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Your Hosts, Lynndie and Charles, Welcome You to the New Interrogation Facility
March 9, 2006 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Adieu, Abu Ghraib -- we hardly knew ye (classified, ya know.) In the wake of a damning Amnesty International report, military spokesperson Keir-Kevin Curry says the infamous Baghdad prison will be closed within three months, its occupants transferred to other facilities in Iraq, including Camp Cropper (and don't ask what's happening there , or the terrorists win.) Or is Curry's statement premature? And would the closing of Abu Ghraib represent a change of policy, or merely rebranding the same old same old to avoid bad associations?
posted by digaman (51 comments total)

 
digaman, please lay off the editorializing in your posts. You provide good posts a lot of the time, but this kind of stuff just poisons the well.
posted by dios at 11:58 AM on March 9, 2006


I happen to be against torture, Dios. Feel free to mount the legal argument in favor of it. I have no apologies.
posted by digaman at 11:59 AM on March 9, 2006


I didn't say there is anything wrong with your position. But I think you know that your post was shrill, and you know that sort of thing it not a good thing for posts.
posted by dios at 12:01 PM on March 9, 2006


I don't actually recognize any editorializing in the post--does that just reflect the depth of liberal propaganda that I've ingested? I mean, does anyone dispute that the Amnesty Internation report was "damning", or that a lot of very bad shit was happening there?

I'm honestly curious--what would a non-poisonous post on Abu Ghraib look like?
posted by Squid Voltaire at 12:06 PM on March 9, 2006


let me try saying something germane. Toppling statues has been a very symbolic gesture for awhile, but what should have happened as well was the public bulldozing of this infamous prison. Not to say that what happened would not have happened elsewhere, but this place has had a long term hatred against it.

there has to be some concern that the actions taken here will just be shipped elsewhere in an attempt to hide it.
posted by edgeways at 12:07 PM on March 9, 2006


Or was the reaction merely to the choice of title? I didn't actually see the title until just now...
posted by Squid Voltaire at 12:08 PM on March 9, 2006


There is nothing shrill in the post. It is informative. Dios is an administration apologist, and will do anything he can to skew any wrongdoings by the administration to be a negative directed to Democrats, liberals and Metafilter 'culture' in general.
posted by Balisong at 12:09 PM on March 9, 2006


I thought that there was a now a requirement that newsfilter posts be labeled as such.
posted by shoos at 12:09 PM on March 9, 2006


I, too, am not sure what precisely consists of editorializing. The idea that torture is "bad?" That Abu Ghraib is "infamous?" Is it that digaman is begging the question?

That said, one illegal detention and torture facility down, who knows how many illegal detention and torture facilities to go.
posted by EarBucket at 12:10 PM on March 9, 2006


Pretty easy, actually:

Your Hosts, Lynndie and Charles, Welcome You to the New Interrogation Facility

Adieu, Abu Ghraib -- we hardly knew ye (classified, ya know.) In the wake of a damning Amnesty International report, military spokesperson Keir-Kevin Curry says the infamous Baghdad prison will be closed within three months, its occupants transferred to other facilities in Iraq, including Camp Cropper (and don't ask what's happening there , or the terrorists win.) Or is Curry's statement premature? And would the closing of Abu Ghraib represent a change of policy, or merely rebranding the same old same old to avoid bad associations?
posted by dios at 12:10 PM on March 9, 2006


Toppling statues has been a very symbolic gesture for awhile, but what should have happened as well was the public bulldozing of this infamous prison.

I agree 100%. The military screwed up by not doing this a couple years ago.
posted by dios at 12:11 PM on March 9, 2006


Are you saying that the fact that we question the administration's secrecy position constitutes shrillity?
posted by Balisong at 12:12 PM on March 9, 2006


Dios, I promise to keep your preference for No Sarcasm at the Expense of the Bush Administration in mind for future FPPs. And thank you for the free edit. Now, onward.
posted by digaman at 12:13 PM on March 9, 2006


Iraq is the model for the New American Century. 14,589 prisoners guarded by 150,000.
posted by Balisong at 12:19 PM on March 9, 2006


digaman, my only point is that the "sarcasm" poisons the well. Was your point to discuss the development that the prison is closing? If so, then the "sarcasm" adds nothing. What it does instead is make it look like you are just airing another complaint against the Administration with no real desire to discuss the issue of closing and instead interested in grinding the same axe about torture and Lyndie and "the terrorists win" crap, etc. Or to put it another way, with the "sarcasm," it colors this post as "yet another opportunity to bitch about Bush and torture" instead of a discussion of "Closing of abu Ghraib. Good sign or bad? Will it just be rebranded?"
posted by dios at 12:20 PM on March 9, 2006


Dios, why didn't you make the post first? then Digaman's post would be deleted as a double, and you could have phrased it in a much more palatable way.
posted by Balisong at 12:22 PM on March 9, 2006


Dios, a quick perusal of this thread will make very plain who is diverting the conversation from the weighty subject at hand. Hint: It's not me. Let's follow this up in email if you feel your point has not been adequately made.
posted by digaman at 12:23 PM on March 9, 2006


dios, I'd argue that your antics have done more to 'poison the well' than any sort of misstep digaman may have taken. 20% of the comments are yours and are directly disparaging of the composition of the post, with only one of them addressing any semblance of substance. Oh wait yes... my greasemonkey was turned off. There we go, that cleaned up nicely. Thanks for taking the time to once again tell the community at large what to discuss and how it should be done. You're such a selfless, model citizen that we should all take note.
posted by prostyle at 12:23 PM on March 9, 2006


I think that the US should close down ALL it's prisons in Iraq, not just move the prisoners to a new American made prison (that I assume the Iraqi government will have no say over).
posted by Balisong at 12:25 PM on March 9, 2006


Embedding Torture as Policy from Guantanamo to Iraq
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on March 9, 2006


If you really feel dios is trolling, why do you respond to him? It's just dumb, it's exactly what he wants you to do.

I agree with the Economist-- Rumsfield should have resigned a long time ago. He has yet to answer for any of this.
posted by jcruelty at 12:33 PM on March 9, 2006


Back on topic, using Abu Ghraib as a prison was a preposterous tactical error, and to torture prisoners there?

Well, we might as well invade Bengal and immediately start suffocating English soldiers in the Black Hole of Calcutta.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:47 PM on March 9, 2006


In a worst-of-all-possible worlds way, moving prisons closer and closer to the airport looks like a pre-Fall of Saigon maneuver, i.e., America has no control of the ground situation, even in Baghdad. So maybe this is just a logistical move to circle the wagons further and further until the inevitable retreat?

I dunno. What edgeways said though--there were plenty of opportunities to score brownie points with the Iraqis. Bulldozing AG was yet another one missed (getting power and water to work would be nice too).

I also wonder if there's a connection to the fact that the Iraqi government is now executing its own citizens, with the approval of the US: Iraq hangs 13 insurgents as the war rages on.

PS ignore the troll.
posted by bardic at 12:50 PM on March 9, 2006


In May 2003, Rumsfeld made a "windshield tour" of Abu Ghraib -- declining to visit the areas of the prison where the abuse took place. A year later at a press conference at the prison, the Defense Secretary's staff played a tape of Rumsfeld's remarks from the previous visit:


The people who are engaged in abuses will be brought to justice. The world will see how a free system, a democratic system functions and operates transparently with no cover-ups with the world seeing the fact that we’re not perfect. And goodness knows, we’re not perfect. But don’t let anyone tell you that America is what’s wrong with this world, because it’s not true.


General Richard Myers followed the playing of the tape by saying, "Well, I think the secretary covered the abuse situations, so I’m going to let that go. I think that was covered adequately. But let me tell you what I have absolute confidence in. First of all, I have absolute confidence in the men and women of our Armed Forces and everybody in this room – confident of your training, your leadership, confident in what you bring to a lot. And I’m confidence [sic] in our military justice system. It’s worked for a long time and it’s going to work in the future. "
posted by digaman at 12:53 PM on March 9, 2006


I'm becoming more and more convinced we're going to see a full-on Saigon-style pullout from Iraq, followed by implosion into civil war and a possible Iranian coup. I expect this within a year, probably two or three months after our midterm elections in November. I hope to God I'm wrong.
posted by EarBucket at 12:59 PM on March 9, 2006


EarBucket, the fall will be far less dramatic, but perhaps even more damaging to America in the long term. IMHO, the pull-out will (must, for the Republicans politically) begin well before the November 2006 elections. As for Iran, why bother with a coup? Iraq is shaping up to be a pro-Iranian, Shiite theocracy all on its own--no need for CIA-type spooks when a majority of the population already loves you. Cheney huffing and puffing at those dirty mullahs? More grist for the anti-American mill, which is doing fine in both countries.

It's real bad. Reading Juan Cole these days is just multiple slaps in the face from the hand of reality.
posted by bardic at 1:05 PM on March 9, 2006


Dudes, if there are issues with the tone of the post then take it to MetaTalk, remember?

Let's just distill out the obvious truth embedded in digaman's construction of the post: the abandonment of the Abu Ghraib facility is unlikely to have any significant effect on the way prisoners of the US are treated [in Iraq]. Their selection for arrest and release will still be mostly arbitrary and at the caprice of soldiers; the arrests will still be unnecessarily violent; the recording of arrests will still be half-assed and patchy; the diplomatic issues will still be ignored; conditions will still be poor-to-terrible; proper medical and other aid will still be sporadic; and prisoners will still be tortured and killed.

This Abu Ghraib thing, like nearly everything done in Iraq (and similar countries), will primarily be for media/political purposes. The misery will continue.
posted by Drexen at 1:05 PM on March 9, 2006


$369,000,000,000 spent in Iraq and Afghanistan to date, they are asking $96,000,000,000 more in emergency funding.
There is no winning solution to be found, reports to day indicate that the Iraqi police may be responsible for many of the violent acts. One major cluster fuck *sigh*, now people are worried about Iran. Can we impeach the entire administration now? You know what? The situation would be BETTER if that batshitinsane dictator (Saddam) was still in power.
CongratuFUCKINGlations
posted by edgeways at 1:21 PM on March 9, 2006


edgeways writes: The situation would be BETTER if that batshitinsane dictator (Saddam) was still in power.

Put a little less bluntly, this is exactly what adults like Bush I and Colin Powell thought.

I mean, I never thought I'd be a fan of ruthless, imperialistic Realpolitik--but it would be ten times better than the current mash-up of foggy idealism and rank incompetency that is America's approach to Iraq. Given the best army and equipment in the world, you'd think we could swing a decent occupation into a decent friendly, corrupt, quasi-liberal crony state (a la Egypt or KSA), but no, not even that. It's unbelievable on so many levels.

(Harold Meyerson on why impeachment is a stupid idea, tactically, for the Democrats. I agree entirely.)
posted by bardic at 1:28 PM on March 9, 2006


The situation would be BETTER if that batshitinsane dictator (Saddam) was still in power.

I hate that this is a true statement.
posted by mullingitover at 1:29 PM on March 9, 2006


so do I :(
posted by edgeways at 1:32 PM on March 9, 2006


Me too. Remember a couple years ago when a neocon would be like, "stop being so negative, you sound as if you would rather have Saddam still in power!" and it was just an obnoxious smear? And now we all would actually rather have Saddam still in power.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:36 PM on March 9, 2006


Confession time: I supported the invasion. I was deeply wrong, and I'm ashamed to have done it. But. My primary argument was not so much WMDs as Saddam's atrocious human rights record. In my debates with my liberal friends, I used Saddam's torture rooms, his sons' predilection for sexual humiliation to break political prisoners, the fact that his soldiers could pull you out of your house in the middle of the night and "disappear" you forever. God, I was naive.
posted by EarBucket at 1:41 PM on March 9, 2006


Only 39,999,999 to go!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:48 PM on March 9, 2006


EarBucket... I didn't support the invasion, because I knew we were being lied to.... I didn't know about chem and bio, but it was obvious even from an armchair that there was no nuclear program in Iraq, and wouldn't be for ages. So when they stood up and started thundering about nukes and the aluminum tubes... I knew the whole thing was bullshit, and that they were grasping for reasons to invade.

If they'd made the argument you espouse, that we needed to get rid of Saddam because of human rights abuses... you know, I might have bought that one.

When the news that we were torturing prisoners ourselves at Abu Ghraib broke, I knew that the war's outcome hung in the balance. I said to myself, "We could lose the war right here. We can't win it in the next two weeks, but we can certainly lose it."

When Bush showed that he cared so little about the issue that he couldn't even pronounce Abu Ghraib correctly, I knew the war was lost.

It's just a matter of how many body bags we want to fill. They'll never accept us or any goverment we try to install. The instant we're gone, that country falls apart. Civil war is absolutely inevitable.

We have never had such a terrible President as this. Even Nixon, as evil as he was, had a clue.
posted by Malor at 1:54 PM on March 9, 2006


I had heard that we had expanded a jail in Afghanistan just for this purpose--is that not so?

When Bush showed that he cared so little about the issue that he couldn't even pronounce Abu Ghraib correctly, I knew the war was lost.
It's even worse than that--he didn't even know there were differences between Sunnis and Shiites
posted by amberglow at 2:00 PM on March 9, 2006


We have never had such a terrible President as this. Even Nixon, as evil as he was, had a clue.

Agreed. Nixon at least had the decency to be embarassed and cover up his slimy little miscreancies.
posted by EarBucket at 2:02 PM on March 9, 2006


Uh, weren't they supposed to do this like, a year or two ago? Oh, wait. So are all the trials over then? Just a few bad apples, I guess.
posted by moonbiter at 2:05 PM on March 9, 2006


Wow, once again, dios manages to totally derail the thread in the first comment.

Anyways, it's unlikely that this will kill the story. Until the full truth about what happened at the prison comes out there will always be questions. This is just one big shitstain on the reputation of the US Military. I can't think of anything worse they might've done to lose the "hearts and minds." If they really wanted to kill the story they would let all the photos out, do some real punishment, and publicize a full admission of guilt.
posted by nixerman at 2:19 PM on March 9, 2006


Given the best army and equipment in the world, you'd think we could swing a decent occupation into a decent friendly, corrupt, quasi-liberal crony state (a la Egypt or KSA), but no, not even that. It's unbelievable on so many levels.

The problem here is that the U.S. Military (by and large) is not really designed for this. It is designed to march/roll/fly into a given place an obliterate it into component rubble. I keep coming back to Thomas Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map where he argues for an overhaul of the military, with a major component being a "System Administrator" function which was needed, badly, in the early days of the war. (You can catch his blog here.)

I believe, personally, that a large part of the problem here is that we really did accomplish the first mission - eliminate any of Iraq's warfighting ability. Twice. But we're simply not designed to engineer peace and we're paying the price for it in all sorts of capital.
posted by TeamBilly at 2:37 PM on March 9, 2006


nixerman, it's not a shitstain on the military's reputation. It's a shitstain on OUR reputation because we tolerated it, and let it continue to happen after we knew better.

The world perception of Americans, at this point, is 'fat, stupid, lazy, and MEAN'. And it's pretty goddamn accurate.

This stuff is still happening RIGHT NOW.... right this second, somewhere in the world, someone is being tortured at the hands of people claiming to represent our interests. And we _don't care_.
posted by Malor at 3:28 PM on March 9, 2006


language use has been interesting today. On NPR they talked about AG and it's history of being a center of torture - under Saddam- and then the abuse of prisoners, by a handful of american soldiers. a few minutes later Condi was talking about Iran using the 'R' word, the Iranian regime. "We love the Iranian people, but hate the Iranian regime" (paraphrase). Didn't we hear that prior to the current debacle? (note: I AM currently NOT predicting that we will invade Iran, I don't know if we will or not, but things are being set up to legitimize some sort of action)
posted by edgeways at 4:31 PM on March 9, 2006


I believe, personally, that a large part of the problem here is that we really did accomplish the first mission - eliminate any of Iraq's warfighting ability. Twice. But we're simply not designed to engineer peace and we're paying the price for it in all sorts of capital.

I've always though that Bush and Co. had visions of the USS Missouri floating through their dreams.
posted by Cyrano at 4:32 PM on March 9, 2006


Of course, it is still true that Abu Ghraib is being closed.

We're not sure exactly when. They claim they were going to do it anyway. It may be possible that the other prisoner camps are also bad, maybe even just as bad. Guantanamo is still open for business. And of course there's stuff like the USAPATRIOT act floating shamefully around, and the administration's incredible disregard for the rule of law.

But even in the face of all of that, is this not still a victory? May it be the first of many.
posted by JHarris at 4:34 PM on March 9, 2006


I love the American people, but hate the American regime.

I don't think the closing of Abu Ghraib is a significant victory without a disavowal of torture. It strikes me as more like a shell game, and I'm not going to applaud loudly for the pea being moved from the left shell to the right.
posted by digaman at 4:38 PM on March 9, 2006


The situation would be BETTER if that batshitinsane dictator (Saddam) was still in power.

Why didn't anybody listen to the war nerd in 2004?
posted by flabdablet at 5:41 PM on March 9, 2006


I remember George offering to tear down the prison and build a new one.(during his apology on Al-Jazeera) even though it is a... crime scene. nice try George, you're doin a heck of a job.
posted by hortense at 9:19 PM on March 9, 2006


Bagram, where some of the Abu Ghraib guards abused prisoners, is still going strong.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:25 PM on March 9, 2006


Context:same old same old
posted by hortense at 11:48 PM on March 9, 2006


my only point is that the "sarcasm" poisons the well

fascism poisons the well much more.

and by the way, cheers for the usual cheap trolling -- way to disrupt threads whose content you disagree with. maybe somebody will do the same to your future "hay guyz look I went to law school" threads, who knows.
posted by matteo at 2:19 AM on March 10, 2006


Abu Ghraib officer fights reprimand
"A senior staffer to a Republican congressman revealed Thursday that he has been formally reprimanded by the Army for his role in the Abu Ghraib detainee abuse scandal -- and that he is fighting the disciplinary move. He says that higher-ups were responsible for the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib."
[Salon | March 10, 2006]
posted by ericb at 10:05 AM on March 10, 2006


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