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Playing Devil's Advocate
June 20, 2005 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Guantanamo Defended. DoD explaining the value of the intelligence coming out of Guantanamo using the specific case of Mohamed al Kahtani as an example. (via cryptome)
posted by forforf (71 comments total)

 
I read the Times magazine article on the interrogation. They say he broke only when the interrogators started treating him better. Times magazine is so mainstream I thought this was the universally accepted perspective of the story.
posted by xammerboy at 1:40 PM on June 20, 2005


Probably more importantly, Cryptome also just released pictures I sent to them of ,a href="http://cryptome.org/bkz/buhriz-kill01.htm">U.S. soldiers planting weapons in front of dead and injured Iraqi teens, presumably for Vietnam-like body count purposes.

Seymour Hersh looked into the matter and said that the kids were playing soccer and were shot by mistake, but the rest of the media has been slow to pick up on this. The question is, how often are "dead insurgents" just dead civilians, and how often do U.S. troops try to manipulate the facts of the matter?
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:59 PM on June 20, 2005


Corrected link to the pictures.

(I *knew* that preview button was there for a reason...)
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:00 PM on June 20, 2005


Hanoi Hilton Defended. PoP explaining the value of intelligence coming out of the Hao Lo Penance Facility using the specific case of Lt. Commander Robert E. Capwell, USN as an example.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:00 PM on June 20, 2005


Destroying Nagasaki was valuable, but not for humanity.
posted by four panels at 2:04 PM on June 20, 2005


Damn insomnia_lj, those are very disturbing photos. You should probably put them up in a post to the front page rather than keep them buried in here.
posted by caddis at 2:11 PM on June 20, 2005


I notice that they don't actually say the only way they could get the information from that guy was by torturing him.
posted by raaka at 2:11 PM on June 20, 2005


the rest of the media has been slow to pick up on this.

it's the adolescent iraqi penis.
posted by quonsar at 2:13 PM on June 20, 2005


So these ends, they justify the means?

Hey, if it works....

Let's start torturing all suspects, from accused shoplifters on up. I'm sure our conviction rate will go up, and who cares about the innocents who terrified and in pain, agree that they're witches?
posted by orthogonality at 2:15 PM on June 20, 2005


I read the Times magazine article on the interrogation. They say he broke only when the interrogators started treating him better.

I am only pointing out the logical fallacy in this argument, not opining on the use of torture in general. Saying that he opened up when the captors made conditions better does not mean that the treatment was ineffective -- it's quite reasonable to think that only because it was an improvement he was willing to talk. There's a reason why good cop/bad cop is a very common tactic - giving two oppsite treatments can often make people more likely to talk since they are afraid of bad treatment but too stubborn to talk to the one treating them poorly.

We have no way to know whether that's the case here or whether he would have talked without being mistreated, but you can't argue that the treatment was ineffective since he talked when it stopped.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:16 PM on June 20, 2005


Can't they photoshop penises out these days?
posted by wakko at 2:17 PM on June 20, 2005


[derail]
Destroying Nagasaki was valuable, but not for humanity.

I'm fully in agreement with the prevailing sentiment around here that Guantanamo ought to be shut down as soon as humanly possible, but I have a few major problems with the above statement.

First of all, destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved a calculated two million American soldiers' lives that it would've taken to remove the Japanese from their holdings in the Pacific. Not to mention tens of millions of Japanese lives - both of soldiers and civilians who would've died as a result of their cultural history of fighting to the last man.

Secondly, the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki demonstrated to the world the horror of using nuclear weapons on civilian populations. Would the Cuban Missile Crisis have had a very different ending without their example? Would you be willing to wager hundreds of millions of lives on it? Is avoiding a full nuclear exchange between superpowers valuable to humanity?

Thirdly, the destruction of Nagasaki - as opposed to just Hiroshima - was necessary on the grounds that the Japanese people at large needed to understand that Hiroshima was not just a one-time event. It was something the United States was both capable of and willing to perform repeatedly, and compared to the alternatives as stated above I think the world at large got off very lightly indeed. That doesn't make it any less tragic or any less differentiated from the ideal - but in the end game it almost certainly prevented greater tragedies. In that context it was valuable both to humanity in general and the Japanese people in particular.

Speaking for myself, if it took my home town being nuked in order to prevent billions from dying in a full-blown nuclear exchange between the modern nuclear powers, then I for one would be willing to make that sacrifice. I couldn't live with the alternative on my conscience.
[/derail]
posted by Ryvar at 2:27 PM on June 20, 2005


They say he broke only when the interrogators started treating him better.

It's a known fact that hostages and kidnapped people start wanting to like their captors. I don't know what it has to do with anything. They've been breaking all standards of decency for some time now. The fact that now, we're treating this one hostage better, and, now with more intel, I don't get it.

Can't they photoshop penises out these days?

Sort of like the girl running from the napalm, death and dying can have the ability to change ones perspective on serious topics, like penises.
posted by nervousfritz at 2:28 PM on June 20, 2005


wakko writes "Can't they photoshop penises out these days?"

Because the dead boy's penis is what's offensive to Americans, not the possibility that innocents were shot or the undeniable truth that our military was playing pose the corpses for the camera games.
posted by orthogonality at 2:32 PM on June 20, 2005


U.S. soldiers planting weapons in front of dead and injured Iraqi teens

Hmmm, so they planted weapons for photos that were not taken by the media. I guess you will see what you want to see.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:41 PM on June 20, 2005


Steve, how dare you contest the authenticity of these photographs. There is no explanation other than an evil murdering military planting evidence.
posted by dios at 2:45 PM on June 20, 2005


How come the clothes come off anyway?
posted by caddis at 2:51 PM on June 20, 2005


dios, have you looked at the pictures? What's your explanation?
posted by odinsdream at 2:53 PM on June 20, 2005


Also, insomnia_lj, I've seen these photos before, quite awhile ago. They've been ignored for a long, long time.
posted by odinsdream at 2:54 PM on June 20, 2005


When there have been credible allegations of abuse they are investigated aggressively and individuals are held accountable for their actions.
That's just one of the untruths in that piece. Give us names and show us the courtmartials of the soldiers held accountable--any at all. Even one would help. And tragically, torture and abuse are now officially sanctioned parts of our operations, thanks to Gonzales and Bush.

We're trying Saddam, we tried Eichmann, yet we don't try these people? No. There are better ways to get info, and we used to be a country that respected laws and the Geneva Convention.

My new favorite quote is applicable here: The issue isn't whether or not we are the same as the Nazis, the issue is that we aren't different enough.--Avi Schlaim, Israeli historian
posted by amberglow at 2:59 PM on June 20, 2005


Steve, how dare you contest the authenticity of these photographs. There is no explanation other than an evil murdering military planting evidence.

If you've got an alternative explanation, I think we'd all like to hear it.

insomnia, thanks for the pictures - very disturbing. I can only hope that more media will pick up on this... but I'm not holding my breath.
posted by salad spork at 3:03 PM on June 20, 2005


Hmmm, so they planted weapons for photos that were not taken by the media. I guess you will see what you want to see.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:41 PM CET on June 20 [!]
Steve, how dare you contest the authenticity of these photographs. There is no explanation other than an evil murdering military planting evidence.
posted by dios at 11:45 PM CET on June 20 [!]


Jesus Christ, and you guys still have the gall to open your mouths, after the rape rooms and torture rooms and the murders -- let's hear it, again, from Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, not exactly a Chomsky fan:
"The American public needs to understand, we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We're talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges."
rape and murder, stevie&dios. you still haven't found a war crime you can't justify -- it'll be interesting to check if it will ever change, and which horror will be enough to finally become the tipping point for the war-crime apologists
posted by matteo at 3:10 PM on June 20, 2005


Give us names and show us the courtmartials of the soldiers held accountable--any at all. Even one would help.

Sure, how about eight easy examples? I don't have access to every US armed forces personnel file, but here are the first eight that come up in Google.
—Spec. Megan Ambuhl: She previously pleaded guilty at summary court-martial; was reduced in rank and was separated from the Army with other than honorable (OTH) discharge.

—Spec. Armin Cruz: He previously pleaded guilty at a special court-martial empowered to adjudge a bad conduct discharge; was sentenced to 8 months, and given a bad conduct discharge.

—Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick, II: He previously pleaded guilty at a general court-martial ;was sentenced to 8 years and given a dishonorable discharge.

—Spec. Charles A. Graner, Jr.: He pleaded not guilty at a general court-martial at Fort Hood recently. He was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to 10 years and given a dishonorable discharge.

—Spec. Jeremy Sivits: He previously pleaded guilty at special court-martial empowered to adjudge a bad conduct discharge; was sentenced to one year, and was given bad conduct discharge.

—Sgt. Javal S. Davis: He previously pleaded guilty at a general court-martial; was sentenced to six months, and given a bad conduct discharge.

—Spec. Roman Krol: He previously pleaded guilty at special court-martial empowered to adjudge a bad conduct discharge; was sentenced to ten months, and given a bad conduct discharge.

—Spec. Sabrina Harman: previously pleaded not guilty at a general court-martial. Her trial is scheduled to begin May 11.
Next?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:11 PM on June 20, 2005


dios, have you looked at the pictures? What's your explanation?
posted by odinsdream at 2:53 PM PST on June 20


I don't know have an explanation because none of us know the circumstances surrounding them. The explanation given seems most likely skewed.

But you want me to posit some? How about the ones with the weapons were taken first, and then the weapons were collected and more photos were taken. Or how about the fact that the weapons were collected right away to secure them, and then pictures were taken and someone said "hey, put what they were carrying in the pictures with them. we should get some pictures with that."

The fact is that none of us know what happened. You have taken one account of the photographs and accepting that as fact. I don't think we have enough evidence to know anything about what is in those pictures. The explanation given is wholly unfulfilling. Why would the military be taking these pictures? Why would the military feel they need to plant weapons when the pictures weren't for the public anyhow? Who took them? How do we know it was the military that planted weapons and not some insurgents? Why are we to assume these people were innocent?

None of us know. But instead, we are suppose to assume the worst and assume that our troops are just evil bastards? I'll pass. It's amazing the benefit of the doubt and assumption of innocence you people give to the detainees at Gitmo but are more than willing to jump to accusations about our troops.
posted by dios at 3:11 PM on June 20, 2005


But instead, we are suppose to assume the worst and assume that our troops are just evil bastards?

Is it possible that the individual men and women overseas are experiencing some very complex emotions about their role and what they do for work every day? Given that sit-down group therapy sessions probably aren't readily available in Fallujah how is it surprising that they deal with the horrors of death in a different way than people in the U.S. would? We live in civilization, they live in a warzone. There's no time to sit down and grieve, so instead people cope with death in different ways.

I don't know why/how those photos were taken. Dios has one theory, forforf has another. But assuming the worst (evil sadists) or the best (the guns were there first) seems like a poor idea. Either scenario is possible, as is the simple explanation that they were trying to cope with the tragedy of death in a profoundly misguided but quite understandable way. Morbid humor is a bad idea, but in the middle of a horrible war it doesn't make anybody a sadist or "evil." It's a bad coping mechanism, but we should at least think about where it's coming from.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:17 PM on June 20, 2005


I find it very disconcerting when the usual suspects post ad hoc arguments, or downright stupid shit, to explain away things. Rather than facing the music.

A while ago, I was talking to scientist who recalled a person he once worked with. He described him as "the kind of person who would hear the sound of hooves outside his window, and instantly assume it was a zebra, rather than a horse."

To which I replied, "well, maybe he has a point, it could have been a zebra."

"Yeah sure, but then he sees it's a horse and insists it's a kind of zebra."

There's a word for this, I think it's called "genuflection."
posted by gsb at 3:17 PM on June 20, 2005


One other (MAJOR) reason why I assume this to be not true is that insomnia admits that Sy Hersh doesn't believe the story enough to use it. If Sy Hersh doesn't think of enough of it to pimp it, then I'm certainly not going to accept it on insomnia's word.
posted by dios at 3:19 PM on June 20, 2005


I find it very disconcerting when the usual suspects post ad hoc arguments, or downright stupid shit, to explain away things. Rather than facing the music.

Is that not in itself an ad-hominem argument? As in "the usual suspects can't be right, since they're always 'genuflecting'"?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:20 PM on June 20, 2005


that's ad hominem, thedevildancedlightly. And no, it's not an argument, it's disconcerting.
posted by gsb at 3:23 PM on June 20, 2005


It's amazing the benefit of the doubt and assumption of innocence you people give to the detainees at Gitmo but are more than willing to jump to accusations about our troops.

"You people"? "Our troops"?

In any case, I think "we people" would like to see due process and fair, open trials with respect to Gitmo detainees. I don't think that is an exclusive-and with accusations about misbehavior committed by "your troops".

Being fair and decent would be an excellent way to advertise our brand of democracy in the global marketplace of ideas. Might even reduce terrorism somewhat. I think this is something "your troops" might recognize as a good idea as it would bring our soldiers home sooner.
posted by Rothko at 3:31 PM on June 20, 2005


"Damn insomnia_lj, those are very disturbing photos. You should probably put them up in a post to the front page rather than keep them buried in here."

Metafilter rules say no self-links... and although I wouldn't be linking to my own site, I would be linking to a story I helped create, which is questionable. If someone else wants to make a FPP out of it, or if Matt wants to say that I can make such a post, I would be glad to do so, because otherwise, those pictures are most likely going to remain buried.

FYI, I know for a fact that the person who took the pictures was a U.S. soldier, and that they weren't doctored in any way. I can also tell just by looking that the same RPG is inserted into each picture. Obviously, you don't need about eight teens... and presumably more who might have gotten away -- to fire a single RPG, so what gives?!

I trust Sy Hersh, and I trust his source who told him what happened, even if he isn't willing to go forward with the pictures because it would incriminate his source. Hell, I effectively told him -- and you -- what unit took the pictures. It should be obvious why he's not going forward on this matter.

What is frustrating to me is that the surviving Iraqi teens were presumably put into some place like Abu Ghraib. They're still there, and they lack the use of these pictures to defend themselves. Why? Because nobody wants to tell a story about U.S. soldiers having done something stupid and wrong, if it's not completely conclusive. Well, I'm sorry, but it's not going to get any more conclusive than it currently is until enough of a stink is raised so as to require these soldiers to give testimony.

I'm not saying that these teens are innocent, but are circumstances such that they should be found guilty? This is a very serious question, considering that the Iraqi government has announced that they plan to start trying and executing accused insurgents soon... and you have to wonder whether the prosecution would have the staged pictures in their disposal.

Either you can believe that somehow, these pictures are incredibly unique and that one of you just happened to "luck out" and get passed something that's a bigtime exception to the rule, or you can reasonably assume that this kind of shit happens a lot more often than we'd like to admit. Maybe this kind of presumptive and staged guilt only happens in 5% of such cases... but given that we're talking about tens of thousands of Iraqis being detained, but given that we're talking about thousands of such cases, is that something you feel good about?

What we're dealing with here are young soldiers trained primarily to kill, and not for police-style duties. They have the power of life and death over others and share a strong emotional need to justify their actions to themselves... so why do you expect them to make the same ethical decisions as police officers who have trained their entire careers on how to treat potential offenders?

Anyone want to guess how many of these kinds of actions have been performed by U.S. soldiers in order to justify bodycounts or justify the deaths of Iraqi civilians? Hundreds? Thousands?! And how can we expect better of them, when we're the ones who sent them out there, ill-equpped, undertrained, and undermanned for doing what they are supposed to do?
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:34 PM on June 20, 2005


The boys that they stripped were not dead, and were
probably being checked for weapons (images 7,8, 13, 14).
Their wounds were being bound up.
The sun is lower in the sky in the second set of pictures,
where the RPGs appear.
posted by the Real Dan at 3:37 PM on June 20, 2005


dios writes "If Sy Hersh doesn't think of enough of it to pimp it, then I'm certainly not going to accept it on insomnia's word."

Have you at long last no decency, dios?

Sy Hersh having evidentiary standards that far exceed the "evidence" your puppet-masters accept ("yellowcake from Afreee-ca"), you turn into a further slam against a heroic man ("pimp").

So tell us, dios, do you disdain Sy Hersh because you still refuse to believe his reporting about My Lai and Abu Ghraib, or do you just disdain him for reporting them?
posted by orthogonality at 3:47 PM on June 20, 2005


dios, have you looked at the pictures? What's your explanation?

I am not dios but I have looked at the photos. They prove what exactly? That soldiers moved weapons near the corpses. I am not a veteran but it is my understanding from talking to veterans that this has been going on since at least WW II (probably longer). After enemy troops are killed sometimes weapons found in their vehicle or in an area they were defending are placed alongside them for a "trophy" photo.

Now you can debate wether or not that is a civilized thing to do but it is definitely not "planting" them.

Your endless self-promotion on Metafilter (even going so far to post an Ask Metafilter question on your photos, where you went out of your way to mention your association with "Sy" as you called him) is crass, especially given that the photos do not live up to the hype you have created, nevermind they fail spectacularly to prove that anything was planted.

Oh, one other thing. It may surprise you to learn that there are actual journalists who are Metafilter members. One in particular I am thinking of is a freelance journalist who broke a story in 2004 that was reported on the front page of the Washington Post and credited to him.

I have observed this journalist Mefite make comments to posts that involve his area of expertise YET HE NEVER USES IT AS A CRASS SELF-PROMOTION VEHICLE. In fact, he has not even mentioned his occupation or area of speciality as far as I know.

I am thinking you could learn something from him.
posted by mlis at 3:56 PM on June 20, 2005


dios writes "But you want me to posit some? How about the ones with the weapons were taken first, and then the weapons were collected and more photos were taken. Or how about the fact that the weapons were collected right away to secure them, and then pictures were taken and someone said 'hey, put what they were carrying in the pictures with them. we should get some pictures with that.' "


dios, a close examination of the weapons shows that the same three (or in one case two) weapons are posed with as if dropped from the hands of two different dead "insurgents", and then with one live "insurgent".

Same weapons with the same scratches discolorations and dents dropped by three different guys in three different places, or an attempted frame-up to make it look like more weapons were captured and that more of the dead were "insurgents"?

Or are those weapons just like the WMDs, only there long enough to justify a war?
posted by orthogonality at 3:57 PM on June 20, 2005


Sy Hersh having evidentiary standards that far exceed the "evidence" your puppet-masters accept ("yellowcake from Afreee-ca")

It becomes harder and harder to take you seriously every day. To paraphrase gsb, this is seriously "stupid shit."
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:58 PM on June 20, 2005


MLIS writes "I have observed this journalist Mefite make comments to posts that involve his area of expertise YET HE NEVER USES IT AS A CRASS SELF-PROMOTION VEHICLE. In fact, he has not even mentioned his occupation or area of speciality as far as I know. I am thinking you could learn something from him."

MLIS, are you suggesting that insomnia is using these pictures or this post from "CRASS SELF-PROMOTION"?

If so, what leads you to believe that?
posted by orthogonality at 3:59 PM on June 20, 2005


Tell me, is the general American public attitude more along the lines of the S@L/Dios type, or the shock-and-outrage type?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:19 PM on June 20, 2005


Sure, how about eight easy examples? I don't have access to every US armed forces personnel file, but here are the first eight that come up in Google.
Not even one of those is Guantanamo-related, which is what we're talking about. Try again.

Meanwhile, who's building a new prison there ...for the long-term detention of detainees... as part of a larger contract that could be worth up to $500 million through 2010...?
posted by amberglow at 4:24 PM on June 20, 2005


1/3 and 1/3 probably, fff, altho many millions just automatically tune out the subject--it makes them uncomfortable, and with good reason.
posted by amberglow at 4:25 PM on June 20, 2005


It does appear that the same three items -- one RPG7 (loaded, not in all the photos), one normal RPG7 grenade, and another RPG7 grenade that appears to be broken (?) -- are used in ALL of the "after" photos.
posted by clevershark at 4:25 PM on June 20, 2005


Here's your liberty (to pump oil for us). Have a nice day.
posted by arjuna at 4:32 PM on June 20, 2005


Tell me, is the general American public attitude more along the lines of the S@L/Dios type, or the shock-and-outrage type?

I believe the general American public attitude is: "Excuse me while I get in my SUV and talk on my cell phone on my way to get a triple latte. Oh, and don't raise my property taxes to pay for programs to help those less fortunate than me."
posted by marxchivist at 4:33 PM on June 20, 2005


Metafilter rules say no self-links...

I posted it for you.
posted by caddis at 4:35 PM on June 20, 2005


Gee, Tiddles, your customary affronted indignation is a given. But you're picking easy targets.

In any case, I think "we people" would like to see due process and fair, open trials with respect to Gitmo detainees. — Rothko

That's the type of statement that no amount of pedant posturing and painstaking obfuscation can hope to evade.
posted by Haruspex at 4:39 PM on June 20, 2005


Or how about the fact that the weapons were collected right away to secure them, and then pictures were taken and someone said "hey, put what they were carrying in the pictures with them. we should get some pictures with that."

Oh yeah, they really had to be secured from dead people that were sufficiently far away from them (by the way, if they dropped the weapons when they were killed, how come they are not in the "before" pics?) that they don't fit into the picture frame. Beside the fact that same weapons appear later next to different people.
But then again, we can't trust that Terry Shiavo autopsy report either. And it was not certain at the time that she was brain dead.
Fuckheads...
posted by c13 at 4:43 PM on June 20, 2005


five fresh fish: shock, but not much outrage.
posted by raaka at 4:44 PM on June 20, 2005


Ryvar, your numbers are way, way off, but I agree with your general point wrt Nagasaki. If we were more noble people we could have made it easier for the Japanese military leadership to surrender 'with honor'... perhaps. This is very arguable and this thread isn't the place to argue this point tho (surrendering with honor was basically code for surrendering with institutional honor, and failing to break the balls of the enemy's military was a signal failure of the endgame of WWI).

anyway, on the rpg issue:

"They prove what exactly?"

wrong frame of reference. Random pictures off the internet don't "prove" anything. But from appearances, a rational person could make the provisional judgement that the US whacked some non-combatants in a grove and then repeatedly moved the 3 RPG thingies for CYA purposes wrt courts martial or other negative repercussions of accidentally killing noncombatants.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:45 PM on June 20, 2005


Gee, Tiddles, your customary affronted indignation is a given.

I'm very confused as to how looking into the feelings and motivations of soldiers in wartime is "customary affronted indignation". I think you have me confused with somebody else. Try again.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:45 PM on June 20, 2005


a rational person could make the provisional judgement that the US whacked some non-combatants in a grove and then repeatedly moved the 3 RPG thingies for CYA purposes wrt courts martial or other negative repercussions of accidentally killing noncombatants.

Or, as somebody who knows what an RPG is (and thus is more credible with respect to all things combat) has said before, "trophy" pictures in wartime are a grim but frequent reality. From here there's no way to know. It's not certain either way, but to assume that any "rational person" must come down on one side is condascending and proves the commenter's bias more than anything else.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:48 PM on June 20, 2005


somebody who knows what an RPG is

that's rich, getting called out by somebody who called them "guns" upthread.

tddl, I'm not asserting that that rational position is exclusionary. It is always possible for multiple "rational" positions to be held in areas of uncertainty, and indeed your link does argue that posing dead bodies with planted weapons is not prima facie evidence of a cover up.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:52 PM on June 20, 2005


If we were more noble people we could have made it easier for the Japanese military leadership to surrender 'with honor'... perhaps

"Easier" for the Japanese military to surrender? As you say, this is not the time to get into this discussion but you really should read up on the battles in the Pacific Theatre during WW II.

wrong frame of reference

When the person posting them has been telling anyone who would pay attention to him on Metafilter how he has evidence of a potential crime, what standard is correct?

But from appearances, a rational person could make the provisional judgement that the US whacked some non-combatants

How so? Because they are not wearing khafiyas, or headscarves? Because of their age? A rational person could also make the provisional judgement that US military personnel killed combatants.
posted by mlis at 4:55 PM on June 20, 2005


that's rich, getting called out by somebody who called them "guns" upthread.

I was using "guns" as a shorthand for "weaponry of all types." Now stop being pedantic.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:56 PM on June 20, 2005


"Easier" for the Japanese military to surrender?

I'm talking about after Okinawa. The holdup was the mainly the position of the emperor, and secondarily the position of the miltary within society. Had the Japanese known what a reasonably mild occupation was in store for them we arguably could have gotten them to surrender months earlier, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

A rational person could also make the provisional judgement that US military personnel killed combatants.

What is your evidence of this? The same RPG pieces planted in front of them? Why would a team of 7 or however many be walking around with one launcher? Where are their guns or military equipment? Smells really funny.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:00 PM on June 20, 2005




"trophy" pictures in wartime are a grim but frequent reality.

First of all, who the fuck considers children "trophies," even if you did kill them in defense of your position? Wouldn't the more likely response be "oh my god, I can't believe I had to kill these children, I had to... but, my god, they're just children..."

Second of all, if they -were- trophy pictures, why take "before" shots without the weapons? Would you really move the same weapon around to all the other bodies? Why is this necessary? Why not get all the weapons that each of these insurgents had (if they were insurgents, weren't they each armed individually? why not?) and photograph each insurgent with his own weapons, or a big pile of ALL the weapons?

Why is there a shortage of weapons?
posted by odinsdream at 5:11 PM on June 20, 2005


Try again.

Oh, hardly. Although along with pedantry and obfuscation, I might have added huffy condescension.

Since all agree on the fundamental indeterminacy of our 'buzzing, blooming' reality, that only makes definitive the necessity for fair and open trials. For those without the most guns, there is no other history.
posted by Haruspex at 5:17 PM on June 20, 2005


Those are children.
posted by cytherea at 5:31 PM on June 20, 2005


Those are children.

Children of that age can be members of the resistance too.

Granted, the only evidence indicating the were engaged in armed resistance is some RPGs planted on them, but if I were a young Sunni who eg. had his neighborhood flattened, his relations locked up in Abu Ghraib, and his country turned over to Iranian Shiites, I'd be looking for an RPG too.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:50 PM on June 20, 2005


Certainly VERY fishy. Had they been an RPG ambush team a couple of those kids would have been packing AK's or at least side arms. Where are they? I'm not rushing to judge. I've had kids younger than that shoot at me - so it's all possible they were "bad guys". But this smells.

Yeah. Sometimes it's children that try to kill you. And even sicker.
Sometimes you have to kill children.

All the more reason for us to get the fuck out of that goddamned crazy place.
posted by tkchrist at 5:55 PM on June 20, 2005


destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved a calculated two million American soldiers' lives that it would've taken to remove the Japanese from their holdings in the Pacific.

According to this CIA monograph on US invasion planning and the decision to drop the bomb, the initial estimates of American casualties ranged from 132,500 to 220,000, depending on the invasion scenario.

posted by kirkaracha at 6:17 PM on June 20, 2005


I believe the general American public attitude is: "Excuse me while I get in my SUV and talk on my cell phone on my way to get a triple latte. Oh, and don't raise my property taxes to pay for programs to help those less fortunate than me."

Ouch! Too bad it isn't false.
posted by caddis at 6:32 PM on June 20, 2005




Excuse me while I get in my SUV and talk on my cell phone on my way to get a triple latte. Oh, and don't raise my property taxes to pay for programs to help those less fortunate than me

Ouch! Too bad it isn't false.
posted by caddis


Yep caddis, that sweeping generalization pretty much covers all americans. And all muslims are terrorists. Must be beautiful and extremely simple to live in your black and white world.
posted by justgary at 9:25 PM on June 20, 2005


[derail]
Thanks, Heywood and especially kirkaracha. I've read a few things on the subject and I've always heard 2 million US casualties vs tens of millions of Japanese.

Until I can relocate those sources, however, I'll take kirkaracha's link as gospel. Either way, my basic point still stands, but I appreciate being able to argue it from a more informed position.
[/derail]
posted by Ryvar at 10:25 PM on June 20, 2005


Speaking for myself, if it took my home town being nuked in order to prevent billions from dying in a full-blown nuclear exchange between the modern nuclear powers, then I for one would be willing to make that sacrifice

So, your saying the people of Nagasaki should be honored to be allowed to make such a sacrifice for the rest of humanity?!? I'm sure that will be a lot of comfort for them and their families.... jerk.
posted by axon at 3:57 AM on June 21, 2005


Oh yeah, they really had to be secured from dead people that were sufficiently far away from them (by the way, if they dropped the weapons when they were killed, how come they are not in the "before" pics?) that they don't fit into the picture frame. Beside the fact that same weapons appear later next to different people.

Just a further assumption here, as there seem to be plenty of those on both sides, but couldn't the boys have been traveling together carrying the RPG?

My first reaction was not necessarily one of shock that boys were killed, but rather disgust at a situation where children become soldiers. A situation that we created.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:29 AM on June 21, 2005


Just to clarify, to me an accidental killing can be far less revolting than an intentional one. It is a war zone and soldiers are understandably paranoid, shit happens, tragic, but it does. The idea that these kids were driven to fight to the death is somehow a worse situation than the first.

I suspect that even if it was an accidental killing, the soldiers who shot these children had plenty of reason to believe that even kids were capable of what the photos implicate.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:49 AM on June 21, 2005


I didn't know this thread was happening. I'm gonna have to wade in on this one too.
posted by jsavimbi at 2:22 PM on June 22, 2005


Wiki Reviews Guantanamo Documents

Wiki Project here.
posted by ericb at 5:14 PM on June 22, 2005


Updated, for the sake of the record.

"Officer in Charge Responds to Buhriz Allegations"

Resulting MeFi discussion.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:45 PM on July 1, 2005


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