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James Yee - An American In Chains
October 9, 2005 9:46 AM   Subscribe

My cell was 8 ft by 6 ft, the same size as the detainees’ cages at Guantanamo. It was my turn to be humiliated every time I was taken to have a shower. Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon in it. Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside. Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched. It didn’t matter that I was an army captain, a graduate of West Point, the elite US military academy. It didn’t matter that my religious beliefs prohibited me from being fully naked in front of strangers. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t been charged with a crime. It didn’t matter that my wife and daughter had no idea where I was. And it certainly didn’t matter that I was a loyal American citizen and, above all, innocent... I knew why I had been arrested: it was because I am a Muslim.

James Yee: An American in chains It's OK to demonize the 'Other' if the Other is a Muslim.
posted by y2karl (163 comments total)

 
I wonder how much trouble I'd get in if I ordered a copy of Yee's new book and had it sent to W as a gift...
posted by alumshubby at 10:06 AM on October 9, 2005


Brilliant excerpt.
posted by andreaazure at 10:09 AM on October 9, 2005


Holy moly. This reads like a next generation Panopticon from hell.
posted by troutfishing at 10:10 AM on October 9, 2005


Certainly is outrageous, but it seems less outrageous than imprisoning people indefinately without trial, and torture, that too. Yet none of this, none of it, has managed to significantly influence the American public into opposing these appaling and self-defeating policies.

Stories like this only make me shake my head now. What can thinking people do these days, when most people have long since severed all ties with the reality of the world around them?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:22 AM on October 9, 2005


More on Yee: Juan Gonzalez interviews Yee on Democracy Now.
posted by ao4047 at 10:22 AM on October 9, 2005


I haven't finished reading, but I thought this was worth adding:
The man in overall charge was Major General Geoffrey Miller, a slight but self-confident Texan in his late fifties. He was later sent to Iraq to make recommendations on improving intelligence collection at Abu Ghraib prison in the months before it became infamous for the maltreatment of its inmates.

posted by Chuckles at 10:23 AM on October 9, 2005


Thanks a lot Y2K.
posted by wheelieman at 10:30 AM on October 9, 2005


Who am I more angry with--the American media that ignores this or the American citizens who allow them to?
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:31 AM on October 9, 2005


its going to get to a point where nothing short of revolution is going to wake people up...what worries me is what would happen if a national disaster happened of a large enough scale that bush declared martial law...it would be like every bad movie you have ever seen...only real. and don't bother sending bush books, he brags about he doesn't read anything. nothing like a proud deliberately ignorant moron to run the nation. extinction now, while we still can.
posted by stilgar at 10:31 AM on October 9, 2005


"Who am I more angry with--the American media that ignores this or the American citizens who allow them to?"

you're joking right?

Far worse conditions than this exist in virtually every county jail and state prison in the United States.

How dare you critize others for ignoring what, in all likelyhood, you yourself are ignoring in your own county or state?
posted by Jos Bleau at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2005


How dare you critize others for ignoring what, in all likelyhood, you yourself are ignoring in your own county or state?

Yes, kids, it's SanctimonyFilter! No controversial issue discussed without someone inevitably castigating someone else for not being sufficiently concerned about some other controversial issue!

Who will win the "holier-than-thou" sweepstakes? Whatever issue you raise, whatever stance you take, someone is waiting to prove that you aren't as concerned as you should be!
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2005


Prison brutality wasn't invented specially for james Yee, and the federal system is far more humane and well run than any state or county jail.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be outraged, I'm saying you shouldn't shit on your fellow citizens or the media for not speaking out against what YOU are not speaking out against.

This is not an issue to masturbate your moral vanity to and then say _ see, everyone's bad but me_ and go back to not actually doing anything.
posted by Jos Bleau at 10:55 AM on October 9, 2005


This is not an issue to masturbate your moral vanity to and then say _ see, everyone's bad but me_ and go back to not actually doing anything - while you critisize others for not actually doing anything.

(sorry about that.)
posted by Jos Bleau at 10:57 AM on October 9, 2005


Jos Bleau: Do you have any links to all of these places in county and state facilities where people are being locked up and accused of treasonable offences that carry the death penalty all because of their religion?

The more stories like this that come out, the more fucked up the US seems. RIP
posted by daveg at 11:04 AM on October 9, 2005


Oh, and by the way, when they couldn't get him on these trumped up charges, they trumped up a couple of more, just as a little f-you on the way out the door: adultery and pornography.
posted by leapingsheep at 11:05 AM on October 9, 2005


You're right, Jos Bleau. By expressing concern about James Yee, we're all shitting on our fellow citizens and masturbating our moral vanity.

Thanks for setting us straight.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:06 AM on October 9, 2005


"Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon in it. Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside. Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched."

Sounds like a typical strip search down at the county jail. BFD.
posted by mischief at 11:07 AM on October 9, 2005


Far worse conditions than this exist in virtually every county jail and state prison in the United States:

The worst punishment for prisoners was a “forced cell extraction” by a group of six to eight guards called the Initial Response Force. The troopers called it IRFing.

I witnessed my first IRFing after a military policeman had performed the “credit card swipe” — pressing his fingers inside a detainee’s buttock crack to look for a weapon. This type of physical contact is not acceptable under Islamic law and the detainee had pushed the guard away. But prisoners were not allowed to touch an MP and immediately eight guards were summoned.

They put on riot protection gear — helmets, heavy gloves, shin guards and chest protectors — before forming a huddle and chanting in unison, getting themselves pumped up. Still chanting, they rushed the block, their heavy boots sounding like a stampede on the steel floor. Detainees throughout Camp Delta started to yell and shake their cage doors.

When the IRF team reached the offending detainee, the team leader drenched him with pepper spray and opened the door to his cell. The others charged in. He was no match for eight men in riot gear. The guards used their shields and bodies to force him to the floor. With his wrists and ankles tied, he was dragged down the corridor to solitary confinement.

When it was over the guards high-fived each other and slammed their chests together like professional basketball players — an odd victory celebration for eight men who took down one prisoner.

IRFing was used with extraordinary frequency. Seemingly harmless behaviour could bring it on: not responding when a guard spoke or having two plastic cups in a cage instead of the regulation one. Invasive body searches occurred daily and were a constant source of tension leading to IRFing. I came to believe that the searches were done solely to rile the detainees. The prisoners had been locked in cages for several months in a remote area of Cuba. What could they possibly be hiding?

Violent episodes were increasing. In one incident a guard had to be hauled off a handcuffed detainee whom he was beating on the head with a handheld radio. By the time I arrived the detainee had been taken to the hospital, but his blood was fresh on the ground and what appeared to be large pieces of flesh were soaking in it.

posted by y2karl at 11:10 AM on October 9, 2005


One of the things that bothers me the most about Yee's story is the astronomical level of incompetence evident in the actions of the military command structure, the FBI, the CIA, and whatever other agencies were involved. If Yee's point of view is accurate (and we have no reason to believe it's not; the government certainly hasn't offered a reasonable counternarrative), whispered allegations and unexamined biases were enough to turn the government against several loyal soldiers. It's so counterproductive; it makes me want to pull my hair out.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:13 AM on October 9, 2005


So, can someone refresh my memory about the difference between Gitmo and any other concentration camp? Because, honestly, I've forgotten the finer points of what makes it excusable.


Sounds like a typical strip search down at the county jail
Yeah, but those inmates have at least been charged, if not convicted. They have a right to a lawyer and they're not entirely isolated and subject to gratutious, arbitrary abuse.

BFD? Screw you.

posted by Jon-o at 11:14 AM on October 9, 2005


y2karl: Why didn't you use that extract as your post text, rather than the homoerotic titillation that you did post?
posted by mischief at 11:15 AM on October 9, 2005


I don't think I would have ever described it as "homoerotic titillation" - maybe that's just me.

Thanks, y2karl.
posted by blendor at 11:18 AM on October 9, 2005


Sounds like a typical strip search down at the county jail

You don't realize what's happened is they'll use whatever they can as tools of demoralization and interrogation/torture. So whereas they might do a stripsearch at the county jail, they're not going to start doing strip searches at the 15-minute marks, every hour, all night long (just an example, of something they would do)
posted by nervousfritz at 11:19 AM on October 9, 2005


The crux of the case was the charges that Yee had mishandled classified information. But prosecutors did not show the defense any evidence that Yee had such materials. A hearing to determine whether he should be court-martialed was delayed over the issue.

"The government has never produced the evidence that it believes was classified, so I am somewhat at a loss," Fidell says. "We were playing Hamlet without Hamlet here."

When the hearing began Dec. 8 at Fort Benning, Ga., prosecutors led off not with their most serious charges, but with adultery. As Yee's parents, wife and 4-year-old daughter watched, Navy Lt. Karyn Wallace testified under immunity about her affair with Yee.

Under military rules, adultery rarely is prosecuted. It is a crime only if it is "prejudicial to good order and discipline," meaning that it has to be disruptive or be so widely known that it damages the service. Yee's affair apparently had been secret. "It is arguable that there was no crime," Barry says.

On the second day of the hearing, prosecutors asked for a 41-day delay to examine the classified issues. The hearing never resumed. The criminal charges were dropped on March 19.

"This would have been a logical place to back off," says Gary Solis, a former Marine prosecutor and staff judge advocate who teaches military law at Georgetown University in Washington. But the military "kept going. They already had enough egg on their face to make an omelet or two. But no, they wanted to serve a table of 10."


The Ordeal Of Captain Yee

Sounds like a typical strip search down at the county jail. BFD.

Yee left the military on Jan. 7 of this year, an honorable discharge in hand but deep in debt from legal bills. He continues to live with his wife and daughter -- who is now in kindergarten -- in Olympia. He is a course away from completing his master's degree in international relations. The family has been living off a small advance from his publisher, he says.

He is still hopeful that someday the military will apologize to him and his family. He's frequently reminded, though, of why that may never happen. In March, FBI agents visited his landlord and asked about him. And just two months ago, he was stopped trying to board a plane and told he was on the government's no-fly list.

He is still an object of suspicion.


A Chaplain's Test Of Faith
posted by y2karl at 11:19 AM on October 9, 2005


Translators with the Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) also confirmed that some prisoners were forced to prostrate themselves in the centre of a satanic circle lit with candles. Interrogators shouted at them, “Satan is your God, not Allah! Repeat that after me!”

Way to raise the bar! The worst part is that we all know this is going on, and we all know that in 95% of the cases the person was only guilty of fitting a profile. This is very sad, and your country needs some soft of tribunal that can take action on these claims.

P.S. I feel like I just walked in on Jos Bleau and caught him masturbating to his moral vanity.</small.
posted by furtive at 11:20 AM on October 9, 2005


Mischief, why don't you go stink up some other thread, since it's apparent you have nothing of value to add to this one?

Due process? What's that?
posted by stenseng at 11:21 AM on October 9, 2005


^^...some sort of tribunal...
posted by furtive at 11:22 AM on October 9, 2005


...can someone refresh my memory about the difference between Gitmo and any other concentration camp?

In a concentration camp, whole ethnic groups are "concentrated" and isolated from the general population on the sole basis of their ethnic identity. Gitmo is more like a gulag, where people are held because the state perceives them as enemies.

Just in the interest of scrupulous accuracy.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:22 AM on October 9, 2005


Knowing that physical contact between unrelated men and women is not allowed under Islamic law, female guards would be exceptionally inappropriate in how they patted down the prisoners or touched them on the way to the showers or recreation.

That's shocking! Every good prison guard in the Arabic world knows that you are supposed to use pinchers when torturing prisoners. Those interrogators should have shown some cultural sensitivity and should have been briefed by prison guards from Morocco, Turkey, Syria or Egypt (actually any Islamic country would have been fine) on interrogation techniques that are halal.
posted by sour cream at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2005


How anyone could feel anything but sympathy for what happened to James Yee and the others he talked about is beyond me.

Those who dismiss this article with "well you think you got it rough here, just be glad it wasn't county or state" type comments aren't doing anything to make the situation better.
posted by furtive at 11:28 AM on October 9, 2005


In a concentration camp, whole ethnic groups are "concentrated" and isolated from the general population on the sole basis of their ethnic identity. Gitmo is more like a gulag, where people are held because the state perceives them as enemies.

So, if most of most of Gitmo is muslim, and most of them are there without charges, then that would make it a concentration camp, no?
posted by furtive at 11:30 AM on October 9, 2005


What sour cream said.
posted by dhoyt at 11:38 AM on October 9, 2005


What sour cream said.

no
posted by nervousfritz at 11:44 AM on October 9, 2005


funny how the usual torture-lovers here are quick to point out that, well, the savage Muslim hordes are generally badder and meaner than the Aryan peoples, so it's cool when the Americans do a little torture themselves, in the American people's name.

talk about having great expectations for one's country actions, setting an example and civilizing the world, and all that stuff.

I mean, Bush isn't as bad as Bin Laden, that's a big big thing to celebrate, I guess, for some.

and by the way, sourcream, your irony doesn't cut it -- Americans do in fact send many of their Muslim prisoners off to Syria and Egypt, you know, to share the torturing goodness.
posted by matteo at 11:47 AM on October 9, 2005


OUTSOURCING TORTURE
The secret history of America’s “extraordinary
Ten hours after landing in Jordan, Arar said, he was driven to Syria, where interrogators, after a day of threats, “just began beating on me.” They whipped his hands repeatedly with two-inch-thick electrical cables, and kept him in a windowless underground cell that he likened to a grave. “Not even animals could withstand it,” he said. Although he initially tried to assert his innocence, he eventually confessed to anything his tormentors wanted him to say. “You just give up,” he said. “You become like an animal.”

A year later, in October, 2003, Arar was released without charges, after the Canadian government took up his cause.
Be very proud, children.
posted by matteo at 11:50 AM on October 9, 2005


sour cream:

if you do what they do, than when they fight you it's not terrorism. It's resistance. No one considers resistance dishonourable -- in fact human beings have an innate inclination to cheer for the underdog, particularly when they have their own reasons to resent the topdog.

You have no moral high ground as a nation any more, in the perception of most of the world.

If you don't think that's going to matter in a real way over the next couple decades, you are deluding yourself.
posted by lastobelus at 11:52 AM on October 9, 2005


Sour cream and dhoyt, you should study Islam from authentic sources. If you would do so you would see that it is slanderous to claim that the behavior of the tyrants ruling over the Arab world has anything to do with Islam. And Turkey is not an "Arabic" country.
posted by leapingsheep at 11:59 AM on October 9, 2005


good summation, leapingsheep. kudos, seriously.
posted by jonmc at 12:07 PM on October 9, 2005


"It's OK to coddle/employ faux-reverence/apologism/treat with kid gloves the 'Other' if the Other is a Muslim, ie, Non-Christian." Happens around here every day, to humorous effect. Cuts both ways.

I'll start taking you seriously the day you harbor equal outrage for the awful human rights & prison conditions in the aforementioned countries. But that stuff isn't fashionable to post about—though there's no dearth of examples at which to be horrified—when big bad America is such a fun & convenient target. Yee got caught in a regrettable military clusterfuck, but was released. How often does that happen in, say, Syria?

funny how the usual torture-lovers


Isn't "torture-lovers" on the same intellectual level as "Freedom-haters", "Terrorist-huggers" and "You're with us or against us"? Yeah, of course it is. Allah knows, right matteo?

ou should study Islam from authentic sources.

I think I've said before I've got no more respect for Islam than for Christianity or any other organized religion. They've all caused too much pain & suffering the world. But the organized religion in question linked quite explicity to massive, daily violence around the globe IS ISLAM whether you can bring yourself to admit it or not. If Christian freedom fighters were blowing up themselves—and tens of thousands of others—with the same frequency in the name of their religion, I'd be just as disgusted & impatient. But they're not. (And no, the flimsy argument about the US military's equivalence to Christian jihadists just won't do.)
posted by dhoyt at 12:10 PM on October 9, 2005


Matteo, let me start by saying that I believe that the imprisonment in Gitmo is illegal (against the Geneva Convention) and the treatment of the prisoners there is inhumane. I share much of the outrage expressed here, but there's not much point in posting "me too" statements.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if there's actually more outrage coming from Western countries than from Islamic countries regarding the treatment of the prisoners, since most (actually all) Islamic countries have some catching up to do as far as human rights are concerned and do not really seem to be concerned about violations of the same. But then again, I don't really read any Arabic sources (most of which are state-controlled anyway...), so what do I know.

And secondly, I also question all those "religious laws". Is "no physical contact between unmarried men and women" really a religious law? Isn't it more of a cultural more? Same thing for having the prisoners patrolled by dogs, which was somehow framed as being against their religion and therefore really really insensitive. Heck, I wouldn't like to have any dogs barking at me either, but I question whether it should really be framed as a religious issue.

Oh, and leapingsheep, the routine torturing going on in Turkish prisons is actually one of the reasons why many Europeans don't want to see Turkey in the EU. Prison torture (of varying degrees) and lack of due process is something that virtually all countries that are predominately Islamic have in common (can't think of any exceptions). Not that that makes the torture in Gitmo any less reprehensible.
So even if the rules of tyrants over the Arabic world doesn't have anything to do with Islam, how on earth do you explain the fact that nearly al Arabic countries are ruled by despots?
posted by sour cream at 12:14 PM on October 9, 2005


a little freindly advice: you're both intelligent, decent guys, generally speaking. If you dropped the personal grudge match and actually listened to eachother, these discussions might go somewhere constructive.
posted by jonmc at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2005


that freindly advice was to dhoyt & matteo.
posted by jonmc at 12:16 PM on October 9, 2005


y2karl: Why didn't you use that extract as your post text, rather than the homoerotic titillation that you did post?

Why didn't you read the link before commenting? MeFi ain't your personal Cliff's Notes.

Every good prison guard in the Arabic world knows that you are supposed to use pinchers when torturing prisoners.

And here I thought the USA held itself to higher standards, if only because they constantly blow their own horn that they set the standard for other countries to follow.
posted by dobbs at 12:22 PM on October 9, 2005


Comments like some of those above confirm my belief that you have installed precisely the government you deserve.

If you're concerned about torture in middle eastern countries perhaps you should stop sending people over there to be beaten?

Again, if you're concerned that most Arab (not Arabic sour cream) countries are ruled by despots perhaps you should stop sending them weapons and advisors to prop up their regimes?

Again, if you're concerned that Turkey's civil rights record makes entry into the EU doubtful, perhaps you should request Ms. Rice stop badgering her fellow European FM's to fast-track Turkey's application?

It's very hard to respect and admire your country right now - much as you could so easily be respected and admired.
posted by fingerbang at 12:31 PM on October 9, 2005


dobbs: And here I thought the USA held itself to higher standards, if only because they constantly blow their own horn that they set the standard for other countries to follow.

You must be confusing them with the Europeans. Not sure who exactly you mean with "USA", but the current administration is certainly not holding itself to higher standards. Or any standards at all for that matter.

But I think the fundamental difference is that this stuff will surface sooner or later and will be addressed eventually. The process is sluggish and slow, but at least in the West there's a process, you know, which is more than can be said for all those routinely torturing Islamic countries.
posted by sour cream at 12:31 PM on October 9, 2005


But the organized religion in question linked quite explicity to massive, daily violence around the globe IS ISLAM whether you can bring yourself to admit it or not.

Like in Sebrinica, for example.
posted by y2karl at 12:34 PM on October 9, 2005


People are talking about the concentration-camp aspects of both Camp Delta and Yee's jailing, but the part of this story that disturbs me the most is the veil of suspicion that descended over all the Muslims there, and the feeling Yee got that as a non-Christian he was automatically suspect. You'd think that after weeks of surveillance somebody would figure out they were no threat; instead several were arrested and charged with most serious crimes. In short, Gitmo turns out to be just as fucked up -- probably more so -- as A Few Good Men portrayed it -- chock full of America's most paranoid motherfuckers we can find. Maybe it's the isolation, which can't be good.

But basically you had a situation where personnel regularly saw Muslim prisoners, and less regularly saw Muslim soldiers -- and the balance of opinion here shifted so that Muslim and prisoner became merged concepts. It probably didn't help that the prayer services were openly surveilled, which encouraged them into private prayer, further heightening the cultural separation.

It was probably a command vibe which could have been alleviated with an interfaith service of some kind, but it sounds like the Christian chaplains were just as caught up in the hostile environment.
posted by dhartung at 12:38 PM on October 9, 2005


What torturing Islamic countries sour cream?
Turkey? Saudi-Arabia? Egypt? The New Iraq(TM)?
Oh and if you really believe:

Prison torture (of varying degrees) and lack of due process is something that virtually all countries that are predominately Islamic have in common (can't think of any exceptions).

Then I must sadly extract from this only that you:

(can't think.......)
posted by fingerbang at 12:42 PM on October 9, 2005


So, how many democratic Arab countries can you think of, fingerbang?
posted by sour cream at 12:54 PM on October 9, 2005


how on earth do you explain the fact that nearly al[l] Arabic countries are ruled by despots?

That couldn't have anything to do with America's Cold War foreign policies, could it? You're not talking about the same despots that our government helped establish, fund, and support, are you? You're not talking about the despots that rose to power as the direct result of America's short-sighted national interest, right?
Remember, much of Central and South America was (still is) in as bad shape as the Middle East is for pretty much the same reasons. Y'know, despotic, tyrannical, criminally corrupt governments committing atrocities against their own people?

But, that's all an old, stale argument (read, factual historical account) which you should have heard by now. So don't feign ignorance just to fabricate some sort of ridiculous moral high-ground.
posted by Jon-o at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2005


It's a fact that "America's Cold War foreign policies" are responsible for the despotic regimes of Arabic countries?

Or have I misread you?
posted by Kwantsar at 1:15 PM on October 9, 2005


That couldn't have anything to do with America's Cold War foreign policies, could it? You're not talking about the same despots that our government helped establish, fund, and support, are you? You're not talking about the despots that rose to power as the direct result of America's short-sighted national interest, right?


Nah, I don't think that's a good explanation. That doesn't explain why there is so little resistance against the despots, and if there is, then it is by rebels eager to install totally lunatic theocracies that are even worse than the despot's dictatorship (see Iran or Afghanistan; which, yes I know, are not Arab). It also doesn't explain why Germany and Japan are democratic countries now -- one is tempted to ask why the US didn't install dictatorships there, if that's what they did in the middle east. Nor does it explain the torturing in Turkish prisons, Turkey being the most democratic culturally Islamic country. And it doesn't explain why there are no democracies in the middle East while there are many more or less democratic countries in South America.

I think Islam not being compatible with democracy (and by extension due process and hence human rights and no torture in prisons) is a better explanation.
posted by sour cream at 1:29 PM on October 9, 2005


Guantanamo: because the US is more democratic than Arab nations.

Because Islam sucks in so many degrees.

Because torture happens in other countries too.

Because terrorists kill people.

Guanatanamo. Because we can.
posted by funambulist at 1:31 PM on October 9, 2005


Oh, and leapingsheep, the routine torturing going on in Turkish prisons is actually one of the reasons why many Europeans don't want to see Turkey in the EU.

The real reason is because Turkey has a secret Islamic detention camp that is the exact equivalent of Guantanamo, but in reverse, so all the detainess are American citizens, being held indefinitely and tortured, without anything resembling due process, no international scrutiny, all going on for at least five years, and only because of being American and said to be involved in terrorist activity, but without any actual charges being brought and trials started. It's a secret that the EU is keeping from the US or the US would have already bombed Instabul. So that's what the negotiations are about, the EU is trying to get Turkey to dismantle the camp before the US finds out...

Yeah I just made that up in the effort to come up with a possible relevant connection between Turkey, the EU and Guantanamo. Because there isn't any. But don't let that stop you from bringing up whatever you want to bring up!
posted by funambulist at 1:50 PM on October 9, 2005


I object to torture in all its forms anywhere in the world. That said, it's a pretty big world and I need to focus on one country or another. Which country should I choose first? My own. It is morally reprehensible that the US government in any way conducts or condones torture in any of it's facilities. While it is true that torture occurs in the middle east, that doesn't excuse it's practice by the US. It seems some commentators believe that US torture is somehow excusable, but I don't see how.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:56 PM on October 9, 2005


That's shocking! Every good prison guard in the Arabic world knows that you are supposed to use pinchers when torturing prisoners. Those interrogators should have shown some cultural sensitivity and should have been briefed by prison guards from Morocco, Turkey, Syria or Egypt (actually any Islamic country would have been fine) on interrogation techniques that are halal.
posted by sour cream at 2:24 PM EST on October 9 [!]

What sour cream said.
posted by dhoyt at 2:38 PM EST on October 9 [!]

Shorter right wing response:
"America: Not as bad as other places that are bad!"
posted by Freen at 1:59 PM on October 9, 2005


So sour cream and perhaps Kwantsar believe that when the U.S. overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran in order to install a regime more friendly to Western oil interests, and the Iranians responded with a theocratic revolt, the fact that the revolt shows that Islamn / Iran is like so incompatible with democracy. It means there's something fucked up with Islam.

I'll agree that radical Islam is something the world would be better off without, all day long, and I lean towards forgiveness on the U.S. cold war foreign policy because the Soviets really were sucktacular. But I will not see U.S. people weaseling out of history, as if the U.S. had no responsible role in the current face of the Middle East. It's ahistorical, and factually wrong.
posted by fleacircus at 2:00 PM on October 9, 2005


Obligatory torture-happened-before-in-the-west post.

We've been here before.

Those who forget history...yadda yada.

No one in power really changed anything then and no-one in power will change anything now.
posted by lalochezia at 2:07 PM on October 9, 2005


This reads like a next generation Panopticon from hell.

Really? It reads to me like a wholly expected account of the American prison system. Prison is fucked because it's prison, not becuase Dubya is President.

Arrest without charge is ten times more fucked up, to be sure. But the quoted passage is nothing to new to a lot of general population prisoners.

A lot of people are getting a little cynical because, fuck, we've been trying to point this shit out for years, but no one wanted to hear it. Let's hope now that people are paying attention, they don't go back to sleep after the Republicans implode.
posted by poweredbybeard at 2:56 PM on October 9, 2005


dhoyt, you are such an [expletive deleted] moron.

The fact that other countries are worse than we are is irrelevant. We are still committing crimes, whether or not they are. The big difference between them and us is that we can control ourselves, where we can't control those other countries without, likely, going to war.

And, if you didn't notice.... those countries you say are so terrible? We are handing prisoners over to them with the express intent of having them tortured. So we are better exactly why? Torture is okay when?

Oh, I have an idea! Let's just redefine torture! That way, we can treat people any way we want, without having to feel guilty. And if a few die from mishandling, here and there, no big loss. They were The Enemy. How do we know? Well, they were accused. That makes them The Enemy!

How you can possibly, POSSIBLY excuse this kind of behavior is beyond me, dhoyt. How do you sleep at night?

Don't you realize that your kids, if you have any, are going to have to deal with generations of revenge for this kind of mistreatment?
posted by Malor at 2:58 PM on October 9, 2005


So sour cream and perhaps Kwantsar believe...

Well, no, fleacircus. I'm not sure exactly what I believe-- but I was responding to what I read as an impossibly ambitious claim.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:58 PM on October 9, 2005


And secondly, I also question all those "religious laws". Is "no physical contact between unmarried men and women" really a religious law?

Yep, it is. According to one of the main interpretive methodologies (Shafi madhab) the touch breaks ones (man or woman) ritual purity for prayer, necessitating reperformance of ablution. According to all the sunni interpretive methodologies touch in general is considered a sin unless by accident.

With respect to the dog issue, this is both culturally and religiously insensitive, the cultural aspect arising from the religious classification of dogs as one animal whose saliva and in some cases hair are considered ritual impurities by three out of the four major sunni interpretive methodologies (exception being Maliki), with additional prohibitions such as keeping dogs in the house or as pets for that reason (although they are allowed for guard dog purposes etc).

With respect to torture in theocracies, I would myself point to the incidence of torture in the Islamic state which lasted over a thousand years and the treatment of prisoners therein. It's surprisingly good in comparison to other states at that time precisely due to religious edicts.

The past hundred years has seen democratic process in middle eastern muslim countries systematically quashed in favour of depotism and autocratic rule as such rulers were far easier to use in incidences such as the cold war and to gain oil contracts from.

Recently developments have become even stranger - Turkey alluded to above is an interesting example as democratic desire to return to some form of practicing Islamic state by the populus is summarily dismissed and indeed those who call for it in a democratic way tortured. There is of course no hue and cry about this as Turkey's enforced secularism is seen as a "good thing" as personal choice only extends so far.

Funny world.
posted by Mossy at 3:05 PM on October 9, 2005


Mi>I'll start taking you seriously the day you harbor equal outrage for the awful human rights & prison conditions in the aforementioned countries.

I'll start taking you seriously when you agree that we should be holding ourselves to a much higher standard. When the US commits a bad act, and Iran commits the same bad act, it is more wrong when the US does it. Iran doesn't hold itself to the same moral standard that the "civilized" countries of the West do. If torture is wrong, it is more wrong when it is committed by nations which pay lip service to calling it wrong.

And like a previous poster said: if we adopt their tactics, they're no longer terrorists.

And the idea that we cannot be outraged about one act if we are not equally outraged about other acts? That's just fucking ridiculous on the face of it. It doesn't even warrant the effort that I have taken by typing this paragraph.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:11 PM on October 9, 2005


When the US commits a bad act, and Iran commits the same bad act

The thing is, Iran does not even have a Guantanamo where Americans are kept in the same conditions these detainees are kept... nor does any other country. It's not just about the treatment of prisoners in itself, the various levels of abuse and torture, that can and does happen in many other prisons, inside and ouside the US, in democracies and in dictatorships. But the real issue is wider, it's the whole thing, the existence of Guantanamo and how it operates and why and how people are being detained there.

There is nothing comparable to it. There are many other things that are worse in terms of treatment of individuals - like, say, summary executions of dissenters, from Iran to China - but something set up to detain foreigners without any legal status or procedure or even charges etc. etc. etc., no, there isn't anything like it.

It's not even a prison because prisons are where people go after being tried and sentenced so it cannot be compared to what happens in prisons. It's a whole category to itself.
posted by funambulist at 3:25 PM on October 9, 2005


(btw, that wasn't meant in contradiction to what you said, solid, but only as an additional point)
posted by funambulist at 3:29 PM on October 9, 2005


And the idea that we cannot be outraged about one act if we are not equally outraged about other acts?

You are quite free to do so if you don't mind the title of "hypocrite" that comes with it.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:30 PM on October 9, 2005


How you can possibly, POSSIBLY excuse this kind of behavior is beyond me, dhoyt. How do you sleep at night?

He turned into a sophist.
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:48 PM on October 9, 2005


Another day, another atrocity commited by the self-proclaimed "good" guys. *yawn*

So, how about that local sports team?
posted by C.Batt at 3:54 PM on October 9, 2005


Comments like some of those above confirm my belief that you have installed precisely the government you deserve.

Yeah, that's one of the kickers about democracy. "The US getting what it deserves" comes at a great cost to the billions of people who don't have a say. The detainees didn't deserve the government that the US gave the world.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:58 PM on October 9, 2005


The interesting thing about turkey is that while it is majority Muslim, there is a very strong separation between church and state. Much stronger then in the US. A senator was barred from congress for wearing a hajab, for example, and religious school graduates are not allowed to hold any government job.

Imagine if anyone who attended a Christian school was banned from holding an government job in the US?

It's not Turkey's 'islamic' character that causes problems in it's jails.

Also, you asked for examples of Muslim-dominated nations that are not big on torture, or at least inhumane treatment. That's a bit of an odd question, because I think the majority of nations in the world treat their prisoners poorly, certainly (as we've just seen) the US is in that group.

America's treatment of prisoners is, I would bet, the worst among Western, industrialized nations.
posted by delmoi at 4:15 PM on October 9, 2005


That's debatable.
posted by Kwantsar at 4:45 PM on October 9, 2005


Take me out to the KZ
Take me out to the gulag
Buy me some falafel and fish amandine
I don't care if I never get back.
Let me pray, pray, pray in a stress position,
if they don't break me it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three flushes, you're out
At the old KZ.

sorry
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:58 PM on October 9, 2005


Those links were both about Russian prisons. Since when has Russia become synonymous with Western democracies ?
posted by y2karl at 4:58 PM on October 9, 2005


My comment was in reference to Kwantsar's link above.
posted by y2karl at 5:00 PM on October 9, 2005


I feel like the world is in a giant handbasket with the US of A at the helm - going somewhere warm.

I can remember when I had respect and admiration for your country, but that time has come and gone, and the only ones that can fix it are you.

And for the love of God - separate Church and State again, please.
posted by flippant at 5:03 PM on October 9, 2005


You are quite free to do so if you don't mind the title of "hypocrite" that comes with it.

It isn't hypocrisy. It isn't even close to the smell of the hint of hypocrisy. I have a finite amount of time. I cannot possibly spend time being publicly outraged about everything. I pick and choose, as does everyone.

You are quite free to disagree if you don't mind the title of "fuckwit" that comes with it.
posted by solid-one-love at 5:16 PM on October 9, 2005


Well, karl, delmoi didn't say "democracy," and whether Russia is part of the West is, I suppose, a matter of opinion.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:48 PM on October 9, 2005


I just have to get this off my chest.

dhoyt, you are just an awful, horrible human being. Every time the United States government commits some new atrocity, you're there justifying it -- because others are doing it! (The fact that these other countries are in many cases our nominal friends just makes it worse...)

How you can read that article and not cry for shame of the horrors that your country is inflicting is simply beyond my comprehension. I wish I could understand why so many Americans have become so keen on portraying themselves as monsters.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:56 PM on October 9, 2005


Hi Tom. I believe we've had this conversation before. I state an opinion and you sputter forth with the most over-the-top personal insults in response. Email me. We'll talk.
posted by dhoyt at 6:01 PM on October 9, 2005


This thread scares the hell out of me.

It clearly demonstrates that a lot of people think that the following things are all fine:
a) abandonment of due process
b) torture
c) killing people in the name of America

If I were less humane, I'd find it funny to read arguments that it's okay to kill and torture people for America and the Christian god, but that death should come to those who fight for the Islamic god.

Patriotism and religion make crack-smoking seem like a mellow low-key drug.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:01 PM on October 9, 2005


You are quite free to do so if you don't mind the title of "hypocrite" that comes with it.

Is it so hypocritical that I care more about what my own country does than what other countries do? Would it be hypocritical to be less disturbed that the local drug dealer beats his girlfriend with a wrench, than I would be to find out that my father beats my mother with a belt? It's an uncommonly detached person who isn't more shocked and angered at the violence in his own house than the violence in a stranger's house. That's not hypocrisy, that's just a natural sense of attachment to what's closest to you. I am American, and I feel a connection to this country more than any other. That is why it wounds me to see it so debase itself. When my brothers say, "But Dad's only using a belt; Jim the Drug Dealer uses a wrench! Why aren't you more outraged at that, hypocrite?" I don't know what else to say.
posted by skoosh at 6:03 PM on October 9, 2005


I'd find it funny to read arguments that it's okay to kill and torture people for America and the Christian god

You "read those arguments" here at MeFi? Where?
posted by dhoyt at 6:05 PM on October 9, 2005


dhoyt: in your posts.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:27 PM on October 9, 2005


Please don't contact me again off-list, dhoyt, what you've written on this site is more than enough for me.

You're a reasonably bright guy and good at legalisms, but some of your posts exhibit such deep cynicism, disregard for ethics and justice, and embrace of violence as a tool for your political and economic interests that I feel like washing my monitor after I read them.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:28 PM on October 9, 2005


Hmmm... on second thought, I shouldn't have bothered responding. Nobody is going to change your mind (or even get you to accept an alternate perspective) unless you want it to happen, and it's clear you don't.

I respect that your beliefs are genuine, I just don't believe they're internally consistent.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:30 PM on October 9, 2005


So, Darren, you do know that to address people here by other than their onscreen name is considered poor form, right ?
posted by y2karl at 6:52 PM on October 9, 2005


Prison torture (of varying degrees) and lack of due process is something that virtually all countries that are predominately Islamic have in common (can't think of any exceptions).

So, how many democratic Arab countries can you think of, fingerbang?


"Arab" != "Islam", sour cream. And if you can't get something that simple correct, it's very difficult to give the rest of your arguments any credence.
posted by Vidiot at 6:52 PM on October 9, 2005


Also, to the camp that is so quick to point out that other countries torture, too:

You don't see those countries' leaders proclaiming how they've started wars and stopped torture. It's not just reprehensible behavior, it's hypocrisy too.
posted by Vidiot at 6:56 PM on October 9, 2005


So, Darren, you do know that to address people here by other than their onscreen name is considered poor form, right?

But "don't write me because I prefer to smear you on MeFi" is a-okay so long as your team is the one that's doing it, right y2***?
posted by Kwantsar at 7:20 PM on October 9, 2005


and another pointless thread swirls down to its ad-hom conclusion
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:30 PM on October 9, 2005


Nobody is going to change your mind (or even get you to accept an alternate perspective) unless you want it to happen, and it's clear you don't.

Change my mind about what? Not once on this website have I EVER condoned torture when any country does it, but tacking on another mindless "me-too" to the conversation is frivolous. I'd prefer pointing out things which aren't being discussed and doesn't always involve blaming the US first for the world's problems. In doing so, here are the responses:
"funny how the usual torture-lovers here are quick to point out that, well, the savage Muslim hordes are generally badder and meaner than the Aryan peoples"

"dhoyt, you are such an [expletive deleted] moron."

"dhoyt, you are just an awful, horrible human being."

"I'd find it funny to read arguments that it's okay to kill and torture people for America and the Christian god"

Uh, bullshit. No one argued that. No one denied these instances of persecution & abuse on behalf of the US military were huge clusterfucks. No one said it's ok to torture "for a Christian god". When US forces go over the line in their tactics, it is a scandal. It's in the papers, it's on the radio, it's investigated, most are disgusted and all but the silliest minority of strident rightwing bloggers are actually proud.

I'm not slagging anyone for thinking the US should clean up their act, yet no one thinks twice about slagging someone who believes the govt's of the mideast have a far deeper, far more ingrained, far more "acceptable" policy regarding abuse & torture. Is it a "scandal" in countries like Syria when a prison guard beats someone up? Are their pictures in the paper? Are they court-martialed? Are they shunned?

I'm sorry if it seems like sour cream & me have unpopular views or are presenting difficult viewpoints rather than the same tedious "Let's concentrate on the US & US only" perspective. Given responses like Lupus's, it's amazing anyone bothers to present different viewpoints at all.
posted by dhoyt at 7:49 PM on October 9, 2005


dhoyt -- the US government proclaims that it holds itself to a higher standard. It proclaims that it's stopped torture abroad. Why shouldn't we focus on its rank hypocrisy as well as the simple fact that the US -- along with many other nations -- practices torture?
posted by Vidiot at 8:01 PM on October 9, 2005


But "don't write me because I prefer to smear you on MeFi" is a-okay so long as your team is the one that's doing it, right y2***?

Sockpuppets--when you are feeling a little passive-aggressive and anti-social and signing your own name won't do because you're a big scaredy cat.
posted by y2karl at 8:07 PM on October 9, 2005


And a little namecalling, just for good measure.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:13 PM on October 9, 2005


You are quite free to disagree if you don't mind the title of "fuckwit" that comes with it.

That sums up the debating tactics here very nicely, thanks.

the US government proclaims that it holds itself to a higher standard. It proclaims that it's stopped torture abroad. Why shouldn't we focus on its rank hypocrisy as well as the simple fact that the US -- along with many other nations -- practices torture?

The issue for me is not that people here choose to focus predominantly on the US, it's the livid, frothing at the mouth rage (see dhoyt's comment above for a nice sampler) that inevitably appears every time someone mentions that other nations engage in far worse behaviours. Why is that people seem to have so much trouble dealing with criticism not directed at the US, do you think?

I'd find it funny to read arguments that it's okay to kill and torture people for America and the Christian god
...
dhoyt: in your posts.


What bullshit. Care to link?
posted by Krrrlson at 8:14 PM on October 9, 2005


Kwantsar -- I believe y2karl is still under the impression that you are my sockpuppet.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:14 PM on October 9, 2005


I believe y2karl is still under the impression that you are my sockpuppet.

I had forgotten. I'll be sure not to ask him to weigh in on the Shakespeare/Bacon/Oxford debate.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:20 PM on October 9, 2005


the US government proclaims that it holds itself to a higher standard.

I'd say all countries involved in a "struggle"—aka our current struggle to protect against domestic terror attacks—believe themselves to be in the right. No doubt Islamic governments feel they are the only ones on the globe who are meting out justice the "right" & pure way, aka, as their ancient religion dictates. Many misguided young Muslims proclaim to "hold themselves to a higher standard" than the violent Yankee pigs they abhor. Then they blow themselves up in a crowd of innocents.

It proclaims that it's stopped torture abroad. Why shouldn't we focus on its rank hypocrisy as well as the simple fact that the US -- along with many other nations -- practices torture?

Rank hypocrisy is always fine to point out. What I'm saying is that at MeFi certain hypocrisy is far more acceptable to enjoy wallowing in (IE, the US govt's hypocrisy), than other hypocrisies (IE, Adherents of a "peaceful" religion creating so much bloodshed in the world in the name of their religion). Feel like pointing that out? Get called an "awful, horrible human being". Let's revisit that concept of rank hypocrisy again.
posted by dhoyt at 8:21 PM on October 9, 2005


MetaFilter: And a little namecalling, just for good measure.
posted by S.C. at 8:22 PM on October 9, 2005


Why is that people seem to have so much trouble dealing with criticism not directed at the US, do you think?

Well, I don't know. And I posted the comment you're quoting from. And I don't seem to have done what you seem to be criticizing me for. But I do think that many here are upset at what they see as the hypocrisy of the US denouncing torture and taking credit for ending it while simultaneously torturing people. And I also think that when the issue of "but other countries torture, too" is raised, it's -- rightly or wrongly -- seen as a weaselly attempt at changing the subject...moving the discussion from one on American torture specifically to the awfulness of torture in general.
posted by Vidiot at 8:23 PM on October 9, 2005


That sums up the debating tactics here very nicely, thanks.

The tactic whereby you imply an insult against me but you get incense when I do the same to you?

Then let me spell it out very clearly: You. Are. A. Fuckwit.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:24 PM on October 9, 2005


dhoyt writes "Is it a 'scandal' in countries like Syria when a prison guard beats someone up?"

Is it a scandal when US authorities send a Syrian-born Canadian to Syria while knowing fucking well that he's going to be tortured once he gets there? There's a reason that rendition has pretty much come to be known as a handy and legal way to outsource torture.
posted by clevershark at 8:26 PM on October 9, 2005


I believe y2karl is still under the impression that you are my sockpuppet.

No, I had gottten the impression it was yet another #mefi group account. At any rate, it seems self-evident--consider Kwantsar's comments herein--that users of anonymous accounts use them primarily to attack other people personally and quite often address them by other than their chosen onscreen names when doing so.
posted by y2karl at 8:34 PM on October 9, 2005


Then let me spell it out very clearly: You. Are. A. Fuckwit.

You really should have added "times infinity plus one" and "no touchbacks" for additional emphasis.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:35 PM on October 9, 2005


No, I had gottten the impression it was yet another #mefi group account. At any rate, it seems self-evident--consider Kwantsar's comments herein--that users of anonymous accounts use them primarily to attack other people personally and quite often address them by other than their chosen onscreen names when doing so.

Seriously, y2karl, tell me who I have attacked or personally addressed in this thread.

When I referred to you as y2***, I was making a silly point that referring to you by your screen name was (in effect) referring to you by your real first name. Neither an attack, nor a personal address. An anti-personal address, more fittingly.

I haven't been to #mefi in years, by the way.
Are you still smarting from the log-posting incident or the goatse incident? Pity. Let it go, man.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:46 PM on October 9, 2005


Why is that people seem to have so much trouble dealing with criticism not directed at the US, do you think?

Because it's always used by the same broken records to derail criticism that is directed at the US.

If George Bush ate a baby live on national television, dhoyt would scold us for not being outraged at all the other acts of cannibalism that occur in the animal kingdom.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:49 PM on October 9, 2005


No, I had gottten the impression it was yet another #mefi group account. At any rate, it seems self-evident--consider Kwantsar's comments herein--that users of anonymous accounts use them primarily to attack other people personally and quite often address them by other than their chosen onscreen names when doing so.

Firstly, Krrrlson, why do you bother with the Kwantsar sockpuppet anymore ? We all know it's you... Secondly, I didn't see you rushing to protect my honour the last time someone called me KKKrlson, which, although similar to my "chosen onscreen name," is not exactly it. I daresay you can survive being called "karl" or "y2****" without shitting too many bricks.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:49 PM on October 9, 2005


Because it's always used by the same broken records to derail criticism that is directed at the US.

I haven't seen too many terrorism related threads here without abundant references to how the US imperialist policies are really to blame for some particular act of terrorism, etc, etc. If that does not count as derailing, then discussing the actions of nations who routinely deal in torture in a thread which is in a large part about how the US treats its prisoners is not derailment either. And I'm sure you can agree that the broken record comment goes both ways here.

If, however, you want to make the argument that criticising the US is the primary function of political discussions on Metafilter, and that is why other criticism counts as derailment, then I'd have no choice but to agree.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:57 PM on October 9, 2005


I haven't seen too many terrorism related threads here without abundant references to how the US imperialist policies are really to blame for some particular act of terrorism, etc, etc. If that does not count as derailing, then discussing the actions of nations who routinely deal in torture in a thread which is in a large part about how the US treats its prisoners is not derailment either. And I'm sure you can agree that the broken record comment goes both ways here.

Absolutely. I agree that someone excusing terrorists every time for every act by blaming the United States is just as stupid as dhoyt excusing the United States every time for every act by blaming Eric Rudolph and Syria. They're equally worthless comments.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:08 PM on October 9, 2005


You... mean... we're not arguing about that?

I'm a little lost, quite frankly.

*cries*
posted by Krrrlson at 9:14 PM on October 9, 2005


Oops, "Osama Bin Laden and Syria".

My editor has been horsewhipped. (But he would have been castrated in Syria.)
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:26 PM on October 9, 2005


Firstly, Krrrlson, why do you bother with the Kwantsar sockpuppet anymore ? We all know it's you...

Firstly, it was Steve_At_Linnwood's comment in that thread to which you linked that changed my mind to the group account theory. People change their minds, you know. Secondly, I don't care what people call you otherwise any more than I care what people call me.

I was commenting on how a member of indeterminate real world name--there's one given on his user page and then another one, according to an Ask Mefi thread I once read, by which he seems to get email--so often addresses people directly by their user page given name when he gets into it with them. That's apples to your oranges. If you gave a name, yourself, Mr. Anonymous #3, and someone addressed you by it, then I suppose I would be a hypocrite if I didn't mention it herein.

It just seems weird to me that anonymous users so often like to call out other users by their given names. There's something passive-aggressively hinky about it. What we do know, however, is that anonymity really does seem to engender personal attacks and fuckwittery in general, don't you agree ?
posted by y2karl at 9:39 PM on October 9, 2005


I'll start taking you seriously the day you harbor equal outrage for the awful human rights & prison conditions in the aforementioned countries.

frothing at the mouth rage [...] that inevitably appears every time someone mentions that other nations engage in far worse behaviors.

I don't think it's rage it's complete frustration. It's exacerbation that your argument is even raised. Simply the reason that people direct their anger towards "the US" is because "the US" represents them. More so, these same people that are supposed decide the policy of "the US". This is something we are suppose to be able to control.

To be crystal clear We are supposed to be able to control the actions of the United States. We cannot control the actions of other countries.

My vote was not cast to in favor of inhumanity. By defending these practices, you are appear as though you support inhumanity. If so just come out and say it, please stop acting like the fact that inhumanity exists elsewhere in the world it excuses the inhumanity of our government.

A hypothetical: Since an earthquake killed 20,000 in southeast Asia is it all right if "the US" goes in and only kills 19,000 more?
posted by betaray at 9:45 PM on October 9, 2005


Remember at the end of The Crucible where everyone knows the witch hunts a sham, and they want to stop, but they can't because of their pride?
posted by iamck at 9:54 PM on October 9, 2005


I knew I shouldn't have included the hypothetical, because they are so damned hard to get right. What I should have said was:

Since an earthquake killed 20,000 in southeast Asia, does that make it any less wrong if the if "the US" goes in and only kills 19,000 (or 1,000, or 1) more?
posted by betaray at 10:05 PM on October 9, 2005


Speaking of James Yee, today's Washington Post had a long article on him:
His wife held the gun in one hand and two bullets in the other.

"Tell me how to use it," she whispered over the phone from the couple's Olympia, Wash., apartment. Of everything Chaplain James Yee had been through -- the arrest, the espionage allegations, the 76 days in solitary confinement -- this was the worst moment.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:43 PM on October 9, 2005


But the organized religion in question linked quite explicity to massive, daily violence around the globe IS ISLAM whether you can bring yourself to admit it or not.

That would be people like the 9/11 airplane-take over crews, right?

In May-August 2001, at least six hijackers (Atta, al-Shehhi, Nawaf al-Hazmi, Jarrah, al-Mihdhar, and Hanjour) flew to Las Vegas, and while there drank alcohol, gambled, went to strip clubs and enjoyed lap dances (on a stopover in Minneapolis on the way back from Vegas to Baltimore, Hanjour and al-Hazmi could have possibly met Moussaoui, who had started flight training in Minneapolis the day before). Former Senator Bob Graham asserts that Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhdar frequented strip clubs in San Diego. Other stories in the media report them drinking alcohol, trying to sleep with prostitutes, renting porn, and watching strip shows the night before the attacks. 9/11 mastermind KSM is also said to have lived a lavish, partying lifestyle.


If all these people you site *ARE* "followers of Islam" - then what are they doing drinking?

Well?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:11 PM on October 9, 2005


And here I thought the USA held itself to higher standards, if only because they constantly blow their own horn that they set the standard for other countries to follow.
posted by dobbs at 12:22 PM PST on October 9 [!]


Yup. Here's the thing - to have moral authority and ask others to change is a FAR cheaper option than using trade sanctions or even bullets to get a desired change.

And it's looking like even the most expensive option for change isn't working.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:16 PM on October 9, 2005


MeFi ain't your personal Cliff's Notes.

Wanna bet?

"Why didn't you read the link before commenting?"

I did. It's a single-link op-ed. I'm surprised this post hasn't been deleted. Favoritism is my guess. ;-P
posted by mischief at 11:29 PM on October 9, 2005


(IE, Adherents of a "peaceful" religion creating so much bloodshed in the world in the name of their religion)

If the 'rules of the religion' say 'don't drink booze' and 'its all about peace', is a person who doesn't actually follow the 'rules of the religion' actual adhearents of said religion?

Or are you 'of religion X' just becuse you or someone else says you are?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:32 PM on October 9, 2005


I'll be sure not to ask him to weigh in on the Shakespeare/Bacon/Oxford debate.

Sorry. It was Sir Henry Neville
posted by rough ashlar at 11:37 PM on October 9, 2005


"It's a single-link op-ed. I'm surprised this post hasn't been deleted. Favoritism is my guess."

That's like saying that the personal statement of the soldier who came forward in Abu Ghraib would be a "single link op ed".

James Yee isn't some foam-mouthed neocon thinktank clone who has never served his country... he was there. He was a highly decorated soldier who not only witnessed, but personally experienced what it means to be victimized by our government's policies.

On behalf of honest, decent soldiers everywhere, I'd like to say "how dare you?"
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:19 AM on October 10, 2005


rough ashlar: If all these people you site *ARE* "followers of Islam" - then what are they doing drinking?

Are you really surprised? They were men in their early twenties. Going after girls and trying to have a good time is what men in that age do. It's the hormones, you know.

I wonder whether all this suppressed sexuality might not also be a factor in all that violence coming from that region. I mean, all that pent-up energy has to go somewhere, no? In Iran and Afghanistan under the Taliban, a lot of it seems to go into beating up women on the street for not wearing the hijab correctly. That's also why I think this "no physical contact before marriage" is a rule that doesn't deserve much respect.
BTW, what's with all the men in the Arab world holding hands in public? Isn't that a violation of that rule?

If the 'rules of the religion' say 'don't drink booze' and 'its all about peace', is a person who doesn't actually follow the 'rules of the religion' actual adhearents of said religion?

Of course they are. It's not whether they follow all the rules, and as I understand it, there are so many rules under Islam that you need to be a learned scholar to know them all. The question is where you see your own cultural identity. There are many conservative Christians who beat their wifes, but still think of them as generally decent believers.
posted by sour cream at 12:23 AM on October 10, 2005


Slightly off topic (downright loopy, actually, by this point), but the cover of James Yee's book, For God and Country, Faith and Patriotism Under Fire is brilliant. Everything from the title to the author's picture to the formatting is golden. I hope it's shelved in the Politics section of the bookstore. Both y2karl's link and kirkaracha's quote above are excerpted from it.
posted by carsonb at 12:25 AM on October 10, 2005


Rank hypocrisy is always fine to point out. What I'm saying is that at MeFi certain hypocrisy is far more acceptable to enjoy wallowing in (IE, the US govt's hypocrisy), than other hypocrisies (IE, Adherents of a "peaceful" religion creating so much bloodshed in the world in the name of their religion). Feel like pointing that out? Get called an "awful, horrible human being". Let's revisit that concept of rank hypocrisy again.
posted by dhoyt at 8:21 PM PST on October 9


What do you want to hear, dhoyt? That Islam fucking sucks? That it, along with the other Abrahamic religions, is a dumb, ridiculous goatherder jerkoff session obsessed with hoarding power and raping virgins? You got it, my man: Islam. Fucking. Sucks.

You know what else sucks? Our treatment of prisoners who have never been convicted of anything. We are acting just as sick and evil as the nastiest, kid-fuckingest, allahu ackbariest suicide fucking bomber on the planet. We have money, technology, manpower, training, yet this is the best we can do? Get the same assholes we all hated in high school to babysit prisoners for months on end, pausing only to stomp a face in or wipe his ass with the Qu'ran? Because that is an ace fucking plan right there.

But thank god, thank god for dhoyt, because he will be there to let us know that no matter how much we fuck up, no matter how many children we bomb or how many innocent men we throw in jail forever, no matter how many orphans grow up to hate and murder our own children, that somewhere out there in that big old world is someone who did something just a little bit worse.

And that makes it just fine and dandy.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:33 AM on October 10, 2005


When I first wrote about James Yee back in 2003, I found this edition of Guantanamo's official newsletter, which has an article in it from James Yee on Islam.

"The strength of the nation we defend is our diversity, but not knowing each other only creates an obstacle keeping us from really coming together as one cohesive force. .... Practically speaking, this is as easy as smiling, and saying, "Hi, my name is... " to a fellow member who is Muslim. With almost certainty, your response will also be met with a smile and the words, "Hi, it's nice to meet you..."
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:36 AM on October 10, 2005


mischief, the article linked is an excerpt from an autobiographical account in book form. Intelligent people may disagree but in my opinion there is a difference between a first person account and an editorial.

Curious upon reading this in the article excerpting Yee:

I got to know three men from Britain particularly well: Rhuhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul. Ahmed, the most talkative, told me that they had grown up
together in Tipton, near Birmingham. Their families were close and the men were like cousins. All three told me they had never committed a crime and that their arrests had been a serious mistake.


I looked around and found yet another harrowing narrative in this:

FindLaw - Guantanamo Prison Abuse Lawsuit

ps:

Kwantsar, you did write Well, karl, delmoi didn't say "democracy," and whether Russia is part of the West is, I suppose, a matter of opinion., did you not ?

Well, maybe one of you did--anonymity not only engenders fuckwittery but multiple user account anonymity engenders fuckhalfwittery, too, it could be argued.
posted by y2karl at 1:06 AM on October 10, 2005


Why is that people seem to have so much trouble dealing with criticism not directed at the US, do you think?

Since the topic here is Guantanamo, and it's not the Russians or Turks or Iranians running it, the real question perhaps is why some people have so much trouble dealing with criticism directed at the US, and why is it that they need to derail that with "if you're not expressing your outrage in the same sentence about all the other things that I think are comparable to this then outrage is worthless".

Why is it, though, that they're the first to get mad when someone points out US bombings have killed more people than terrorist attacks against the US? I suppose they should be fine with the notion that attacks in NY were nothing much to shout about since hey thousands more died in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not to mention the thousands more who died of HIV or famine or natural disasters. So everyone who goes on about 9/11 is a big crybaby. There you go, same "logic", see how you like it.

Look, if you're all fine about Guantanamo and what goes on there, really, have the guts to revel in it, be proud that you have members of your military getting kicks out of abusing people for no practical purpose at all, have the honesty to say you just enjoy the pointless sadism and flaunting of all judicial and human rights principles, and that you also take pleasure in the fact all the outrage in the world won't stop it happening. No need to bend over backwards trying to come up with poor rationalisations for your acceptance of it. They're only a very very transparent veil.
posted by funambulist at 1:22 AM on October 10, 2005



Jebus H. Halliburton! What a poop-throwing contest this thread turned out to be.

We should maybe take this debate backwards a few grades. Let's start out with a few simple propositions. I'll kick it off with this:

Torture = Inappropriate Behaviour

Notice the lack of nationality, religion, peace-time or war-time state, or political leaning. Just a simple proposition stating that torture is equal to inappropriate behaviour.

If you believe that this proposition is false, then we're done holding rational discourse, you and I. Our belief systems are separated by a gulf that no wormhole can connect. If we ever meet in some sort of social setting, please remember that the right to attach your jumper cables ends at my nipples.

So, let's assume for the sake of discussion that you believe that the above proposition is true; that torture is inappropriate behaviour under any circumstances.

I believe that a large number of Americans are dismayed by the fact that members of their armed forces are torturing people. Further, I believe that these same Americans don't feel that "Well, they're doing it, so why can't we?" or "They are terrorists/terror suspects/people of terror, so anything goes!" are legitimate excuses for condoning the use of torture.

Many of these Americans are ashamed of some of the actions (or inactions) being taken by their leaders when it comes to acts of torture being committed "for the safety and security of America".

That said, the premise that exists at the core of their dismay and anger and outrage is still:

Torture = Inappropriate Behaviour

(No matter where it takes place, who started it, whether your enemies use it or not, or if the torture methods you use are kinder and gentler than what other nations use.)


This over-simplified post courtesy of Debate Speedbumps Inc. ...slowing down ravening debaters since 1968!
posted by Darkman at 3:03 AM on October 10, 2005


If all these people you site *ARE* "followers of Islam" - then what are they doing drinking?

(that shut him up)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:50 AM on October 10, 2005


Can we just.....never mind. You guys are too wound up in yourselves to have a decent talk *sigh* I should just quit now, its getting as bad as fark.
posted by wheelieman at 6:01 AM on October 10, 2005


Are you really surprised? They were men in their early twenties. Going after girls and trying to have a good time is what men in that age do. It's the hormones, you know.

Sounds like an excuse. A way to allow the observed behavior match the label (follower of Islam) applied.

as I understand it, there are so many rules under Islam that you need to be a learned scholar to know them all.

Hrmmm, sounds like another excuse for bad behaviour.


There are many conservative Christians who beat their wifes, but still think of them as generally decent believers.

It would seem Wife beating != Christian behavior. Yet another case of apply a label to generalize for grouping, then when the data doesn't fit, the labeling isn't rethought, but excuses are made for the behaviour to keep the pre-defined label.


Must be nice to live in a world where labels can be slapped on and said label is correct, no matter what the reality is.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:17 AM on October 10, 2005


Sounds like an excuse. A way to allow the observed behavior match the label (follower of Islam) applied.

Huh? Are we talking about the same people here? I thought we were talking about the 9/11 suicide bombers. Are you saying that they were technically not muslims, because they were not following all rules of their religion?
posted by sour cream at 6:31 AM on October 10, 2005


In May-August 2001, at least six hijackers...flew to Las Vegas, and while there drank alcohol, gambled, went to strip clubs and enjoyed lap dances.

Man, I thought what happened in Vegas was supposed to stay in Vegas.

posted by kirkaracha at 6:56 AM on October 10, 2005


I'll start taking you seriously the day you harbor equal outrage for the awful human rights & prison conditions in the aforementioned countries.

I would just like to pop into the thread to say that I, for one, harbor more than equal outrage for the countries who persist in torturing political or militant prisoners. Even if they're not my own country. I signed a few petitions sometime around 1998 that were being circulated by women's rights groups that called for the US to stop dealing with Afghanistan due to the dismal record of the Taliban. I've mentioned how horrible I think torture is, regardless or location or reasoning, many times.

The outrage is there, it's just insulting to pull the "you're ignoring other countries" card every time this discussion comes up. Yes, the James Yee situation was a clusterfuck. But it's an institutionalized clusterfuck. The man most likely should never have been a prisoner, but we're feeding the troops at Guantanamo (and allowing them to create) propaganda that turns this into a religious conflict. In return, we get attacks on American Muslims because they're supposedly prone to empathize with the enemy. Of course they fucking empathize, you're messing with their Korans and using religious taboos as intimidation tactics.

If the Muslim chaplains who are ministering to the prisoners agree that these behaviors are against their religion, and their fellow Americans repeatedly use coercion tactics aimed at their religion, you're giving a mixed message to troops on base and the prisoners.
posted by mikeh at 7:13 AM on October 10, 2005


There were some who suggested that the partying was a part of their cover. The idea being that if they drank and caroused they wouldn't be suspected to be fundamentalist. No idea if that theory holds any water.
posted by Carbolic at 7:29 AM on October 10, 2005


last time someone called me KKKrlson

I thought you'd be flattered, my bad
posted by matteo at 7:44 AM on October 10, 2005


If the 'rules of the religion' say 'don't drink booze' and 'its all about peace', is a person who doesn't actually follow the 'rules of the religion' actual adhearents of said religion?
...
Or are you 'of religion X' just becuse you or someone else says you are?

A religious doctrine is only as good as its interpretation, don't you think? Leviticus clearly states that Jews should be stoning homosexuals to death, but, last I checked, not too many Jews do it. Does that disqualify them as Jews, in your opinion?

Your point is silly and semantic. The 9/11 hijackers claimed they were followers of Islam, and at least some (perhaps many) other people who claim to be Muslims appeared to approve of their actions. But if it makes you feel better, we can call them "self-proclaimed" Muslims. I, for one, would feel better if the media were less afraid to call people who target civilians with car bombs "terrorists" instead of "militants" or "activists." We can keep going like this forever.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:47 AM on October 10, 2005


Bickering about who is a "real" Muslim or "real" Christian is ridiculous because there are several groups that will dispute the legitimacy of the others. The only truth in either religion comes from God. Unless you expect God to show up and say "hey, the Catholics and Sunnis have it right," it's probably best to either stick to your own private beliefs, or accept that for the public sphere you have to accept that there are lots of different types of Muslims. I think that most major religions have nonviolent branches that are true to the words of their religious texts, including Christianity and Islam.
posted by mikeh at 8:16 AM on October 10, 2005


A quick google search revealed what appears to be a slightly more even-handed account of James Yee's case, in that it has quotes from his colleagues who first raised suspicions against him.

Four quick observations here:

a) This account seems to say that the final charge against Capt Yee, that he had an affair while at Gitmo, is true. The WaPo article linked to in an earlier comment also seems to be saying that he was silent on that count.

b) His superior officer, this Miller guy, seemed to be supportive of him before turning against him.

c) The sheer amount of paranoia in the security establishment on potential suspects is staggering; almost like trying to kill a mouse with a nuclear bomb or something.

d) There seems to have been massive, massive spinning in the media in the initial days after his arrest which, in turn, led to a sort-of force-multiplier effect on the prosecutors; they were ready to disregard simple elements of the judicial process in their attempts.

None of which, naturally, condones any action against Capt Yee; must say the entire composite account reeks of not only an unhealthy amount of paranoia against Muslims and Muslim culture, but also of professional jealousy and mistrust.

In a bigger general context though, I found the following passage illuminating:
In one instance, she said, agents showed her a symbol found on one of Al Halabi's documents. They insisted it was related to al-Qaida.

Wega claimed he had been told that by Army Reserve Capt. Jason Orlich, the lead intelligence officer at Camp Delta. Orlich, in turn, said he had learned it from one of the camp's non-Muslim linguists. It was the same linguist who had reported overhearing Chaplain James Yee make subversive statements — a report that had sparked the espionage investigation against Yee.

But it wasn't an al-Qaida symbol at all, Sultan explained to Al Halabi's lawyers. It was a common Muslim saying, written in Arabic in Ottomanic style. The saying, Bism Allah Alrahman Alrahim, meant: "In the name of God, most gracious, most merciful."

It had nothing to do with terrorism.
The problem here, frankly, isn't just in-bred racism against Muslims, but a virulent mix of ignorance, fright and power.
posted by the cydonian at 8:23 AM on October 10, 2005


I, for one, would feel better if the media were less afraid to call people who target civilians with car bombs "terrorists" instead of "militants" or "activists."

Maybe you're thinking of someone calling activists terrorists rather than the other way round, but minor details aside, I completely agree with your point there. The decadence of our times will never stop unless the media makes it clear to us that blowing up people is wrong. How else is one supposed to know that? They should stop using outrageously flattering definitions like "suicide bombers" whenever there's a suicide bombing. It's morally confusing and undermines the ongoing success of efforts to eliminate terrorism.

Just like calling what happens at Guantanamo "torture", it's pure antiamerican propaganda, these are approved interrogation tactics used against dangerous convicted criminals who can tell us where the ticking bombs are because despite being locked there for five years they can still communicate via telepathy with their terror associates outside. I for one would feel better if the media referred to these practices as "preventive measures for the triumph of justice and democracy".
posted by funambulist at 9:00 AM on October 10, 2005


I'm not slagging anyone for thinking the US should clean up their act, yet no one thinks twice about slagging someone who believes the govt's of the mideast have a far deeper, far more ingrained, far more "acceptable" policy regarding abuse & torture. Is it a "scandal" in countries like Syria when a prison guard beats someone up? Are their pictures in the paper? Are they court-martialed? Are they shunned?

Well, perhaps if I lived in syria I would care. But I don't, so I don't.

This thread was about an American citizen being treated inhumanely by the American government. What does that have to do with Syria or any other country? Nothing at all, that's what.

It simply doesn't matter what happens in those countries when discussing what happens in the US, and the only reason to do so is to derail the conversation, and the only reason to derail the conversation is to defend the US government's indefensible actions.
posted by delmoi at 9:15 AM on October 10, 2005


I thought you'd be flattered, my bad

I was.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:22 AM on October 10, 2005


The guards knew that Muslims believe that the Koran contains the actual words of God and is to be treated with the utmost respect. I never heard of an incident where a detainee hid anything dangerous in the Koran; doing so would be considered an insult.

Statistically speaking, some of these guys locked up there must be the real deal, so such caution is necessary. Anyone whos worked in a prison knows about the ingenious weapons that prisoners can make from innocent objects with all the time in the world to dream them up. Given how they ignore the Koran's admonition on killing, it doesn't seem to be out of line that some would hide things in there too.
posted by dr_dank at 9:59 AM on October 10, 2005


Are we talking about the same people here? I thought we were talking about the 9/11 suicide bombers. Are you saying that they were technically not muslims,

You are the one who's used Arab, Islamic and Muslem all interchangeable to describe the actions the American Government has called 'terrorism against Americans'.

You are the one who is all over the map with your labels. Its very hard to have a discussion without having the same lingustic starting point. Even harder when you slap a label on a group then demonize 'em.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:01 AM on October 10, 2005


I am always amazed that so many Americans seem to hold "we're better than the worst" as the metric by which they measure their performance.

I am glad that my country at least pays lip service to the idea that we should be better than the best.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:04 AM on October 10, 2005


Your point is silly and semantic.

Really? Properly identifying responsible parties for the crimes committed is 'silly and semantic'?

Huh. Who'd thunk it.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:08 AM on October 10, 2005


Comments like some of those above confirm my belief that you have installed precisely the government you deserve.

Hey, don't look at me. I didn't vote for the theocracy, and pretty soon, I won't be able to vote at all if the fundies-in-charge get their way.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:04 AM on October 10, 2005


a) This account seems to say that the final charge against Capt Yee, that he had an affair while at Gitmo, is true. The WaPo article linked to in an earlier comment also seems to be saying that he was silent on that count.

Can't convict him?--well, then ruin his reputation forever. That'll make us safer from the terrorists. This administration's hallmark is total destruction of its foes. It is a shame to see the army partaking in such behavior. If power corrupts, then evidently petty vindictive power corrupts absolutely.
posted by y2karl at 11:11 AM on October 10, 2005


I always come to these debates far too late, and I'm sure no-one will read this, but I'm struck by the hypocrisy of (one of) the (main) right-wing arguments here. We're told that we can't be outraged by the treatment of Yee if we're not similarly outraged by similar treatment of other people everywhere. Yet I clearly remember being told two years back, when asking the same people why they backed the war to depose Saddam and not other despots elsewhere, that "we can't do everything, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do something"... Surely the same goes here, no?
posted by benzo8 at 11:16 AM on October 10, 2005


benzo8: Good luck with that. As the right-wingers will tell you, Yee is one of Them. It's Us vs. Them, you see? You're either with Us, or against Us.
posted by LordSludge at 11:22 AM on October 10, 2005


benzo8 writes "We're told that we can't be outraged by the treatment of Yee if we're not similarly outraged by similar treatment of other people everywhere."

You read it dangerously wrong. Be careful or you may ignite yet another name-calling explosion, this time your way. Let me clarify the issue:
a) You're not to be outraged by the treatment of people in: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel and parts of Iraq. These are faithful allies and being outraged by their acts is too close to being outraged by US acts and in the end amounts to aiding the terrorists;
b) You may be outraged, at your choice, by the treatment of people in: China, Russia, Anywhere in Western Europe, Latin America or Australia and parts of Iraq;
c) You must be outraged by the treatment of people in: Iran, Syria, Cuba and parts of Iraq (although, in Syria's case, you should only be outraged when the mistreated person has not been shipped there by the US government);
posted by nkyad at 11:29 AM on October 10, 2005


Really? Properly identifying responsible parties for the crimes committed is 'silly and semantic'?

Have you considered a career as a bureaucrat?
posted by Krrrlson at 12:48 PM on October 10, 2005


"Torture = Inappropriate Behaviour"

Indeed.I’m outraged by torture anywhere. Fortunately I’m already a member of Amnesty International.
But as an American I’m appalled that this is happening under our auspices.
I plan to do something about it. What, I’m not sure yet. But asses should be in slings for this.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:57 PM on October 10, 2005


Given how they ignore the Koran's admonition on killing.

Except, dr_dank, that no one has proven that the people in Gitmo has done anything. Because they haven't been charged with anything. And to my knowledge, there have only been a handful of military tribunals conducted to adjudicate detention challenges.
posted by Vidiot at 4:47 PM on October 10, 2005


Legal black holes like Gitmo aren't discovered; they're created with purpose.

Can't wait till my country agrees to land pre-clearance, which our neighbours apparently think means that they will be able to indefinitely detain suspicious persons on the Canadian side, because the U.S. Bill of Rights won't apply (and they argue the Canadian Charter won't apply either). With either constitutional apparatus in place, if you can believe it, they don't seem that interested in land pre-clearance at all. (and they argue that we'd be able to do the same -- detain on the U.S. side without regard to the Charter... ah, no thanks. doubtful legality, not to mention morality) As it stands, at airports for example, you always have the right to turn around and leave. You then don't get to board your plane, but that's your choice. The U.S. wants the right to nab people turning away from the border, since that would be suspicious, too. And do whatever they want with them.
posted by dreamsign at 10:09 PM on October 10, 2005


Given how they ignore the Koran's admonition on killing

Thou shalt not kill.

According to the US Army:
Twenty-seven detainees were killed in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan in suspected or confirmed homicide cases between August 2002 and November 2004
God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule
posted by kirkaracha at 10:33 PM on October 10, 2005


Sure, twenty-seven detainees were killed in U.S. custody in that time, but keep in mind that they were terrorists... every last one of them! If they weren't terrorists, they would've confessed, after all.

If you, by killing one of those terrorists, could save the life of your entire family or stop an American city from nuclear destruction, wouldn't you kill the terrorist too? Hell, wouldn't you kill *ALL* of the prisoners, just to be sure you got the right one?!

Why don't you talk about all the schools that we've painted in Iraq instead? Better yet, why don't you mention the 40,000 detainees in U.S. custody who *DID* survive their beatings?! Why are you singling out a few weak, out-of-shape terrorist thugs who can't take a good pounding now and then without heart problems, organ failure, or choking to death on their own blood?

Don't you love America?
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:50 PM on October 10, 2005


On behalf of honest, decent soldiers everywhere, I'd like to say "how dare you?"

Soldiers can speak for themselves.
posted by Dagobert at 1:43 AM on October 11, 2005


"Soldiers can speak for themselves."

...and whenever there's a soldier who chooses to speak out, Mischief will be right there to call their personal accounts an "op-ed" that should be deleted.

Soldiers can speak out, but you can guarantee that when they do, not only will the wingnuts ignore their words, they'll try to shut 'em up, too.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:40 AM on October 11, 2005


'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.'

'Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'


2+2=4 is not an op-ed.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:48 AM on October 11, 2005


Krrrlson: Have you considered a career as a bureaucrat?

A biting and cogent rejoinder!!! Could we be seeing the burgeoning birth of a new Quintillian?! It's an exciting day here on the field, folks, and we're all waiting with bated and baited breath for the the previously imperturbable Log-ick-al Mad-Mannnnn rough "rider" ashlar, to recover from this stunning, stunning, rhetorical blow!!!!!




cretin
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:25 AM on October 11, 2005


Have you considered a career as a bureaucrat?
posted by Krrrlson at 12:48 PM PST on October 10 [!]


no! I thought you had to be a Republican Ranger to get a job in the present White House.

I'm not ranger for the Republicans, so I thought becoming appointed for anything was impossible. Thanks for letting me know that an unwillingness to pass 1/4 a millon dollars to a political party is no barrier.

Besides the technocracy forbade politicians from being members.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:35 PM on October 15, 2005


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