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The Death of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush
August 3, 2005 3:29 PM   Subscribe

Fear up, pride and ego down... It was inside the sleeping bag that the 56-year-old detainee took his last breath through broken ribs, lying on the floor beneath a U.S. soldier in Interrogation Room 6 in the western Iraqi desert. Two days before, a secret CIA-sponsored group of Iraqi paramilitaries, working with Army interrogators, had beaten Mowhoush nearly senseless, using fists, a club and a rubber hose, according to classified documents.
posted by Shanachie (119 comments total)

 
The sleeping bag was the idea of a soldier who remembered how his older brother used to force him into one, and how scared and vulnerable it made him feel.

.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:36 PM on August 3, 2005


I'll go out on a limb here and condemn the interrogation tactics employed by the US military in attempting to extract information from prisoners of war.

I forget, how are we better than the insurgents?
posted by fenriq at 3:38 PM on August 3, 2005


F*ing sick bastards.
posted by caddis at 3:44 PM on August 3, 2005


I forget, how are we better than the insurgents?
posted by fenriq at 3:38 PM PST on August 3 [!]


How, or if?
posted by Chunder at 3:44 PM on August 3, 2005


It is good that these guys are arrested and awaiting trial. They should get the maximum punishment allowed. Shame on them if this article is correct.

(And fenriq: in case you missed it, we are punishing and condemning those who did this...maybe that is a difference, eh?)
posted by dios at 3:45 PM on August 3, 2005


dios, funny, I don't see Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush being punished for these egregious crimes against POWs. Or Alberto Gonzales for advocating torture of prisoners.

Oh, you meant the peons who were told to get the information by whatever means necessary? Oh, I feel soooo much better now.
posted by fenriq at 3:51 PM on August 3, 2005


Bottom line: War is Hell. As long as wars continue, this type of behavior will remain.

I forget, how are we better than the insurgents?

Well, the interrigators were trying to get info that would save lives, whereas the insurgents indiscriminately kill for no apparent reason other than to cause chaos.
posted by b_thinky at 3:52 PM on August 3, 2005


Yes, Dios, it's great that the two officers who carried out the abuse are being punished. It is not so great, however, that they -- like the Abu Ghraib guards before them -- will be the falls guys for others in the armed forces and intelligence services who either implicitly or tacitly approved these tactics. Shame on them.
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:55 PM on August 3, 2005


The guards who carried out these beatings, etc, are victims here as well. I'm sure they thought what they were doing was Legal. This "Do what we tell you, and we'll punish you if you get caught" crap is a bunch of BS so people like Dios can spout off about how much better we are then them.
posted by delmoi at 3:57 PM on August 3, 2005


Congrats, b_thinky, you've just approved the use of torture against people who may or may not know a single piece of useful information. Were the soliders trying to get such info? Or were they simply punishing someone for not playing ball? Looks like the latter to me. Tell you what, pretend the article was written in 1970 and that it was John McCain getting the shit kicked out of him in a sleeping bag by Viet Cong. Then see if you can brush it off with a "war is hell."
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:59 PM on August 3, 2005


As a former soldier who has taught several batches of recruits how to deal with POWs and the Geneva convention, I can only shake my head and sigh when I see articles like this. Let the guilty be found guilty and let us all learn from their mistakes so as not to repeat them.

Bottom line: War is Hell. As long as wars continue, this type of behavior will remain.

No, the bottom line is that we can always do a bit more to better ourselves from the atrocities of the past, but only if we stop writing blank checks with our conscience.
posted by furtive at 4:08 PM on August 3, 2005


Or as in other wars, consider that this might be a young officer following orders that ultimately result in war crimes trials for actions deemed legal by his own government. Yes, I refer to Nazi Germany, but that's the ultimate case of just following orders as complicity with the most agregious acts. You can't write off the actions of anyone in the chain of command here as the "isolated actions" of a few seem to be going on everywhere.
posted by shagoth at 4:08 PM on August 3, 2005


Khalid Jarrar has posted a pretty harrowing account of being held by Iraqi police (not U.S. military) and being interrogated. I wonder if anyone has any clue who is an insurgent or not.
posted by bobo123 at 4:20 PM on August 3, 2005


Well, the interrigators were trying to get info that would save lives, whereas the insurgents indiscriminately kill for no apparent reason other than to cause chaos...

...to save lives. Funny how that works.
posted by iamck at 4:30 PM on August 3, 2005


Dios, it's great that the soldiers involved are being prosecuted. They will make handy fall guys for the officers and civilian leadership that created a climate where the thought that they could get away with this ever entered their dim-witted sadistic little brains.

Serious question: how many 'individual' actions such as this would it take for you admit that this is a failure on the part of the leadership rather than an aberration? Five, ten, twenty, a hundred? When do isolated events become a pattern?
posted by cedar at 4:37 PM on August 3, 2005


I'm sure we at least got some useful information out of him... right? Right???

Or do we just beat the shit out of brown-skinned folks for the hell of it now?
posted by wakko at 5:04 PM on August 3, 2005


You check your conscience, you check your critical thinking, you just do your job. You just do your fucking job. It was not Jodl's fault. He was just doing his fucking job.
posted by wrapper at 5:06 PM on August 3, 2005


I'm sure we at least got some useful information out of him... right? Right???

Or do we just beat the shit out of brown-skinned folks for the hell of it now?


No, not just for the hell of it:

One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. "I told you I was going to teach you who's the man," [one] eventually said...

One time I asked a guard: "What's the point of this? I've got nothing I can say to them. I've told them everything I possibly could."

"As far as I know, it's just to degrade you. So when you leave here, you'll have these scars and you'll never forget. So you'll always fear doing anything but what the US wants."

posted by leapingsheep at 5:15 PM on August 3, 2005


Count, do try and keep in mind that there are many Americans as disgusted as you are with the actions of this administration. We vote, we protest, we debate, we throw money at candidates who oppose the current administration, we try and inform others -- we do what we can. For whatever it's worth we are blessed with a President who is in office due to what was essentially a coin toss by the Supreme Court in 2000 and only managed to win a second term because he was able to lie enough and convince a very slim majority of voters that if he wasn't elected airliners would be falling out of the sky in Duluth.

For the most part we are generous, tolerant and kind... just not very bright.

On preview: wrapper, your not helping me here. This was not something that happened in the heat of battle. The victim was not some insurgent but an officer in the army of a real country and posed no threat to anyone.

The interrogators were not 'just doing their jobs', their job is to get information, obviously they failed miserably considering that dead men tell no tales. Not only are they miserable human beings but they are incompetent soldiers.
posted by cedar at 5:16 PM on August 3, 2005


Here's my problem. I just completely fail to believe that the standards of command, training, and supervision in the US military (the best in the world!) are so lax as to allow these misdeeds to occur spontaneously.

If the chain of command was not in on this, then it's a huge and total failure of military discipline in our armed forces, and the commanding officers all the way up to where the buck stops have absolutely no business commanding troops. If they did know what their soldiers were up to (and any officer worth the name would definitely know this at any time at all - that's like, their job) then it just gets worse.
posted by 31d1 at 5:17 PM on August 3, 2005


Count Z. please point me to a country/culture who hasn't had similar incidents. Sadly, this is not the sole province of the Americans, nor of western culture. I agree the behaviour exhibited here is unacceptable. It is being investigated, and hopefully punished accordingly. And despite iamck's snark, t's pretty obvious to most people the difference between the insurgent organization and the US miltitary. The US military condemns these atrocities. The insurgent organizations celebrates them (or at least seem to tolerate them).
This is not intended to give any sort of free pass on this type of incident. The criticism of it is warranted. However, there is a fundamental difference between the warring factions. To ignore that is disingenous.
posted by forforf at 5:19 PM on August 3, 2005


It's this kind of BS that angers me beyond measure. "Freedom is on the march!" claims Bush. "We have to do the hard work!" he parrots. It looks like 'hard work' includes becoming a pale imitation of the Third fricking Reich, albeit with a Dominionist agenda.

I'm a small-c conservative, and I note that conservatism in the U.S. has been shoved aside for blind political and nationalistic zealotry. It's clear that 99% of the Bush voters don't really care about what's going on "Over There" as long as things are better for them Back Here. The other 1% rule the rest of the country and know full well what's going on and support it wholeheartedly.

So much for freedom and democracy. What we have here folks is a plutocracy.
posted by caporal at 5:21 PM on August 3, 2005


If the unit involved was regular military, I'd agree with you 31d1. However, Special Forces units operate with some degree of autonomy, and its possible they did this on their own volition. However^2, your comment still stands somewhat even in this case, because the chain of command should not have allowed a SF team that would go vigilante to this extent. I'm not sure the extent of the culpability, but I agree some exists. A long way of saying I agree with you to some extent.
posted by forforf at 5:26 PM on August 3, 2005


Metafilter: For the most part we are generous, tolerant and kind... just not very bright.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:27 PM on August 3, 2005


caporal, you need to post more.
posted by jonmc at 5:37 PM on August 3, 2005


1. Eff Bush.

2. Shit rolls down hill, Bush is as the top and captured "insurgents" are at the bottom.

3. In the middle are soldiers with really bad attitudes toward the "bad guys". Soldiers who have video games, phone priveleges and blogs. But at the same time do not have the physical means nor the training to be effective in that environment. They are getting a very mixed message.

RE: the interrogating soldiers, they effed up, big time just like Lt. Calley did in Vietnam. There is no reason and no excuse for their actions. Period.
posted by snsranch at 5:37 PM on August 3, 2005


caporal: I initially read your last statement as, "What we NEED is a plutocracy." Good one on me!!!
posted by snsranch at 5:44 PM on August 3, 2005


Seeing as how police departments that want to use tasers and pepper spray first use those items of themselves, I advocate a similar policy for bullshit like this. If you want to cut penis, whip it out and let someone cut yours first....assholes.
posted by UseyurBrain at 5:45 PM on August 3, 2005


cedar, they represent the USA when they invade a sovereign nation for oil and torture it's people. It gives the rest of us a bad impression of Americans.

forforf, I am not referring to this single incident, nor do I really believe that those who command the US military do regret this happened (though I'll bet they regret anyone heard about it).
posted by Count Ziggurat at 5:49 PM on August 3, 2005


the thought that they could get away with this ever entered their dim-witted sadistic little brains

Of course the soldiers involved and those in the chain of command require punishment, but you're not necessarily being entirely fair in this characterization.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 5:50 PM on August 3, 2005


You don't win hearts and minds by trying to stop hearts and shatter minds. You only dehumanize an individual and end up with someone that may have once held hope but now holds only blind rage, hate and anger at the country that approved of these techniques and methods.
Look at the successes of the american prison system; almost a 100% recidivism rate because all they do is humiliate, degrade and brutalize the inmates. They turn them into human sharks.
Look at the central american countries that were subjected to these techniques in years past. Now you have immigrants coming in, joining gangs and spreading crime. Eating out the soft underbelly of this country like a cancer from within.
No decent country which engages in these actions should expect a docile populace to be won. Look at Vietnam. The french tried it, the americans tried it. It failed. Look at Algeria. Again, the french tried it, it only resulted in uniting a population against them, the same as in Vietnam, the same as in Iraq, the same as in Afghanistan, the same as the Palestinians against the Israelis.
The only thing that blind, brutal, primitive force does is give your opponent an incentive to resist you to their last dying breath because. . . otherwise there is no hope.
Better to die on one's feet than live on one's knees.
And take some of the inhuman, arrogant bastards with you before you go down.
Which is, as we all know, what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan and Columbia and other parts of the world where the name 'United States' means Oppression, Slavery , Subservience. In other words the image of a boot stamping on a human face forever
posted by mk1gti at 5:57 PM on August 3, 2005


Count Ziggurat, I couldn't agree more and would go as far as to say that I believe those who command the US military calculatedly created an environment -- hey, why ain't that photogenic Spanish guy Gonzales on the Supreme Court, anyway, I was rather looking forward to his confirmation hearing -- where if not actually ordering torture made it clear to the rank and file that it was always an option of last resort.

By failing to clearly rule it out condoned it. Think of it as the don't ask, don't tell theory of human rights.
posted by cedar at 5:58 PM on August 3, 2005


What an awful way to die.
posted by swift at 6:03 PM on August 3, 2005


Hal Mumkin: "...you're not necessarily being entirely fair in this characterization."

I disagree:
...showed that Mowhoush had "contusions and abrasions with pattern impressions" over much of his body, and six fractured ribs. Investigators believed a "long straight-edge instrument" was used on Mowhoush, as well as an "object like the end of an M-16"rifle.
Yep, sadistic works just fine for me.
posted by cedar at 6:03 PM on August 3, 2005


Whatever you might believe about directions from above, when you wrap someone in a sleeping bag and wire and then beat them until they die, you are not a victim, you are hopefully a defendant. These guys did a very bad thing and certainly deserve a big punishment. Some people up the chain may be culpable as well, but that does not take away from what these guys did.
posted by caddis at 6:09 PM on August 3, 2005


Here were these guys supervisors? Who was overseeing their conduct? And why are they not awaiting trail as well. That is the question that needs to be asked and solved sooner rather then later. This story was heartbreaking to read. Young guys w/ more rank where just making up ways to break people.

To me the most important quote in the story is:

"It was a time when U.S. interrogators were coming up with their own tactics to get detainees to talk, many of which they considered logical interpretations of broad-brush categories in the Army Field Manual, with labels such as "fear up" or "pride and ego down" or "futility."
posted by webranding at 6:09 PM on August 3, 2005


The only thing that blind, brutal, primitive force does is give your opponent an incentive to resist you to their last dying breath because. . . otherwise there is no hope.

So well said!

You could continue the thought by saying that as humans, we are equal in our ability to give life and to destroy. And until one side or the other makes some kind of intelligent concession the futility of destruction will continue forever. Hence, the image of a boot stamping on a human face forever
posted by snsranch at 6:09 PM on August 3, 2005


It gives the rest of us a bad impression of Americans

well no. tho it does give us a bad impression of the American government.

cedar: we protest, we debate

youll have to excuse my facetiousness but, apart from mefi and the polls, when and where?
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 6:13 PM on August 3, 2005


Congrats, b_thinky, you've just approved the use of torture against people who may or may not know a single piece of useful information.

I didn't approve of anything, I just pointed out you'll never stop it, as long as there is war. When one group of people is trying to kill your buddies, you probably won'nt be too nice to them if/when you come into contact.

Were the soliders trying to get such info? Or were they simply punishing someone for not playing ball? Looks like the latter to me.

Well, according to the article the guy is someone who potentially knew a lot of info. The real question is whether or not torture works. In this case, it doesn't appear to.

Tell you what, pretend the article was written in 1970 and that it was John McCain getting the shit kicked out of him in a sleeping bag by Viet Cong. Then see if you can brush it off with a "war is hell."

OK, I just pretended. War is hell. This is what people do to each other in war.
posted by b_thinky at 6:15 PM on August 3, 2005


To continue, clearly, any religious radical, christian, muslim or other, because they are radical and fundamentalist, will not ever allow for any concession.

And so, it will never end until each and every one of the "enemy" is dead.

Conclusion: We are ALL wrong. But who threw the first stone? British Imperialism? Whoever did is responsible for taking it back and making amends. (I know this is all bullshit, but, hopefully, it adds some clarity to the big picture.)
posted by snsranch at 6:16 PM on August 3, 2005


British as well other European imperialism is a lot of the problem in the region (as is it elsewhere). Heck, Saddam would argue (as I am sure he will) that his invasion of Kuwait was because his nations borders were redrawn by the British that almost "landlocked" his nation and gave him less access to ports. Oh yeah, a few of the large oil fields in the world sit in other nations that never existed before.
posted by webranding at 6:22 PM on August 3, 2005


OK, I just pretended. War is hell. This is what people do to each other in war.

So you're okay with it, ya? Or indifferent? Or do you denounce it?

Because if your answer is anything but the third one, maybe one day you'll change your mind when someone you actually care about gets shredded fiberglass poured down their throat.
posted by caporal at 6:24 PM on August 3, 2005


If you want an excellent read regarding "fear up" "Pride down" etc, I highly recommend a book by a chappie named (well...he had to use a pen name to get it published) Chris Mackey.

He was an interrogator in Afghanistan, and left right before the Abu Ghraib model started getting applied.

It's a very balanced and sympathetic look at the people on both sides of the interrogator's table, and a fascinating look into a world we are all glad we're not in at the moment.

Book is

"The Interrogators: Task Force 500 and America's Secret War against Al Queda" 2004, Back Bay Books.

ts
posted by timsteil at 6:24 PM on August 3, 2005


urbanwhaleshark: "well no. tho it does give us a bad impression of the American government."

At the risk of stating the obvious... we did elect them. Twice even.

"youll have to excuse my facetiousness but, apart from mefi and the polls, when and where?"

I can't speak for anyone but myself but I have protested frequently in both large and small, organized and unorganized events. I protest by not supporting those whose company ethos is, in my opinion, not in the best interests of my country. I debate here, at my parents kitchen table, at school conferences, business meetings, in line at the grocery store and in the bars as I drown my sorrow at how far we have fallen in so short a time.

It is my fervent belief that we have not only a right but an obligation to speak up in the face of injustice, rampant corporate cronyism, the destruction of secular values in our schools and the constant erosion of civil liberties perpetrated by those who believe they are, quite literally, fighting the forces of evil on behalf of God Almighty.
posted by cedar at 6:25 PM on August 3, 2005


furitive: the bottom line is that we can always do a bit more to better ourselves from the atrocities of the past, but only if we stop writing blank checks with our conscience.

Unless you really, really, really control who potentially comes into contact with POWs (or "enemy combatants") you'll never stop it. Education only goes so far. Some people can't - or don't want to - be educated.

cedar: The interrogators were not 'just doing their jobs', their job is to get information, obviously they failed miserably considering that dead men tell no tales. Not only are they miserable human beings but they are incompetent soldiers.

Yeah, they definitely failed in this case. However, I highly doubt you'll read examples of torture working in the media, because nobody wants to talk about it. Torture undoubtedly has worked in the past, which is part of the reason it continues to be employed.

31d1:


I'm not saying the administration doesn't approve (or quietly wink) of torture, but do you know anyone currently serving? I know lots of guys in Iraq right now. They're exactly the kinds of guys who would have no problem beating the living shit out of a prisoner, and thinking of really exotic ways to do so would only break up the monotony. This goes double for POWs who they think played a hand in killing their buddies.

We can sit and talk about training all we want but let's be honest: the average person could not wrap someone in a sleeping bag and beating him to death. It's kind of a "quality" you can't teach, I guess.




posted by b_thinky at 6:34 PM on August 3, 2005


It is my fervent belief that we have not only a right but an obligation to speak up in the face of injustice, rampant corporate cronyism, the destruction of secular values in our schools and the constant erosion of civil liberties perpetrated by those who believe they are, quite literally, fighting the forces of evil on behalf of God Almighty.
posted by cedar at 6:25 PM PST on August 3 [!]
------------------------------------------------------------------
Couldn't have said it better myself and I'm sure many here would agree.
As far as 'elected them twice'. The more accurate description would be 'allowed them to steal two elections twice'.
Anyone who believes this country has had two valid presidential elections in the last two terms; I have a bridge I would like to sell you. It's made from wet cardboard and holds several thousand tons. I made it myself.
posted by mk1gti at 6:37 PM on August 3, 2005


Thanks for the book suggestion TS. Just ordered it. My father used to teach at the Army War College and has a PhD in war tactics. Retired now, but he used to have a lot of books (around 10,000) on the military, many of which the normal public would never knew existed. Published through small press outlets, government organization, or university presses.

He has stopped doing a lot of that because my mom demands he doesn't work anymore. But I can tell you he gets calls if not weekly, at least monthly, to get back in the game. I am a liberal American, but I can say the government is looking 24/7 for "experts" to help out. It just isn't "sexy" for someone that was a GS18 civil servant with 30+ years service to go back to work in the current environment.
posted by webranding at 6:37 PM on August 3, 2005


caporal: So you're okay with it, ya? Or indifferent? Or do you denounce it?

I know nothing about interrogation. The real question is whether or not torture works. In this instance it clearly did not, but statiscally - does torture work?

If it does, and the info can be used to save lives, you'd be stupid not to approve.

Because if your answer is anything but the third one, maybe one day you'll change your mind when someone you actually care about gets shredded fiberglass poured down their throat.

Maybe.
posted by b_thinky at 6:42 PM on August 3, 2005


b_thinky: “War is hell. This is what people do to each other in war.
This is not a war, it’s an occupation. And yes, it probably is hell to the occupied.
This is what invading armies do to those they invade.
posted by signal at 6:42 PM on August 3, 2005


You know what b_thinky? It should tell you something that dios (who, to put it mildly, is one of the biggest apologists for Bush and the current administration on Metafilter) has made a single comment. A comment the sole content of which was a condemnation of the actions described in the article. Contrast this entirely appropriate restraint with your actions.

There is no justifiable way to accept these actions. There is no excuse for these actions. War is hell because we allow stuff like this to be perpetuated. War is hell because some people refuse to accept the Geneva conventions. War is hell because some people shrug there shoulders and turn away when soldiers behave in ways that are far beyond any acceptable standard.

You are not merely being a realist. You are actively fostering an atmosphere that allows these horrific actions to continue.
posted by oddman at 6:44 PM on August 3, 2005


As far as 'elected them twice'. The more accurate description would be 'allowed them to steal two elections twice'.

I could accept this if we were strictly limiting ourselves to Presidential elections but electoral results in both the Senate and House subsequent to 2000 make it clear that administration policies enjoy widespread support. Bush does not exist in a vacumn and the Congress that signed off on this fiasco shares the responsibility, Democrats included.
posted by cedar at 6:45 PM on August 3, 2005


'We can sit and talk about training all we want but let's be honest: the average person could not wrap someone in a sleeping bag and beating him to death. It's kind of a "quality" you can't teach, I guess.'
--------------------------------------------------

Or perhaps you can

posted by mk1gti at 6:45 PM on August 3, 2005


I've seen stats and read stories 24/7 that indicate extreme torture doesn't work. One of two things usually occur:

(1) You have what happened in this instance, where the person dies before they talk (they are guilty and have intelligence value).

(2) You have someone that will tell you anything, lead you down a road of misinformation, just to make the pain stop (they are innocent and have close to zero intelligence value).
posted by webranding at 6:47 PM on August 3, 2005


I know nothing about interrogation. The real question is whether or not torture works. In this instance it clearly did not, but statiscally - does torture work?

I do happen to know something about interrogation and torture. Torture has never ever been shown to provide reliably truthful answers. Consider: a subject is being put in extreme pain, both mental and physical. Do you think he or she would say anything other than what they think their interrogator wants them to say?

When you're in that much pain, all you care about is making it stop.

If it does, and the info can be used to save lives, you'd be stupid not to approve.

Whose lives? The lives of the people you're torturing, or do they not matter?

Maybe.

Was that the smell of false bravado I just detected?
posted by caporal at 6:50 PM on August 3, 2005


Cedar---I'm with you on this, just not expressing it very clearly. I was trying to say that doing your job is not an excuse, WW2 executed war criminal Gen Jodl tried that line, unsucessfully. I used him as an example because I think the U.S. has committed war crimes in Iraq.
posted by wrapper at 6:51 PM on August 3, 2005


I could accept this if we were strictly limiting ourselves to Presidential elections but electoral results in both the Senate and House subsequent to 2000 make it clear that administration policies enjoy widespread support.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
In answer to the first part the election, presidential, congressional, etc. was rigged through unvalidated electronic voting machines. No paper trail, no telltale, numerous incidences of 'last minute changes' in the software while the election was going on, polling places being changed, in other words, many of the same tactics that took place in the disputed election in Florida where 'Bush first won the presidency'. In fact it's still happening. . .
In answer to the second part, 'Bush's policies enjoy widespread support'
posted by mk1gti at 6:54 PM on August 3, 2005


The notion that US/UK troops are morally or legally superior to the Iraqi/Arab guerrillas deserves some examination.

Recall that the invasion had no justification whatsoever, neither legal nor moral, apart from blatant and proven lies about WMD. It was declared illegal under international law by the UN secretary general; whereas any country's occupants have a perfect right to resist illegal foreign occupation, both legally and morally.

Recall also that the US troops have killed far more civilians than the guerrillas have. The US troops routinely use aerial bombardment and massive firepower which kills indiscriminately. That's not counting the 500,000 killed by US sanctions (starvation siege) before the invasion even began.

The US troops don't even count how many they kill. "We don't do body counts." The sheer racism is stunning. They count their own, of course, but not their victims.

The guerrillas are not killing for pleasure, or to "destroy Western values", or because they are "evil". They're killing to get the US/UK troops out of their country as fast as possible. To save lives.

This is a sound, reasonable, ethical goal, which everyone should support, including Americans of all political persuasions.

Once the foreign troops are out, the Iraqis can negotiate an end to their civil war. As in Vietnam, the longer the Americans stay, the worse the situatioin inevitably becomes.
posted by cleardawn at 7:03 PM on August 3, 2005


The U.S. doesn't seek the moral high ground: It digs deep then tries to dig deeper seeing how low a country can go before they get buried and forgotten.
posted by mk1gti at 7:13 PM on August 3, 2005


The U.S. doesn't pretend to seek the moral high ground anymore: It digs deep then tries to dig deeper seeing how low a country can go before they get buried and forgotten.
posted by mk1gti at 7:14 PM on August 3, 2005


mk1gti, I think your just more optimistic than I am. I read the polls and listen to the pundits but when I roam about my little piece of the world what I hear from people doesn't match what I'm being told.

We're pretty evenly split up here in the woods and even local elections are always close. Except the one I entered and got my ass handed to me by a little old lady with seventeen cats. I'm afraid this war, while not exactly popular, isn't exactly unpopular. It just isn't in the forefront of peoples minds and if they were to think about it, the death of an Iraqi general during interogation wouldn't overly upset the fellows at the feed store or in the diner.

We cannot even muster the will to oust people like Bolton, DeLay and Rove; people who have blatantly violated both the law and every ethical position big 'C' Conservatives like to describe as 'American values'.

I would like to believe that Diebold is directly responsible for the current state of affairs. If that is the case it is something that can be fixed with a bit of oversight and a bit of technological voodoo. However, what I really believe is that we have gotten ourselves the government that we deserve and are paying the price for allowing the media to teach our children over the last two decades and being both too damn cheap and too fucking lazy to fix our schools. We're raising up barely literate people with world views the size of New Jersey focused solely on getting that first McMansion.

I reckon we'll find out in '06 how much those polls mean.
posted by cedar at 7:20 PM on August 3, 2005


cedar
I echo what you're hearing about things not matching up with the news. I first noticed that change when Reagan got rid of the 'fairness doctrine'. I was in my early twenties back then. Since that time news quality and truthfulness have taken a nosedive and have ended up with the same credibility as Pravda. The only thing missing is tales of giant spiders in Tennesee. Give it time, though...
As far as the popularity of the war goes, I interact with people all over the country in my job, including some military overseas. I'm also an ex-military brat for whatever that's worth. The guys overseas, I never ask them 'how they like it over there', I figure they're dealing with too much for intrusive questions like that. I do listen to tone of voice though and that tells a lot. Persons in military towns, soldiers overseas, people in my town, people talking on the net, etc. these voices and tones all tell me there is some very serious and widespread disapproval going on in this country with the way things are being handled and it has nothing to do with whether one voted democrat or republican.
posted by mk1gti at 7:35 PM on August 3, 2005


Fuck.
posted by ericb at 7:45 PM on August 3, 2005


CIA trained insurgents in Iraq.
These rogue fighters were often brought in to interogations to do the "dirty work", with pipes and sticks, while military officials watched.
posted by Balisong at 7:47 PM on August 3, 2005


War is hell because we allow stuff like this to be perpetuated.

Oddman, War is hell because it is, by definition, a suspension of law and morals so that heavy duty violence can be used to achieve political gains.

This is bad. Is this worse than killing a whole bunch of people on the other team (the 'regular' way to run wars)? Personally, I have no idea. Both are so far off the charts of what I consider to be 'okay'.
posted by aubilenon at 8:04 PM on August 3, 2005


aubilenon, they way I look at it, morality is not something that can be suspended.
posted by oddman at 8:12 PM on August 3, 2005


War is hell because it is, by definition, a suspension of law and morals so that heavy duty violence can be used to achieve political gains.

Speaking as a military historian (not my job, my education), the suspension of laws and morals is not necessarily part and parcel of war. Why do we have the Geneva Convention, for example?

Remove the reference to laws and morals and your statement is truer: War is hell because it is, by definition, a bloody means to a political end.
posted by caporal at 8:19 PM on August 3, 2005


... meanwhile, the US still refuses to comply with a federal order to release the rest of the Abu Ghraib photos FOIA'd by the ACLU. See all the previous mefi posts...

What's it going to take at this point? Seriously? Its not like more and more stuff like this isn't just going to stop coming out ...
posted by bhance at 8:19 PM on August 3, 2005


Remove the reference to laws and morals and your statement is truer: War is hell because it is, by definition, a bloody means to a political end.

Normally laws and morals very strongly forbid killing people. However, during wars, this is not true! Maybe not true legally, but murder is often considered the least moral thing you can do!

I agree that not ALL laws or ALL morals are suspended, and the question of this post seems to be which ones are or aren't.
posted by aubilenon at 8:22 PM on August 3, 2005


I wonder about that myself and I think that people on both sides of the political fence wonder about that as well as people all over the world: Just how much more corruption and subversion of morals is going to be allowed before this country engages in some very much needed political house-cleaning. And I don't mean any fictional 'liberal' nonsense. I mean clean out all the religious nutters, the corrupt politicians, both republican and democrat, the corporate favoritism over states and human rights. When is the last straw going to break the camel's back? How many more lives outside of this country and within it will have to be sacrificed before enough is enough?
posted by mk1gti at 8:27 PM on August 3, 2005


Normally laws and morals very strongly forbid killing people. However, during wars, this is not true! Maybe not true legally, but murder is often considered the least moral thing you can do!

Not on the surface, if I'm reading you right. Under the circumstaces of a declared war, laws and morals are taken into account so that the needs of war are encompassed.

For example, it is legal to shoot an enemy combatant during wartime. It is also considered moral, as an enemy combatant is viewed as a threat to national security.

War is icky, but we've been at it since we as a species had something to fight over. Which doesn't make what happens during a war any more forgiveable.
posted by caporal at 8:30 PM on August 3, 2005


How many more lives outside of this country and within it will have to be sacrificed before enough is enough?

I think you're right about the house-cleaning required. However, it has less to do with the left and right and more to do with the haves and have-nots. Rest assured that a small group of very wealthy, very powerful people in the U.S. want to stay very wealthy and very powerful, and they'll make sure that whatever is necessary -- including invading other nations and arresting and killing innocents -- is done to keep the have-nots down.

They stir up the left-right liberal-conservative pot any time we start thinking and realizing it's the power elite that's The Enemy. Nothing like getting two dogs to tear at each other instead of at the man who keeps abusing them.
posted by caporal at 8:36 PM on August 3, 2005


"Well, the interrigators were trying to get info that would save lives, whereas the insurgents indiscriminately kill for no apparent reason other than to cause chaos."

They might be thinking that thanks to their killings, the US army will leave their country more quickly and they'll be freer, and ultimately will have saved their people. Or something along those lines.

The end does not justify the means. Terrorism is wrong, and torture is wrong, period.
posted by bikerdriver at 8:40 PM on August 3, 2005


Just how much more corruption and subversion of morals is going to be allowed before this country engages in some very much needed political house-cleaning

You're forgetting the Roman model, which (surprisingly, compared to a decade ago) now almost seems like a possibility here - the house cleaning never happens, and corruption only gets worse as the empire slides further into disarray.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:44 PM on August 3, 2005


I'm a small-c conservative

Kudos for mentioning this. I keep wondering, intensely, where the hell the good conservatives have gone. I used to know quite a few. Combined with the enraged but desperate left, we would have a collective majority to stand up and say "enough of this shit." I cannot understand the silence from what must be a substantial number of traditional conservatives in the face of this administration's overt criminality, cynicism, arrogance, and reckless disregard for this country's once proud name. (Pardon, I beg, from the non-USian MeFite contingent.) The strangest thing to me is the strength of the illusion that our country is a more righteous place than it was five years ago, in the face of all evidence to the contrary that our culture has been degraded, our values vaporized, our reputation shredded, our freedom impaled on slender stalks of fear, our economy gutted and pillaged, and our public discourse turned into a circus. Some on the right frequently ask "where are the good Muslims speaking up against the terrorists?" I turn that question back on ourselves: where are our conservative patriots when we really need them to speak out? I know there are some -- many -- but we need more, now.

As for these "soldiers," if found guilty they should hang. Period. And every ranking officer in their immediate and ultimate chains of command should be demoted, including their commander in chief. And 14 Marines who aren't coming home, and the 14 destroyed families they have left behind, should be flown to Baghdad to meet with the families of 14 dead Iraqis at the Pentagon's most luxuriously overbilled expense. And then two mothers from that meeting should be allowed to address the entire world over every available broadcast medium to tell us what it's like to lose a child for no damn good reasons other than greed, lust, and revenge. God Fucking Dammit. It's depressing to be conscious at all.

One of my favorite books in recent years was Catherine Lutz's *Homefront.* She's an anthropologist (and a military brat) who did her early work in the South Pacific on the cultural construction of emotions and gender. Homefront is an ethnography of Fort Bragg and environs, and posits that being a long time base town has had serious negative consequences for the emotional and physical and financial health of the community. It's sympathetic and not cruel or dismissive of the pride of the Bragg community in their service -- as a community, not just the soldiers -- to the country, and the sacrifices they have made. But in the end Lutz makes a crucial point missing from our political discourse these days: the real cost of imperialism must also be measured at home, within our own communities. It is nothing short of patriotic to challenge imperialist ambitions and projects by our government, not because dissent itself is patriotic (of course it is, but that's a weak argument for any specific dissent, only a mandate for preserving the right to dissent), but because war harms the powerful as well as the powerless. This war is killing our country, even if we can kill far more of "them." There has to be another way.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:48 PM on August 3, 2005


As for these "soldiers," if found guilty they should hang

And immediately, I take that back. I said it out of frustrated rage. No more killing, even of killers.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:54 PM on August 3, 2005


They stir up the left-right liberal-conservative pot any time we start thinking and realizing it's the power elite that's The Enemy. Nothing like getting two dogs to tear at each other instead of at the man who keeps abusing them.
posted by caporal at 8:36 PM PST on August 3 [!]
-------------------------------------------------
Hit the nail right square on the head.
In the earlier post today about the central american gangs migrating up and infesting the U.S., I have to wonder if it might be in the rich's best interest to keep that as a problem for the rank and file to deal with to keep them from focusing on more pressing issues. Like how much of a plutocracy this country has become.
posted by mk1gti at 8:56 PM on August 3, 2005


I honestly cannot understand the reasoning of anyone who accepts this sort of behavior any more than I can understand the reasoning of a psychopathic killer.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:56 PM on August 3, 2005


I feel that everyone in school is taught that it is civilization's natural tendency to evolve towards a society that does greater good for everyone as a process of striving for a utopian ideal.
This country is inarguably in the process of devolvement.
posted by mk1gti at 9:07 PM on August 3, 2005


Another example of 'murica in decline
posted by mk1gti at 9:24 PM on August 3, 2005


Here is an important background article, from the Salt Lake City Tribune, about the Utah National Guardsman who blew the whistle on this crime (via).
posted by pitchblende at 9:37 PM on August 3, 2005


In 1966, my high school friend, class president, valedictorian, football hero, fellow altar boy and all around nice guy graduated from high school along with me, and he went to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

At Christmas, he told me that the secrets he and his fellow students had been told, if made public, would end the Vietnam war overnight, because American citizens would simply stop the war.

He resigned from the Air Force Academy at the end of that first year, and went into the regular service to fulfill the rest of his enlistment.

He was killed in a traffic accident at his next post shortly thereafter.

I'll never forget the look on his face as he said that he was honor bound not to tell me anything that he'd learned that was under the oath of secrecy -- and that he felt he could not serve the country as an officer based on that.

His grades, always, were top notch.

My father, who served in World War II, had said much the same thing to me -- about the only thing he did say about the service besides anecdotes about the winter he spent in the snow in Belgium that ruined his lungs was that he had learned to profoundly distrust the military mind in its treatment of civilians. He had been trained for chemical warfare and when that didn't happen, transferred to Military Government -- the front line troops charged with organizing food and water and shelter for the civilians as the front advanced. He was not uncommonly on the 'wrong' side of the official front lines in doing that job and his group had to be very good at proving they were not in fact German soldiers. Quick, name all of Daisy's puppies in the Blondie comic strip for 1941 ....

I have great respect for the soldiers who respect the people they have to deal with.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ___Thomas Jefferson
posted by hank at 9:52 PM on August 3, 2005


oddman: War being hell because people are killing one another. Most reason flies out the door when this happens. Seriously, do you think this war would be less painful if this guy hadn't been killed?

Shit happens in wars. That's why I try to stay out of them.

caporal: False bravado? If a loved one were captured by some Iraqi scumbag terrorist I think they would torture regardless of my moral feelings on the subject. Torturers will torture no matter what people think.

cleardrawn: I really, really hope you don't live in America. If you do, it's a sad statement about where our country is today.
posted by b_thinky at 10:40 PM on August 3, 2005


Actually it's a much sadder statement to see this sort of reported greeted by a shrug and the blanket excuse that "it's war".
posted by clevershark at 11:06 PM on August 3, 2005


b_thinky: what about some American scumbag terrorist doing the same thing? We have them here too, you know. Home grown ones.

Torturers will torture when they think they can get away with it. The GIs and their superiors who were involved in this should be cashiered and sent to military prison for life.

Then, find the senior government leader responsible for this and kick his ass into a max security cell for 50 years.
posted by caporal at 11:29 PM on August 3, 2005


Well, the interrigators were trying to get info that would save lives, whereas the insurgents indiscriminately kill for no apparent reason other than to cause chaos.

The interrogators are trying to get info that they believe will save the lives of their own people. The insurgents kill because they believe their actions will save the lives of their own people. It's the same: violence in the name of taking care of your own.
posted by chmmr at 1:08 AM on August 4, 2005


This is so ghastly, so heinous.... Will someone remind me what the Iraqi people did to deserve this kind of treatment? Not just this particular nightmare, but the whole sadistic campaign? Was Iraq in any way responsible for 9-11? Did they have stockpiles of WMDs? WTF did they do?!

Justifying this brutal, unwarranted US occupation by calling the Iraqis "terrorists" is like justifying the murder of a rape victim because she fought back. This death and thousands like it is blood poured on the heads of every single person who voted for more of this in 2004. My disgust and anger toward your willful stupidity and passive cruelty makes me want to scream. America has fallen into a shame that will take generations to recover from.

Finally, those of you who would write a blank conscience check a la "war is hell, shit happens" can go fuck yourselves to death.

Power to the Iraqi people; long live their resistance.
posted by squirrel at 3:48 AM on August 4, 2005


Yea! YEA!

America has fallen into a shame that will take generations to recover from.

Stick with your day job, the drama isn't working out for you.
posted by Necker at 5:10 AM on August 4, 2005


Thanks for the link, pitchblende. This story sounds more and more like a bad Oliver Stone movie. Or maybe a good one, I don't know.

And b_thinky, war is indeed hell, and shit does happen. But that doesn't mean we should dress up like devils and wallow in it.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:34 AM on August 4, 2005


Well, when do you reckon America will recover from this shame? The only hyperbole I used was telling the "war is hell" crowd to fuck themselves to death. Upon reading realcountrymusic's comments, though, I agree that there has already been too much killing.

So, do you have something to add, or are you here just to mock people's outrage and pain?
posted by squirrel at 5:35 AM on August 4, 2005


My last comment was directed to Necker
posted by squirrel at 5:36 AM on August 4, 2005


Stick with your day job, the drama isn't working out for you.

Thanks for the advice, Necker. I'll try not to let it bother me that the country I love is brutally murdering prisoners of war in my name, violating international treaties to which we have been a signatory for generations, and demolishing our credibility as an honest broker on the world stage, and go back to coding a database now.

Or do you really think a) the reputation of the US as a beacon of enlightenment has not suffered from Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and the rest; and b) the reputation of the US is an irrelevant concern for patriots, or anyone else concerned with both the security and the morality of the United States?

Yes, I'm upset. And no, I'm not getting over it. If you don't like passion, stick to the threads about cool flash animations.
posted by realcountrymusic at 6:05 AM on August 4, 2005


So, do you have something to add, or are you here just to mock people's outrage and pain?

And what exactly is it that you're adding?
posted by Necker at 6:20 AM on August 4, 2005


[Don't feed the troll]
posted by squirrel at 6:38 AM on August 4, 2005


Bring 'em On! the faux cowboy said.
posted by nofundy at 6:45 AM on August 4, 2005


as an American, pride down.
posted by Chris_awesome at 7:18 AM on August 4, 2005


deleted comment
posted by Necker at 7:58 AM on August 4, 2005


The insurgents kill because they believe their actions will save the lives of their own people

Last I checked, post-Iraqi election the insurgency has killed more Iraqis than they've killed Coalition Forces (i.e. they seem to be actively targeting Iraqis over Coalition Forces), and they have killed more civilains than the Coalition Forces (i.e, in a comparison of who is doing the most damage to the Iraqi civilians, the insurgency seems to be winning)
I don't necessarily disagree with the point you were making. I'm only pointing out that things are more complex and that the Iraqi insurgency (in general) does not seem to be operating in the interest of the average Iraqi.
This does not excuse any malfeasance by the occupying forces. It just means that, sadly, things can still get worse for the Iraqis.
posted by forforf at 8:16 AM on August 4, 2005


Sgt. 1st Class Michael Pratt = hero (see the article linked by pitchblende above)
posted by caddis at 8:29 AM on August 4, 2005


War IS hell and has always been so. In the last century or so we've come up with unbelievably more hellish variants (in terms of the sheer destructive force unleashed, though for individuals affected, I supposed getting nuked is as good as getting napalmed or run through with a pike). At the same time, the unleashing of those hellish variants -- especially in WWII (and "terrorism" is only the poor man's variant of same, and has been around as long as organized war) -- has prompted a serious effort to move our species onto some higher plane for the first time in history, mostly because if we don't, we're almost certain to destroy everything that lives within decades if not centuries. The Geneva Conventions are the fruits of that effort, as is the international war crimes tribunal. The United States was a *leading* voice for the containment of war's most hellish abuses even as we perpetrated some of them. (Since it's almost August 6th, I will allow the inevitable and welcome MeFi posts about Hiroshima do the talking. Or look up El Mozote, My Lai, etc.) This advocacy for international standards of conflict has long been recognized as being in our own best interest and the interest of global stability. In fact, it is exactly this doctrine which has now become the default rationale for the Iraq war itself: Saddam was a torturer, murderer, and a threat to his neighbors as well as his own people. Fair enough. But if that is the stated rationale for a "coalition of the willing" to invade an unleash the hell that war always is and always will be on uncounted innocents (some of whom very much supported us doing so and welcomed the sacrifice, e.g., many Kurds), then it deeply obligates us to be BETTER than the vanquished regime, and not just incrementally so, but radically so.

The evidence is clear that our government has implemented an official and clearly illegal policy of using torture, rendition to torturing states, and indefinite detention without trial, among other war crimes, at the highest level. Hell, our present attorney general wrote in support of such policy, and there are plenty on the right who will simply defend it, which astounds me (including some MeFites). Whether you see this particular incident, or any other incident, as just a statistical certainty in a time of war -- and of course it is, because there are sadists in every human group and enterprise -- which is what the "war is hell" defense suggests, can you seriously argue that there is not an evident pattern (and we know of much evidence that is still not being revealed in detail to us) of systematic abuse as a policy in the "war on terror?" We've stooped to the terrorists' level with this, and you cannot win a war in which there is no moral distinction between right and wrong for the people who must support the eventual victor. It's not just immoral, it's lousy stupid ignorant *strategy,* as several posters suggested above. In the climate of such stupidity and tolerance for criminal conduct, the sociopaths within our armed services (a tiny number, I am sure, but as I said, no organization is without them) surely feel emboldened.

I know there are many career military officers -- including many on the right -- who are simply disgusted and appalled by this as well. I can't believe there won't be a huge exorcism by truth telling at some point in the future, as there usually has been in modern times. The US is powerful, but it cannot stand alone, and it must have international legitimacy to function and prosper. Every single one of us will be accountable in some small way (or large way if you're Rumsfeld or Gonzalez) for what has been done here in the name of the US when that day comes.

You think I was being dramatic before? Try this one on for size: "Daddy, when they were torturing those children at Abu Ghraib, what did you do about it?"
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:31 AM on August 4, 2005


morality is not something that can be suspended.
Made me smile oddman. Thanks.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:39 AM on August 4, 2005


The US troops don't even count how many they kill. "We don't do body counts." The sheer racism is stunning. They count their own, of course, but not their victims.

I don't think this has anything to do with racism. In Vietnam, body counts were used to justify military actions and demonstrate that the US was succeeding in its goals, but that didn't work out so well for the US military.

The guerrillas are not killing for pleasure, or to "destroy Western values", or because they are "evil". They're killing to get the US/UK troops out of their country as fast as possible. To save lives.

If the insurgency ended tomorrow, the US would leave soon after. There is no reason for US troops to stay. So, if the insurgents are acting rationally - and I have no reason to think they aren't - they would stop doing anything until the US left if they wanted what you think they do. They could then pick up where they left off.

I'm not sure what the insurgents goals are. I'm not even sure they all share the same goals - all I can see is that they are united against the US and the new Iraqi government. But it's pretty obvious that they're not attacking solely because of the occupation - they're not even targetting US troops primarily.

Power to the Iraqi people; long live their resistance.

I think there's an implicit contradiction within that sentence. If the resistance consists of Sunnis killing Shiites, that's not much good to the Iraqi people.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2005


Determining the details of the general's demise has been difficult because the circumstances are listed as "classified" on his official autopsy, court records have been censored to hide the CIA's involvement in his questioning, and reporters have been removed from a Fort Carson courtroom when testimony relating to the CIA has surfaced.

Jeez, no body 'cept Balisong cares about the CIA's role in all this?

The CIA is counterproductive. I wish there was enough popular support to kill it. Unlikely.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:03 PM on August 4, 2005


CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise declined to comment on the unit. Defense Department spokesmen referred comments on the unit to the CIA. All former and current government officials interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the classified nature of the Scorpions.

At least now we know who pulled down the statue of Saddam. Those random men were baffling.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:05 PM on August 4, 2005


If the insurgency ended tomorrow, the US would leave soon after. There is no reason for US troops to stay.

That's like saying, "If terrorism ended tomorrow, the US would have no reason to spend any money on counterterrorism."

Leaving aside the question of how to measure or quantify the insurgency (so we know when it's "over"), there are billions of reasons why the US wants to stay in Iraq post-insurgency.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:07 PM on August 4, 2005


mrgrimm: The CIA is counterproductive. I wish there was enough popular support to kill it. Unlikely.

thank you! someone else finally said it.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:21 PM on August 4, 2005


Agreed, monkey, for the most part. The tactics employed by the insurgents cast serious doubt on the actual concern that they have for Iraqi civilians. However, I presume that the insurgent leaders successfully recruit its legions by alleging that the goal is to save lives and, for foreign recruits, to rid Allah's land of infidels. In other words, their leaders have a set of stated objectives but are really pursuing others. Sound familiar?

If the insurgency ended tomorrow, the US would leave soon after. There is no reason for US troops to stay.

This is where I disagree. As much of the intelligence about Iraqi WMDs has proven to be fabricated or intentionally misconstrued, it is apparent that the motivation for invading Iraq was not that it was an imminent threat (can you seriously believe that the world's most sophisticated, omnipresent intelligence agencies were sure that WMDs were in Iraq when they actually weren't?). The altruistic goal of overthrowing a despot can't be taken as a serious motive either simply because countless other despots, that the US surely has the power to crush, are allowed to roam free (not to mention all the despots that the US supports). If the above two were the actual motives, then it would seem logical that the US would leave as soon as the violence ends. But I can hardly conceive of any other objective that would be achieved as soon as the insurgents laid down there arms. i.e. if oil is the motive, then the US would still want military bases in the heart of the world's energy resources regardless of whether or not the insurgency exists.

They could then pick up where they left off.

So would the US.
posted by Chomskyfied at 1:40 PM on August 4, 2005


The "Iraqi" insurgency - whatever the fuck that means - won't end. Not with out some kind of strong man to control the place.

Did Bush or Rumsfeld ever ask himself or herself WHY Saddam existed? There is a reason that a dictator "works" in the governing sense.

The "Iraqi" insurgency will go on. Even if the US leaves. Why? There is no goddamned Iraq. It is a hodge podge of ethnic tribes and morphic former states that occupied or separate and warring with each other through out history. The Baathists WERE Iraq. And they are not getting back into power peacefully ever again.

Iraq is a construct. In 1917 the British installed Prince Faisal of Hijaz. And BEFORE that it was Iran. And before that it was the Turks. On and on.

We in the west, specifically Brittan, succeeded where all the other invaders failed by creating Iraq so we could loot the region more efficiently. But it was not designed to be a state any more than 7-11 was designed to be Tiffany's. Empires don’t care about those details.

So now that Bush has kicked the wasps nest the stinging won't stop for a very long time. Until either a strong man returns or the country balkanizes into semi-solid ethnic sub-states aligned with other powers in the area.

At this sorry point in time the best out come to defuse the internal armed conflict would be for Iraq to re-assemble into a loose federation of Islamic republics with a pseudo-secular central parliament. But I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

The invasion CREATED the “insurgency”. The invasion then created this "need" to torture. Torture, in this light, is not only counter-productive but a telling sign of what the future of Iraq will truly be. In that WE are facilitating it for whatever intensions belays a grim future for who else is going to be an advocate for civil freedoms and have any power to influence this nascent state? Where will the next government go from here?
Iraq 2011: Saddam light.

And mk1gti - Bush didn't steal shit. Kerry supported the war, too. The same kabal of looters would have been retained under Kerry. Bush was elected based upon the collective guilt and fear of the American populace. To remove him would be a tacit admission that WE murdered thousands of innocent people by invading Iraq. Never underestimate the power of guilt and fear.
posted by tkchrist at 1:57 PM on August 4, 2005


Himself or herself ... lol... I meant to put Condi in there with Bush And Rummy.

and 'That were occupied'

Erg. Not Belay. Belies.

Illiterate mother fucker.
posted by tkchrist at 2:05 PM on August 4, 2005


it is apparent that the motivation for invading Iraq was not that it was an imminent threat

On one hand, we were being told Iraq was "a threat to the people of the United States;" "the most dangerous threat of our time;" a "threat to the region and the world;" "a serious threat to our country, to our friends and to our allies;" "a serious and mounting threat to our country;" "a threat to any American;" an imminent threat to U.S. interests; a "unique and urgent threat;" "a significant threat to the security of the United States;" "a serious and growing threat to peace;" and "a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined."

On the other hand, we were being told the war would last "I doubt six months;" "Iraq is much weaker than they were back in the '90s;" and, of course, "we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators...I think it will go relatively quickly...(in) weeks rather than months." And it'd be a cakewalk with no casualties.

I'm not sure how to reconcile the idea that we had to attack because Iraq was such a threat with the idea that it would be totally easy because they were so weak. Looks like they were wrong on both counts.

And Iraq's neighbors didn't seem to feel too threatened. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates all were involved in combat in the Gulf War. None of them sent troops for Gulf War 2: Electric Boogaloo. If Iraq was such a serious threat to the region, you'd think that someone from the region would've participated in removing the threat.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:39 PM on August 4, 2005


The thing that pisses me off about being told by the president that Iraq was possibly planning to nuke the US in six months, is that by the time the invasion had almost began, the UN weapons inspectors were confident there were no WMDs - and unlike the CIA and other spy groups, they were actually on the ground in Iraq with access to whatever they wanted to check. (Though you might have been fooled into thinking otherwise if the president was your source of information, instead of the inspectors themselves.)

The weapons inspectors knew there were no WMDs, and their last report (under terrific pressure from the US to say otherwise) said as much.

So the inspectors were painted as clowns and mocked as "Inspector Clouseau", when the inspectors were the only people in any position to comment, and their comments had vastly more authority than anything coming from the CIA, let alone Rumsfields special "the CIA analysts have the gall to disagree there are WMD stockpiles, so lets bypass them with a team of guys entrusted to find evidence for the Right answer" team. And it was obvious at the time that the inspectors were the only real authority, but people were led by the nose to think the whistehouse, squinting at blurry blobs on sat maps, had more of a clue than the people who actually inspected those blobs in person. People are so fucking stupid. And thousands are dead now because of that.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:25 PM on August 4, 2005


Well said Kirkaracha.
posted by Chomskyfied at 6:34 PM on August 4, 2005


Agreed, Chomskyfield; and you, too. And -harlequin- and tk as well. Even if the trolls don't think we're doing anything productive in this thread, I can promise you that your words have helped me deal with this latest catastrophe. Thank you.
posted by squirrel at 9:08 PM on August 4, 2005


The bottom line is this: Those who supported the invasion of Iraq and the extension of sanctions against a country that had it's back broken and it's people destroyed for over a decade and before are the most morally vacant of all and until the end of time should be held accountable for their damnable and morally execrable lies. Damn you to hell for all eternity for all that you've said and done in the name of God and conservatism who you knew nothing about and never will.
Speaking for all who live and have ever lived and who have believed in a supreme being and divine justice, may you rot in hell for all eternity and beyond, because by your actions and beliefs that is all you deserve and have ever deserved.
posted by mk1gti at 10:02 PM on August 4, 2005


I'm sure that some who have read this think it is a bit much. I want you to consider this: Perhaps it is your own conscience screaming at you because a quiet whisper will not do.
posted by mk1gti at 10:06 PM on August 4, 2005


mk1gti, I understand your anger and utter frustration, but I think you may be a bit too quick to judge. The US media is very subversive. It understands that the majority of the populace will be easily swayed by short, simple and repetitive messages. It feeds on the fact that most people are too ignorant and lazy to understand the history behind Iraq, the brutality of warfare, and the historical motives behind US intervention.

Nevermind the fact that sanctions have crippled Iraq's economy and military, the imminent threat of WMDs must be removed! Nevermind the fact that the US supported Saddam's gassing of the Kurds, we must march on for liberty and democracy! Nevermind that the civilian to military casualty ratio is higher now than in many of the brutal wars in the past, we have entered a new age of precision warfare!

Blame them for their ignorance, but had they been well-informed, supporters for this war would be few and far between.
posted by Chomskyfied at 12:11 AM on August 5, 2005


Damn your mama to hell n' stuff, jackoff.
posted by Necker at 6:21 AM on August 5, 2005


What is that, your to-do list, Necker? Looks like you're working backward.
posted by squirrel at 6:36 AM on August 5, 2005


Haha... good one.
posted by Necker at 6:49 AM on August 5, 2005


Note to self: Must not post to MeFi when three sheets to the wind. . .
posted by mk1gti at 11:33 AM on August 5, 2005


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