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February 29, 2008 9:12 AM   Subscribe

This is how we do it. [NSFW] Disturbing new photos from Abu Ghraib.
posted by plexi (68 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I'm guessing NSFW?
posted by booticon at 9:15 AM on February 29, 2008


NSFW tag, please. (Even the first link specifies it.) Now, let me open iTunes and put my "interrogation" playlist on. OK, now volume to eleven... ahh, there's the spot. Now, back to the FPP.
posted by not_on_display at 9:15 AM on February 29, 2008


Good thing it was just a few isolated, low-level wrongdoers.

Imagine what it would say about our national character if there had been some sort of system-wide approval and implementation of prisoner torture.

oh, wait.
posted by dersins at 9:19 AM on February 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


I feel like, now that we're taken on the mantle of being the world's bad guys, monocles should come back into fashion here in the US.
posted by mullingitover at 9:20 AM on February 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


What's up with the last one? They caught a mouse? Is that evil now?
posted by rusty at 9:20 AM on February 29, 2008


I don't have to click the link, because I already know it is steeped in lies. The President as already given me his personal assurance that the US does not torture.
posted by DU at 9:25 AM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


New pictures of old news.

I guess it's good that more of the pictures get out.

Otherwise...?
posted by notyou at 9:28 AM on February 29, 2008


Everyone should see these photos.

If you find them disturbing, good, that means you are human. If you find them embarrasing, good, you should. If not, you should be ashamed of yourself and your fellow man.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:30 AM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


rusty - sarcasm? I'm sure you can imagine what use these sick fucks would find for such a device.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:30 AM on February 29, 2008


monocles should come back into fashion here in the US.

Being half-blind in only one eye, I would approve of this development.

Unfortunately, not having made my fortune on the backs of hardworking community website members as Ruston Foster or Matthew Haughey have done, it is unlikely I would be able to afford a monocle, a yacht, or a recumbent bicycle.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:31 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


They caught a mouse? Is that evil now?

Um, are we sure it's a mouse? I had assumed it was a hacked-off... something.

On second look, it's probably a mouse, but it was nothing for me to assume that these guys were posing with someone's chopped-off and decomposed finger/tongue/penis in a mousetrap.

Just goes to show what these photos did to my expectations.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:34 AM on February 29, 2008


Disturbing, certainly. Here, some photos of forced masturbation of those prisoners, which have not been posted by MSN and Wired because of NSFW view. Two soldiers, at the prison shot this:
http://www.spike.com/video/2709943?cmpnid=800&lkdes=VID_2709943
posted by Postroad at 9:37 AM on February 29, 2008


mmmmm. forced masturbation. aaaauuuuuuughghghgh!
posted by quonsar at 9:41 AM on February 29, 2008


What's up with the last one? They caught a mouse? Is that evil now?

if you stuff it with fig newtons until it's 4 times its regular weight, drown it in jim beam, cook it on a stick over a campfire and eat it with a paper towel over your head in a darkened room, you bet it's evil

well, you didn't expect them to catch l'ortolans, did you?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:49 AM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


So proud to be an American.
posted by ericb at 9:49 AM on February 29, 2008


Jesus Fucking Christ.

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld (and others) should be frog-marched into the Hague and indicted for war crimes.
posted by ericb at 9:51 AM on February 29, 2008


Yeah its friday night and the party's here on the east side...
posted by Rubbstone at 9:56 AM on February 29, 2008


however, there are other things to be outraged about regarding the war in iraq

not the least of which is few people were actually convicted of anything for abu ghraib
posted by pyramid termite at 9:57 AM on February 29, 2008


I am still waiting for the rumored videos and soundtrack to be released by the Pentagon.
posted by hortense at 9:58 AM on February 29, 2008


Despicable. Disgusting. Shameful. Embarrassing.

However, these pictures are not new. I have seen all those photos a few times before, starting at least over a year ago.
posted by chillmost at 10:02 AM on February 29, 2008


I hate to say it, but nobody really cares about all this.

You could literally have a video of American soldiers eating an Iraqi baby and 1) It wouldn't be shown on the TV news, 2) It would be dismissed as an isolated incident, 3) people forget, life goes on.

Oh sure, you and I are outraged, but Metafilter =! America. Most people would be satisfied with the pro-war talking points and go right back to thinking that everything is hunky-dory. I know this is pessimistic, but I've basically resigned myself to the fact that (say) 80% of Americans don't care if we force prisoners to masturbate in front of each other, as long as it somehow "protects" us from another attack.

Like the ancient Phoenicians, we're prepared to sacrifice a few children and virgins to Molech now and then if it means keeping the trade routes open and the city walls up.
posted by Avenger at 10:23 AM on February 29, 2008


What's even more shocking is that not one of them, not one, is actually guilty of breaking any law. Amazing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 AM on February 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


posted by Blazecock Pileon What's even more shocking is that not one of them, not one, is actually guilty of breaking any law. Amazing.

So Lynndie England and Charles Graner were innocent? Amazing!
posted by fandango_matt at 10:32 AM on February 29, 2008


Yeah. Like I said run any turd up a flagpole and watch the god damned press salute. (Yes the press. Nearly ALL of them. Complicit little toadies.)

The conventional media narrative is "water boarding" is the torture story. Which allowed the Administration to curb and spin the story eventually to "we only water boarded three people."

"Ah HAH!" Say the press. "So you admit to water boarding." Juicy! And the fucking story recycles eating up bandwidth about frigg'n water boarding. Which most people only think is only kinda bad. But not bad enough to really get pissed about.

Mean while. We got THIS shit. Abu Ghraib. With it's rape. It's murder. And the kind of torture reserved for over the top SS officers and serial killers in slasher movies. And we have documented proof. We have vidoes. We have stills. We have dozens of eye witness testimony. We have military and CIA guys quiting their jobs in disgust over it.

Abu Ghraib was the turning point in the war, one of the main moments that symbolized to the Arab world what we were REALLY about in Iraq. It is the moment that mattered. And the US mainstream media mostly ignore it.
posted by tkchrist at 10:32 AM on February 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


This photo from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq is taken from a presentation by Philip Zimbardo on how ordinary people can, under the right circumstances, become evil.

We like to think of ourselves as something other than primates that know how to use a TV remote, but the truth is, we have civil laws to keep shit like this from happening in Middle America.
posted by disgruntled at 10:35 AM on February 29, 2008


What's even more shocking is that not one of them, not one, is actually guilty of breaking any law. Amazing.

Not true.

People were murdered.
posted by tkchrist at 10:36 AM on February 29, 2008


You know, no one in command has gone to jail for Abu Ghraib yet.
posted by Nelson at 10:37 AM on February 29, 2008


BP is ironically quoting a previous comment, guys. Try to keep up.
posted by yhbc at 10:47 AM on February 29, 2008


This is why you have to read all of MetaFilter every day.
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:51 AM on February 29, 2008


just a few rotten apples!
posted by matteo at 10:52 AM on February 29, 2008


I hate to say it, but nobody really cares about all this.

Unfortunatley, you are right. Oh, BTW, who got kicked-off of 'American Idol' last night?
posted by ericb at 10:55 AM on February 29, 2008


The reaction to this reminds me of a passage in Michael Herr's book Dispatches, about the Vietnam war. From memory, he comments that many Americans who were opposed to that war were not actually sorry about the war per se, or about its imperialist motivations, or about the dead Vietnamese -- rather, they were sorry that America had "soiled itself" by engaging in something distasteful.

I'm getting the impression that a lot of people are opposed to Abu Ghraib for the same reason -- its not about the Iraqis being tortured, it's first and foremost about the image of America being soiled.

Well, I guess any opposition to torture is a good thing, but some of the reaction is incredibly narcissistic. This is bad because it violates human rights and hurts people, not because it makes America look bad.
posted by Rumple at 11:08 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


U! S! A! U! S! A!

I'm sickened.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:09 AM on February 29, 2008


Also, if these Irann....nies or whatever want to walk around naked I think they, like, deserve this?
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:11 AM on February 29, 2008


EatTheWeak: Apparently the use they found for it was catching mice. Unless that was just, like, a fluke during the tongue and penis-snapping session and they thought it was so funny that they took a picture. I could see that.

Rumple: The reaction you're reacting to is the shock of a lot of people discovering for the first time that their country is not Good. This is difficult for those of us raised in the 80's and thereabouts, who were always taught that We are Good and They are Evil. It was a very simple worldview, and incredibly well drilled in to us. For example, look what it takes to make even a few of us question that.

For the majority of Americans to start having niggling doubts about our fundamental Goodness and Rightness we'd have to, I don't know, start rounding up hobos and people with Down's syndrome, stoning them to death in public parks, and eating the corpses. Or similar.
posted by rusty at 11:19 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hobos don't taste very good...
posted by tkchrist at 11:40 AM on February 29, 2008


...and those with Down's Syndrome are rather gamey.
posted by Tim McDonough at 11:54 AM on February 29, 2008


Luke 6:31
posted by angrybeaver at 11:55 AM on February 29, 2008


John 3:16
posted by Pollomacho at 11:58 AM on February 29, 2008


::shudders::
posted by lunit at 12:01 PM on February 29, 2008


This whole thing started as a religious war and you are quoting the fucking bible? Nice one. Dick.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 12:11 PM on February 29, 2008


Rev 3:16
posted by Nelson at 12:19 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


VH 5150
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:43 PM on February 29, 2008


Wow. I thought this thread would be totally depressing. But it's actually really funny.

Thanks Metafilter!
posted by stinkycheese at 12:49 PM on February 29, 2008


The reaction you're reacting to is the shock of a lot of people discovering for the first time that their country is not Good.

how quickly people forgot the vietnam war - this is what really gets me about this whole thing - is that 10-15 years after this latest long national nightmare is over, we* are going to forget about the whole damn thing and do it all over again

*we not meaning you or i, who pay attention to little things like history and folly
posted by pyramid termite at 1:52 PM on February 29, 2008


Just a note for this of you who find it appropriate to snark about this atrocity:

You are no longer human beings. You're scum.

The next time radical fundamentalist Islamic terrorists fuck us over and kill a bunch of us, the rest of the world will nod their heads and say we deserved it. The nightmare we created, for no good reason - the photos of our actions will likely be the last thing some patriotic fuck glances at before detonating his suitcase nuke in the middle of Manhattan. I live withing visual range of the city, how many nightmares have I had about waking up to a flash of light in the sky, a huge explosive roar that I've heard in my worst dreams.

And Seymour Hersh talked about the videos of Iraqi "security forces", sodomozing teenage Iraqi boys in front of their mothers, all under the watchful eye of American troops. For all the stuff that's surfaced, there's a huge heap of material that's waaaay worse than those pictures.

Were the shoe on the other foot, how would we react?

For fuck's sake... those of you who snark, how do you live with yourselves? Look up the word sociopath, it's your new middle name.
posted by dbiedny at 2:30 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why is no one linking to Errol Morris' new film about those incriminated for taking the photos, "Standard Operating Procedure"?

Spiegel interview
New Yorker talk
Screen Daily article
Guardian opinion
posted by progosk at 2:59 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


We snark because it's all we can do. We look upon the faces of torture and inhumanity we are completely powerless to stop and unable to understand. We hear blood curdling stories of horror and degredation that is being carried out in our names whether we like it or not. We snark because we're uncomfortable as we should be and sometimes wringing a laugh out of tragedy is the only way people can cope.

Just like sometimes exploding in righteous holier-than-thou indignation is the only way people can cope.
posted by davros42 at 2:59 PM on February 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thank goodness dbiedny is here to set us back on the narrow path to righteousness by admonishing us with his unique style of shrieking, overwrought, and sanctimonious outrage that sounds exactly like the braying honk of a jackass.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:00 PM on February 29, 2008


fandago_matt,

So tell me, do you think it's somehow irrational for me to feel repulsion and anger regarding our heinous actions over in Iraq? I'm a jackass for feeling fury towards those who would make light of these atrocities?

I mean seriously, if it were YOUR kid being beaten to within an inch of his life by a foreign occupying army, would you not care? Would you feel good about the situation? Would you not want revenge?

I realize that MeFi is a nice, light-hearted community, perhaps if I wrapped my anger in snark, it would be more palatable, and disturb your precious day a little less?

I'm personally connected to more than a few lives that were lost on 9.11, so I'm a bit sensitive to the deeply disturbing things that are essentially being done in their names. So sue me, OK?
posted by dbiedny at 3:15 PM on February 29, 2008


So tell me, do you think it's somehow irrational for me to feel repulsion and anger regarding our heinous actions over in Iraq?

no, it's not - although some might ask just what sort of heinous actions are traditional in other middle eastern prisons and why people don't seem as shocked at those

must be the lack of photographs
posted by pyramid termite at 3:30 PM on February 29, 2008


The world often says, we like Americans, but we hate your government and army. I think a lot of Americans make that distinction to. These things happen, but its not us (Americans) it's the government. We can't stop it. We can't change it. Too many Americans have this viewpoint that useful outrage is limited to stopping that Wal-Mart from coming in down the highway or organizing neighborhood watches or protesting the reading content of their child's school library. Not enough individuals on a larger stage have been willing or able to take their attention and let them know that their outrage can be directed at the government itself on the national level. They think they can only shout at a stone wall without realizing that its made of hay.
posted by Atreides at 3:31 PM on February 29, 2008


Moderation in all things, with a few exception. There is no tolerable level of murder, rape, genocide, torture to name a few. When the revenge chickens come home to roost, it won't be pleasant. Then what, we find somebody to pay back? Where will it end? And BTW, I'm in full agreement with dbiedny.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:58 PM on February 29, 2008


Avenger writes "Most people would be satisfied with the pro-war talking points and go right back to thinking that everything is hunky-dory."

I'm pessimistic, too, but polls have reliably shown that most of the US has been against the Iraq war for several years now. The torture question is more complicated. This frustrates me as well, because I don't see any moral ambiguity, and I find it pretty alarming that we're going down this road. But most people in the US have wanted to end the war since 2005. The political will is not quite there to do much more than vote different people in office, however. Torture is frankly too much for a lot of people to want to deal with right now - from what I gather, they don't want it to happen, but they don't much want to hear about it, either.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:48 PM on February 29, 2008


When Iranians refer to America as 'the great Satan', you have to admit you can see their point.
posted by Hogshead at 5:23 PM on February 29, 2008


Atreides: "we like Americans, but we hate your government..."

The tolerance that the American people have shown towards their government's behaviour makes it more difficult to draw a distinction between the two.
posted by angrybeaver at 5:39 PM on February 29, 2008


It would probably be good if everyone stepped back for a minute, paused and carefully thought out what there next post should be.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:14 PM on February 29, 2008


Thanks for this post.
posted by mediareport at 6:14 PM on February 29, 2008


(I mean that seriously, btw)
posted by mediareport at 6:15 PM on February 29, 2008


[A few comments removed. I know it's a contentious topic, but if you're just going to yell at each other you can do it via email.]
posted by cortex at 6:19 PM on February 29, 2008


We snark because it's all we can do. We look upon the faces of torture and inhumanity we are completely powerless to stop and unable to understand.

It's unfortunate you don't live in a democracy, where one might be able to effect change through petition, voting, and — if worst came to worst — a Ukraniane-style "orange revolution".
posted by five fresh fish at 6:29 PM on February 29, 2008


So tell me, do you think it's somehow irrational for me to feel repulsion and anger regarding our heinous actions over in Iraq?
no, it's not - although some might ask just what sort of heinous actions are traditional in other middle eastern prisons and why people don't seem as shocked at those


American soldiers, representing you and your country, have been forcing their adult-sized penises into the anuses of young children.

But please, go ahead and ask what sort of heinous actions are traditional in other middle east prisons and why people don't seem as shocked at those.

I am sure we'll all think the better of you for doing so.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:34 PM on February 29, 2008


I think dbledny has a really good point when he says, "The next time radical fundamentalist Islamic terrorists fuck us over and kill a bunch of us, the rest of the world will nod their heads and say we deserved it. The nightmare we created, for no good reason - the photos of our actions will likely be the last thing some patriotic fuck glances at before detonating his suitcase nuke in the middle of Manhattan."

Obviously, I don't see it exactly that way; I don't think I personally deserve to be killed in a nuclear attack or to have a plane flown into my building for anything I've personally done. But I don't think we can reasonably expect victims of our war crimes in Iraq, or their relatives and friends, to see it that way.

The prevailing political theory is that the United States' Government acts on behalf of the citizens of the United States, isn't it? Again, you or I might think "I voted for Bush but I didn't think he'd...," or "I didn't vote for Bush, so I'm not responsible...," but I really think it's an impossible stretch of the imagination to expect every acquaintance of every person we've killed, tortured, or humiliated in Iraq to decide that we're all completely innocent and hence deserve better than to be attacked.

The saying "what goes around comes around" may be trite, but it's often the case. I don't think we had a legitimate reason to invade Iraq in 2003, but even if we did, we've really blown it in the eyes of many non-Americans (and many Americans, for that matter) as a result of our conduct after the invasion.

Is it true that "the vast majority of American soldiers don't do anything like that"? Probably. But the notion that our victims and their friends and relatives will be mollified by this strikes me as the height of folly and arrogance.

Think of the most recent President of the United States that you've really hated. For most of us, that'd be George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. Whichever President it is, consider how you would feel if China had invaded the United States during that person's presidency, in order to "liberate" us from our evil, illegitimate, and incompetent President. No matter who the President was, I bet you wouldn't have liked this. Then, say some Chinese security forces began sodomizing American teenagers in front of the watchful eyes of the Chinese military? How do you think you would feel if this happened to your son? If it happened to someone you knew? Or even if it happened to someone you didn't know, but you heard about it on CNN, Fox News, or your local paper? Would the first thought to cross your mind really be along the lines of: "Oh, well, you know, the Chinese people don't really have a lot of control over the day to day operations of their government, so I guess we'll just have to forgive them for this one..."?

If so, then congratulations! You're a better person than I and 99.9% of people on this planet probably are.

The problems that we are causing by engaging in this kind of behavior and then failing to severely punish it are so clear to me that I can hardly understand why so many people disagree, don't care, or don't see it the same way as I do. Yet, they don't. The Chinese analogy seems crystal clear to me, but I've seen other people making variants of that argument on other websites, and someone always still disagrees. This strikes me as sad and unfortunate, but I don't know what else one can do but continue to try to explain one's viewpoint on this.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 8:53 PM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obviously, I don't see it exactly that way; I don't think I personally deserve to be killed in a nuclear attack or to have a plane flown into my building for anything I've personally done. But I don't think we can reasonably expect victims of our war crimes in Iraq, or their relatives and friends, to see it that way.

I don't think you can reasonably expect Iraq citizens to feel they deserve to be killed by an invading nation or have bombs thrown into their cities for anything they've personally done. Nor, for that matter, do I think you can reasonably expect global citizens to feel we shouldn't shun your nation for the actions your nation has taken under the approval of your supposedly democratic process.

It will be a welcome day when the government of the USA realizes that peace is only possible when you respect your borders and look after the problems in your own nation. More defense system, less offense system. Step down the global army and join the international police.

The game has changed: you can't fight terrorists with the WII war machine. We need more shared intelligence, more shared special ops troops and peace-keeping forces; fewer warheads, big guns, country-destroying weapons; we need to operate as scalpels now, not blunt-force trauma. Brains, not brawn.

Until you come up with a government of global co-operation, I'm afraid you're not going to find much sympathy for your state. The nation of the USA has fucked the pooch so obviously, so maliciously, and so unnecessarily that it's rapidly becoming a shunned state. It's safer to not be associated with the USA than it is to be its friend.

It's a real fucking shame, but I think you've an opportunity to save it all from disaster this next election, especially if you make similar changes in your other two or three higher elected offices.

High school is over. Time to grow up.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


In other news: Visas for War Zone Translators Halted
posted by homunculus at 11:05 PM on February 29, 2008


Ahhhh, Abu Ghraib--the gift that just won't stop giving.

When the first pictures came out, I was on another board like this with some very bright people on it, and after seeing the shots, some of them were actually telling themselves that this was just an isolated event, that this couldn't have been sanctioned from the top. I was sure that Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney must've had something to do with it (in the least--not to have bothered trying to stop it, and at worse, encouraging it), but didn't want to seem too judgemental at the time--so kept my mouth shut. Now, I wish I had shouted it out from the rooftops.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld et all are War Criminals, and should be punished for Crimes against Humanity.
posted by hadjiboy at 2:49 AM on March 1, 2008


no, it's not - although some might ask just what sort of heinous actions are traditional in other middle eastern prisons and why people don't seem as shocked at those

That's entirely immaterial and you know it. Your army is doing these things. Your government is sanctioning these things. To say "yeah? well other jails in the Middle East probably maybe have worse stuff going on that I totally didn't just pull out of my ass, so why aren't you shocked about that, huh?" is to completely miss the point.

America is supposed to be the Good Guys. That is your national mythology. Like most myths, it contains elements of truth. Actions like this render your national myth obsolete, in much the same way that scraping the makeup and good lighting away from most celebrities reveals the utterly plain-looking people underneath.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:53 AM on March 1, 2008


what sort of heinous actions are traditional in other middle eastern prisons and why people don't seem as shocked at those
In the 1970s, this film was made, that showed what happened in Nasser’s main prison in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It was based on the testimony of survivors. Torturers who had been trained by the CIA unleashed an orgy of violence against Muslim Brotherhood members accused of plotting to overthrow Nasser. At one point, Qutb was covered with animal fat and locked in a cell with dogs trained to attack humans. Inside the cell, he had a heart attack.
Are we talking about the CIA trained torturers, or something else?
posted by asok at 8:16 AM on March 1, 2008


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