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May 28, 2009 7:58 PM   Subscribe

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee. Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects [graphic images] including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube. Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts. Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Responding to the report in The Telegraph, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "If I wanted to read a write-up of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I'd might open up a British newspaper. If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I'm not entirely sure it'd be the first pack of clips I'd pick up."
posted by Joe Beese (186 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
The images are incredibly graphic. I am only posting two because I cannot stand to look through more of them to find the others. I had actually seen some of these several years back when I was contacted to do a story. I flew to the meeting. I sat through the meeting. I looked at the photos. I excused myself and went out the front door and vomited all over myself. I knew I did not have the strength to write this story.

That's pathetic. Why haven't these photos been leaked yet?
posted by ryanrs at 8:08 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


We know terrible terrible things happened at Abu Ghraib. We know that the people ultimately responsible were not punished, and most likely never will be.

What is the point of releasing further photos?

Does it silence critics who think that our beloved military is incapable of this? No. Does it satisfy liberal schadenfreude? I don't think so.
posted by graventy at 8:09 PM on May 28, 2009


I guess being a piece of shit is compulsory for White House press secretaries no matter which party they work for.
posted by you just lost the game at 8:11 PM on May 28, 2009 [27 favorites]


Also, the media playing this "oh god they're so bad you really don't want to see these hold on i'll look one more time NO REALLY they're awful wow i didn't think they were that bad the first time but jeez wow" card is bullshit. BULL. SHIT. Purely designed to titillate and draw readership for when they actually release the photos. This isn't some big 'freedom of the press' thing, this is pure flame fanning.
posted by graventy at 8:11 PM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


What is the point of releasing further photos?

Because it fucking happened. Facts of any kind, no matter how unpleasant, should never be hidden or withheld.
posted by christonabike at 8:12 PM on May 28, 2009 [74 favorites]


What is the point of releasing further photos?

Getting some momentum for heads on pikes. People kept banging on about how Obama just wanted to be liberal, but like presidents before, needed a consituency to make him do it. This is part of making him do it.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:13 PM on May 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


But torture and rape may be allowed by code of law. Let's let the legal lions on Metafilter decide this for us.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:14 PM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Responding to the report in The Telegraph, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "If I wanted to read a write-up of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I'd might open up a British newspaper. If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I'm not entirely sure it'd be the first pack of clips I'd pick up."

About the Telegraph? If he'd been responding to The Sun, or The Mirror or something, I can see his point, but it just smacks of head in the sand ignorance to make such a blanket statement about one of the (certainly top three, depending on your political leanings) most credible UK papers there are. The guy clearly didn't research his position and is just flailing.
posted by Brockles at 8:16 PM on May 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


Ex-soldier apologizes to Iraqi family for raping, killing. Green said he now sees the Iraq war as "intrinsically evil, because killing is intrinsically evil."

He was sorry, he said, that he ever had anything to do with either.


I've read that acts as bad as this have been photographed and taped in Iraq, but I doubt I'll ever know. Who the hell is instructing these soldiers?
posted by Flex1970 at 8:17 PM on May 28, 2009


Note to reporters: Do you have access to these photos but are too chickenshit to release them? My email is in my profile. I'll have 'em up on Cryptome, Wikileaks, and Mefi Projects in under 24 hours.
posted by ryanrs at 8:18 PM on May 28, 2009 [17 favorites]


Joe Beese: ""If I wanted to read a write-up of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I'd might open up a British newspaper. If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I'm not entirely sure it'd be the first pack of clips I'd pick up." "

Fuck you, Gibbs.
posted by boo_radley at 8:18 PM on May 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


If waterboarding isn't torture, why would rape be torture?

This is a serious question.
posted by empath at 8:18 PM on May 28, 2009 [17 favorites]


Releasing the photos to the public is not required to prosecute those responsible. Releasing those photos right now is going to get people killed.
posted by spaltavian at 8:19 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


George Bush and Dick Cheney authorized torture practices that led to children being raped in front of their parents to get them to “confess” to falsehoods that would support the Administration's desperate desire to go to war in the mid-East.

Please contact your government representatives and demand that these evil bastards be held accountable for their actions.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:19 PM on May 28, 2009 [11 favorites]


What is the point of releasing further photos?

To incite and enrage, stupid.

And to make every single apologist look like a fucking idiot for every denial and excuse they ever made for this kind of shit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:20 PM on May 28, 2009 [27 favorites]


Facts of any kind, no matter how unpleasant, should never be hidden or withheld.

These aren't new facts. They're more evidence of one fact - that sexual abuse went on. That fact we already know. Would you need to know the name of every dead Jew in order to hammer the fact home that there was a holocaust?

This is just political subterfuge.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:22 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Releasing those photos right now is going to get people killed.

That is probably true.

It might also be what is necessary.

I hope the population is intelligent enough to properly place blame on the Bush Administration when the inevitable retaliatory attacks occur. Bush and Cheney only made America less secure, not more.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:23 PM on May 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


What is the point of releasing further photos?

Because a photo is different. It has a more immediate, visceral impact and yes, it can swing public opinion in a different way. Look, I'm sure, in 1972, that most Americans were aware that napalm was used in the Vietnam war, and that it had horribly debilitating effects on women and children as well as enemy soldiers. And yet, this picture still won a Pulitzer prize and is now emblematic of the era.

We know terrible terrible things happened at Abu Ghraib.

And furthermore I think your conflation of the new rape allegations with previously known "terrible things" is disingenuous and even craven. Rape is considered in many places, in many ways, to be just about the most despicable crime; the lowliest, most humiliating thing to impose on someone. John McCain could sit in the halls of congress and stoically recall his torture in North Vietnam, but have you ever once heard an ex-con stoically recall, in public, his days of prison rape? It's a different thing, and worse. Worse even than torture (of course, I don't doubt that it was used as a form of torture).

And what's more, I think this really puts a very secure nail in the coffin of the idea that whatever was going on at Abu Ghraib was somehow done "to protect us." As long as it was sleep deprivation, waterboarding, intimidation with hungry dogs, we could believe that it was being done to "get information," maybe to stop a "ticking timebomb." Of course that was always crap, but this really tears it - there is simply no moral justification in the universe for raping someone. Ever. At all. It was not done for a morally just reason, and (as an American) it was done on our watch, in our name.

That's why I want these photos released - why I want them on every front page, every web browser, every TV screen in America - because I want Americans to look on our actions in that place and feel fury. The complacency over our nation's conduct in this instance is completely disgusting and I am in favor of anything that might lead to its redress, even if accomplished by shocking and shaming a majority of the population to get there.
posted by rkent at 8:25 PM on May 28, 2009 [104 favorites]


9/11 makes rape and torture OK. Fer our freedoms, man.
posted by surplus at 8:25 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


If waterboarding isn't torture, why would rape be torture?

It's nuanced. You're not a lawyer. Stop asking questions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:26 PM on May 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Are these the photos that our President is trying to stop us from seeing?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:27 PM on May 28, 2009


Hell yes these pictures should be released. They shouldn't be swept under the carpet because "we know bad things happened". That (to me at least) stinks of apathy. Tough luck if anyone is tired of hearing about it and it makes you uncomfortable/bored. It happened and those responsible for committing/permitting/authorising it should be held accountable. These are crimes of the worst kind and there are people who are definitively responsible. It seems to me that everyone had politely moved on from the original claims of mistreatment and torture at Abu Ghraib, and these pictures are just the punch in the neck needed to get the publics attention to where it should be.
posted by ihunui at 8:28 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuck Bush with a sharp pointy stick.
posted by kldickson at 8:28 PM on May 28, 2009


> Would you need to know the name of every dead Jew in order to hammer the fact home that there was a holocaust?

False dichotomy. While I wouldn't need to know the name of every Jew, I'd be just as adamant about the name of every Jew being released if the government was withholding them.
posted by christonabike at 8:28 PM on May 28, 2009 [24 favorites]


Afroblanco: "Are these the photos that our President is trying to stop us from seeing?"

Digby:

we don't know if the pictures Taguba refers to are the pictures which were covered under thee ACLU's FOIA request, and whether they still exist. We do know that accusations of rape were investigated under both the Taguba and Fay reports, but can't be sure of the disposition of them. And again, we don't know if these pictures refer to those specific allegations or if they pertain to different incidents. The Pentagon denies that there are any pictures which depict these heinous acts. In other words, confusion still reigns and suspicions run high.

The administration claims that it withheld the FOIA pictures because they were more of the same and would inflame anti-American hatred which, as I said, always seemed contradictory. And now it appears that they may actually show something much worse than we've seen --- and the administration looks as if it's covering that up by saying that there's nothing new. Perhaps they aren't, but their conflicting statements and refusal to release the pictures quite naturally raises these questions.

posted by Joe Beese at 8:32 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the comments;

Apparently, the sodomy was investigated and it was determined that the detainee in question was not forced to sodomize himself. The Army investigators, however, noted that a mentally deranged individual like this should not have been provided with bananas or photographed. (Duh!) See chapter 9 of the Salon report. The same detainee can be seen banging his head against a wall/door in the videos contained in Salon's chapter 10 (videos 9-19).

About the other picture, the Criminal Investigative Division wrote, "The detainees were brought into the hard site for their involvement in a riot. The seven detainees were instructed to remove their clothing. Detainees stage in this position to make it appear they were performing sexual acts towards each other." You can see videos of the simulated masturbation in chapter 10 (videos 1-2).

So, the pictures show sexual abuse and humiliation (the staged fellatio) and the mistreatment of a mentally ill detainee. Based on the facts given by the CID, they don't depict rape.

Posted by: Greg | May 28, 2009 at 03:05 PM


By the way, should we expect one of these postings a week from now on Joe Beese?
posted by P.o.B. at 8:33 PM on May 28, 2009


Fuck Bush with a sharp pointy stick.

Way to totally not get the point.
posted by hermitosis at 8:34 PM on May 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


And why aren't the names of the 9/11 victims public? All this crap on the web and still no one can get some pictures and names leaked?
posted by Flex1970 at 8:35 PM on May 28, 2009


Releasing those photos right now is going to get people killed.

That is probably true.

It might also be what is necessary.


It's "necessary" for people to be murdered? What makes you think that you have the right to decide that it's "necessary" for certain people to die?
posted by lunasol at 8:36 PM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


And why aren't the names of the 9/11 victims public? All this crap on the web and still no one can get some pictures and names leaked?

Um....they are.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:38 PM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thank you.
posted by Flex1970 at 8:41 PM on May 28, 2009


Is there anything that people who are citizens neither of Britain nor of the USA can do to influence the release of these photos?
posted by Fraxas at 8:41 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Might as well include the Americans and Brits in your question, Fraxas. Doesn't seem like we can do much about it either.
posted by ryanrs at 8:51 PM on May 28, 2009


Anyone who has the opportunity to copy these photos and leak them onto the Internet, who does not do so, needs to have their ass kicked. Or their balls electrocuted, I suppose.

Not even six months in, and I'm already sorry I voted for Obama.
posted by ixohoxi at 8:52 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fraxas: 'Is there anything that people who are citizens neither of Britain nor of the USA can do to influence the release of these photos?'

Yes, it's quite simple, really. Don't re-elect ANYONE.
posted by mullingitover at 8:54 PM on May 28, 2009


It's "necessary" for people to be murdered? What makes you think that you have the right to decide that it's "necessary" for certain people to die?
posted by lunasol at 11:36 PM on May 28 [+] [!]


No, it's necessary that the pictures be released. Because if they are not released, it will appear to the rest of the world that the current adminstration is trying to cover up the crimes that were committed.

I knew things were bad, but until seeing these images, I didn't really realise how bad. This is some of the most fucked up stuff that one human can do to another - not just cause them pain, but cause them pain and humiliation and take away their sense of self and self-respect, all through perverting something which can be wonderful between loving people but is thus all the more horrific when perverted. That's what the real crime of rape is - and these assaults are rape. It's the crime of perverting sex - something beautiful and life-giving but also so private and such a vulnerable act - into something horrific - and this is even more horrific for how calculated it was to break down their psyches.
posted by jb at 8:57 PM on May 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


My tax dollars at work. Sickening.
posted by bardic at 8:59 PM on May 28, 2009


And furthermore I think your conflation of the new rape allegations with previously known "terrible things" is disingenuous and even craven.

Really? You saw pictures of naked pyramids and just assumed that was as far as they took it? I was shocked/dismayed/outraged then, but I wasn't naive enough to assume that they took them off the pyramid and re-clothed them and sent them back to their cells. This isn't "new rape allegations" it's "guess what there are pictures of the rapes too".
posted by graventy at 9:00 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not even six months in, and I'm already sorry I voted for Obama.

Yeah, McCain would totally be ushering in a new era of transparency right about now.
posted by brain_drain at 9:01 PM on May 28, 2009 [59 favorites]


I am personally certain that Dick Cheney is almost certainly some sort of twisted sick fuck who has gotten away with a lifetime of sadistic crimes of the sort that give you nightmares.

There is a scene in Weeds where a drug lord's punisher/crime boss underling takes an angle grinder to the face of an informant. It is dead gory. And it is real: there are gangs that make use of torture in meting out punishment. I posted a news article from Phoenix in one of the recent threads: prohibition gangsters are kidnapping people for ransom, providing proof of torture as an incentive to pay immediately.

And I can't help but believe that a man who has approved the use of torture to extract a lie to support an illegitimate war; who has tossed away some 4300 US soldier's lives and tens upon tens of thousands of US soldier's health and mental welfare; who has profited greatly by supporting, supplying and inciting war; a man like that is one who has probably kept a dungeon in his home and personally engaged in acts of ultimate depravity that are so beyond mere insanity that it is sincere and purposeful evil at work.

It frightens me that it was so easy to get him elected.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:03 PM on May 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Mark my words, by the time it is all outed, you will have seen photographs of children being raped in front of their parents allegedly to extort a confession. In reality, I think it's that there are some truly heinous people in the military. The people who really want to kill.

Which is why you need to have good, moral leadership. And you didn't, you very much did not.

Americans should not shirk their responsibility. The very worst of crimes have been committed by criminals who had full control of your government apparatus. They need to be caught out and consequences demonstrated. There needs to be one hell of a get-it-together evaluation of your democracy, or you are going to completely fucking lose it. You have came extremely close to disaster from several fronts this past decade, all due to malicious and deliberate actions.

Don't do it again!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:12 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's "necessary" for people to be murdered? What makes you think that you have the right to decide that it's "necessary" for certain people to die?

Did you say this before the invasion of Iraq?
posted by vibrotronica at 9:12 PM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


five fresh fish, as an Americastani, I am kind of wondering what is happening to the principle of rule of law.
posted by kldickson at 9:19 PM on May 28, 2009


Obama.

One day he's a candidate. The next: Here's EVERYTHING your government knows about EVERYTHING, Mr. President.

And he's one who wants to know EVERYTHING.

This had to be a very, very tough decision for Obama not to release the photos. I couldn't be more happy I voted for him. Anyway, I'm betting his positions on releasing the photos, and seeking prosecutions, are meant to keep the powerful from thinking they'll have to REALLY pay for the horrible decisions they made, and make the masses angry enough to do their duty and MAKE the President do his job. We put the power in the Presidents hands, but we're supposed to guide him. He once said in an address that he can't just flip a switch and make the bank do what he wants them to do. I felt like he was telling me to speak up and make him do it. Someone has to leak the photos, and it can't have anything to do with the government. Then we'll get the independent special prosecutor, I would hope.
posted by Flex1970 at 9:24 PM on May 28, 2009 [16 favorites]


I'm astounded that anyone would argue that we don't need to release these photos.

We need to release them, because that's what was done in our name. We own it. We must face it. We do not have the option of averting our gaze.

We must release them, because to hide them is to make the next crime of the same magnitude inevitable. In the thread about the Catholic abuse in Ireland, I linked to an NYTimes article from an Irishman about how it was possible for such abuse to go on for decades unchecked, even though "everyone knew it" - it was as he concluded, because even though "everyone knew it" nobody spoke out about it openly. It was a giant conspiracy of silence.

We must release them, because already now, far from contrition, we have political forces which actively deny and belittle what happened. How murky will this grow in the coming decades? We must put the evidence forward, otherwise it is not an honest discussion. Politics in this country cannot survive if we don't have the facts, and only have spin.

People will die if we release these photos? I say to that: many more people will die in future wars, if we are not honest and allow myths to grow. Not to godwin this, but it was the "stab in the back" mythology which the Germans deliberately spread at the end of WWI which at least partially was responsible for making WWII possible. Sunshine is a great disinfectant - it may be uncomfortable at first, but it'll save lives down the line.

Finally, we must release these photos, because I don't see how anyone is held responsible for what happened. Secrecy corrupts a democracy.
posted by VikingSword at 9:27 PM on May 28, 2009 [27 favorites]


Hell, many people will die in traffic tomorrow. This is more important than that.
posted by ryanrs at 9:29 PM on May 28, 2009


I think it's going to take the will of the people, kidickson. If the people want it to happen, and express it to their representatives, I think we'll see a move toward prosecutions for crimes committed.

Keep in mind that the USA is signatory to international agreements as to what does and does not constitute a war crime. It would be seen as significant progress and would greatly help the US in its struggle to make right what has been done wrong.

I think this issue could very well make or break the USA on the global stage. Absolutely huge amounts of trust have been burned. A lot of bad deeds are coming back home to roost. And there's never been a need for greater global cooperation. Anything that builds toward better global unity in dealing with our global problems is a good thing: global cooperation is what's going to save us.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:32 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not even six months in, and I'm already sorry I voted for Obama.

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:34 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Releasing the photos to the public is not required to prosecute those responsible.

Maybe not, but Obama has said that he's not interested in prosecuting anyone in the Bush administration, which includes those responsible for the shameful occurrences at Abu Grahib. These pictures might help persuade him otherwise, if not directly, then from the appeal of an outraged populace.

The release of these pictures makes the phrase "We're still America" ring less and less true in my ears. It's evidence towards the notion that democracy is just as brutal and despicable as the empires it replaced. I don't believe it is, and in order for that belief to hold, we MUST prosecute the Bush administration to the full extent of the law. For the sake of international relations, for the sake of setting an example to anyone else wishing to pervert democracy, and most importantly, for the sake of preventing these guys from doing the same thing again when the next republican administration comes to power.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:36 PM on May 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think Flex1970 nails it.

Obama wants the US people to get mad. Get mad about the right things for once. Because with the backing of the American people for him to Do The Right Thing, he will be able to do it.

This is America's opportunity to really shine once again. I sometimes think the American people don't understand how much they benefited by being perceived as a moral world leader, and have no idea how much they stand to lose if they are perceived as corrupt nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 PM on May 28, 2009 [12 favorites]


Whom do we have in our military who could such things? That's a question someone asked.

As the war dragged on, an unjust war based on lies, our military needed more people to recruit. Standards dropped.

Gang members were accepted.

OK, but are they straight??

People with criminal records were accepted.

OK, but are they straight??

We saw in the case of Granger and England and others what kind of thugs were accepted, but they were straight, so that's OK.

The guy may not speak the language, but he can hit... and he's straight!!!

Oh, you are gay? You are a translator, you know the language? You are an upstanding, honest, proud, ethical and open not closeted person? No dice - we can't have you corrupting the morals of our military... why, what would the gang members and the criminals say?? It might impact them badly so they'd do something, I don't know, like... unethical.
posted by VikingSword at 9:37 PM on May 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


Mark my words, by the time it is all outed, you will have seen photographs of children being raped in front of their parents allegedly to extort a confession.

Quoting Wikipedia:
On December 1, 2005, Yoo appeared in a debate in Chicago with University of Notre Dame professor Doug Cassel. During the debate Cassel asked Yoo, "If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?", to which Yoo replied "No treaty." Cassel followed up with "Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo...", to which Yoo replied "I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that."
Maybe Cassel had the inside word -- what do you think?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:40 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's HOPETM we call all believe in.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:45 PM on May 28, 2009


Hell, many people will die in traffic tomorrow. This is more important than that.

This strikes me as false equivalency.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:52 PM on May 28, 2009


I'm already fantasizing about how I would disseminate the photos, all the while evading the government agents determined to stop their spread.

Burn discs in a coffee shop and hand them out on the subway. Hide a copy in a secret place. Call up my civil rights attorney, Larry Hildes, at the National Lawyers Guild. Talk to my trusted friends and give them instructions in case I disappear. Mail a few copies to large newspapers, and a few to small ones. The cover letter says "This is not an exclusive, this is not a scoop, don't bother sitting on it. Publish."

Stay out of the apartment, stay out of the office. Men might be looking for you. Post the photos on 4chan, because they know how to spread a meme. Then Cryptome and Wikileaks. Then the blogs and political sites. Don't bother creating accounts. Find the prominent members and email them directly. Send Robert Gibbs the photos, 'cause he hasn't seen them all. Work through the night. In the morning, try to sleep.

I am so completely serious. Reporters, servicemen, anybody with these photos—please send them here:
Ryan Salsbury
78 First Street #600
San Francisco, CA 94105

ryanrs@gmail.com
I cannot believe people would sit on these photos and not make them public. They must be shown.
posted by ryanrs at 10:19 PM on May 28, 2009 [19 favorites]


I sometimes think the American people don't understand how much they benefited by being perceived as a moral world leader

When exactly was this perception in place? Must have been before my time...
posted by signal at 10:20 PM on May 28, 2009


I don't care if Obama knew about this stuff before. I don't care if he is "waiting for us to force his hand," or if he is actually just a chicken-shit, deep down.

All I care about, all that really matters to me about any of this, is that the guys, Woo and Bush and Cheney and Rummy and whoever else, the guys at the top, that they get a fair, honest and open trial in an international court. And that anyone, any House Speaker, or any hopeful new President, or anyone else who uses their current authority to delay or avoid such a trial be put on trial as well.

And, of course, I hope they all swing.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:21 PM on May 28, 2009


For his part in investigating this tragedy, Taguba got screwed.
posted by caddis at 10:32 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]



If I'm ever raped and their are pictures I would not want them seen outside the court room. The humiliation of the event alone would be enough, without showing it to the whole world. That is just me though.


The abuses of Abu Gharib were widely reported, the world knows all kinds of torture and sexual abuse took place, a lot of photos have been released. A few more will not do much.

The particularly awful stuff was not authorized by the former moron president or his administration, though their run of the mill incompetence allowed it to happen. The current president had nothing to do with it and has put a stop to the authorized torture, and obviously does not approve of the Abu Gharib insanity just because he doesn't want to release rape photos.

We are seriously talking about releasing to the world an image of child rape? To prove a point that child rape is bad or something? Does that go for every child rape case or just this one, if your kid was raped and there was video you would put it online?

I guess some of you are concerned that some of these charges are being denied and prosecution isn't happening...so if you could not get a guilty plea you would release the video of your kid being raped?

It's kind of insane you guys want to do this, sorry to rain on the parade here, but you really have to reconsider this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:41 PM on May 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


The abuses of Abu Gharib were widely reported, the world knows all kinds of torture and sexual abuse took place, a lot of photos have been released. A few more will not do much.

FTA:
The latest photographs relate to 400 cases of alleged abuse between 2001 and 2005 in Abu Ghraib and six other prisons
This wasn't just Abu Ghraib. This was a regime of torture that killed at least 90 people in our custody. That's what people keep missing. Between the jokes about fraternity pranks and the dissembling about a few bad apples, numerous people are missing the larger context.

And I don't think these photos cover what was done in Afghanistan (beating people to death and sodomy) or what was done for us in Syria (beating a person with shredded cables) and Morocco (slicing up a person's genitals).

Get outraged.
posted by ryoshu at 10:52 PM on May 28, 2009 [10 favorites]


To prove a point that child rape is bad or something?

TO PROVE THAT IT HAPPENED.

Do you really not get this?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:53 PM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't need child rape photos to be public, thanks. If you really need to see them, then you're fucking sick. I'll settle for them to be verified as existing by somebody I can trust enough - perhaps a special prosecutor, a non-sensationalistic journalist, an impartial federal judge, a senate panel. Those kinds of things don't need to be made public for everybody to see.

But these photos upset me more in that I realize how callous I've become, because seeing them does not outrage me as much as it really ought to.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:10 PM on May 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


TO PROVE THAT IT HAPPENED.

Prove it to whom? And for what purpose? I don't see it serving any practical purpose to release the photos to the general public.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:11 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


About the Telegraph? If he'd been responding to The Sun, or The Mirror or something, I can see his point, but it just smacks of head in the sand ignorance to make such a blanket statement about one of the (certainly top three, depending on your political leanings) most credible UK papers there are.

The bigger problem with that statement is that the Telegraph actually got someone to confirm their story on the record
Major General Antonio Taguba -- who conducted the Abu Ghraib investigation -- confirmed the photographs authenticity to the Telegraph, telling the paper that they "show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency." Still, Taguba said he agreed with President Obama's decision to reverse course and not release additional photos of prisoner abuse.
These aren't new facts. They're more evidence of one fact - that sexual abuse went on. That fact we already know. Would you need to know the name of every dead Jew in order to hammer the fact home that there was a holocaust?

Of course, we do know the name of every dead Jew, or at least everyone for whom records were kept (which was almost all of them). I think people would be pretty upset of later governments tried to keep that list secret. They would be outraged. So that was a pretty bad example.

--

Obama wants the US people to get mad. Get mad about the right things for once. Because with the backing of the American people for him to Do The Right Thing, he will be able to do it.

What are you talking about? If Obama wanted people to get mad he would release the pictures. Duh.
posted by delmoi at 11:11 PM on May 28, 2009


posted by graventy What is the point of releasing further photos?

To show how our tax dollars are being spent fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:12 PM on May 28, 2009


I just saw Standard Operating Procedure (2008). It is a somber, detailed look at what was going through the minds of some of the people who worked Abu Ghraib. The entire AG story is more complex than it may seem. But the solution from the Army brass' point of view was very simple: punish the lowest ranking grunts.
posted by telstar at 11:39 PM on May 28, 2009


rkent: ...we could believe that it was being done to "get information," maybe to stop a "ticking timebomb." Of course that was always crap, but this really tears it - there is simply no moral justification in the universe for raping someone.

But they're terrorists. Wait for the 24 episode where Jack Bauer rapes to save America.
posted by benzenedream at 11:44 PM on May 28, 2009


Or the right-wing radio show host who gets raped on air to prove it's not torture.
posted by ryanrs at 11:54 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


To prove a point that child rape is bad or something?

TO PROVE THAT IT HAPPENED.

Do you really not get this?


Do you not get that you should read entire posts?


I guess some of you are concerned that some of these charges are being denied and prosecution isn't happening...so if you could not get a guilty plea you would release the video of your kid being raped?

posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:00 AM on May 29, 2009




So are the rapists in these photos like...dead?

I was under the impression that raping a POW was a capital offense in the military. I know that if I were a commander and I had photographic proof that one of my soldiers raped a prisoner, he would be sent to the firing squad. I'm against capital punishment, but I can understand the argument for why it's necessary for the military to employ it during wartime. The army can't waste resources housing rapists who do more damage to the overall objectives of the mission than 10,000 IED's, and so you just have to kill them. I understand that.

That any soldier, let alone an officer, even thought that a brother-in-arms was raping prisoners and didn't frag the fucker themselves speaks to a disease in the way America runs its military.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:02 AM on May 29, 2009 [14 favorites]


Releasing those photos right now is going to get people killed.

Only if the accused aren't fairly tried in an open court of law or a military court, and if found guilty punished appropriately and restitution made to the victims. If that happens, and I mean all the perpetrators all the way up the chain of command, it would be the one thing that could probably end this conflict tomorrow. It would do more to end conflict and provide an "exit strategy" than anything else.

That is what must happen. People can try to get around it or minimize it but that is the only way to end this. Hopefully someone has the balls to see that and make it happen sooner than later.
posted by fshgrl at 12:53 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


jb: "No, it's necessary that the pictures be released. Because if they are not released, it will appear to the rest of the world that the current adminstration is trying to cover up the crimes that were committed."

That is a really important point. This whole thing is also very much about America's standing as a nation of laws and justice in the eyes of the rest of the world. I'm not trying to Godwin this thread, but remember that in Nazi Germany not all people were evil, mass-murdering fanatics; there were those that just went about their lives, ignoring the trains passing by, the clouds of smoke hanging over the concentration camps, the fact that there seemed to be fewer and fewer Jews around...
It is very easy to ignore inconvenient truths, to tell yourself that those in charge know what they do, that they do what is best for you, and if something bad happens to someone else... well, that's not your fault, is it? You did not torture, you did not kill, it was someone else doing it to someone else.

The Nuremberg trials were incredibly important in that they shone a harsh light on everything that had happened under the Nazi regime. It was there that solid evidence was presented and made public, so that no one could hide from the facts anymore. Sure, there are some idiots who still claim the holocaust never happened, but we know today pretty much everything that went on and thus how to keep it from happening again, ever.

That is my main problem with this whole discussion - every attempt at hiding what truly happened in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo or other secret locations smacks of shielding those responsible. Yes, more Americans might die if more outrageous facts come to light. Guess what - that is the reason why you shouldn't do things like these in the first place!
That should be just one more reason for the American public to go after the perpetrators and their enablers: by committing and approving those acts they endangered the whole American nation!

I'm sorry, but that is one point where the new government has done you a great disservice: by not immediately going after those responsible and instead trying for a "let bygones be bygones, it was not us, it was them, and anyway you don't really need to know what happened" approach you've lost a lot of the credit you gained by voting for a change.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:54 AM on May 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


ETA, I would hope the victims could be afforded the same privacy and protections as rape victims in the US. It would not impact the effect of a trail at all and they did not ask for this to happen to them.
posted by fshgrl at 12:54 AM on May 29, 2009


I cannot bear to minimize the impact of these crimes upon their victims.

We have a criminal justice system to address these things. It does a good job of addressing capital crimes. Support it directly if you feel it is inadequate to handle injustices like these.

Advertiser-and-subscriber-supported media outlets are not part of the justice system. Please don't make the mistake of claiming that true justice only happens in the public view. That is wrong from both angles and you know it. Maybe it's best to avoid unnecessarily sensationalizing something that incorrectly implies that US soldiers are all unapologetic bigots, murderers and rapists.

War is hell. People do fucked up things during wars, fucked up beyond just taking orders. This is one good reason why we should try to avoid it at all costs.
posted by brianvan at 1:20 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I agree with the whole "sure, some people might get killed, but you can't make an omelets without breaking a few eggs" theory.

You're not talking about "a few people". Photos of Americans raping Muslim women and children? Say goodbye to every shred of goodwill, every slightly pro-western sentiment that currently exists in the Muslim world. There goes Pakistan, and their nukes. Iran emboldened. Rioters burning huge swaths of the Major western European cities. Americans abducted and beheaded, or just killed on sight. We're talking about World War 3.

Even a cursory study to the history of warfare will show that propaganda is as powerful a tool as military might. The release of these photos (and, god help us, videos) would mean the irretrievable loss of the hearts and minds of the entire Islamic world. It would hand to the extremist groups a greater recruiting tool than anything they had dared to dream of. And when the riots start, and the cities begin to burn, do you honestly think they're going to give one little shit about who was President at the time that the photos were taken?
posted by Optamystic at 1:55 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


spaltavian: "Releasing those photos right now is going to get people killed."

Well, good then.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:49 AM on May 29, 2009


by not immediately going after those responsible and instead trying for a "let bygones be bygones, it was not us, it was them, and anyway you don't really need to know what happened" approach you've lost a lot of the credit you gained by voting for a change.

Can I just say "amen" to that. Governments come and go but the state is continuous. I will blame the current government, and the people who support it, for ignoring crimes, just as I blamed their predecessors for committing them.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:35 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some more photos (with blurring) are available at PressTV.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:36 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can we stop the national habit of genuflecting every fucking time the military is mentioned now? One of the really sickening developments of the Dems' return from post-vietnam-era "weak on national security" wilderness has been the emergence of a taboo around saying anything bad about actual soldiers or the US military in general. I know too many violent cretins who could do nothing else with their lives and thus joined up to go kill Hajis (as they say) to participate in the flag waving ra ra ra.

That said, it's not the soldiers or low level contractor employees who need to be tried and jailed here. Or not only. I keep hoping Charles Grainer or Lyndie England will get a good lawyer and file an appeal on the grounds that this was all common practice even if they misunderstood the specific limits of their orders. Because we now know it was.

And I would like to see Gibbs say straightforwardly that General Taguba is a liar. Shooting down the British tabloid press (on the grounds that, what, the US press is somehow a bastion of truth, huh Judy Miller?) is a weak response, one that indicates the first moment when I fear the Obama administration is lying to us, just like all the others have.

These photos will come out. And just like we eventually did know the names of many of the millions who died in Nazi concentration camps, and the names of every individual who died during the attacks of 9-11-01 (I fucking hate just calling it "9-11" like it's a holy day), we will, eventually, know the names of those we murdered and tortured. If Obama won't do it, I sense that this is one issue the word isn't going to let be swept under the rug.

To the Hague, motherfuckers. Enough of this wankery. If the USA can't administer justice to its own citizens for crimes of this magnitude, we don't deserve sovereignty.

As for the apologists, in this thread and elsewhere, all I can say is you have your heads way up your asses. Can you even imagine the national reaction here if we learned that another country had systematically raped and tortured American non-combatant women and children -- or even military personnel -- under their control? We'd be nuking them from orbit the next day. Bet on it.

I'm not sure America doesn't deserve the same fate when I contemplate what's been done in our names.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:57 AM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here, tell President Obama yourself if you feel strongly about this issue. Don't just vent on Metafilter.

(contact page at whitehouse.gov)
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:07 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


All I can say is that if you didn't know this already, you weren't paying close enough attention. Military documents and the testimony of Iraqi prisoners confirmed this long ago, and I detailed a lot of the facts of it on MeFi back in 2004.

A lot of people owe Seymour Hersh an apology. He's been right about this issue all along, and, indeed, a lot of the documents that were released after the fact support his claims.

As he previously said:

"The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has.

They are in total terror. It's going to come out."


The Taguba Report itself acknowledged that evidence supported that a detainee was sodomized with a chemical light and perhaps a broomstick. Unfortunately, these details were not in parts of the report reported to the public... but numerous people in the press did see the full report, and reported on the details.

NPR reported it on Marketplace on May 21, 2004, about two minutes into their program.

"I saw the translator . . . f*cking a kid. His age would have been about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad, and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming, I climbed to the door because on top it wasn't covered. And i saw (the translator) who was wearing a military uniform, putting his dick in the little kid's ass. I couldn't see the face of the kid because his face wasn't in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures."

The translator was a private contractor for Titan Corp. in SoCal. He was never charged for his crime, and legally, is quite possibly immune to trial based on the "laws" in Iraq at the time.

Scotland Time also reported some of the details...
"They covered all the doors with sheets. I heard the screaming, … and the female soldier was taking pictures."

From Agence France Presse in May 21, 2004 :

"The newspaper published extracts from testimony by 13 inmates who said they were sexually fondled by female soldiers, made to masturbate, sodomized with a baton by male soldiers or forced to curse the Islamic religion. . . The detainees described being ridden like animals by prison guards, sexually fondled by female soldiers and forced to retrieve food from their toilets. Another detainee described how US Army Specialist Charles Graner and other US soldiers sodomized another detainee with a phosphorescent light. . .

Another detainee said he was kept naked for five days, forced to kneel for four hours with a hood over his head, badly beaten, forced to crawl as he was spat upon, and finally sodomized by a US soldiers with a nightstick. Meanwhile, a private contract translator at Abu Ghraib prison has been accused of sexually humiliating prisoners, The Wall Street Journal said . . . The employee of Titan Corp, based in California, was not identified and it was unclear if he is the same translator that one inmate at Abu Ghraib said he saw having sex with a teenage detainee, the daily said.


There was, in fact, a prisoner complaint made about the rape of the teen, but amazingly enough, it also documents that no investigation into the matter occurred until four months had passed... until all the prisoners, soldiers, and contractors had moved on... and well after Abu Ghraib became a household name.

The investigation was closed, and it hasn't been reopened, despite the fact that witnesses have come forth since then, supporting the claims. The fact is, individuals responsible for arguably the most damning incident at Abu Ghraib have gotten away scott free, without even a blemish upon their name. Indeed, Pentagon-imposed law for Iraq grants immunity for the contractor who raped the kid in question.

There are, of course, other absolutely credible prisoner reports of abuse that fully checked out, but were simply ignored.

"Detainee alleged he was beaten with wooden sticks, punched, electrocuted, anally sodomized by a female while 2 males held him down and watched, and made to drink urine . . . a physician who examined the detainee at Camp Bucca, stated on 19 Jun 04 that the detainee did have a scar on his right wrist which was indicative of him being pulled by his handcuffs or being hung by handcuffs. The Colonel also stated that the detainee was bleeding from the anus . . . Investigation concludes there is not sufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations."
posted by markkraft at 4:12 AM on May 29, 2009 [19 favorites]


I came across something on Digg which suggested that the Abu Ghirab photos definitely helped recruit more insurgents, etc., and that the end result was that Americans died. I think the best way to prevent photos of that sort getting out is by not torturing people in the first place. If these photos get out, our withdrawal from Iraq might look more like a frenzied evacuation, and I believe a lot of Americans might die. And our nation might just collectively need a whuppin' for us to understand that our love for "taking a hard line" and 24 is, at the very least, counterproductive. I doubt that "really not okay" would sink in, but it's a hope.

Here's something practical we could do with the photos in the meantime, besides being able to ask Rush Limbaugh if he thought this was just some frat hazing prank: I could take one of the photos, pull it into Photoshop, crop it for landscape, then make some horizontal red and white stripes on it, just an overlay and a hue shift. Take one corner and blue it up a touch. Have it printed up on a piece of cloth.

I'd fly it every July the 4th in place of the standard flag. Up until I got shot, anyway.
posted by adipocere at 4:24 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't think you can argue that you shouldn't release the photos because it would be bad for americans. The fact that it happened is bad for americans. As long as there's no prosecution, it will continue to be bad for americans. Why the government is forgiving crimes committed in foreign countries on their dime is beyond me.

But I don't want to see the photos. I can't handle it.
posted by Hildegarde at 4:32 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some more photos (with blurring) are available at PressTV.

Are you sure those are not fake? A random set of photographs that isn't included with the other sets? Green fatigues?

My rape pictures, let me show you thems:

The...photo actually came from a porn site in 2004, and was reprinted on a number of web sites and in Arab media (and even ended up in the Boston Globe before being exposed). You will notice the uniforms of the supposed soldiers in the photo are green camouflage, rather than the tan desert camouflage that soldiers in Iraq actually wore at the time.

National Journal mentioned this case here:
http://www.nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2006/0410nj1.htm

And the complete collection of the fake rape photos (warning: graphic) can be seen here:
http://www.aztlan.net/iraqi_women_raped.htm


I'm all for the outragefilter, but I would suggest everyone read the wikisource link. It's all there.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:38 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


fourcheesemac: "I know too many violent cretins who could do nothing else with their lives and thus joined up to go kill Hajis"

The term I heard was "Sand-niggers" and "Muzzies", but yeah, I know a lot of real monkeys who signed up because they specifically wanted to shoot brown people.
I also knew a kid who got taken in by the propaganda and is now a very active member of Iraq Veterans Against The War.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:39 AM on May 29, 2009


I keep hoping Charles Grainer or Lyndie England will get a good lawyer and file an appeal on the grounds that this was all common practice even if they misunderstood the specific limits of their orders. Because we now know it was.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I hope those two monsters file an appeal, but I do agree that it's abhorrent that when lower-ranking servicemen are given guidelines from their superiors - essentially told, sure, put a leash on that guy, beat him, rape his kids and videotape it - that only they take the fall for it. It's my understanding that even if they were given direct orders to commit illegal acts they are still obliged to defy those orders. But what's sickening is that these paeons, yeah, let's prosecute and jail them. The people higher up who provided the guidelines? Let's not re-open old wounds. It's time to move on.

Sickening.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:41 AM on May 29, 2009


Yeah, McCain would totally be ushering in a new era of transparency right about now.

McCain isn't the president, and it doesn't matter what McCain might or might not hypothetically do. Can we stop with McCain already, and focus on Obama, who is the one with the responsibility to do something about this?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:44 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


McCain isn't the president, and it doesn't matter what McCain might or might not hypothetically do

I think it kind of matters when people are saying they wished they hadn't voted for Obama. Because essentially if you are stating you don't want this, then guess what you are saying you do want?
posted by P.o.B. at 4:53 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


It should be noted that it was Donald Rumsfeld himself who gave the orders for detainees to be stripped and kept naked.

These orders were imported from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib, along with Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who ordered that prison guards "soften up" the prisoners for interrogation and treat them "like dogs".

As for how involved the White House was in all this, well... Miller personally reported to former DefenseSec Paul Wolfowitz... a fact he lied about in sworn statements to the Senate.

So, how do you soften up a bunch of naked Iraqis, anyway?
posted by markkraft at 5:21 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


"What is the point of releasing further photos? "

Indeed. What's the point of a transparent, accountable government that adheres to laws created by our representatives, and is willing to admit to, accept, take accountability for, and fundamentally change what it does when it goes badly off the deep end?!
posted by markkraft at 5:29 AM on May 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Bush. Yeah Bush.
posted by LittleMissItneg at 5:42 AM on May 29, 2009


Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.

“I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan."


Seeing that our beloved troops and contractors/mercenaries are the ones perpetuating rape and torture, and seeing that they cover up rape and torture, and seeing that they justify and defend rape and torture, I fucking hope that they're imperiled.

"Oh but my cousin is in the Army/Navy/Marines/Blackwater and he's one of the good ones."

Bullshit. No such thing as a good soldier in this bullshit war. All the "good ones" went AWOL. All the "good ones" refused to participate in an immoral, pointless killing spree to enrich wealthy white men and the corporations they run.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:42 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


No such thing as a good soldier in this bullshit war. All the "good ones" went AWOL. All the "good ones" refused to participate in an immoral, pointless killing spree to enrich wealthy white men and the corporations they run.

Really? How about those kids from towns all over America where the military is pretty much the only decent job you can get? Or the kids who maybe didn't do well enough to qualify for scholarships, and need a way to pay for school? Or even the people already in the military when this bullshit war started, who decided they didn't make the decision to invade, but they're going to do their best to help re-build Iraq, as the least they could do? I know it's tempting to oversimplify and make blanket judgements but it doesn't seem entirely accurate.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:47 AM on May 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Optimus Chyme: "Bullshit. No such thing as a good soldier in this bullshit war. All the "good ones" went AWOL. All the "good ones" refused to participate in an immoral, pointless killing spree to enrich wealthy white men and the corporations they run."

I disagree. I would have said that back when I was in high school and blindly idealist, but no.
My buddy (the IVAW one) simply told his commanding officer he wouldn't' be reenlisting. He got put on menial chores for the rest of his tour.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:50 AM on May 29, 2009


Because essentially if you are stating you don't want this, then guess what you are saying you do want?

That makes no sense. If I said I regretted voting for Obama, because of his failure to deal with torture crimes, it does not logically follow that I wish I had voted for McCain, instead.

Anyway, it's a moot point: Obama is the boss and he needs to deal with this mess. It doesn't matter what McCain would or would not do, because he's not in charge.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:55 AM on May 29, 2009


“I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan."

Seeing that our beloved troops and contractors/mercenaries are the ones perpetuating rape and torture, and seeing that they cover up rape and torture, and seeing that they justify and defend rape and torture, I fucking hope that they're imperiled.
"

You can't possibly meant the anaphoric co-referents that I think you mean.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:56 AM on May 29, 2009


There is a middle ground between posting the photos on WWTDD and burning them, which is appointing an independent legal body to take a long look at them and figure out what is happening and to prepare a report about it. I'm hoping that's what the administration will do, and our outrage is best focused on clamoring for that. We do need to know the truth, but not necessarily from a tabloid.

But anyway, back to your babykiller/freedom fries/whatever arguments leftover from the last administration. MoveOnDotCom yall.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:00 AM on May 29, 2009


What I'm trying to say (as I realize my comment was somewhat vague and has an alt. interpretation), was that your line of reasoning is along the lines of "Hey those brown people killed us on 9-11. Death to all brown people!" Which is the kind of fucked up rationale that got us here and ensures our stay.

At the very least, it's lazy and reckless thinking and its not helping.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:04 AM on May 29, 2009


How about those kids from towns all over America where the military is pretty much the only decent job you can get?

Mugging old ladies is a way to make a living in hard times too, but not many people defend it.

Or even the people already in the military when this bullshit war started, who decided they didn't make the decision to invade, but they're going to do their best to help re-build Iraq, as the least they could do?

I don't want the person who burned my house down, raped my wife, and killed my kids to help out when we try to put our life back together.

You can't possibly meant the anaphoric co-referents that I think you mean.

I do. It's not that i don't know any soldiers or that I'm blindly idealist - it's that the soldiers I have met, to a one, are racist assholes who loved telling stories about how they'd slow down their vehicles and pretend they were going to give the trail of kids running after them water and candy, and then - woop! - speed off when the kids got close. They would also tell me how Iraqis were all animals and terrorists. This is the shit they'd admit to. Fuck them.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:07 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just thank god that we never saw those My Lai Massacre photos, otherwise our boys in Vietnam could've gotten in some real trouble!
posted by Jairus at 6:08 AM on May 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't know what to say Optimus. I'm sorry you feel the way you do. It might help to distance yourself from the racist, hate-mongering asshole soldiers and seek out some ways to meet and help other soldiers who could really use your compassion and support. I assure you that all soldiers are not the same and you might be surprised to find that there are even some that feel very similarly to the way you feel.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:12 AM on May 29, 2009


Mugging old ladies is a way to make a living in hard times too, but not many people defend it.

Joining the military is not a criminal act.

I don't want the person who burned my house down, raped my wife, and killed my kids to help out when we try to put our life back together.

There's no reason to believe they're one and the same person committing horrible acts and rebuilding. In fact, they're decidedly two different people.

I, too, am sick of the "few bad apples" argument. It's becoming clearer and clearer there was a policy instituted from the top. But I don't think casting sweeping generalizations of American soldiers as bloodthirsty lunatics is accurate or helpful.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:14 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Releasing those photos right now is going to get people killed.

Or it might actually get people prosecuted for fucking crimes against humanity. Or it might get the American public to give a fuck. Or it might make every fucking frat boy apologist shut the fuck up. There are lots of things that could happen.

My guess is that people getting shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan are going to get shot at whether these photos are released or not. What kind of argument is that? Do you think the insurgents are going to go even more ape-shit? You don't think they have access to gruesome photos and horrible stories? I'm pretty sure they don't need ABC news to report about this or that to get all riled up.

What the fuck America? Step up your fucking game.
posted by chunking express at 6:23 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Joining the military is not a criminal act.

I didn't say it was criminal. It is immoral when you continue to fight in a war on women and children. Your argument that "it's the only job they can get" is irrelevant.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:29 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, "America". WTF is the matter with all 300 million of you anyway? Why do you all act exactly the same?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:29 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I didn't say it was criminal. It is immoral when you continue to fight in a war on women and children. Your argument that "it's the only job they can get" is irrelevant.

It's only irrelevant when you have the comfort of not having to make that choice, but yeah. It's clear you have very decisive ideas about what they're all about, so I'll drop it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:31 AM on May 29, 2009


Sorry, I should have said, "What the fuck some segment of American society that listens to talk radio and lives in fear of a brown planet and thinks waterboarding isn't so bad and etc." My bad.
posted by chunking express at 6:37 AM on May 29, 2009


Ah, those people aren't changing any time soon. But with dedication and hard work they can hopefully be kept out of power, and, more importantly, maybe more Democrats will grow a spine and stop being afraid of them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:42 AM on May 29, 2009


The serious problem with the military is that you get two kinds of people to join: psychopaths and people who need to be convinced. You put in the effort to convince soldiers that its OK to shoot these bastards, these bastards are enemies, look at them they live in such squalor they're scum they're not even human. At that point, who cares? They all look alike. That kid is young, but he'll just be another bastard like his dad, so fuck him.
posted by graventy at 6:45 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, I do think on some fundamental level there is something the fuck wrong with America. It seems to have way more crazy-ass problems than the rest of the Western world. Like crazy-ass crazy problems. And you guys aren't being ruled by Charles Taylor, so I expect more I suppose.
posted by chunking express at 6:48 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see we've moved from all soldiers being one type to being one of two types. That's progress people!
posted by iamkimiam at 6:49 AM on May 29, 2009


I do think on some fundamental level there is something the fuck wrong with America. It seems to have way more crazy-ass problems than the rest of the Western world. Like crazy-ass crazy problems.

Thanks for that nuanced analysis.

And you guys aren't being ruled by Charles Taylor, so I expect more I suppose.

Again, there's 300 million people in the country, many, many, many of whom are trying their damnedest to enact change for the better. I understand the frustration, living on the outside of the country myself, of seeing change happen at a snail's pace. What I try to do is remind myself of the hard work numerous people are constantly engaging in and to remind myself that in a democracy, change is always slow - barring violent uprising of course.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:56 AM on May 29, 2009


What happened to the US government? It use to be the moral leader of the world. We use to do good things and stop oppression. Now in the name of freedom we let this happen? Many servicemen and women say that this war caused a lot of good over in Iraq. Bullshit! In marketing it takes 10 positive reviews to combat one negative. In these cases I think it would take a lot more than 10 Iraqis happy with our forced to combat children being raped to force confessions. Waterboarding, raping, torturing?!?!?!? I'm an American and I'm better than that! This is why 911 happened. Because people that are willing to torture another human being live among us. Any armed forces on here that know anything... I urge you to come forward now. Terrorists might be some of the worse people in the world but what the fuck we are not them. We are better than them. Why are we lowering ourselves to this. Also a lot of people say blaming bush admin for this is not the point of the post but seriously everyone involved in his evil administration knew about this and let it happen. Blood hungry generals thirsty for justice de-evolved themselves into monsters and now we are nowhere closer to ending anything and America looks like a bunch of evil torturing pricks.

I'll stop my rant after this: Ever wake up every morning thinking that you are the good guys. The GI Joe of the world and then realize that you are not. I knew about this and felt that there was nothing I can do. I'm ready to stand up now. Message me if anyone has any ideas how to combat this and bring these rapist fucks to justice.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:01 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bullshit. No such thing as a good soldier in this bullshit war. All the "good ones" went AWOL. All the "good ones" refused to participate in an immoral, pointless killing spree to enrich wealthy white men and the corporations they run.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:42 AM on May 29 [+] [!]


What an ignorant statement.
posted by caddis at 7:16 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


What happened to the US government? It use to be the moral leader of the world.
Really? Maybe to the rest of the world, we seemed that way. Maybe I'm just being cynical, but we've always been a country that gets involved in shit it shouldn't for purely political reasons.
posted by graventy at 7:20 AM on May 29, 2009


You're not talking about "a few people". Photos of Americans raping Muslim women and children? Say goodbye to every shred of goodwill, every slightly pro-western sentiment that currently exists in the Muslim world. There goes Pakistan, and their nukes. Iran emboldened. Rioters burning huge swaths of the Major western European cities. Americans abducted and beheaded, or just killed on sight. We're talking about World War 3.

Except out of the some billion muslims in the world, who are English literate- hell, who read in any of the languages these news stories are being published in, already know. They're not children, they have internet too. I also don't know how to describe the broad brush you're tarring a mind boggling number of people with either. It's not racist, since we're talking about a very ethnically diverse group, but if you're really so worried about riots from some hypothetical hot headed mob of muslims, advocate full transparancy and making an honest, public show to shame those people responsible for the abuse instead of whimpering about avoiding consequences. It's a PR nightmare, but sweeping it under the rug makes it worse.
posted by Phalene at 7:23 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder if Obama isn't postponing the pursuance of justice against the top people responsible because it isn't politically possible at this time. I've got my fingers crossed, but I won't be betting any money on it.

If that is what is going on, I wonder if political expediency/pragmatism being the primary concern doesn't say a lot about the current sad state of the "leaders" on both sides of the aisle. Concerning the "Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss" refrain, I would suggest focusing on the crooked state of the game, rather than just the current team on the field.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:28 AM on May 29, 2009


What happened to the US government? It use to be the moral leader of the world.


Mastercheddaar, the US toppled the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953. And really, you've been fucking up the world since then. I think pretty much every country in the South America probably has something to say about your statement.

Moral leader my ass.

Thanks for that nuanced analysis.

You know how we do. Sorry. The US just makes me crazy. CRAZY.
posted by chunking express at 7:38 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


What an ignorant statement.
posted by caddis


You're right, caddis, there are indeed some good apples out there: Corporal Pat Tillman, for instance, seemed like a pretty good guy and the model of what a free-thinking, moral soldier should be.

Of course, then he was "accidentally" killed by friendly fire and the details of his death were covered up by members of his unit as well as those higher in the chain of command. This is no different from the countless other cover-ups that the military engages in to protect itself from justice, like the rape and torture photos that we were originally discussing - until we derailed because there are a few of us who don't like or respect the military in general and its willing pawns in particular.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:52 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


American soldiers in Iraq - whatever personal desperation drove them to enlist, whatever integrity they struggle to preserve - are nonetheless voluntary participants in a war of aggression that has murdered hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children. Only the blindest, most jingoistic kind of American exceptionalism could see their safety as the paramount concern here.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:55 AM on May 29, 2009


One way to keep them safe is to get them the hell out of Iraq.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:02 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


What happened to the US government? It use to be the moral leader of the world.

Sorry to harp on the same point, but I'm pretty sure that the only people that believed or promoted that concept were americans.
posted by Brockles at 8:11 AM on May 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


fff: Obama wants the US people to get mad. Get mad about the right things for once. Because with the backing of the American people for him to Do The Right Thing, he will be able to do it.

I have to say on this, bullshit.

U.S. Citizens got mad. In two elections in two years, U.S. Citizens delivered a bitter and angry refutation of Conservative politics. We gave Obama backing to Do The Right Thing in the primary elections. We gave him the backing in a general election that saw unprecedented wins for Democrats in states that were unthinkable six months before. He has a mandate and a bullet-proof majority in congress now. Not six months from now, not next year. Now. The time for Obama to act on this is now, with the congressional coalitions in place and as much distance as possible from the mid-term election process.

And it's astounding to me how bad Obama's PR is right now after a campaign that was built on extremely nimble control and management of political communications. I just know when I see the name "Gibbs" on a news item that he's either denying or waffling on an explicit promise made during the campaign. Obama himself made DADT a punchline at an elite dinner engagement. Obama doesn't want the public mad. He wants the public to forget about these issues.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:12 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Terrorists might be some of the worse people in the world but what the fuck we are not them.

Checked your score card lately?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:20 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I love all the concern being expressed in this thread for the soldiers, how we mustn't forget they're not all bad and so on.

My thoughts are with the victims of all this totally unnecessary ignorant rah-rah USA violence.

.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:40 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because it's absolutely impossible to simultaneously denounce this disgusting and illegal war, and not want to tar all soldiers with the same brush.

Did I enter a timewarp to 2004 or something?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:44 AM on May 29, 2009


Just a thought, but shouldn't the people who are being abused in these photographs have some say as to whether their naked photographs should be plastered over every media outlet in the world?
posted by yoink at 8:53 AM on May 29, 2009


Only the blindest, most jingoistic kind of American exceptionalism could see their safety as the paramount concern here.

I can get behind jingoism that involves bringing the troops home.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:56 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


....Optimus? Dude?

Um, would you say it was fair for someone to say all us Americans are gun-toting, trucker-cap wearing hillbillies because those are the only kind of people they met? Of course not.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:58 AM on May 29, 2009


Releasing those photos right now is going to get people killed.

A simple solution: Charge the persons involved with crimes under the UCMJ, and transfer them to either detention or supervised on-base house arrest in the States. The cat was let out of the bag in 2004, continuing the cover-up only fuels the outrage that U.S. Military personnel are above the law an unaccountable for crimes they commit overseas.

The crimes at Abu Ghraib already put American lives at risk. Avoiding the appearance that the comfort of accused servicemen is a more important concern than the rights of detainees is critically necessary to salvage our minimal remaining goodwill.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:59 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Look, millions of Americans voluntarily engage in sex, including all forms of sodomy, every single day, and now we're going to call sex a crime when our soldiers to it to prisoners? These people are the worst of the worst, and if they can't enjoy a little bit of rough trade now and then, that's their problem, not our brave soldiers.

The supreme court ruled that sodomy is not a crime just a few years ago. How were these soldiers supposed to know what was allowed since the legal situation is so murky. One day ass-fucking your boyfriend with a cucumber is illegal in the privacy of your own home, the next day it's not, how is anyone supposed to know what's legally permissable?

Plus, they're not even in America, so American laws don't apply. And all the Iraqi laws are in Arabic, plus Iraq didn't even have a constitution at the time. I mean, Saddam and his sons had been raping prisioners for decades. That implies that it's legal, doesn't it? I mean who are we to deny our soldiers the same pleasures that Saddam enjoyed? We're living in his palaces and we're using his prisons, anyway.
posted by empath at 9:01 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should start blogging for The Corner.
posted by empath at 9:05 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


stinkycheese: agreed. I think the empathy for the victims is so undeniable, such a given, that sometimes we forget to acknowledge it. I'm glad you brought it up because it bears repeating.

The empathy for the soldiers however seems to be a point of contention for us here in this thread (and presumably outside of it). How we can attempt to make clear-cut divisions in a shadeless humanity is mind-boggling to me, but I'll stand my ground because I think it's important that we put the extra time and energy in looking at labels like "Americans", "soldiers", "Administration", etc. and recognizing that these are mental shortcuts for hundreds if not thousands of individuals, each with views, emotions, thoughts. And many of them are in agreement with the opinions expressed here, regardless if one, two, or all three of the labels apply.

I think its wrong to assume that just because a person is in a particular place or station, and everything around that person is ugly and vile (including other persons), that they aren't there in the thick of it, trying to clear a safe path.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:06 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


serious post this time: The rot starts from the head. An army needs strong discipline, or it will get out of control quickly. When you have lawlessness at the top, it'll only get worse as it filters down to the footsoldiers.
posted by empath at 9:13 AM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh thank God empath! To be honest, I wasn't 100% sure if you were serious or not in your last long comment. I was thinking to myself, "if empath has lost it, we're all screwed!"
posted by iamkimiam at 9:16 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


iamkimiam: Certainly. I think the persons involved in Abu Ghraib deserve the rights they denied to prisoners under their care. And if they were compelled or coerced, they should have the opportunity to make their case. If being accused puts them at risk, then they put those around them at risk, and should be transferred to new assignments pending an investigation that either holds them accountable, or clears them of wrongdoing.

But, when rights are violated under the color of law or military authority, it's critically important to handle the situation in a fair and transparent manner. My interests in not seeing these photos buried under layers of security classification doesn't center on embarrassing the persons involved, it's about demanding that the legal system not act in a way that allows similar abuses to occur in the future.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:32 AM on May 29, 2009


We must keep this evidence secret to avoid inflaming Muslim opinion.

Meanwhile, every September 11th we stage a multimedia spectacle in order to inflame ourselves.
posted by Nahum Tate at 9:51 AM on May 29, 2009


I think it's important that we put the extra time and energy in looking at labels like "Americans", "soldiers", "Administration", etc. and recognizing that these are mental shortcuts for hundreds if not thousands of individuals, each with views, emotions, thoughts. And many of them are in agreement with the opinions expressed here, regardless if one, two, or all three of the labels apply.

While I don't disagree with what you're saying, and I mean no disrespect to you personally, I surely wish people in the US could realise how this line of thinking reads. What you're saying has been true of every fighting force throughout history - true of the Goth hordes, the Nazis, the Russians, the North Vietnamese, and so on down the line. True of any group of people doing anything at any point in human history in fact.

Unless you're the kind of person who really believes that 'the other' is an inhuman mass of bloodlust and hate, it's really rather obvious & doesn't even need to be said. Of course not every soldier fighting under Hitler was a Nazi, obviously they didn't to a one believe in the cause they were fighting for, and very obviously not every German soldier was pushing Jews into the ovens.

Yet the only time I've ever seen your argument made - and on Metafilter if I've seen it once, I've seen it a hundred times - is with respect to the US. It reeks to me of ugly American exceptionalism - yet again. I for one am tired of hearing this trotted out every time the war crimes of the US are discussed.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:52 AM on May 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Gah! I should have been more clear. I was kind of directing that paragraph at Optimus Chyme, et al, who have made some pretty offensive blanket statements about Americans, soldiers, etc. I was (attempting to) writing what I wrote in context and in contrast to that.

But your response (and others) is great and eye-opening, because as an (occasionally ugly) American, its hard to step outside myself and see how my views, statements, etc. read to others' ears. Where I think I'm being diplomatic or empathetically logical, I always find room for improvement. Which is why I love all you people of Metafilter!
posted by iamkimiam at 10:01 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


releasing those photos right now is going to get people killed.

NO... torture and rape are going to get people killed.
posted by leonard horner at 10:02 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want to be clear that my point above was not meant, in the manner of some subsequent comments, to be a blanket indictment of US military personnel. Of course there are decent and honorable and courageous people in the military, and people who possess one or two of the three qualities are surely a majority. But the military both attracts and produces sociopaths, because being in the business of killing people is a fucked up (if sometimes necessary, perhaps) occupation. This is why we have rules of conduct, a uniform code of military justice, Geneva conventions, and a paramount emphasis on discipline in the first place. Because war *is* hell. A soldier is an instrument of violence, wielded by politicians. Period. For good or evil, it's still a hell of a thing to make some poor schlub who couldn't get a job at Sam's Club and who grew up in the alienated, violent culture that saturates so much of contemporary America, make fine grained distinctions between good and bad acts of violence, between retribution and justice, between being humane and surviving another day. I pity Grainer and England, even as I despise their sociopathic asses. They had agency, sure, but of a limited sort. Others with much more going for them as thinking people were responsible for directing that agency, not perverting it further. I don't think every American soldier is a Charles Grainer. But anyone who thinks sociopathic attitudes toward a racialized Arab/Muslim "other" aren't commonplace in theater is kidding themselves, or playing computer games or watching cheesy TV for boys. If we don't blame the politicians who either directly ordered or tacitly condoned the official and semi-official abuses, then what we have here is repeated failures of unit discipline, in which case the military commanders and field officers bear more responsibility than anyone has yet suggested, perhaps since that would entail being insufficiently supportive of "the troops" (who are conveniently collective when we must support them, and individually responsible when we must confront crimes such as Abu Ghraib and Halabja and My Lai).

Honorable and decent and courageous soldiers have the most to gain here from the truth being told, the facts being known, and the responsible being held accountable. Yes, in the shorter run, incidents of violence and hardening of attitudes toward US forces will follow, as if we could sink much lower in most of the places we're deployed. But this is a cancer on the reputation of the United States military and its government and its people. Nothing could do more long term harm to our strategic interests than a loss of what remains of our international support and standing.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:10 AM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]



correction:
/or NOT playing computer games and watching cheesy TV movies

posted by fourcheesemac at 10:12 AM on May 29, 2009


Crap! Why can't I say anything right? I didn't mean to imply that "as an American I..." as if I belong to some special class that I'm using as an excuse to pardon my inability to step outside myself (even though I'm obviously struggling with that task at the current moment). I was trying to say that I appreciate my communication with people from other parts of the world or with other viewpoints. It helps me get out of my box. And my head. Which are probably closely related anyway.

Words, blech. What trouble they cause.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:17 AM on May 29, 2009


Try a thought experiment...

China declares, unconvincingly, that Thailand has weapons of mass destruction. In "self-defense", it attacks and occupies the country - causing tens of thousands of civilian deaths. Of course, no such weapons are ever found. But the occupation continues for years with no end in sight.

An independent Chinese reporter announces that Thai prisoners are being raped and tortured in Chinese custody. The Chinese defense minister contemptuously dismisses the report. Then photographs emerge documenting the claim. Female Chinese soldiers jeering at the genitals of stripped Thai prisoners. Male Chinese soldiers making celebratory gestures over the corpse of a Thai prisoner that was tortured to death. The defense minister, unconvincingly, blames this on "a few bad dumplings" and a small handful of low-ranking Chinese soldiers are jailed for their crimes.

Then similar reports of rape and torture emerge from China's other military outposts throughout Asia. A distinguished Chinese general, at the cost of his career, publicly acknowledges that the reports are true. The Chinese government is forced to admit that it is keeping secret hundreds of photographs which would prove it.

In the face of global calls to release the photographs and prosecute the torturers, Hu Jintao says that the photographs are only "more of the same". With shameless self-contradiction, he also claims that releasing the photographs would only "further inflame anti-Chinese sentiment" - placing his occupying soldiers at greater risk.

Are any of you going to agree with his justification? Are any of you going to say that releasing the pictures would only be further victimizing the Thai prisoners?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:19 AM on May 29, 2009 [18 favorites]


"It's not that i don't know any soldiers or that I'm blindly idealist - it's that the soldiers I have met, to a one, are racist assholes who loved telling stories about how they'd slow down their vehicles and pretend they were going to give the trail of kids running after them water and candy, and then - woop! - speed off when the kids got close. They would also tell me how Iraqis were all animals and terrorists. This is the shit they'd admit to."

I have several friends who are or were in the military. And yes, I have heard this kind of thing several times. That said, I don't think this is a good way to judge all soldiers, or even a particularly convincing way of saying that they're all racist.

The military has always tolerated an environment that lends itself to a lot of humorous comeraderie, including some pretty meanspirited pranks at times. The mindset is -- for obvious reasons -- a bit like the jocks in high school... and oftentimes the age and origin of the participants aren't all that much different.

But that said, I know many soldiers who aren't racists. Several joined the military because they were going nowhere in life, had few opportunities, or wanted to get their act together. I know others who joined right after 9/11, because they wanted to be a part of going after those responsible.

The military tends to attract new recruits who are young and a bit naive, and who tend to think in black and white. Lots of true believers, who oftentimes lack the experience in life to realize that easy solutions tend not to work, and oftentimes cause more problems than they address.

... but should we start condemning young people for being idealistic?!

I was strongly against both Iraq and Afghanistan from day one. I've tried to be an active part of making the whole ugly, dirty facts fully known and felt by the American people... and to do that, it helps to have visual proof.

When I go to some effort to lay out the facts, I do so because that is how a free, informed society works best. It kills both ignorance and lack of personal responsibility for one's government, both of which are widespread American epidemics.

Yes, our openness *does* put us all at risk. And that risk is born out disproportionately by our nation's military, who are often on the bleeding edge. But as real as the risks can be at times, living in a free, informed society helps to make us far safer, as a rule... because informed people make better, safer, more prudent choices.

It's as Franklin said...

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

You're far safer Americans with your minds informed, your hearts open to the plight of your fellow humans, and your liberties intact than you'd ever be by supporting those who would choose to keep this country in the dark.

If we must ask American soldiers to accept a greater risk to their lives, by all means, let's ask them to risk their lives to defend our liberties, rather than to ensure the stability of a pro-U.S. proxy state in Iraq.
posted by markkraft at 11:19 AM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Bullshit. No such thing as a good soldier in this bullshit war. All the 'good ones' went AWOL. All the 'good ones' refused to participate in an immoral, pointless killing spree to enrich wealthy white men and the corporations they run."

What is the purpose of saying this? Because, regardless of your own feelings, obviously this is hyperbolic, to be generous, or just flat out false, to be blunt. It doesn't really do any good. Shitting on the soldiers doesn't change anything for the better, because there are always more soldiers if they all leave, whether through draft or mercenary hiring, but it does alienate a good portion of the people who might need to hear better information. Soldiers don't set policy.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:52 AM on May 29, 2009


For anyone who wants to follow Gibbs' advice, I highly recommend this.
posted by stargell at 12:03 PM on May 29, 2009


What is the purpose of saying this?

If I had to pick one of many reasons, it'd be that I'm pretty pissed off that American soldiers and mercenaries are raping men, women, and children, all the while being paid with taxpayer money and endlessly fellated by the authority-loving public and media, I guess.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:49 PM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


To those who are concerned about the privacy of those who were abused - there's the old time-honored method: you put a black bar to cover the eyes or a digital distortion over the faces to prevent individual identification, yet allow the substance of the photo to be conveyed.

C'mon, that's not so hard - enough feeble excuses.

When we release secret documents, information which it is inappropriate to disclose is covered with black boxes. We don't simply keep the whole document unavailable, while hiding under the "secrecy" doctrine.

In a democracy, secrecy corrupts. A democracy needs transparency, like we need air to breathe.

When great crimes are committed - whether by Nazis, in Rwanda, Vietnam or Nanking, the one thing we never do is say: "let us not release photos or other evidence - it's too inflammatory". The only time when evidence is suppressed, it is by the bad guys. Pol pot would not voluntarily show the skulls of the people he killed lined up in endless rows. So, are we the bad guys here, or have we moved to the side of justice and humanity on this issue? I find the question "are you willing to have the truth known, the whole truth and all the evidence shown" to be pretty revealing as to which side we stand on. Personally, I hope we release ALL the photos, every one of them.
posted by VikingSword at 1:04 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm offended, annoyed, outraged, etc., etc., that the perpetrators haven't been brought to justice yet, but really I could give two shits whether anyone else ever sees the hidden photos.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:35 PM on May 29, 2009


“It's not that i don't know any soldiers or that I'm blindly idealist - it's that the soldiers I have met, to a one, are racist assholes” posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:07 AM on May 29
Really. Wow. I didn’t know I was a racist asshole. I’ll have to tell my African American buddy who was best man at my wedding that I’m a racist asshole. I guess he’ll have to rescind me being godfather to his child.
“The serious problem with the military is that you get two kinds of people to join: psychopaths and people who need to be convinced. “
Must be why I went on missions to stop genocide. Hnh. I always thought we killed people because it was absolutely necessary. Didn’t know it was because I was a psychopath.
Man, those SEALs that took out those pirates holding those guys hostage just didn’t understand they were only doing it because those pirates were brown. Plus you know they personally delivered tons of waste off the Somali coast themselves. And fished the place out. Or at least they’re fighting for the corporations that are.
So clearly, at no point is it wrong for anyone to put a gun to someone’s head (as long as they’re not American) or kill them or blow up innocent people. Whenever we intervene to stop that, it’s predicated on psychopathology or racism.
“American soldiers in Iraq - whatever personal desperation drove them to enlist, whatever integrity they struggle to preserve - are nonetheless voluntary participants in a war of aggression that has murdered hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children.”
Because ‘they’ are all the same. Personal morality doesn’t make any difference. Which is why you’re just as culpable.
“It's "necessary" for people to be murdered? What makes you think that you have the right to decide that it's "necessary" for certain people to die?”
Civilian control of the military?
“Does that go for every child rape case or just this one, if your kid was raped and there was video you would put it online?” ...so if you could not get a guilty plea you would release the video of your kid being raped?
If I thought it would bring the rapist to justice, yes. And I’d block out my kids face, etc.
“That any soldier, let alone an officer, even thought that a brother-in-arms was raping prisoners and didn't frag the fucker themselves speaks to a disease in the way America runs its military.”
A lot of this was done by contractors. Not all though. Either way, yeah, if it were one of mine I’d put him in the ground if I thought there was no other way. I think it would be more productive to bring him to justice though.
This is the other side of the coin in service. Yes, you’re part of an unpopular, perhaps immoral (in Iraq) war. You bear some responsibility for that, but for the most part no more than the civilian population because they chose to f’ing send you there. It’s not like you wouldn’t rather sit on your ass at home and collect a check, see your family, etc. (oh, except they’re all psychopaths slavering to kill people – don’t believe the f’ing hype or cadences). I’ll grant myself as an exceptional case. I did, and do, want to be in action. But that’s not for any love of it. That’s more because I know I can trust myself. I know I can do the job properly. Like any confident player, I want the ball in my hands. The actual situation though, no, I’d rather not have someone try to kill me, thanks. I’d rather not have to kill them. In some instances stopping someone from doing something pretty bad is gratifying. But I understand some surgeons enjoy their work as well without believing that the blood and entrails is the whole point of the thing.
Point being – you are at risk for what the country chooses to do. Do you honestly think, if people see these photos and flip out – like anyone would – and go looking to kill someone, they wouldn’t rather be killing Americans? You think they’d buy that “Oh, I had nothing to do with it. I was against the war.” Uh huh. I’m sure they’d be just as discerning and avoid blanket judgments like so many folks here. Maybe the more rational would want to target our leaders. And I think they’d have an honest beef there. But they can’t just waltz into the country and go after Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld (well apart from the political considerations, it’s impractical to try to kill influential multi-millionaires without regard to practical means).
So who –are- they going to kill? The troops. Why? Because that’s their job. They take the hit for you. Do I think they should have to? No. There are decent men and women serving who would never stand for the abuses that happened.
Do I think they should? Yes. Because that’s what they signed up for. For good or ill. You want to place some kind of blame on them? Swell. But it’s not going to mean dick to someone who’s ALREADY in jeopardy of their lives on your behalf.
And don’t give me this shit about “not me” – unless you were engaged in an active resistance movement to violently oust Bush, you supported the system we all did.
Nothing any of us can do to mitigate that. But what we can do is to make amends.
Releasing these photos is a step towards doing that. And although I’m saying ‘fuck you if you hate the troops’ I’m also expecting the troops to take ALL the heat for releasing the photos. Whether they are individually responsible or not. That shit works both ways.
They signed up to be in harms way. That’s what they get whether the civilian government is right, wrong, whatever. Unlike the Nazis, the Visigoths, etc. – the civilian government controls this military.
So we’re not about protecting the troops. They’re about protecting us. No matter who bears the brunt of the responsibility for all this.
The Muslim world is going to (rightfully) want Bushco’s heads. We’re not going to give them to them. We’re going to prosecute Rummy and all the rest of them. And that’s what the troops are protecting. This system of government. Not it’s decisions. Civilian representatives of the people make the decisions. They just follow orders.
Well, we release the photos, their orders are to die while we work this shit out. But that’s what they’re there for. So not a doubt in my mind we should release this.
The American public needs a good kick in the ass. We need a good look at ourselves. This is it. And this “blame the troops” bullshit is just more avoiding responsibility and pushing it down the chain of command to the lowest rank (Oh, wasn’t me, it was Snuffy there - Joe Corporal he’s the one who wanted to go to war so I could pump oil into my car. He’s crazy for war don’tcha know. And racist. Just loves killing he does.)
Sure thing pal. That’s why he sat his ass in a desert tent for years while you got up ever morning from your own bed, got to fuck your wife, see your kids, shovel whatever kind of food you wanted in your mouth – oh, but the guy scratching his ass with sand has got all the power. Uh huh.
We need a wake up. We need a kick in the ass, motivation to seek justice. These photos going public would help.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:51 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Really. Wow. I didn’t know I was a racist asshole. I’ll have to tell my African American buddy who was best man at my wedding that I’m a racist asshole.

You and I both know that the racism we're discussing here is different from "domestic" racism, if you want to call it that. You might not have a problem with your African-American buddy, but I guarantee you that if you served in Somalia or Iraq or Vietnam, they'd be skinnies or hajis or gooks. I don't know the particulars of your service, but I'd be pretty sure you overlooked some pretty heinous shit so you wouldn't be a pariah/fag to the other dudes there.

And if not - if you served in the 103rd Good Guy Division as a Hugs and Reconstruction specialist - well, congratulations.

American soldiers don't shoot at people - they shoot at the enemy, at subhumans. And if a few of those subhumans were civilians who were murdered or raped or tortured, welp, war is hell, right? Because I didn't really hear a whole lot of soldiers objecting to what happened over there. How many members does Iraq Veterans Against the War have? A thousand? Ten thousand? Great, there are ten thousand good apples sparsely interspersed among one point five million active service members. All right, let me change what I said: only 99.4% of soldiers are violent racist assholes.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:05 PM on May 29, 2009


Cannot agree strongly enough with Smedleyman on this one. It's wrong to

Keep in mind that the soldiers who got in trouble for the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib were reservists ordered to ignore their extremely limited training with POWs, to "soften up" the prisoners, to treat them like dogs, to strip them naked and keep them that way, to use dogs to scare the bejeezus out of them, to sexually humiliate them... to basically dehumanize them in pretty much every way.

Sound familiar?! Except, of course, that guards and prisoners weren't well-educated Stanford students, psychologically screened beforehand, the rules laid out were pretty revolting from the get-go, and nobody could ever say stop, because they were abundantly aware that they were following orders from the highest levels of the government.

A few of the low-level reservists got in trouble at Abu Ghraib, but what about the people at the highest level?! And what about the CIA officer who oversaw a contractor in the strappado hanging and torture of Manadel al-Jamadi, who died in interrogation? The military considered that case a homocide, and yet neither of the two men involved have been charged. Indeed, both were granted absolute immunity!

The good thing -- if you can call it that -- about the Abu Ghraib experiment is that it *DID* stop, thanks to an Army reservist who basically had the honor and bravery to throw their career away and put a big-ass target on their back.

Indeed, Donald Rumsfeld targeted him by publicly releasing his identity in Senate testimony, after which his family received death threats, their property was vandalized, and they were forced to live in protective military custody.

So, when you talk about how horrible soldiers are based on several rotten incidents in Iraq, just remember... you only know of such horrors because a soldier thought it was the right thing to flush their own career down the tubes, in order to let you know.
posted by markkraft at 6:21 PM on May 29, 2009


I'd like to second telstar's recommendation of Standard Operating Procedure (I read the book version; it's also published under another title, The Ballad of Abu Ghraib, for some reason).
posted by hattifattener at 8:06 PM on May 29, 2009


"but I guarantee you that if you served in Somalia or Iraq or Vietnam, they'd be skinnies or hajis or gooks."
Wasn't in Vietnam. But I've been in plenty of places. Including Iraq and Somalia. Gosh, I love it when I come back from actually being places and people tell me what it is I think based on what they saw on t.v. once.

"but I'd be pretty sure you overlooked some pretty heinous shit so you wouldn't be a pariah/fag to the other dudes there."

I see. So my choices are either being weak in morals or weak in principles. Being strong in body (I was an athlete) and a well trained fighter (most of my family were in the service or in martial arts) before I ever stepped foot in boot, I can't imagine anyone giving me shit, even had I kept my mouth shut. As it is, I've defended my principles fairly aggressively on several occasions. I like to think I have the mental acumen to back it up. Maybe it was because so much was invested in me (not that I was a fighter pilot). But tough, smart, lucky or whatever - no, I let zero "heinous shit" slide past me.
If I did find someone under me torturing someone I can guarantee you they would either be standing very tall, very publicly, or they would be in the ground, especially if it were in a dangerous situation.
I can guarantee that because, y'know, I've been there and plus, I'm me.
And I would argue that torturing people most certainly puts our people at risk (although I would strongly resist shooting someone under any but the most dire conditions - but if it were absolutely necessary I wouldn't hesitate. And I'd make it as clear as humanly possible that man would stand for his crime). By any standard I'd not only get away with it, but I could make it stick.

As it is, you have the political element (as amply pointed out above) superseding the UCMJ, those would be civilians. Most specifically the SecDef. Now I could have one of the Joint Chiefs balls in my pocket, but that kind of juice would do me NO good at all because civilian control is so ingrained in our military (another thing that pisses me off about this dominionist religious nonsense).


"American soldiers don't shoot at people - they shoot at the enemy, at subhumans"

Hnh. All the people I killed were, y'know, people. I've shot deer. I can assure you they are completely different things. This is not to say that dehumanization is not practiced nor that it is not a psychological defense mechanism. For the most part I've seen the faces and/or forms. But for most troops, given the range and effectiveness of modern assault rifles and the mobility of most battles especially in jungle or desert warfare (urban and CQB's a bit different) you have no real clue who shot who. And some of it is bravado or fear. People naturally dehumanize those they're uncomfortable with under stressful situations. Soldiers, some, sure they do. Lump everyone they consider an enemy into one convenient stereotype of action and being. But they're under fire, some of those people are trying to kill them.
So what's your excuse?

"And if a few of those subhumans were civilians who were murdered or raped or tortured, welp, war is hell, right?"
Actually war is governed by a set of laws.

"Because I didn't really hear a whole lot of soldiers objecting to what happened over there."
Really? Then you weren't paying attention.
There's a very large difference between Joe Civilian protesting and Joe Military so much as lifting an eyebrow at any orders from the civilian controlled military. It's very very ingrained. As well it should be. (Speaking of which, I'm an IVAW member)
You can't castigate troops on the one hand for what you think (and in the case of Iraq, I think) is a b.s. war, but then demand they go to war (or don't) because it's a civilian controlled military.
Want your vote to count? Probably a good idea from letting the guys with all the guns make -any- qualitative political decisions for good OR ill.
Didn't work out so well for Rome.


"Great, there are ten thousand good apples sparsely interspersed among one point five million active service members. All right, let me change what I said: only 99.4% of soldiers are violent racist assholes."

Yes, clearly vets should storm the White House. Boy, that'd work out so well.
But, by your metric, there are a million members of anti-war groups interspersed among almost 300 million Americans. So 99.7% of Americans are violent racist assholes.

But let's not pretend you're making some sort of cogent argument on this topic, you're just trotting out the same b.s. you shop around every time something like this comes up.

You've shown you'll pretty much take any tack in order to castigate the military by whatever means. Where those means are fair, I pretty much agree. There is a great deal to criticize about the military in general and situations like this in particular.

Where it comes to blanket statements, I have to disagree on principle. Not that I disagree with your emotional center on authority in general, or even your distaste for the fetishization of military personnel (which I share, to my mind it's the flip side of this though), but you repeatedly and willfully ignore even the most basic elements of the concepts of command responsibility or any civilian responsibility for any military operation and lay the blame on the troops.

I can't agree with that for a number of reasons, but most importantly practical: you can't prosecute the entire armed forces for engaging in war. In part because the civilian government ordered them - legally - to go to war.

(By legally I mean from a military perspective - they followed the process such that it appeared to be a legal order. I don't believe the invasion was legal at all. If my C.O. orders me to cross the street. And I follow that order. I'm not culpable for following a perfectly legal, apparently harmless order, if my crossing the street was some sort of signal to some other guy to kill some innocent guy. My C.O. is on the hook for that. And the sniper, if he had any knowledge of it (unlikely, I mean, why would the C.O. say anything? "Yeah, he slept with my wife." "Uh, sir, that wouldn't mean he's an enemy combatant."))

Now, I agree with fourcheesemac that the troops have the most to gain from "the truth being told, the facts being known, and the responsible being held accountable."
But - honorable, etc. aside - it's better for everyone. Even the shitbirds. And they do exist.

But in no way is this an argument to glorify or not to glorify the military. Perhaps a tangential one on the latter.
But it's illustrative of exactly the opposite point you make as well as opposite to the point the hawks try to make.
The military is a large organization and like any large organization it's full of people who - while are trained - are for the most part in the middle of the bell curve like the rest of the population.
They're not heroes, they're not saints, but they're not racists or assholes either - they're not "all" anything anymore than any very large group is "all" anything.

This is precisely why neither dislike or worship of the armed forces should get in the way of the release of these photographs. And it's possible for either state to result in that.
Because of a variety of possible reactions.

I really don't know how you don't fucking see that.
And it's every time. Yes, the media jacks off to war porn and the troops and the flag. Pisses me right off too. Probably even more because I take it personally in a number of ways. (No one likes being pimped).
But how does that invalidate basic concepts on individual and group and political responsibility?

How can you even hold one man responsible for a crime if the military is 99.4% racist assholes?
The people in these photos could say "Well, yeah, I raped her/him/etc. - but we all do that. It's the order of the day. We're all just brutal killers."
If that were true - by what metric do you single that man out?

Either law and morality has meaning to personal responsibility and conduct or it does not.
I think it does. I think the military bears responsibility for some of this and should have the opportunity to wash this stain from themselves (if they're unwilling, we'll do it for them). They should have the opportunity to remove the perpetrators from their ranks and take the hit for it. To a lesser degree, surely, than the men directly responsible for this. But taking that hit, that risk, is no different from their normal mandate. I don't use words like "immoral" or "racist asshole" to lambast an entire class of person. To my mind it's bullshit, but even if it were true it does no good. No, what I expect them to do, is to do the work of making amends so that we can better protect our country. That's what they're supposed to be doing anyway. And that's harsh enough.

But we should have to do the work on our side as well - we should prosecute those who were in command at the civilian level who are responsible for this. Exactly because I don't think 99.7% of all Americans are the same as Rumsfeld, or Cheney or Wolfowitz. Exactly because I think those men, more than some E-2 swabbing a deck in Guam, are personally and directly responsible for what happened in that prison and what happened in Iraq.
And I'd rather pursue them and change the system first, whether that mop wielding enlisted man really hates brown people or not.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:46 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


That, and this should have come out 5 years ago.
Now, if you're going to hold someone accountable, you'd think - public officials.
From the link:
Graham, speaking after Rumsfeld's Senate testimony, suggested that material in at least one tape held by Defense Department investigators could be by far the most-damaging yet to the U.S. military effort in Iraq and its prestige around the world.

"The American public needs to understand, we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We're talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges,'' Graham said to reporters. Graham said, however, he hadn't seen the videos that are part of the investigation into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers and military contractors."
I mean that's republican senator Lindsey fucking "I'm sitting in Strom Thurmond's seat" Graham.
You've got a public representative - serving on the the Armed Services committee - who hadn't seen the stuff at the time.
Wha?
In what way was this not an end run around the Republic?

I mean, the whole thing with Pelosi recently - even if she 'knew' - what's the move from there if it doesn't mean a damn thing whether you're an elected official or not? Frikkin Republicans weren't getting the low down at the time.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:08 PM on May 29, 2009




Well, look at the backgrounds of the people that were leading it all. Bush's granddaddy was buddies with Nazis and was involved with some sort of attempted overthrow of the government. Cheney is a dirty Nixonite who went on to make his bajillions through war profiteering. And so on and so forth.

There is a cancer in the American government. Some of the worst in the political realm have been ousted. But the rot spreads wide and clearly goes deep. There is a chain of leaders and officers who consciously chose to cause happen and/or cause to have no consequence, the rape of children.

I'm not so sure I'd want to be a black US President prosecuting those who formed the chain of command that made it possible for the sick fucks could get their jollies by having children raped/being a child rapist in front of the parents. Being a black President seems like a pretty high-risk occupation at the best of times, let alone if he starts rooting out the evil.

But hopefully if everyone pulled and polled together, there'd be an uprising of political will to correct these problems. Because if that doesn't happen, I'm pretty sure it's guaranteed that the nation will be fucked in the long term.

The next Cheney is not going to be so nice.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:57 PM on May 29, 2009


That seems apropos of nothing, mecran01. I don't see any Durwoods in the thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:03 PM on May 29, 2009


Scott Horton of Harper's magazine appears to have independent confirmation that the suppressed photos contain images of rape and other atrocities.
posted by Rumple at 11:27 PM on May 29, 2009


Someone else who has seen the memos says Cheney lies.
posted by caddis at 11:57 PM on May 29, 2009


So, about the Telegraph and Taguda and those pictures (if anyone's still talking about that): "New" Abu Ghraib pictures aren't new. But this still makes me wonder why the specific 44 pictures aren't being released if they aren't as horrible as the ones Salon and other sources had already published.
posted by maudlin at 6:22 AM on May 30, 2009


From Cheney lies: "Until concrete evidence comes to light, the torture debate will continue to heat up the halls of Congress, with Republicans putting pressure on Pelosi, and Democrats, like Levin, continuing to lash out at the former Bush administration"

Y'know, you ask the question if they were lying - why did they stop? And then you see Cheney on t.v. Bush still talking. All that. Y'know, I don't know that they're really gone. Functionally speaking. Certainly the GOP is out of power in the government. And yet - here we are.
You hear Obama mouthing some of the same platitudes. Not, I'd suspect, because he buys into it, but because a lot of the same people that were cemented into the bureaucracy by Bushco are still there and giving advice...
Ya joke about Bush not relinquishing office - but given the situation, if the same architecture is in place successfully pushing their agenda, if the same people have influence over events - are they really gone?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:34 AM on May 30, 2009


That's pretty astute, Smedleyman, and I'll agree with you that I am extraordinarily fringe-crazy when it comes to the military. And I'll agree that beyond the rapist-torturer soldiers, contractors, and CIA that committed these acts, a huge proportion of the blame lies with the civilian politicians who made an end-run around the rules of war as well as basic humanity.

I'm not saying that the military should have staged a coup when they were asked to fight this immoral war. I'm saying they should have put down their weapons. You may give up certain freedoms when you enlist, but the freedom to choose the right path is always open.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:59 AM on May 30, 2009


"I'm saying they should have put down their weapons."

Some did. And I respect people like Lt. Watada for the courage of their convictions. It's simply that not everyone shares the same opinion or has the same principles or convictions. And it's not a viable option en masse. I would have liked to see the civilian population successfully (because there was effort there) force the government to order the troops to put down their weapons.

But again - you have to make allowances for different principles and duty must be the overriding factor. Much like with defense lawyers. Your client might be a child rapist. He might be on the hook for it for the 10th time. But he is entitled to a fair trial and you have to do your best to get him off.
Similarly - if you're ordered to fight and die to prevent genocide in Darfur - if you do happen to be a racist asshole - you might refuse. Well, that can't really be the prerogative of a soldier.
One can argue they shouldn't enlist in the first place - and I do advise people as such at this time. And hell, my namesake wrote a book saying "War is a Racket."
But most people serve for altruistic reasons. Same reasons, I suspect, one becomes a public defender.
Not to allow child rapists to escape. But to uphold the system.
I think it makes it all the more egregious to have someone swear to uphold and defend the constitution and to give their lives to protect you or even kill if need be, and then have that trust violated by sending them off to this kind of filthy business.
I'll grant some validity to your perspective. But it's still a hobson's choice for the men involved.

In this case they bear the responsibility for their group - let's use your term and say immorality - by having their lives put in greater peril.
I fault leadership for the majority of that.
And again - by no means is it some kind of excuse not to show the photos. Those men and women knew what they were getting into when they signed up (to borrow an oft used phrase from the opposition argument in these matters) - not that they knew the particulars, which war, which - whatever - and I don't think they should be on the hook for that - but most certainly they knew it was a dangerous job.
They might have to pay with their lives. I'd call that debt paid.
Rummy on the other hand - it's worth whatever heat he gets for these. Someone takes a shot at him - it would be the duty of government agents to protect him (as well they should) but therein lies the nature of it for them - Rummy, not so much. He's got it coming. Difference is, it's our JOB to put the heat on him. And others.
Such is the nature of the system (when it works properly).
And we're of one mind that it has not necessarialy worked properly. Especially here.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:35 AM on May 30, 2009


Lawrence Wilkerson (former chief of staff to Colin Powell): Cheney "Lonely, Paranoid, Frightened"
posted by ericb at 9:36 AM on May 30, 2009


Or the right-wing radio show host who gets raped on air to prove it's not torture.

First up: Rush Limbaugh. Problem is the porky drug-addled fuck would probably enjoy it.
posted by ericb at 10:17 AM on May 30, 2009


Torturing Democracy
posted by homunculus at 12:10 PM on May 30, 2009


Obama is apparently trying to cover them up because he doesn't want to create problems for military people overseas, oh no, now that wouldn't be good.

I don't regret voting for him, but I recognize that I voted for the lesser of two evils.
posted by kldickson at 3:08 PM on May 30, 2009


Civil_Disobedient: TO PROVE IT HAPPENED

That has exactly nothing to do with making a rape picture public. The photos need to used in a fucking court, not published the world. Do you really not get that?

KirkJobSluder: A simple solution: Charge the persons involved with crimes under the UCMJ, and transfer them to either detention or supervised on-base house arrest in the States. The cat was let out of the bag in 2004, continuing the cover-up only fuels the outrage that U.S. Military personnel are above the law an unaccountable for crimes they commit overseas.

Where are you people getting the idea that I'm for a cover-up? I want these photos investigated, I want these people charged, and when convicted, I want them to be put away for the rest of their fucking lives.


chunking express: My guess is that people getting shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan are going to get shot at whether these photos are released or not. I'm not just talking about Americans. More people becoming enraged and fighting means more people die, and those extra deaths will be disproportionately non-Coalition forces, including innocent civilians.

What kind of argument is that? Do you think the insurgents are going to go even more ape-shit?

YES, YES I DO, IT IS STUPID TO THINK IT WOULDN'T. That's what happened last time. Insurgents don't have to get "crazier", it will just make more insurgents.


dunkadunc: spaltavian: "Releasing those photos right now is going to get people killed."

Well, good then.


I take it you wouldn't mind being one of those people, then? Because I would.


fshgrl: Only if the accused aren't fairly tried in an open court of law or a military court, and if found guilty punished appropriately and restitution made to the victims.

And angles will dance on the head of a pin. If the photos are publicly, whether there is a trial or not, there will be violence.

But once again, releasing the photos to the public has fuck all to do with charging the accused. The accused should be charged, and when found guilty, they should be locked up. The pictures don't need to be on al-jazeera for that to happen.
posted by spaltavian at 3:45 PM on May 30, 2009


spaltavian: Where are you people getting the idea that I'm for a cover-up? I want these photos investigated, I want these people charged, and when convicted, I want them to be put away for the rest of their fucking lives.

Because if that happened, there is no way any reasonable person could possibly think that a cover up happened, right? Like, Dr. King's family must be glad that that happened to James Earl Ray, right, they would never petition to give him a new trial, right?

No, fucking wrong. Throwing some piece of human garbage in a cage for the rest of his or her natural life in this case is as absolutely ridiculous as it is in organized crime prosecutions. It doesn't matter what a vile bastard the guy on the street is, no justice is served in punishing him while allowing the person who put him on the street to remain free, putting more people into that same line of work. It is asinine. Investigate, yes. Charge, yes. But don't imprison, flip them, make them admit what they did and finger the next man up, and then let them live with the humiliation and shame. Letting the low-lying fruit take the wrap all by themselves stinks of blatant cover-up of the real issue.
posted by paisley henosis at 4:52 PM on May 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I take it you wouldn't mind being one of those people, then? Because I would."

While I can't agree with the sentiment that such a thing would be 'good,' sometimes it's necessary. And fortunately we have a volunteer military.

"But once again, releasing the photos to the public has fuck all to do with charging the accused."

There's a difference between the prosecution and political accountability. Clearly the object in not releasing the photos is to shield certain people, and also obviously, those people are not the victims. There are plenty of other solid reasons (and they've been expressed here) but all those aside - even granting that there were no other valid reason for releasing the photos - I would object to it on basic principles. I do not, under any circumstances, trust a government that tells me they know better (non-classified, e.g troop movement, intelligence ... and oh, say NOCs, etc.) what I should know or see and what I shouldn't.

Protecting anyone, even from potential jeopardy of their lives, is no excuse. (In certain cases it may. Not here.)
The rule of the civilian population obviously suffers if they do not have all the facts. Lying to them, or even withholding information, subverts the will of the people. That does far more damage to the country and protecting it from that I think would be worth my life.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:23 PM on May 30, 2009


A very poorly written but intriguing idea: the recent Cheney circus is an attempt to avoid being sued into oblivion by the shareholders of KBR and Hallburton.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:09 PM on May 30, 2009


I just watched Real Time with Bill Maher, which seems to have been filmed just before the photos were leaked. John Bolton and Heather Wilson (R) New Mexico in an extended interview/grilling. Bill is such an asshole, but he can sometimes get good stuff from his guests.

John Bolton and Heather Wilson (R) New Mexico are precisely why these photographs need to be public, along everything else that went on. You should hear the things they say: they are absolutely supportive of the use of torture. In complete denial of what has been said by people who can be trusted to know what they are talking about.

They need to see the photographs. They need their constituents to see those photographs. They need to come to understand that the average American is of the kind of moral character that says torture is just fucking wrong, and that it's bullshit to be using it in the name of America. You're better than that, but assholes like these are leading you.

God, Bill Maher is such a douchebag. Some of the things he says.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 PM on May 30, 2009


American soldiers in Iraq - whatever personal desperation drove them to enlist, whatever integrity they struggle to preserve - are nonetheless voluntary participants in a war of aggression that has murdered hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children.

Meanwhile, you helped pay for the bullets.


How many members does Iraq Veterans Against the War have? A thousand? Ten thousand? Great, there are ten thousand good apples sparsely interspersed among one point five million active service members.

Iraq Veterans Against the War is a poorly run and ideologically confused organization led by an AWOL Coastie who never even friggin served in Iraq. I wouldn't exactly put too much stock in the length (or lack thereof) of its member rolls.

Just because soldiers do not join organizations like IVAW does not mean they all walk in lockstep with the former Bush Administration.

I think the Iraq War was and is a terrible idea. I think we should release these abuse photos. I also served in Iraq for a total of about 35 months, and fairly soon I'll be one of those people in Afghanistan who will supposedly be shot at even more if the photos go public.

And while I think it's somewhat pointless, I don't really have a problem with you calling me a violent racist asshole. I find it more useful to be aware of what people really think when they speak (or type, as the case may be). Believe me, the weird hero-worship of 'The Troops' is more uncomfortable for me than for you.


I'm saying they should have put down their weapons. You may give up certain freedoms when you enlist, but the freedom to choose the right path is always open.

So if I'm understanding you correctly, you're essentially suggesting soldiers take the hit and go to jail for refusing to deploy.

Your profile indicates you're in the US. Do you pay your federal taxes? Are you willing to refuse to contribute your tax dollars to the federal government and Department of Defense?
posted by lullaby at 12:17 AM on May 31, 2009


So if I'm understanding you correctly, you're essentially suggesting soldiers take the hit and go to jail for refusing to deploy.

Your profile indicates you're in the US. Do you pay your federal taxes? Are you willing to refuse to contribute your tax dollars to the federal government and Department of Defense?


oh my goodness you are so clever and i have never thought of that before; i guess you got me - the six or seven hundred dollars a year of my taxes that goes to the DoD is exactly morally equivalent to shooting an iraqi in the face
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:48 AM on June 1, 2009




I believe that Obama is not prosecuting the former adminstration because he knows that any prosecution by a Democratic adminstration against a Republican one would be tarred as illegitimate by the small but extremely loud sections of the Republican Party who hold undue sway over public opinion for part of the country. It doesn't matter that it's completely legal and needed, legitimacy is in the eyes of the beholder, and such a prosecution would turn into a media circus.

That said, I think it's clear that in the eyes of the other 55% of the US, and the rest of the world, he can't just put it behind him. He and his adminstration have to deal with it, but they have to do so in a way that is clearly not-partisan, and could not even be twisted by big mouths into appearing the least bit partisan.

I think that Obama should set someone in charge of the investigation and possible prosecution who could not be said to be on the Democratic side at all, someone with respect and authority in security matters. Someone like McCain, if he were willing. And I would stack the committee with other respectable and even very right wing Republicans, to counter any claims that McCain himself is too centrist. The kind of people who disagree with Obama politcally, but who are morally upright and would not supress any knowledge of crimes - because this investigation and prosecution has to come from the right wing of American politics, or it will be seen as being imposed from the outside. It's the Republicans who need to clean house on their torture strategies, because the people who need to be convinced won't listen to anyone else. And maybe I'm just idealistic, but I believe that there are many honest Republicans who may believe in trickle-down economics, but still think that drowning someone - let alone rape and sexual abuse - is torture.

And I think that these pictures need to be made public, not just for prosecution, but because the American public need to all look unflichingly at them, and realise what has been done in their name.
posted by jb at 8:33 AM on June 1, 2009


i guess you got me - the six or seven hundred dollars a year of my taxes that goes to the DoD is exactly morally equivalent to shooting an iraqi in the face

It has nothing to do with being clever, just a curiosity. No one would be able to shoot any Iraqis in the face if they didn't have the logistics or supply getting them there.


And I think that these pictures need to be made public, not just for prosecution, but because the American public need to all look unflichingly at them, and realise what has been done in their name.

Well said.
posted by lullaby at 9:09 AM on June 1, 2009


But torture and rape may be allowed by code of law. Let's let the legal lions on Metafilter decide this for us.

Are these the same ones who think it's sometimes legal to deport U.S. citizens?
posted by oaf at 2:15 PM on June 1, 2009




Some of the comments in that link are interesting:
When U.S. officials told Maliki, "he went pale in the face,"

Easy to believe; easy to visualize. Maliki sits in the kettle atop the fire that Bush, Cheney, & PNAC, LLP made of Iraq.

Now 'tis time to ask yourself: Why would Cheney, who is dead-set on having Americans in a permanent garrison and/or combat role in the Middle East, be constantly advocating for the release of the gory details of our treatment of those we "detained"?

Those same gory details that Maliki so fears?

You might conclude that Cheney is telling the truth; that he wishes only to clear the B,C, & PNAC, LLP name.

But you should also ask yourself: Can Cheney be so ignorant of what Maliki so plainly knows - and fears? Is there a history of truthfulness associated with Cheney's words, that would lead you to trust him now?

Would Cheney and the right again - AGAIN - tell whatever lies - use whatever tactics - that they think might keep America mired in blood in the Middle East?
Essentially sayin Cheney talks up torture because he wants Iraq to continue to be at war with the USA. Wouldn't surprise me a bit. What an evil old fuck.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:33 PM on June 2, 2009


I'm looking through the World Press Photo winners. 1966 is two US soliders dragging the dead body of a Viet Cong behind their tank thing.
posted by chunking express at 9:07 AM on June 3, 2009






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