saw images of corpses, military dogs snarling at cowering prisoners, women commanded to expose their breasts and sex acts, including forced homosexual sex.

posted by mlis at 6:31 PM on June 3, 2005


Would I lose if the forced sex was between two prisoners rather than involving someone from the US military or a foreign contractor? That's what I said I bet didn't exists and that is what Hersh says does exist.

If any of these things happened it is horrible and wrong. My problem has been with the way Hersh's statements have been treated as absolute proof that tapes of US personnel sodomizing prisoners exists. Hersh is a flake of the nth degree.
posted by Carbolic at 6:39 PM on June 3, 2005


And, besides, I win for using "begs the question" correctly.
posted by Carbolic at 6:40 PM on June 3, 2005


I think
posted by Carbolic at 6:42 PM on June 3, 2005


Ah, someone who clearly has no idea of what they're talking about. Instead of talking out your ass, why not read a book or two? (FYI: Solzhenitsyn's sentence was 8 years).

Less shit comes out of my ass than your mouth, apparently. Yes, ol' Alex's sentence was eight years. Oh, that's right, he's certainly representative of your typical gulag inhabitant. All those deaths, well those were purely accidental. Did you read the book? How about this choice little quote from your Amazon linky?
Through truly Shakespearean portraits of its victims -- men, women, and children -- we encounter secret police operations, labor camps and prisons; the uprooting or extermination of whole populations, the "welcome" that awaited Russian soldiers who had been German prisoners of war.


Yup, no exaggeration there. Seriously, how did you even manage to type that out - surely your fingers would have revolted? I can only imagine that you'd treat them in a manner appropriate for an apologist of Stalin, and that you typed with bloody stumps.

But the real question is, if Bush = Stalin, who's our Beria? And when does the forced starvation of Democrats via an engineered famine begin? As a Democrat myself, I'm a little worried about that - Stalin took care of a few million Ukrainians that way, as I recall.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:45 PM on June 3, 2005


I doubt seriously that every single accusation has been proven true. There have been so many.
People don't want to believe that they're true, naturally, since it's such evil shit. Sadly, i can't think of anything that has turned out to be false, no matter how many lies the administration tells.

Hersh has been absolutely undeniably right, and the administration has lied, covered up and distracted over and over. Which one is more trustworthy?
posted by amberglow at 6:46 PM on June 3, 2005


I don't trust either of them.
posted by Carbolic at 6:49 PM on June 3, 2005


Land of Lincoln and Franklin and Melville, I love you and wish you well. But into my heart blows a cold wind from the past; for I remember Babylon

QUOTE

"My God!", I said, when I had recovered some of my composure. "Are you going to telecast that?"

Hartford laughed.

".... For the first time in history, any form of censorship’s become utterly impossible. There’s simply no way of enforcing it; the customer can get what he wants, right in his own home. Lock the door, switch on the TV set—friends and family will never know."

"Very clever," I said, "but don’t you think such a diet will soon pall?"

"Of course; variety is the spice of life. ... we’ll have information programs—I hate that word ‘propaganda’—to tell the cloistered American public what’s really happening in the world. Our special features will just be the bait."
....

"We’ll follow that with some really unique material that cost us exactly nothing. Do you remember the photographic evidence the Nuremburg war trials turned up? You’ve never seen it, because it wasn’t publishable. There were quite a few amateur photographers in the concentration camps, who made the most of opportunities they’d never get again. Some of them were hanged on the testimony of their own cameras, but their work wasn’t wasted. It will lead nicely into our series ‘Torture Through the Ages’—very scholarly and thorough, yet with a remarkably wide appeal…"

"And there are dozens of other angles, but by now you’ll have the general picture. The Avenue thinks it knows all about Hidden Persuasion—believe me, it doesn’t. The world’s best practical psychologists are in the East these days . Remember Korea, and brainwashing? We’ve learned a lot since then. There’s no need for violence anymore; people enjoy being brainwashed, if you set about it the right way."

"And you," I said, "are going to brainwash the United States. Quite an order."

"Exactly—and the country will love it.....
...

"History is on our side." I cannot get those words out of my head. Land of Lincoln and Franklin and Melville, I love you and wish you well. But into my heart blows a cold wind from the past; for I remember Babylon."

END QUOTE
posted by hank at 6:51 PM on June 3, 2005


But one is worth more rationalization than the other, contrary of hindsight and track record, right?
posted by Balisong at 6:51 PM on June 3, 2005


LooseFilter: I think dios raises a good point ... Don't forget that video/sound recordings have a far, far more visceral and "real" impact than any reportage could ... So, I can imagine that the reponse in much of the Muslim world ... would be proportionately worse than what we've already seen.

His point is expresses cognition of pragmatics but his suggested response to the situation is grounded in a lack of courage, and also foresight into long-term implications. dios' response, if honest, is affected by the common fear of reactionary violence, which suffocates his ability, even desire, to directly face the graphic truth of his surroundings.

One of those truths is that, yes, a lot of people are going to be damn pissed at you (at the US) if this media is released - but deferring to hidden investigations and concealed judgements is a blatant sign of a nation not only cowed by its ruling body, but a nation incapable of facing and taking appropriate responsibility over the results of its actions. Not healthy, bad for the soul. And as far as geopolitical results go, we are already in the mess due to the *rumours* of said materials, so it's moot.

Dios: As a side note, if this information comes out ... then doesn't that mean we can STFU up about how this administration is a fascist personification of evil. Surely a fascist regime would never release such tapes.

Terrible logic. The information is coming out as a result a of a (strained) judicial hearning. That the information comes out says little of the administration and more of the people who have fought to secure its release. There is no trick card for the administration here.
posted by ginbiafra at 6:51 PM on June 3, 2005


Carbolic: Compare this by DiRita, a Pentagon spokesman, to Hersh--tell me who's telling truth, and who's trying to accuse prisoners of an unimaginable act. DIRITA: We’ve found nothing that would substantiate anything that you just said about the treatment of a Koran. We have, other than what we’ve seen – that it’s possible detainees themselves have done with pages of the Koran. And I don’t want to overstate that, either, because it’s based on log entries that have to be corroborated.
posted by amberglow at 6:54 PM on June 3, 2005


I imagine that many of the folks in Bush's base will view this as further evidence that Clinton screwed up with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and if they could only get all of the gays out of the military, stuff like this would never have happened.

Also, I believe that if these tapes come to light, it will have almost no effect on the current administration. Indeed, I believe that it will not lead to increased violence against Americans.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:56 PM on June 3, 2005


Hersh has been absolutely undeniably right, and the administration has lied, covered up and distracted over and over. Which one is more trustworthy?

So, you're absolutely sure then that we'll be invading Iran based on Hersh's prediction in the New Yorker, right? But of course, Hersh himself says that we may not - solely because he, Seymore Hersh, published an article saying that we might!

"The problem -- you know, if my story works, it won't happen. I think that's one of the reasons some of the people on the inside talk to me. But right now..."

Imagine having that kind of power! Solely because he, Seymour Hersh, writes something, the course of nations will change! Or not, whatever. But I think it's summertime now, so we should all know very soon one way or the other, since that's when Sy said the ball would start rolling.

Personally, I think Hersh is relatively trustworthy, and certainly has less to hide than anyone in the administration. But that doesn't mean I want to trust him implicitly.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:02 PM on June 3, 2005


Can you point out any part of the government where partisan politics doesn't play a role?

Sure. The FOMC.
posted by toxic at 7:06 PM on June 3, 2005


*eventually* there WILL be a straw that breaks the (ahem) camel's back...
either for the terrorists, and a similar event to 9/11 will happen. It won't be becaise of the last straw, but the culmination.
or for the American public, to vote out (or rise up with pitchforks and torches) the leaders that allowed (caused) these things to happen.

Probably both.
posted by Balisong at 7:06 PM on June 3, 2005


We are not obligated to behave in a moral way to the rest of the world because we're a democracy. It would be nice if we did, of course, but there's no reason to expect democracies to be any less driven by self-interest than individuals.

Well said, m&mm.

The only problem I see here is if Hersh has blown this out of proportion, it's going to give the apologists that much more ammunition, and like the Dan Rather mess, the disproof of one account will be taken to disprove the possible reality behind it.

And regardless, this will change little. We are becoming accustomed to horrors at our own hands.
posted by dreamsign at 7:07 PM on June 3, 2005


I dunno, Balisong. How many times can we think that something should spark outrage... and it doesn't, can we move on to believe it the next time?

I've only seen a few slopes this slippery.
posted by dreamsign at 7:11 PM on June 3, 2005


My ex is from Buenos Aires, she was a kid during the "Dirty War," when 30,000 Argentians were kidnapped, viciously tortured, and then thrown live into shark-filled waters, all by their own government.

I asked her once what it was like to live there knowing that it was going on. She said, well, we were kids, we didn't exactly know it was happening. She said, sometimes someone you sort of knew disappeared, but there was always some kind of explanation you could find for that.

She said, there was one time she could remember, there was an international soccer game with Argentina, and somehow everyone started looking at foreign newspapers that were coming into the country. The papers kept talking about the horrors of the torture that were going on right at that moment, in detail, and how all the Argentinians who read these things just responded to it like it was some horrible exaggeration, like the people who were writing it had some agenda all their own.

She said, it was true that everyone sort of suspected it, you could tell when they would play the music very loud from certain buildings that it was to cover the screams. But that the most important thing was not to ever, ever, talk about it, because the very act of talking about it would somehow make it real, and if it were real, and they could do nothing to stop it, how would you possibly cope with such a world?

I think it's a horrible tragedy that the vast majority of Americans refuse to acknowledge something that -- somewhere inside them -- they know to be true. But it's also a reasonable response, which has been repeated a thousand times in history. It's not psychotic, it's a way of coping with a psychotic period of history. As surely as we are all capable of becoming the torturer, we are also all capable of rendering torture invisible.

But you tell me, and I don't ask rhetorically: that this capacity is so fundamentally human, does that make it less tragic, or more?
posted by cloudscratcher at 7:12 PM on June 3, 2005


Eventually, something, sometime will do it. It's the law of cumulative percentages. (if there is one..heh)
posted by Balisong at 7:13 PM on June 3, 2005


Is there is really any difference between someone who doesn't want these documents released 'for the good of the country' and a guy who won't tell his wife he's sleeping around 'for the good of the marriage?'
posted by troybob at 7:14 PM on June 3, 2005


But nature includes the concept of tolerance (of the drug variety). It's taking a greater and greater hit to get a reaction, don't you think, Balisong?

And cloudscratcher, an ex of mine (Bavarian) used to talk about WWII that way. I was simply too fascinated to avoid the subject altogether. I had to know... what did they know? Not much was the answer, but it had a lot of the flavour of what you're talking about. Scary.
posted by dreamsign at 7:17 PM on June 3, 2005


Amberglow - I have no doubt someone's lying I just don't know at any given moment which party is. When I said there had been so many accusations I meant in general rather just from Hersh. When I said Hersh was a flake I was mostly refering to the article SludgeLord linked to but it is my general impression. Still, do you really know that DiRita was lying? Could the person actually have believed what they were saying at the time? I don't know and neither do you.
posted by Carbolic at 7:18 PM on June 3, 2005


"Can you point out any part of the government where partisan politics doesn't play a role?"

Sure. The FOMC.


Some would disagree.

The only problem I see here is if Hersh has blown this out of proportion, it's going to give the apologists that much more ammunition, and like the Dan Rather mess, the disproof of one account will be taken to disprove the possible reality behind it.

To me, the problem is a little different. Whatever happened at Abu Ghraib - and we know bad things happened, we're just missing minor details like whose penis was in whose ass - it isn't much of an argument against the war in Iraq. The two are separate issues; even if the war were completely justified, this would be a terrible wrong. I think it's a strategic mistake to simply seize upon every bad thing and blame it on the administration, when there are better arguments to be made - if they are made clearly and consistently in a public forum. This kind of thing, bad as it is, is a distraction from the real issues. Of course, if you see the administration as some giant conspiracy of evil, you might not agree, but frankly I don't give them that much credit.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:19 PM on June 3, 2005


It's more tragic to let the unspeakable happen, and turn a blind eye (ear), than to confront the unspeakable, and bring it out in the open (rendering it speakable), even if it hurts, and causes damage to mythical institutions you hold dear.
posted by Balisong at 7:19 PM on June 3, 2005


So, you're absolutely sure then that we'll be invading Iran based on Hersh's prediction in the New Yorker, right? But of course, Hersh himself says that we may not - solely because he, Seymore Hersh, published an article saying that we might!

He's not the only one saying that--Ritter said it first, nor was he the only one talking about abuse--soldiers over there and coming home were sharing pictures of the abuse online.

DiRita has a history of lying to the press. Look it up.
posted by amberglow at 7:20 PM on June 3, 2005


Serious question: how on earth would US citizens arrest, judge, and sentence their government administration? Isn't the President pretty much untouchable? Bush and his cronies aren't nicey-nice Nixon types who resign because they've been caught out.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:24 PM on June 3, 2005


It's called armed revolution, FFF.
Lots of innocent "martyrs" will have to die for that "cause".
An average group of 20+ revolutionaries with rifles and pistols are no match for a Blackhawk with infrared targeting.

It's actually laid out as legal in the Constitution and further writings by the Founding Fathers.

It's been illegalised by other legislation since then, but it totally was near expected by the writers of the constitution.

That said, I don't think that the "insurgents" are pouring 4 billion dollars a week into their campaign. Yet how many Blackhawks, M2 tanks, and personell have they been able to take out with their guerrilla tactics? How many of their Blackhawks have we taken out?
posted by Balisong at 7:32 PM on June 3, 2005


I can see Bush ordering another adventure into Iran, then citing THAT as the reason why the various photos/tapes/films are too hazardous for national security to be released.

The time when they could use Iraq to generate that quantity and type of hysteria seems to be over, so they have to move on.
posted by clevershark at 7:32 PM on June 3, 2005


He's not the only one saying that--Ritter said it first

So? Is Hersh right because Ritter said so, or because of his secret sources in the administration? I ask again, are you absolutely sure that we'll be invading Iran this month, as both have said?

I have no doubt that there's been abuse. In fact, odds are in favor of worse abuse than we'll ever see in any pictures, just because people don't always have cameras handy after all. But that has damn all to do with invading Iran.

I will bet you a crisp, clean $100 bill that we will not invade Iran this month, or anytime this summer. Let me know here if you're interested - I can use the money.*

*note: to win, there must be an actual invasion by regular Army ground forces. Aerial attacks, Special Forces, etc, do not constitute an invasion for the purposes of this wager. Occupation of captured territory required. Offer void outside of US. Offer only available if you are over the age of 18 ...

Bush and his cronies aren't nicey-nice Nixon types

Now there's a phrase you don't often see - "nicey-nice Nixon types." I wouldn't be surprised if the undead revenant of Nixon rises from his grave seeking vengeance. Because that's how un-nicey-nice he was. Bush has nothing on him when it comes to the un-nicey-niceness, although I think he was a fairly good president aside from all the corruption, etc.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:34 PM on June 3, 2005


Some things are more important than the presidency, that's for sure. But if I ever heard a government official justifying their actions by saying that some things are more important than the country, I would be a bit concerned. As far as the government is concerned, nothing is more important than the country it governs.

Christ, if that doesn't perfectly demonstrate why the USA is largely considered a menace!

A whole bunch of us countries have figured out that this is a fucking GLOBAL world we live on, and that our actions affect others.

That's why, f'rinstance, a whole lotta countries signed on the Kyoto Agreement. Because some things are more important than our country.

Except in the USA. It has a government that consistently acts selfishly, not only to the detriment of other countries, but to the detriment of the world itself. "Nothing is more important than the USA."

Ugh.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:34 PM on June 3, 2005


Carbolic:
" And, besides, I win for using "begs the question" correctly"

Just to be contrary, his statement suggested the videos existed, but did not require that they existed, therefore it didn't beg the question. Whether than means you used it incorrectly, is another matter :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 7:37 PM on June 3, 2005


Oh, I'm not connecting this to the rightness/wrongness of the Iraq invasion. I am, however, concerned with tackling this issue with as much honesty and certainty as possible, since the admin (and by extension, the media, and those citizens in thrall) cut critics of this admin so little slack (while simultaneously offering so much to the admin itself).
posted by dreamsign at 7:39 PM on June 3, 2005


Me &= I will bet you a crisp, clean $100 bill that we will not invade Iran this month, or anytime this summer. Let me know here if you're interested - I can use the money.*

Would you bet the same for Syria?
posted by Balisong at 7:40 PM on June 3, 2005


Yup, no exaggeration there. Seriously, how did you even manage to type that out - surely your fingers would have revolted? I can only imagine that you'd treat them in a manner appropriate for an apologist of Stalin, and that you typed with bloody stumps.

Jesus H. Christ. Go back and read what I wrote. Try and suss out the point, please. See if you can find it in the original post. There were two lines. One of those contained the entire cruxt of the argument I was making. Here, let me spell it out for you, idiot, again: at least they had a release date.

Now, does that mean that lots of people didn't die in the gulags? No. Does that mean that Stalin and his ilk were great, wonderful, caring people? No. So, let's think about what it does mean.

What it means is that, however bad the gulags were, at least there were sentences. As opposed to the Guantonimo "detainees" who will stay in Cuba until, well, gee, who knows how long? Until their jailkeepers decide they're of no more use, I guess.

That was my point. Sorry if I was too obtuse for you.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:46 PM on June 3, 2005


Begs the Question.
posted by mlis at 7:46 PM on June 3, 2005


Bah, old link in my last post..

Here's a more recent one..
posted by Balisong at 7:50 PM on June 3, 2005


dios:
If I told you that you can guarentee three things occur directly because of the release of the videos (It hurts Bush, another 9/11 occurs, lots of American die), would you still want their release?

Wow, what a fantasyland. Are you the kind of lawyer who makes a living by creating false causation in the minds of jurors, dios? You've got more bullshit arguments than a manure convention.

The most amusing part is how your argument is basically the terrorist one. "If you do X I guarantee that innocent people will die because of it; it cannot be stopped and it will be your doing and on your head" is taking words from from the terrorists' mouths. Good to see you employing the threat of terror in your rhetoric. The second most amusing thing is how obviously it smacks of revenge: "kick out my boy Bush? I wish another 9/11 upon you!"

Dude, you're actually fantasizing about having another 9/11 happen so you can turn to your fellow citizens (and MeFi-ers) and say this was your fault. What the hell is wrong with you?

I'll give your question with the sort of answer it deserves. I'm totally in! -- but only if you can guarantee that the next attack will kick the shit out of Dallas. That's my kind of win-win.
posted by fleacircus at 7:52 PM on June 3, 2005


Civil_D's statement "improperly take(s) for granted” that the tapes in question ever existed by saying that they don't exist now.
posted by Carbolic at 8:03 PM on June 3, 2005


I was close
posted by Carbolic at 8:05 PM on June 3, 2005


I wish I could get my complete thought out in a single post.
posted by Carbolic at 8:06 PM on June 3, 2005


Seconding on Matt allowing limited editing of posts! With a timestamp of the edit.
posted by Balisong at 8:13 PM on June 3, 2005


Something truly terrible and awful is happening in human history right now and those acts originate from this country.
As cloudscratcher said about Argentina, people try to drown out what is happening around them in whatever way they can, but all around them the truth murmurs like a quiet roar, undeniable and as real as the walls we all hide behind to shelter ourselves from the world outside.
People in Argentina were forced to face the truth and confront it and do something about it, people in Germany and Russia, Cambodia and other countries were forced to face that truth and do something about it and so will americans someday.
There is no denying it and no running away from it. The truth will find you and it will envelop you and it will penetrate you and it will own you. And it will not favor this administration or it's followers.
posted by mk1gti at 8:22 PM on June 3, 2005


The winners get to write history, mk. Truth can be forgotten.

(and more damning: didn't Bush say that he doesn't care how history views him? now that is ignorance at its finest)
posted by dreamsign at 8:24 PM on June 3, 2005


He'll get his wish. It won't be pretty.
posted by Balisong at 8:27 PM on June 3, 2005


mk1gti - thorazine, it's what's for breakfast
posted by Carbolic at 8:31 PM on June 3, 2005


In a way, this statement at the start of this thread is the one that concerns me most:

dios said "I don't have any problem with psychological torture."

Why the F&%# not? Torture is torture.
posted by mmahaffie at 8:33 PM on June 3, 2005


I think that history may be revised by the current victors, but eventually the truth comes out. Look at how Nero portrayed his empire then, how his subjects fawned over him, and look at how he is viewed now. I think a similar thing awaits this country's time in world history.
Carbolic - crisp-fried with a crackly crunch.
posted by mk1gti at 8:37 PM on June 3, 2005


Perhaps, but that's scant consolation for the dead and those who mourn them.
posted by dreamsign at 8:44 PM on June 3, 2005


On either side.
posted by Balisong at 8:48 PM on June 3, 2005


Carbolic said: The Geneva Convention contains some prohibitions regarding the release of photographs of prisoners.

That's not true. The Geneva Conventions prohibit the public humiliation of prisoners... not the release of pics of prisoners.

The judge's ruling is based on the fact that the prisoner's faces and distinguishing characteristics can be adequately redacted, so there won't be any public humiliation.
posted by pruner at 8:53 PM on June 3, 2005


Make no mistake about it, I do mourn the dead. I mourn the dead innocents from WWII, which I've read about extensively, the dead innocents from the Korean war, which I've read about extensively, the Vietnam War (which my father was involved in), the dead from all the interventionism in South and Central America (who I have friends from Argentina and Guatemala who came here to leave what was happening in those places), I mourn those innocents who have died in the middle east from the late 1940's forward (both Israeli and Arab) of which one of my dearest Egypian friends has an uncle that was emotionally shattered by that conflict during the late sixties and never recovered. I mourn my father's friends who were on the U.S.S. Liberty in the late 1960's when I was a child in Morocco who died while being bombed and strafed by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats in order to cover up radio intercepts they recovered during the Six Day War proving the Israelis were murdering and mass-burying Egyptian prisoners of war in the desert, I mourn those who have died in East Timor and Cambodia and Singapore and the Phillipines and the central Asian republics after communism failed and tyranny rose with this country's approval and blessing. Believe me, I do mourn.
And I mourn what has happened during Gulf War's I and II and in between when 'sanctions' caused over half a million Iraqi children to starve and suffer horrific birth defects caused by depleted uranium ammunition. I mourn over what is happening now in Iraq and Afghanistan that is largely hidden from us and allowed to occur with free license.
I hope that someday I'll have reason to mourn no more.
posted by mk1gti at 8:56 PM on June 3, 2005


Why the F&%# not? Torture is torture.

One man's psychological torture is another's rock concert.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:58 PM on June 3, 2005


By making them faceless, undistinguishable "terrorists" will do nothing to mask the horrible things (I believe) that are done in my name. (how many usa'ian MeFiers are willing to venture outside our borders? is that from what the govt. has done in our name? or is it because of a boycott? do you feel safer?)

If psycological torture were outlawed, then USmilitary bootcamp would be outlawed. That's their whole MO in order to break you down (destroy the ego), so they can build you up from a base level. They have supposedly been forbidden to use physical torture for 30 years now, except for forced marches, pushups, etc. It used to happen, but we are "above" that now.. But the psycological torture exists. let your imagination wander.. They have people whose job it is to create new stress situations.
posted by Balisong at 9:06 PM on June 3, 2005


pruner - You are correct. It is Article 13 of the Convention. I was explaining the basis for the argument. Blurring the faces would be a way of countering it.
posted by Carbolic at 9:26 PM on June 3, 2005


What distinguishes our time -- the time of September 11 -- is the end of this narrative of scandal. With the scandals over weapons of mass destruction and Abu Ghraib, we are stuck at step one. We have had the revelation; we know about the wrongdoing. Just recently, in the Downing Street memo, we had an account of a high-level discussion in Britain, nearly eight months before the Iraq war, in which the head of British intelligence flatly tells the prime minister - the intelligence officer has just returned from Washington -- that not only has the President of the United States decided that "military action was...inevitable" but that -- in the words of the British intelligence chief -- "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." This memo has been public for weeks.

So we have had the revelations; we know what happened. What we don't have is any clear admission of -- or adjudication of -- guilt, such as a serious congressional or judicial investigation would give us, or any punishment. Those high officials responsible are still in office. Indeed, not only have they received no punishment; many have been promoted. And we -- you and I, members all of the reality-based community -- we are left to see, to be forced to see. And this, for all of us, is a corrupting, a maddening, but also an inescapable burden...

... For these reports do use the words "systematic" and "systemic" -- they are there, in black and white -- and though the reports have great shortcomings, the truth is that they tell us basic facts about Abu Ghraib: first, that the torture and abuse was systematic; that it was ordered by higher-ups, and not carried out by "a few bad apples," as the administration has maintained; that responsibility for it can be traced -- in documents that have been made public -- to the very top ranks of the administration, to decisions made by officials in the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense and, ultimately, the White House. The significance of what we know about Abu Ghraib, and about what went on -- and, most important, what is almost certainly still going on -- not only in Iraq but at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and other military and intelligence bases, some secret, some not, around the world -- is clear: that after September 11, shortly after you all came to Berkeley, our government decided to change this country from a nation that officially does not torture to one, officially, that does.

What is interesting about this fact is not that it is hidden but that it is revealed. We know this -- or rather those who are willing to read know it. Those who can see the gulf between what officials say and what the facts are. And we, as I have said, remain fairly few. Secretary Rumsfeld can say what he said at that nationally televised news conference because no one is willing to read the reports. We are divided, then, between those of us willing to listen, and believe, and those of us determined to read, and think, and find out. And you, English majors of the Class of 2005, you have taken the fateful first step in numbering yourselves, perhaps irredeemably, in the second category. You have taken a step along the road to being Empiricists of the Word.

Now we have come full circle -- all the way back to the question: What are you going to do with that?


Mark Danner
...based on the commencement address given to the graduating students of the Department of English of the University of California at Berkeley in the Hearst Greek Theatre, May 15, 2005.
posted by y2karl at 9:31 PM on June 3, 2005


I have often wondered about this. What was left of Germany's soul was saved, in a way, by the Allied victory; they could no longer deny (at least openly) what had happened, and more importantly, it could no longer continue to happen. Only then could anything relatively moral and functioning be created from the ruins. But there is no one to help us save our own souls if* we're heading down a similar path. Even if the photos are released, many will deny them as fakes, or make elaborate justifications that those eager to continue their denial will swallow. People want to believe in their leaders, and will turn a blind eye to what they do, especially if they believe it will keep them from being the ones taken away.

And if we suppress the photos to prevent more innocent American deaths by supposedly preventing another 9/11, it will only have the net effect of allowing more innocent non-American deaths, in increased secrecy. There is no moral high ground there.

*"if" added to point out that this is not a Godwin post, not calling Bush a Hitler, blah de blah.
posted by emjaybee at 9:32 PM on June 3, 2005


shoos: Unless you use Andrea Dworkin's definition of rape, that is.

WTF does that mean? What, her rape wasn't good enough for you? You think she should have suffered a little more for your voyeristic pleasure? Or perhaps you're saying that the people employed or contracted by the United States were "nice enough" to drug detainees into unconsciousness before brutalizing them? Or are you just parroting the anti-feminist propaganda where they assign quotes to her that she never said? Just what exactly were you trying to say?

Some things are more important than the presidency or the country. - MrGrimm

Truer words could not be spoken.

Extradite Bush, Rumsfled, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rice, and Powell to Iraq to be put on trial for war crimes. --eustacescrubb

Don't all war crimes trials go to Den Hauge? (I have that stuck in my head for some reason.) In any case, I'm all for exporting them and Congress too. Congress was fully complicit. Send em all. I'm tired of all of em.
posted by dejah420 at 10:17 PM on June 3, 2005




Shameful !!!
posted by ericb at 11:01 PM on June 3, 2005


Sure, but curse that Newsweek!

Fucking Pentagon hypocrites.
posted by clevershark at 11:36 PM on June 3, 2005


dios writes "If I told you that you can guarentee three things occur directly because of the release of the videos (It hurts Bush, another 9/11 occurs, lots of American die), would you still want their release?"

If you did say that you would be a lying, self-serving bullshit artist. Since you're such a fucking psychic, why didn't you stop the first 9/11 from happening?

dios writes "I don't have any problem with psychological torture."

"This is quite a shock. On the other hand, it's not surprising in the least." -Bender
posted by clevershark at 11:42 PM on June 3, 2005


Am i the only one that condones torture on the bases that they victims are KNOWN terrorists.

Let's say they invade an al qaeda training camp, take the whole camp prioner. I'd torture the ones who wouldn't talk. I'd bribe first though, than torture.
posted by AMWKE at 1:36 AM on June 4, 2005


"KNOWN terrorists" how? Cuz somebody said they were? Ya might replace that "KNOWN terrorists" with "probable terrorists" or "possible terrorists" and rethink your position.

("bribe"?? heh)
posted by LordSludge at 1:40 AM on June 4, 2005


On second thought, "accused terrorists" is more accurate.
posted by LordSludge at 1:43 AM on June 4, 2005


Hell, I'm an accused, (or probable), terrorist!
And so are YOU!
posted by Balisong at 1:57 AM on June 4, 2005


No I'm not!!

But you totally are. And I *know* AMWKE is.
posted by LordSludge at 3:32 AM on June 4, 2005


Am i the only one that condones torture on the bases that they victims are KNOWN terrorists.

No, there are millions of you. Unscientific studies show that 73% (margin of error 72.5%) of Bush voters in 2004 and 97% (margin of error .005%) of LGF posters not only condone the use of torture on known terrorists but encourage it's use in the course of investigations to identify possible terrorists. You gotta figure if you torture 300 'suspected terrorists' or 'insurgents' at least a few of them are going to point you towards a real one. They will also tell you the sky is green, but hell, what are a few facts when we're at war?

You can't make an omelete without breaking a few eggs and democracy is the march.

I think we should start by rounding up any brown skinned Koran toting folks in Detroit. I hear it's a hotbed of terror cells and I know this guy who knows this guy who heard this other guy talking on the bus about taking back this country "at any price". I just know he's a terrorist. While your at it, see if you can get that twenty bucks the fucker owes me, boy, am I mad at him!
posted by cedar at 5:37 AM on June 4, 2005


> So? Is Hersh right because Ritter said so, or because of his secret sources in the
> administration? I ask again, are you absolutely sure that we'll be invading Iran
> this month, as both have said?

Why on earth yammer about this now, when we'll know for certain very soon whether the Iran invasion happened as predicted, or didn't happen? For that matter, why yammer about what the unreleased Abu Ghraib videos do or don't show? If they're going to come out, as the fpp claims, we'll soon know exactly what's in them. There's absolutely nothing worth saying about them until you've seen them.
posted by jfuller at 6:17 AM on June 4, 2005


we'll soon know exactly what's in them. There's absolutely nothing worth saying about them until you've seen them.

jfuller, you are of course assuming that the liberal media will show the footage to Americans. I'm not so sure.
videos of children screaming because they're being raped in an American prison-- how do you show that on prime time, on TV networks? technically, I mean. everything blurred, just the sound? I don't know.

as of now, the worse that Americans have seen re Abu Ghraib is the photos of the shit-covered inmate, and the corpse on ice. most of the Lynndie England funny souvenir pics were massive blurred. but videos of child rape -- it'd just be illegal to broadcast them, so you can sleep tight guys. the liberal media will never touch that stuff, you'll have a talking head giving a description of the content, showing a few sanitized vidcaps. very low shock value, at this point.

and by the way, Election 2004, Diebold or not, showed that Americans like torture as a means of interrogation -- otherwise the men who made torture official US policy would have lost in a landslide, no need to tinker with a few swing states' voting machines: it would have been a Kerry landslide, had Americans really cared.
so, our right-wing friends don't need to worry -- the new videos won't really change much, we already know 1 year ago what was in them and Rummy wasn't fired.

the rest of the world, on the other hand, will see the videos.
but again, most Americans don't care what foreigners think, as it is their right.

________

Am i the only one that condones torture on the bases that they victims are KNOWN terrorists.

I hope so but I doubt it. fact is, the Abu Ghraib victims of American torturers weren't terrorists, they were at worse car thieves. mostly, it was unlucky people who had been picked up randomly by the same scared kids who don't seem to able to guard a roadblock without shooting everything that moves, killing in the process countless (and irrelevant) Iraqis, the occasional high-profile ally, thus spreading goodwill towards America all over liberated Iraq
posted by matteo at 7:28 AM on June 4, 2005


I read through most of this thread. I found lots of indignation, lots of complaints, lots of criticism, lots of anger, lots of fear, and more than a little talk of consequences that will or even should occur because of this. Lots of discussion of a political nature.
However, I don't recall seeing a single person wonder what happened to the boys in question. Whether or not anything can be done to save/help them. Whether or not they're okay. I think that says a lot.
posted by nightchrome at 7:30 AM on June 4, 2005


At least you had a release date when you were sent to Siberia.
Yes, but since it was the day you died I don't see that as especially helpful.


me & my monkey, your response to C_D was ignorant and pointlessly provocative. When he called you on it, rather than back off you produced this:

Less shit comes out of my ass than your mouth, apparently. Yes, ol' Alex's sentence was eight years. Oh, that's right, he's certainly representative of your typical gulag inhabitant. All those deaths, well those were purely accidental.... Seriously, how did you even manage to type that out - surely your fingers would have revolted? I can only imagine that you'd treat them in a manner appropriate for an apologist of Stalin, and that you typed with bloody stumps.


That's just despicable. Go read a book or two, as C_D said. Stalin's prisoners had release dates; yes, sentences were often extended and prisoners died at high rates in the worst areas, like Kolyma, but that's not to the point—the legal system was set up with limitations, however ineffective. There are no limitations at Guantanamo. Your treating C_D as an apologist for Stalin's murders is pathetic. Go wash out your mouth.

As surely as we are all capable of becoming the torturer, we are also all capable of rendering torture invisible.
But you tell me, and I don't ask rhetorically: that this capacity is so fundamentally human, does that make it less tragic, or more?


This thread was worth it just for cloudscratcher's comment. Well said, and a penetrating question.
posted by languagehat at 8:02 AM on June 4, 2005


> jfuller, you are of course assuming that the liberal media will show the footage to Americans.
> I'm not so sure....the rest of the world, on the other hand, will see the videos.

I'm actually assuming they will leak to the internet in half a heartbeat and I'll be able to grab them via bittorrent or something without breaking my record of having watched no TV in nineteen (nearly twenty) years. The "liberal media" is pretty irrelevant.
posted by jfuller at 9:14 AM on June 4, 2005


videos of children screaming because they're being raped in an American prison-- how do you show that on prime time, on TV networks?

You grow a pair and damn well show it.

This information is far more important than questionable laws regarding television content, FCC fines, or upsetting the (im)moral majority pinheads.

If change is going to happen in the USA, it is going to require broad dissemination of information to a massively ignorant public -- a public that is, on the whole, far less informed than we privileged few hanging out on the internet.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:23 AM on June 4, 2005


If change is going to happen in the USA, it is going to require broad dissemination of information to a massively ignorant public
Well this is a start

Also, looking at some of the other media today, it looks like a certain Senator is getting ready to bring the Downing Street Memo before Congress.
posted by futureproof at 9:55 AM on June 4, 2005


the liberal media will never touch that stuff

The liberal media in the Middle East will.

And anyway, there are places you can go for that sort of thing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:28 AM on June 4, 2005


Fafblog: So You're Being Tortured To Death In An American Military Prison! ...Q: Is there any sort of legal representative or due process I could get before being beaten to death?
A: No. Lawyers, open legal procedures, and basic civil liberties are all tools the enemy can use to escape justice - the justice of being beaten to death in a prison camp.
Q: It's just that my name is Musab Mohammed Khan, the pastry chef, and I believe you have me confused with Musab Muhammed Khan, the al Qaeda associate also known as "The Fist of Jihad."
A: First, there are many terrorist pastry chefs, just as there are many terrorist pastries. Second, competent intelligence and accurate prison records are both tools the enemy can use to escape justice. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:32 AM on June 4, 2005


I am the number three man in Al Queda...

I will see your Jihad and raise you an ASBO.
posted by longbaugh at 10:48 AM on June 4, 2005


I'm actually assuming they will leak to the internet in half a heartbeat and I'll be able to grab them via bittorrent or something without breaking my record of having watched no TV in nineteen (nearly twenty) years. The "liberal media" is pretty irrelevant.

thus proving my point. most Americans won't see it. it just won't exist for them. the footage won't change anything there -- I suggest that people who never watched TV in 20 years and download foreign stuff of bittorrent are not your average, mythical voter from "Middle America". want to bet that the Swift Boat Vets chief will end up getting 100 times the prime-time ABC/CBS/NBC airtime than the Iraqi-children-raped-and-screaming will get? 1,000 times?

it's X-rated material, America won't see it. the most horrible the war crime, the least likely that the video will get air-time. bittorrent is irrelevant. if bittorrent elected US Presidents, Dean (or Nader) would be President now
posted by matteo at 6:22 AM on June 5, 2005


One can burn the videos and images to CD and distribute them to those who you know remain ignorant. At less than a buck a pop, it might very well be some of the best samizdat awareness-raising possible.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:01 AM on June 5, 2005


Maybe we'll have to start handing them out on corners, and slipping them inside flyers, newspapers, magazines and books too. Totally doable. Every supermarket has flyers and things by the entrances, no?

I still think the mass media will run with it--pics and videos always run.
posted by amberglow at 10:07 AM on June 5, 2005


Jesus H. Christ. Go back and read what I wrote. Try and suss out the point, please. See if you can find it in the original post. There were two lines. One of those contained the entire cruxt of the argument I was making. Here, let me spell it out for you, idiot, again: at least they had a release date.

I got the "cruxt" of your argument, thanks. I just thought it was a stupid, ridiculous argument which demonstrates exactly how inane an ordinarily intelligent person can be when posting to a web site. So, because people at Guantanamo don't have release dates, Guantanamo is just as bad as all of Stalin's excesses! I get it now! It's so obvious! If we gave them release dates but worked them all to death, that would be ok, I guess.

Getting called an idiot by the likes of you is a badge of honor.

That's just despicable. Go read a book or two, as C_D said. Stalin's prisoners had release dates; yes, sentences were often extended and prisoners died at high rates in the worst areas, like Kolyma, but that's not to the point—the legal system was set up with limitations, however ineffective. There are no limitations at Guantanamo. Your treating C_D as an apologist for Stalin's murders is pathetic. Go wash out your mouth.

Uh, thanks but no thanks. Comparing the treatment that suspected enemy combatants receive at Guantanamo - as bad as it may be - to Stalin's treatment of his own citizens is ridiculous and disgusting. How many millions of his own citizens did he kill? Get back to me after Bush has starved everyone on the East Coast to death, ok?

Oh, by the way, during every previous war, there has been no limitation on how long prisoners of war were kept prisoner, other than the end of the war and the negotiation of peace. But knock yourself out comparing this to Stalin's atrocities. I especially get a kick out of Stalin imprisoning Soviet soldiers after they were released from German prison camps. Yeah, that's just like Bush all right.

Every ridiculous comparison of Bush to Hitler or Stalin I read here, do you think they're useful or accurate? Why is it necessary to say, "this bad thing is just as bad as this other really bad thing" in order to condemn something as bad?

Would you bet the same for Syria?

Yes, actually, I would. Note again that for the purposes of this bet, invasion would require occupation - I need more than a border skirmish to pay out.

A whole bunch of us countries have figured out that this is a fucking GLOBAL world we live on, and that our actions affect others.

That's why, f'rinstance, a whole lotta countries signed on the Kyoto Agreement. Because some things are more important than our country.


Well, good on you I guess. That has damn all to do with what I said, though, which is simply that the purpose of a government is to serve its citizens. I wouldn't expect that to be such a surprising thing to believe, though. Personally, I think that the US government would serve its citizens best by signing on to Kyoto, as did Clinton, but that's neither here nor there.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:23 AM on June 5, 2005


...which is simply that the purpose of a government is to serve its citizens.
And how are we being served by Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the renditions...in fact the entire Iraq "war"? (since it isn't officially one, nor is the War on Terror™)

and you left off to uphold the constitution--kinda important.
posted by amberglow at 11:35 AM on June 5, 2005


amberglow, he didn't say that, and you know it. Quit twisting people's words.
posted by Snyder at 1:46 PM on June 5, 2005


Every ridiculous comparison of Bush to Hitler or Stalin I read here, do you think they're useful or accurate? Why is it necessary to say, "this bad thing is just as bad as this other really bad thing" in order to condemn something as bad?

Because some idiots fail to grasp the severity of the situation, even when it's written about, photographed, videotaped, and otherwise shoved in the faces.

Getting called an idiot by the likes of you is a badge of honor.

Wear it with pride, moron.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:17 PM on June 5, 2005


And how are we being served ...

Who said we were? Why not ask me when I stopped beating my wife?

Because some idiots fail to grasp the severity of the situation, even when it's written about, photographed, videotaped, and otherwise shoved in the faces.

So let me see if I've got this straight - nothing is worthy of condemnation unless it's the worst thing possible. It can't be just bad, it has to be a genocidal atrocity. I can see how that makes life easier for you.

Wear it with pride, moron.

You're on fire! I bow to your rapier wit. Your rhetoric has convinced me that Bush is the love child of Hitler and Stalin, conceived through Satan's own agency.

My fervent hope is that whack-jobs like you are paid provocateurs of the right, discrediting the left with your loony statements, because no one can be that dumb and still operate a computer.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:21 PM on June 5, 2005


Well, the ego has landed. And meanwhile, to quote again Mark Danner from above--

The significance of what we know about Abu Ghraib, and about what went on -- and, most important, what is almost certainly still going on -- not only in Iraq but at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and other military and intelligence bases, some secret, some not, around the world -- is clear: that after September 11, shortly after you all came to Berkeley, our government decided to change this country from a nation that officially does not torture to one, officially, that does.

All hair splitting and chest thumping aside, that fact remains.
posted by y2karl at 10:44 PM on June 5, 2005


"Am i the only one that condones torture on the bases that they victims are KNOWN terrorists."
- I'm not with you AMWKE. Torture of anyone anywhere, for any reason is always wrong. I concede it's understandable or even expedient, but condonable? never.

"An average group of 20+ revolutionaries with rifles and pistols are no match for a Blackhawk with infrared targeting."
- Leave them with me for 10 weeks Balisong. Hunting tanks & heilos is fun and easy.

"we are all capable of becoming the torturer"
I love the Milgram experiment, cloudscratcher. I was a party to something similar in school (purely an experiment) and I said there was no way no how I was going to hurt another person even with their consent. It's amazing how much of a focus I became, even for those who had been (unlike myself at the time) aware of those experiments. Perhaps I'm a natural contrarian, but it strengthened my resolve. As time goes on I am more and more sure that torture in any form harms humanity, his, yours and humanity as a whole.
I had a girlfriend a while back who was into S&M. As you can figure, we didn't hit it off too well. I'm not Mr. Vanilla, but I won't cause someone needless pain. Perhaps because I had a healthy dose of Taoism & Zen with my early martial arts training. I have killed. I take an Arjuna (from the Bhagavad Gita) sort of approach to it. To me it's analogous to say, deer hunting. I will kill a deer. I will not put the deer in a cage and force drown it, or put screws into it's hooves or sodomize it. The very absurdity of treating a deer that way should illustrate the absurdity of torturing a human. Deer are, for lack of a better word, lesser creatures and someone who would cause the creature pain for hours on end is clearly sick - why then would we condone a similar act on a human?
I'll kill an enemy human without hesitation. I would silence guards and assassinate leaders to achieve my objective. If needed I'd fight a war of attrition and kill every mothers son of them. As bloodthirsty as that sounds, to my mind it shows more respect for them, for humanity, to do that rather than capture and torture them.

Re: Gulag, Stalin, all the qubbling therein:
-----------
From the AP:

"The United States holds about 520 men at Guantanamo, where they are denied rights accorded under international law to prisoners of war. Many have been held without charge for more than three years.

Schulz noted it was Amnesty’s headquarters in London that issued the annual report on global human rights, which said Guantanamo Bay “has become the gulag of our times.”

Asked about the comparison, Schulz said, “Clearly this is not an exact or a literal analogy.

“But there are some similarities. The United States is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons into which people are being literally disappeared. ... And in some cases, at least, we know that they are being mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed,” Schulz said.

“And whether the Americans like it or not, it does reflect how the more than 2 million Amnesty members in a hundred countries around the world and indeed the vast majority of those countries feel about the United States’ detention policy,”

----------
posted by Smedleyman at 9:25 AM on June 6, 2005


The United States is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons into which people are being literally disappeared. ... And in some cases, at least, we know that they are being mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed,”

worth repeating.
posted by amberglow at 9:45 AM on June 6, 2005


All hair splitting and chest thumping aside, that fact remains.

Is it really just hair-splitting and chest-thumping to say that Bush, bad as he may be, isn't as bad as Stalin? To whom will we compare him when he does something worse?

Oh, and y2karl, you don't have all that much room to be making cracks about others' egos - glass houses and all that.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:52 AM on June 6, 2005


My bad - it was from Reuters.

Oddly, the focus seems to be more on the mischaracterization of the term "gulag" as opposed to - y'know - the fact that the administration (Rumsfeld in particular) deciding to switch to torturing and first striking and all that good stuff.
...well, not oddly, considering the Librul Jew run MEDIA BIAS, but hey, nothing to see here, move along. The term "gulag" is inappropriate and therefore the administration cannot be compared to any other oligarchs who tortured and invaded even though Hitler and Stalin are the two foremost on people's minds. And that, really, is all that matters, the image and what it looks like and the metaphors we use, not what's actually going on. Please continue the political correctness.

---------
"WASHINGTON — Despite highly publicized charges of U.S. mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the head of Amnesty International USA said Sunday the group doesn’t “know for sure” the military is running a “gulag.”

Executive Director William Schulz said Amnesty, often cited worldwide for documenting human rights abuses, also did not know whether U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved severe torture methods such as beatings and starvation.

Schulz recently dubbed Rumsfeld an “apparent high-level architect of torture” in asserting he approved interrogation methods that violated international law.

“It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea,” Schulz told “Fox News Sunday. "
--------------
posted by Smedleyman at 10:08 AM on June 6, 2005


My entire post is invalid because the 'liberal jew run media' comment is exaggerated.
/no, it doesn't matter that it was sarcasm or an attention getter. It's wrong therefore the entire premise of the post is wrong.
*goes off to beat dead horse*
posted by Smedleyman at 10:20 AM on June 6, 2005


five fresh fish: One can burn the videos and images to CD and distribute them to those who you know remain ignorant.

That's actually pretty brilliant. I'm totally on board for an project like that.
posted by dejah420 at 9:51 AM on June 8, 2005


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